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  • Just a 45-minute flight from Englandk

  • and a 30-minute flight from France is Guernsey,

  • the second largest of the Channel Islands.

  • Just 25 square miles in area,

  • this pocket-sized British Crown dependency is big on

  • sunshine, serenity and history.

  • Separated from the French coast of Normandy 8000 years ago

  • by rising sea levels,

  • Guernsey's fortunes have been periodically shaped by the crosswinds of trade,

  • and the crossfire of war.

  • For those who've called this island home,

  • Guernsey has long been a safe harbour,

  • a place of pride and inspiration.

  • Guernsey's capital, St. Peter Port,

  • was a trading post long before the Romans settled here around the year 200.

  • Today, this harbour town is one of the prettiest in Europe,

  • where it seems every window reflects the English Channel's many moods.

  • Standing guard over the harbour for over 800 years is Castle Cornet.

  • Climb the ramparts for views back to the town,

  • and out to the sister islands of Herm and Sark.

  • Hold you ears at the firing of the noonday gun,

  • then explore the castle's barracks which house some of the island's finest museums.

  • Experience centuries of drama at theStory of Castle Cornet”.

  • Set sail into the island's seafaring past at the Maritime Museum.

  • Then explore the island's rich military heritage,

  • which dates back to the formation of the Royal Guernsey Militia in the 14th century.

  • Continue your history lesson back in town,

  • at the Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery.

  • Discover the island's first peoples, its folk laws and superstitions,

  • and the artists whose creations were inspired by the island's incredible beauty.

  • Just outside in Candie Gardens,

  • stands a tribute to Victor Hugo,

  • the giant of 19th century literature who fell under Guernsey's spell.

  • Exiled from his native France,

  • in 1856 Hugo took up residence at Hauteville House,

  • which he personally decorated with bric-a-brac collected from his endless island wanderings.

  • Climb the stairs to the forth floor Crystal Room.

  • Hugo spent his mornings here, penning his epic Les Misérables,

  • while pausing occasionally to look across the bustling port to his beloved homeland.

  • By afternoon the writer took long walks,

  • past La Valette Bathing Pools,

  • and along a coastline that a decade later

  • would inspire the paintings of fellow countryman Renoir.

  • Follow that same coastal path which now passes overgrown coastal defences

  • like Clarence Battery,

  • to sheltered beaches like Petit Bot Bay.

  • While Guernsey's dramatic coastline often steals the show,

  • you'll find plenty to inspire inland too.

  • In the parish of Castel,

  • relax amid the nature trails and floral displays of Saumarez Park.

  • In the parish of St Martin,

  • wander the stately rooms of Sausmarez Manor.

  • Then, explore the estate where the island's

  • legendary flowers sway amid the lyrical sculptures

  • and the rhythmic beats of the coppersmith's hammer.

  • But it's not just the coast and interior that captivates visitors.

  • Guernsey's underground offers plenty of fascinating

  • and sometimes sobering surprises too.

  • During World War Two,

  • the German occupiers constructed vast subterranean complexes all over the island.

  • Step into the damp netherworld of the German Underground Hospital,

  • a maze of tunnels hewn from solid rock by hundreds of forced labourers.

  • Just on the outskirts of St Peter Port,

  • a former U-Boat fuel depot now houses the La Vallette Underground Military Museum.

  • Back in town, visit the German Naval Signals HQ,

  • which sent out its very last signal on an enigma code machine,

  • two days after Germany's official surrender.

  • After the war, German equipment littered the island,

  • and scavenging became a popular pastime.

  • For one schoolboy,

  • collecting became an obsession,

  • which quickly outgrew his family's cottage

  • and necessitated the construction of a purpose-built museum.

  • Today the German Occupation Museum displays an incredible array of wartime memorabilia,

  • and pays tribute to the resourceful islanders who endured the years of occupation.

  • After spending a few hours wandering through the shadows of war,

  • stepping back into the island's sea air and sunshine is all more the sweeter.

  • Which very much sums up the magic of Guernsey.

  • For no matter where we're from or what we've endured,

  • Guernsey is one of those places which invites us to stop,

  • breathe, and appreciate nature's gifts,

  • and to reconnect with the quiet, enduring spirit inside us all.

Just a 45-minute flight from Englandk

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Guernsey Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia

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    Amy.Lin posted on 2018/12/09
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