St Peter Port Commonwealth Walkway

Guernsey / Europe

GUERNSEY Guernsey is an island nestled in the middle of the Channel Islands, the second largest of those islands, within sight of Normandy on the French coast.  Guernsey is a Crown dependency and self-governing Bailiwick with ten parishes and three inhabited islands – Herm, Jethou and Lihou. It retains much of its traditional charm alongside the identity of a modern and vibrant British island.  The Queen is Duke of Normandy here, and the defence of Guernsey is the responsibility of the British Government. Guernsey became part of the British Isles during the Norman conquest, creating a unique Anglo-French history that survives to this day.  It has a long history, dating back to Neolithic farmers settled there in 5,000 BC.  In 933 AD, the island was placed under the control of King Ranulf of France (890-936).  Then in 1204 when King John lost part of the Duchy of Normandy to the French, it remained part of the kingdom of England.  There was much activity from pirates during the Middle Ages.   Like Jersey, Guernsey was under German occupation from 30 June 1940 until 9 May 1945.  Since then tourism has been an important feature of the island, coastal walks and sunny beaches being a popular feature.   Guernsey is known for a wealth of locally grown fruits and vegetables and Guernsey-brewed ales.  The French writer, Victor Hugo (1802-85), lived in St Peter Port in exile from France for 15 years from 1855 to 1870 (for criticising Emperor Napoleon III), and wrote Les Misérables here.   SAINT PETER PORT The capital is Saint Peter Port, which is also Guernsey’s main port.  It is a small town with steep narrow streets and was originally a trading post in Roman towns.  It was built on the east side of the island overlooking Herm and Jethou. Fun Fact
  • Guernsey is home to the oldest cast-iron pillar-box still in use anywhere in the British Isles. The post box in Union Street is easily recognisable, being the only red post box in Guernsey; all the others are painted blue.

4.9 miles / 7.8 kilometres

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