The island’s unique geographical position sets the scene for a fascinating heritage. Guernsey has been pivotal in battles between the UK and France as well as being an important port for international trade into the UK.
Visitors and local will be able to learn more about Guernsey's fascinating history and nautical past during the 6 week long 2016 Channel Islands Heritage Festival which takes place from March 25 until May 10.
With burial mounds dating back to Neolithic times around 6,500 years ago, the islands formed part of Normandy from 933, forging a link that survives locally in Norman Law, surnames and Dgèrnésiais, the local language. And it was the Norman invasion of Britain in 1066 that formed the bedrock of Guernsey’s relationship with the British Crown as it is today. But that relationship with the Crown hasn’t remained unchallenged, with the risk of French invasion a threat throughout the ages.
During WW2 the islands were invaded and occupied by the German army and occupied for five years. Many families were separated during this time and reminders of the occupation can still be seen around the island today. Every year, on 9 May, Guernsey celebrates its freedom on Liberation Day. On this bank holiday, there is a programme of events based in the capital, St Peter Port, as well as additional events in the other parishes.
Guernsey has a story to tell around every corner, down each alley and tucked away in its forts and castles, ruins and ancient tombs. Much of the island's history is told in our heritages sites, where information boards can be found throughout the island. If you would prefer, have an accredited guide tell you about our history and culture.