Experiences | Culture & History 5 June 2024

5 New History Routes to Try in Guernsey

The Islands of Guernsey are filled with unique history and sites. One of the most significant and fascinating periods of Guernsey’s history was when German forces occupied the Island during the Second World War

The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles under German control during the conflict, and there remains plenty of evidence of their stay; coastlines are dotted with well-preserved fortifications built by soldiers as part of Hitler's Atlantic Wall.

You can explore this period of history on five new walking, hiking, cycling and driving routes with the VisitGuernsey App and our new Occupation Boards.

How do the routes work?

On the VisitGuernsey app, select the route you’d like to take (we will dive into each of our five new routes later), and directions will appear, taking you to important landmarks and sites. 

As you visit the waypoints, you can watch video content of local residents who lived through the occupation, bringing sites to life with real-life stories of human courage and experience; and also view  ‘now and then’ images, which showcase the dramatic contrast between World War II and the present day.

On route, you will also find our information boards filled with key details and photographs of landmarks and moments during the Occupation. Each board has a QR code which you can scan to find out more about the phases of Evacuation, Occupation, Fortification and Liberation. 

There are five new routes for you to explore, released to the app just a few weeks ago.

Hiking Routes 

Coastal Memories 

This route explores German Fortifications on the west coast.

To guard against attempts of landings on Cobo and Vazon, the German forces created a network of fortifications to cover the area. This trail explores lookout points, resistance nested and the Fort Hommet Strong Point. 

You start your walk in the lower car park of Fort Hommet, and follow the coast north to discover how history blends with the rugged coastal shoreline.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 3.6km - approx 72m elevation gain. Roughly 1h15m. 
  • Location: Guernsey’s West Coast
  • Key points of interest: Burton Battery, Le Guet, Barton Home, the Cobo Slipway and Fort Hommet


This route explores St Peter Port and how invasion effective life in Guernsey.

On Wednesday 19th June 1940, Channel islanders were informed that following the British Government’s decision to not defend the islands, provisions were being made for those who wished to evacuate. 

In the 10 days that followed, before the German forces invaded, roughly 17,000 people were evacuated from Guernsey. This included 5,000 schoolchildren and their teachers.  All British military personnel were withdrawn and the island was classified as ‘De-Militarised’ and an ‘Open Town’. 

This walk guides you through St Peter Port, showcasing the harbour town which is very similar to how it was in 1940 when the Germans arrived and Occupation began.  You will start at the White Rock, the location of the bombing of St Peter Port harbour on 28th June 1940.

  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Length: 3.76km - approx 92m elevation gain. Roughly 1hr. 
  • Location: St Peter Port, Guernsey.
  • Key points of interest: White Rock, Smith Street, The War Memorial, No.4 The Grange, German Naval Signals HQ, Candie Gardens.


This route explores some of the most historically significant wartime locations in St Peter Port and the story of Liberation. 

'Hostilities will end officially at one minute after midnight tonight. And our dear Channel Islands are also to be freed today.'

That was the announcement Channel Islanders had waited five long years to hear. On the 8th May 1945, Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced the end of the war in Europe - and the Channel Islands would be freed the following day.

The German Occupation of the Channel Islands between 1940 and 1945 played a huge part in shaping both the landscape and the people of Guernsey. Each year on 9th May, Guernsey celebrates Liberation Day, to mark the moment the Island became freed from occupation. 

Starting at the Liberation Monument, this route takes in some of the key sites to do with Occupation and Liberation. 

  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Length: 8.5km - approx. 281m elevation gain. Roughly 2hrs. 
  • Location: St Peter Port, Guernsey. 
  • Key points of interest: Liberation Monument, White Rock, Albert Pier Slipway, Castle Cornet, La Valette Underground Military Museum, Fort George Citadel and Military Cemetery, The Royal Court House, Elizabeth College.

Cycling Route - Occupation 

This cycling route will help you to discover the fascinating history of Guernsey in Occupation.

Guernsey has a number of museums dedicated to Guernsey Militia and Occupation. This cycle tour will take you to the two which are solely dedicated to World War II and in particular the experience of Islanders during the Occupation. The route covers leafy lanes away from the hustle and bustle of main roads and past some hidden fortifications. 

Starting from the German Occupation Museum car park in Forest, explore the exhibits before heading north to St Martin. 

Driving Route - Fortifications

This route explores German Fortifications around Guernsey. 

This driving tour will guide you around Guernsey’s coastline, stopping at some of the most significant fortifications built from June 1940 - May 1945. 

Start your trip at Jerbourg Point, and take in the views across to Herm and Sark, and on a clear day out to Jersey and France. Find the first sign in the car park and then start the rest of your journey inland along the main road. 

Remember while you are driving that the roads in Guernsey are narrow and require you to drive at much lower speeds - the maximum speed on the Island is 35mph. 

  • Difficulty: Moderate - walking to fortifications after driving.
  • Length: 42km - approx 259m elevation gain. Roughly 4 hours. 
  • Location: Guernsey’s coastline. 
  • Key points of interest: Jerbourg - Batterie Strasburg, Doyle Column, La Corbiere - Private Tower, Pleinmont - Batterie Dollmann, L’Eree - Fort Sausmarez, Fort Hommet, L’Ancresse - Anti Tank Walls, Vale Castle, Castle Cornet.

Explore even more routes, history and swim spot recommendations on the VisitGuernsey App.

Download for free here on the App Store. 

Download on Google Play.

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