Built over 800 years ago, the iconic Castle Cornet has overlooked Guernsey’s capital, St Peter Port, ever since. The castle was constructed amid the break-up of the Duchy of Normandy in the 1200s, which Guernsey was a part of. It played a role in the French Invasion of 1338 and the English civil war among other battles, and its fascinating and turbulent history is wonderfully preserved for you to enjoy.
The Little Russell, which is the island upon which Castle Cornet stands, is around two hectares in size. As it was constructed over such a long period of time, the structure is not uniform. The citadel sits atop the castle, and can be reached via six different routes. The castle features several tunnels and alleys to explore as well as four well-maintained period gardens.
While the castle itself is a museum, it is also home to five more within. The Story of Castle Cornet houses a range of reconstructions and original artefacts describing the eventful past of the castle, the 201 Squadron RAF Museum celebrates the history of the last locally affiliated squadron in the air force, while the Maritime Museum and Art Gallery offers a fascinating insight into the island’s relationship with the seas over the years.
There is also the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry Museum where you can learn about Guernsey’s involvement in the First World War, and the Royal Guernsey Militia Museum that tells the tale of islanders defending their home from French invasion in the 1300s.
If you are in St Peter Port or visiting the castle and you hear a loud bang at midday, do not be alarmed. Every day from 17th March a cannon is fired at noon by guards dressed in full uniform, so if you time your visit correctly you can watch it happen at the castle!
Castle Cornet hosts a whole range of events throughout the year, including live music and theatre performances during the summer. The Channel Islands Heritage Festival taking place in April and May also has a large programme of exciting events, many of which take place at the castle.
Fancy exploring this fascinating 800-year-old structure and experiencing the incredible history of Guernsey for yourself? Plan your visit today!