Visit Jersey next year for the Channel Islands Heritage Festival 2015
Jersey and Guernsey come together for the first time to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Channel Islands liberation during World War II
From 3rd April – 11th May, 2015, the Channel Islands Heritage Festival will celebrate a group of small islands with a big history, marking the 70th Anniversary of the islands’ liberation during World War II.
Over the five-week festival, coastal castles will be brought to life, doors will be unlocked on wartime bunkers and historic towers, and the islands will proudly hang the flags out for Liberation Day.
The Heritage Festival will reach a crescendo on 9th May for a day-long carnival which remembers and celebrates the islands’ freedom from German occupation. Many events will be held at heritage sites around the Channel Islands, with much to do and see throughout the Festival, from Liberation Celebrations at the Jersey War Tunnels to a re-enactment of what life was like in wartime Guernsey at St Peter Port’s Castle Cornet. Special commemorative events will also take place in the bailiwick isles of Alderney, Sark and Herm, who each have their own unique story to tell.
During World War II, the Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to fall into enemy hands. Each island still displays many visible signs of Germany’s five-year military occupation in the form of fortifications and bunkers across the coastline, as well as underground tunnels and hospitals. The Channel Islands’ past is woven into its present and its heritage is just one of its many outstanding features – making them a perfect destination for visitors of all ages, passions and pursuits.
Key events of the Channel Islands Heritage Festival include:
Exclusive opening of Castle Cornet’s secret tunnels in Guernsey
Easter weekend- 3rd-6th April
For the first time, the ‘Secret Tunnels’ in Guernsey’s 13th century Castle Cornet will open to the public. The tunnels have a rich and varied history including being used as Georgian bomb proof casemates (fortified gun emplacements), bunkers modified by German Occupying forces during the World War II and during the Cold War in the 1980’s by the Ministry of Defence. A number of guides will be giving 15 minute guided tours of the tunnels over the Easter weekend. The cost is included in the castle’s admission price (£10 per adult, £2.50 per child).
Kayaking heritage tours in Guernsey
Every Thursday throughout the festival- 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th April and 7th May
Throughout the Heritage Festival there will be regular kayaking tours along Guernsey’s south coast, following the route taken by Guernsey man Lieutenant Hubert Nicolle. In 1940, Nicolle was instructed by Churchill to find out what was happening in German occupied Guernsey. Nicolle scoured the Guernsey coastline by canoe plotting the German defences and reporting back to UK forces. For the first time, visitors will follow Nicolle’s exploits and hear how his daring mission helped Churchill back in Westminster. The kayaking tours take three hours and cost £35 per person. To book: www.outdoorguernsey.com
Liberation Celebration at the Jersey War Tunnels
Daily from Sunday 3rd – Sunday 10th May (Excluding 9th May)
Join a week of celebrations at the Jersey War Tunnels, a network of tunnels over 1km in length that were dug deep into the hillside by forced and slave workers from nations across Europe. Starting on May Day with a Vintage Fair, there will also be talks by occupation veterans and wartime cooking demonstrations during the week, as well as other special events.
Price: Entrance fee to the Tunnels or individual event fees may apply
Place: Jersey War Tunnels, Les Charrières Malorey, St Lawrence
Jersey Liberation Day 70th Anniversary Commemoration & Celebration
Friday 8th – Monday 11th May
Join islanders to celebrate their Liberation Day with a host of special events and activities packed with food, music, dancing and nostalgic entertainment of the wartime era. On Liberation Day itself, May 9th, Royal Court, Clergy and States Members take part in a Service of Thanksgiving and Commemoration. This includes a re-enactment of the act of liberation, the arrival of the Liberating Forces and the successive flying of flags. Enjoy community singing, a uniformed march-past and a drive-past by old civilian and military motor vehicles. The commemoration is followed by a huge street party; come along and enjoy the great food, atmosphere and entertainment at this 1940s-style celebration with a variety of vintage stalls to browse.
Place: Liberation Square, Jersey
Liberation Music Festival in Jersey
From Saturday 9th May
On 9th May the Music Festival will open with the Berlin Philharmonic Octet in a concert at the Jersey Opera House, with letters and tales from the occupation narrated by John Nettles. There follows seven days of wonderful classical music and the arts featuring international stars such as Michael Collins. The festival closes on Sunday 17th May with Jazz at Hamptonne Country Inn featuring Jazz Singer of the Year, Clare Teal. The theme carried through the festival will be reconciliation, with concerts reflecting the different nationalities who took part in the struggle.
Place: Jersey, Island-wide
Open air cinema on Liberation Day
As Liberation Day 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of Guernsey’s liberation from German forces, there will be an extra jam-packed programme of events. Events include 70th Liberation calvalcade, the largest in recent years with over 100 military vehicles (1940-1945) joined by period classic cars from Guernsey’s Old Car Club and an outdoor cinema located in Market Square in the capital St. Peter Port that will show a series of films from 1940-1945.
Experiencing the Channel Islands Heritage Festival
Channel Islands Direct can offer a seven night, four and five star joint-island holiday to Jersey and Guernsey from £569 per person by sea from Weymouth, or from £647 per person by air from London Gatwick. This includes accommodation in the islands’ most historic hotels including Guernsey’s 5* Old Government House, which was once the official residence of the Governor of Guernsey and Jersey’s Pomme D’Or, which sits in the heart of St Helier, overlooking Liberation Square and has had a prominent part to play in Jersey’s history. Prices include accommodation, travel to Guernsey and onwards to Jersey, return transfers, three nights’ accommodation at the 5* Old Government House in Guernsey, four nights’ accommodation at the 4* Pomme D’Or in Jersey and breakfast. A return boat trip to the historic islands of either Herm or Sark can be added from £15pp.www.channelislandsdirect.co.uk 08444 937 486
Visitors can also receive tourism information by visiting www.jersey.com or www.visitguernsey.com, or by contacting tour operator Channel Islands Direct at www.channelislandsdirect.co.uk or 08444 937 095.