The Channel Islands were the only part of the Britain Isles to be occupied by German forces in WW2. The five-year occupation came to an end on 09 May 1945 – Liberation Day, an event still celebrated in Jersey with an annual Bank Holiday. The occupation was characterised by the introduction of numerous penal laws, severe food shortages, widespread fear and suspicion, and the use of forced labour. The Channel Islands Military Museum located in a German-built bunker near St Ouen’s Bay contains lots of military and civilian exhibits that tell this story. Similarly, the Jersey War Tunnels located in St Lawrence, were built by slave workers and civilian prisoners controlled by the paramilitary Organisation Todt. They stretch to over one kilometre in length and were large enough to hold tanks. Designed originally to help German infantry resist air raids and artillery bombardment they were later equipped as a wartime emergency hospital and casualty clearing station, complete with 500 beds, air conditioning and heating systems, and gas-proof doors. The Tunnels have now been turned into a substantial exhibition space, teaching visitors about the history of the Second World War, the occupation and the difficulties and dangers faced by locals.
You may also be interested in:
- Walks from Rozel Harbour to St Catherine’s Breakwater or Bonne Nuit Bay
- Walk to tidal L’Islet (Elizabeth Castle) from St Helier
- Discover the horrible histories of Mount Orgueil
- Go glamping at the Durrel Wildlife Park
- Try some of the best seafood in the Channel Islands
- Swim or walk on the best beaches in Jersey
- Enjoy a seafood BBQ in a WW2 bunker
- Visit one of the ten oldest buildings in the world
The other Channel Islands are also excellent walking destinations and, together with Jersey, walks around their coast paths form the 110 mile Channel Island Way.
Guernsey – find out about walking in Guernsey, Guernsey’s outdoor activities, cafes and more here
Sark – find out about walking in Sark, Sark’s outdoor activities, cafes and more here
Herm – find out about walking in Herm, Herm’s outdoor activities, cafes and more here
Alderney – find out about walking in Alderney, Alderney’s outdoor activities, cafes and more here
Other islands in the British Isles
We have explored nearly 600 islands in the British Isles and are trying to write them up as fast as we can. Check more here or contact us as we are happy to share our info.
Our two books are stacked with more ideas on what to do in the Channel Islands and more more info here