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History highlights in St Helier

12 May 2021

Named after the 6th century hermit, Jersey's town, St Helier, has a rich and varied history. At various points in time the French, the British and the Nazis have laid claim to the island's capital.

It's this diversity that's given Jersey so many fascinating stories. Any history buff visiting St Helier should make room in their itinerary for these three attractions.

Elizabeth Castle

Image courtesy of Visit Jersey

For more than 400 years Elizabeth Castle has guarded the entrance to Jersey's main harbour and port. The castle has provided refuge for a wide range of historically important figures, including St Helier himself and King Charles II.

From the battlements, which date back to the 16th century, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of St Aubin's Bay. Take a picnic and explore the manicured grounds where King Charles II sought refuge during the English Civil War.

The latest additions to the castle come in the form of bunkers built during the German Occupation of Jersey in WWII. Elizabeth Castle bears the scars of island's various rulers and is a great place to start exploring Jersey's history.

The castle can be accessed on foot at low tide via the causeway, or take the amphibious ferry which leaves from outside La Frigate Café.

For opening times and admission prices, visit the Jersey Heritage website.

Jersey Museum

Image courtesy of Visit Jersey

Jersey's museum captures the island's history from the Ice Age over 250,000 years ago to the present day.

This fully indoor attraction is a great option if the weather isn't great, and it's central St Helier location means it's just a 1 minute walk across Weighbridge Square from the Pomme d'Or Hotel.

Jersey Heritage rank these exhibitions as their top must dos:

  1. Go back in time to the 19th century with a visit to the beautifully restored, gas-lit Victorian House
  2. Discover the Island's Ice Age history and meet Barbu the resident Neanderthal
  3. See the Lillie Langtry pieces on display
  4. Take a look at the manuscript written by Jean Chevalier of Jersey during the English Civil War. You can also download it for free on iBook.

For opening times and admission prices, visit the Jersey Heritage website.

Maritime Museum

Image courtesy of Visit Jersey

Jersey's history has been shaped by the sea. And on an island where you're never more than 10 minutes from the coast, you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't pay a visit to the Maritime Museum.

This museum, just a 1 minute walk from our central St Helier location, is packed full of interactive exhibitions that bring to life Jersey's seafaring history. Learn how islanders developed a global reputation as prolific shipbuilders, discover the basics of navigation, and investigate local seaborne mysteries.

The Maritime Museum is a fully enclosed attraction, making it a great option when the weather doesn't shout "beach"!

For opening times and admission prices, visit the Jersey Heritage website.

More sites of historical interest in St Helier

The Royal Square - the site of the Battle of Jersey

The Georgian House

The Pomme d'Or & Liberation Square