The Channel Islands were the only part of the British 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 left lasting marks on Jersey’s landscape with many of these sites still scattered around Jersey’s countryside and coastline.
Explore Jersey’s unique wartime history on this three day itinerary.
- Delve into our history at Jersey Museum
- Stand in Liberation Square, where the island was officially freed
- Follow the Occupation Trail and Forced Workers Trail
- Explore our war tunnel and bunker network
- Have lunch in a bunker
Start at the beginning.
Take a deeper look into Jersey’s history at the Jersey Museum where the island’s story is told from 250,000 years ago to present day. Stand in Liberation Square where crowds gathered in 1945 to welcome British troops. Enjoy an interactive bike tour by downloading the Geotourist app and grabbing an EVie bike to discover the island’s Occupation Trail. Share islanders’ pride in Liberation with a visit to the Occupation Tapestry.
1. Jersey Museum.
This fascinating museum charts history from 250,000 years ago, when the first settlers arrived in Jersey and continues through the centuries to explore the factors that have shaped our unique island and the people who live here. Find out why Jersey remained loyal to the English Crown despite being so close to France, listen to Jèrriais (Jersey’s traditional language) being spoken and learn about the impact of WW2.
2. Pit Stop at The Yard and Liberation Square.
Take a break and drop in at The Yard, in the courtyard of the Jersey Museum. The Yard is a fabulous independent coffee bar and eatery, serving up creative dishes using locally sourced produce.
Fully refuelled, walk over to Liberation Square. At 07:15 on 09 May 1945 on the quarter deck of HMS Bulldog, Second in Command for Guernsey General Siegfried Heine signed the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of the German Command of the Channel Islands, effecting their capitulation. Crowds gathered in Liberation Square to welcome British troops and watch them triumphantly unfurl the Union Jack from the balcony of the Pomme d’Or hotel.
3. Occupation Trail.
Download the Geotourist app, grab a dockless EVie bike and explore the Occupation Trail. The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by German forces in WW2. The five-year occupation came to an end on 09 May 1945 and Liberation Day is still remembered with an annual Bank Holiday.
4. Pride of Liberation.
Visit the Maritime Museum where you can see the award-winning Occupation Tapestry that was woven by islanders to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Liberation from five years of occupation by the German armed forces during the Second World War. The 13 richly colourful panels of the tapestry, depict life and hardship under military rule and were created from the memories and stories of islanders who experienced it first-hand.
Delve deeper into Jersey's wartime story.
1. Jersey War Tunnels.
Jump on the Char-a-banc vintage shuttle bus to the Jersey War Tunnels which leaves from outside the The Pomme d’Or Hotel. The Jersey War Tunnels tell the story in the words of the people who were there. This truly unique exhibition, which includes a war trail and garden of reflection, is housed in an underground tunnel complex which was built by slave labour under German command. Heartache, hardship and heroism: the real story of wartime Jersey.
2. Pit stop at The Gunsite Beach Cafe.
You’ll find this much-loved cafe in the centre of St. Aubin’s Bay in a repurposed WW2 bunker, part of the imposing sea defenses constructed by forced workers that span the bay. It is the perfect spot for some lunch with the locals.
3. A Bunker tour
Join Jersey War Tours and get a chance to explore sites that are not open to the general public. Their guides are passionate about sharing the island’s history and will make sure you have an experience you won’t forget.
A poignant day of discovery.
1. Forced Workers Trail.
Many places on the island hold tales of the forced workers who were brought to Jersey against their will by Organisation Todt. Uncover their stories on the Liberation Route Europe, Forced Workers Trail. You’ll visit memorials, unassuming buildings and haunting landmarks that tell the story of the plight of the forced workers as witnessed by the local population and through the writings of the workers themselves.
2. Lunch at Faulkner Fisheries.
Operating from a Vivier in L’Etacq at the far end of St. Ouen’s Bay, housed in a World War two bunker, the team host a popular summer seafood BBQ, serving beautiful freshly cooked seafood with local Jersey Royal potatoes and homemade Jersey garlic butter! Enjoy while overlooking the breathtaking bay with a glass of local wine or beer.
3. Battery Moltke.
Head up to Battery Moltke, where you will still find Gun Position Number four on display. There are also many of WW2 areas to explore at this site, as well as some fantastic sweeping views across St. Ouen’s Bay. Don’t forget your camera!
4. Channel Islands Military museum.
You’ll find the Channel Islands Military Museum housed in a German bunker that formed part of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall defences. Inside there are rooms full of artefacts both military and civilian that help tell the story of the five long years of German Occupation.