May 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Guernsey and its neighbouring islands from Nazi Occupation. To commemorate this formative event in the Bailiwick’s modern history, the islands of Guernsey have curated a seven-month programme, running from April to October, in which immersive events bring together living testimony with surviving ruins.
In support of these celebrations, The Old Government House Hotel has curated a number of heritage-filled experiences.
April – October 2020
Bailiwick of Guernsey
Alderney Literary Festival
A boutique celebration of all things bookish, Alderney’s literary festival pays homage to historical writing, both fiction and non-fiction. The illustrious Island Hall—Alderney’s seat of government built in the 18th century—provides a fitting backdrop. This year’s featured authors include the likes of Wilbur Smith and Helen Castor, covering everything from Joan of Arc to the history of British cheesemaking.
20th – 22nd March 2020
Guernsey Vintage and Classic Tractor Run
Charmingly bucolic, Guernsey’s overwhelmingly popular vintage tractor run comprises both a show—which takes place in the National Trust of Guernsey Folk and Costume Museum—and subsequent run. During the latter, guests have the pleasure of watching comically lethargic vintage vehicles parade along the cobbled streets surrounding the museum.
The Guernsey Vintage and Classic Tractor Run is a beloved family event. Children staying with us at The Old Government House Hotel will enjoy unique children’s amenities.
22nd March 2020
National Trust of Guernsey Folk and Costume Museum
Unseen History Exhibition
In partnership with Heritage75, the German Occupation Museum exhibits never-before-seen images and an exclusive full-colour film capturing the day the war ended in Guernsey after five years of occupation. This special exhibition provides a rare vignette into the euphoria of liberation and illustrates the momentousness of Heritage75.
Pair your trip to the German Occupation Museum with a St. Peter Port tour accompanied by one of our gold-accredited Guernsey guides to learn more about the struggles endured.
1st April – 31st October 2020
German Occupation Museum
Sark Wildflower Fortnight
Sark is an Eden of vibrant wild blooms. Throughout spring and summer, its natural trails are daintily laced with the polka-dot petals of many indigenous species. During Wildflower Fortnight, Sark’s forests burst into bloom, and local botanists host guided walks to share the taxonomy, origins and medicinal properties of these buds.
20th April – 4th May 2020
Guernsey Literary Festival
One of Guernsey’s most eagerly awaited annual events, the Literary Festival is a profusion of prestigious prose and poetry, acclaimed writers and bohemian flair. The festival comprises over 70 events across its four days, discussing all aspects of the written word. Lectures and learning events are supplemented by meet-and-greets and workshops, making it a must-visit for any aspirant author or book-lover.
Many authors of Guernsey’s literary festival take the Channel Island for their Muse. Experience its natural and historical beauty with our Guernsey properties.
29th April – 4th May 2020
The 9th May 2020 marks the official 75th anniversary of the liberation of Guernsey, heralded by Winston Churchill with his momentous announcement: “Hostilities will end officially at one minute after midnight tonight. And our dear Channel Islands are also to be freed today.” Every year, Liberation Day is marked by a parade featuring period costumes and good cheer.
For guests wishing to discover more about the German Occupation, stay at The Old Government House Hotel for our Heritage75 experience, taking place from 25th – 28th May, where we will welcome famed author Annie Barrows to our hallowed halls to talk about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
9th May 2020
The Bailiwick of Guernsey | St. Peter Port
Liberation 75: Freedom Not Forgotten
Liberation 75 is a community endeavour, highlighting local perspectives on Guernsey’s heritage. Throughout the Bailiwick, local artists, writers, poets and more are taking “Freedom Not Forgotten” for their muse and submitting their masterworks. Chosen artworks are displayed in a public exhibition in Candie Gardens, a reflective link between past, present and future.
Candie Gardens is a stone’s throw from The Duke of Richmond. Visit the immersive exhibition on your way back from St. Peter Port harbour before enjoying an apéritif on The Terrace.
25th April – 14th June 2020
Guernsey Loophole Towers Exhibition
Guernsey’s loophole towers are an uncanny yet familiar presence. Squat and imposing, they were built by the British in the late 18th century in the midst of concerns over a French invasion. Today, 12 survive. To commemorate them, Sula Gallery has invited artists to create a work inspired by the towers. As part of this exhibition on the towers, viewers may vote on their favourite piece.
The loophole Towers are just one of Guernsey’s coastal attractions. Discover more of the dynamic coast’s secrets with our partner, Island Rib Voyages.
26th April – 16th May 2020
Islands of Guernsey in Bloom
Guernsey is ideally located for horticulture, enjoying warmer temperatures and a favourable microclimate. Across the island, June awakens all manner of blooms, from the subtlest of wildflowers to the most ostentatious of award-winning Royal Horticultural Society beds. Look out for the Floral Guernsey Foundation’s array of blossoming extravaganzas.
After exploring the many blooms of Guernsey, join us at The Duke’s Gin Safari to discover just how they’re used to flavour our cocktails.
13th – 21st June 2020
The Bailiwick of Guernsey
Victor Hugo in Guernsey 2020
Victor Hugo, famed author of Les Misérables, spent many years in Guernsey while exiled from his fatherland. During his stay, he became a cultural icon for the island, and the legacy he left is honoured by the Victor Hugo in Guernsey Society. Every June, the society organises a Victor Hugo weekend, with academic lectures, performances and engaging exhibitions.
To set the scene for the Victor Hugo in Guernsey weekend, accompany our local partner and acclaimed guide Gill Girard on tours of the esteemed author’s house.
26th – 28th June 2020
Alderney Food & Drink Festival
As with all Channel islands, Alderney is a cornucopia of locally sourced, organic produce, famous for its dairy, beef, pork and, of course, seafood. During a 12-day extravaganza in summer, its produce is front and centre for the Food & Drink Festival, with local sellers displaying their delectable wares in sequence at selected locations around the island.
The restaurants of The Duke of Richmond and The Old Government House Hotel source locally and seasonally. Return from the Food & Drink festival to The Brasserie Restaurant to see how we incorporate these recipes into our signature dishes.
29th June – 10th July 2020
Shakespeare in Guernsey 2020
This July, the famed Shakespearian troupe will vacate the Globe theatre in London to grace Guernsey with their immaculate renditions of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays. In the elegant St. James’ concert hall, three classics will be performed—A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It and The Tempest—each performance taking place over a different night. On the fourth night, the audience may choose what they would like to see.
Experience a different but equally enthralling kind of theatre at the Leopard Bar and Restaurant at The Duke of Richmond, with its open-plan kitchen revealing the poised craft of its our restaurant teams.
15th – 18th July
Sure Big Screen
In the heart of summer, Guernsey gathers at Cobo Bay for a selection of films presented on the gigantic outdoor Sure Big Screen. Movies are all family-friendly and chosen democratically by attendees ahead of time. Set in the great outdoors and refreshed by warm coastal breezes, the Sure Big Screen is a delightful way to enjoy the island’s summertime majesty.
After a matinée screening with the family, celebrate an evening bathed in sunlight at The Leopard Bar and Restaurant—where the little ones will enjoy a special dinner menu incorporating all their favourites.
17th – 20th July 2020
The West Show
Guernsey’s famous West Show was established in 1913. Over a century later, it’s the island’s premier agricultural and horticultural show, beloved for its traditional exhibits, delicious snacks and captivatingly bizarre competitions. The day is filled with fairground frolics while the evenings see Guernsey’s most popular bands take centre stage.
The West Show is an impeccable immersion into Guernsey for the entire family. Our Concierge Team will happily arrange transfer and even a freshly prepared picnic to enjoy while at the festival.
19th – 20th August 2020
The North Show & Battle of Flowers
Widely regarded as Guernsey’s most special summer event, the North Show and companion Battle of Flowers are replete with spirited agricultural amusements. At the North Show, exhibitors showcase everything from prized Guernsey cattle to flower arrangements. Meanwhile, at the Battle off Flowers, huge blossom-studded floats parade around Saumarez Park. Festivities culminate with the famous illuminated cavalcade and a spectacular firework display.
The Battle of Flowers is one of Guernsey’s most cherished annual events. Return to The Crown Club after the festivities to enjoy traditional Guernsey tipples.
26th – 27th August 2020