The Elizabeth Castle in Jersey is on a small island about half a mile from the St Helier coast. It is connected to the mainland at low tide by a causeway. If there’s a tide high or you don’t want to walk, you can take the ferry. The ferry is an amphibious craft which means you can access the island during opening hours.
There are five main parts to the island.
The Outer Ward
The entrance to the island is through the main gate near to the Guard House. This leads you into the outer ward which includes Fort Charles, the hospital and workshops. A second gate built in the 1690s is next to the West Bastion where cannons were fired from. The third gate was built in 1632 and marks the entrance to the Lower Ward.
The Lower Ward
The second part of the island is the Lower Ward. It was first built between 1626 and 1636 and subsequently altered in the 18th century. The Parade Ground was at the centre of castle life in the 18th century. The buildings around the parade ground were where the officers and soldiers lived and trained. These grand buildings now house various exhibitions, the cafe and public restrooms. There’s also a bunker built in 1943 during the German occupation in World War 2.
The Breakwater and Hermitage Rock
The Hermitage Rock was said to be inhabited by a hermit called Helier in the 6th century. The chapel dates from the 12th century and became a place of pilgrimage. Access to the rock is via the breakwater which was built in 1872.
The Upper Ward
Finally, the Upper Ward is the oldest part of the castle. Fortifications began here in 1550. The castle was named after Queen Elizabeth I by the Governor of the island. The Governor was Sir Walter Raleigh who governed from 1600 and 1603 and lived briefly in the rather grand Governor’s House. The Captain’s House and 16th century Upper Keep are also in this section. King Charles II sought refuge here with his brother, the Duke of York, during the English Civil War in 1649.
There’s a lot to do so do leave enough time to explore.There’s a midday parade and cannon firing which takes place on the Parade Ground. Visitors take part in this re-enactment so don’t be surprised if you are part of the entertainment. The castle is open from March through to November but do check the website for opening dates and times. 2019 prices were £15.65 for an adult ticket for the castle and return ferry journey. A ticket for the castle only was £12.70. Family tickets are available and there’s also a Heritage Pass you can buy for discounted rates. The kiosk to buy your tickets and board the ferry are just off the Esplanade in St Helier near Les Jardins de la Mer.
Information about travelling to Jersey from Normandy is here.Let's be social
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