The Channel Islands are easy to overlook: they’re small and lightly populated, and rarely feature in the news. The island of Guernsey, however, is enjoying something of a boom in attention recently, spurred by the recent film adaptation of 2008 novel The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. |
Intriguingly wordy title aside, the film has an interesting story rooted in the history of the island. It gives more than enough reason to consider booking a holiday in Guernsey to see some of the sights and immerse yourself in the movie’s world. The film may have been shot in England, filming most of its exteriors in Devon, sure, but the Channel Islands have beautiful scenery all their own, as well as many locations directly tied to the on-screen story.
Where to Stay
Accommodation is one of the first things most people think of when booking a holiday. In Guernsey, despite its small size, there’s a modest but steady tourist industry, with places to stay ranging from cosy bed-and-breakfasts to top-rated luxury hotels. The Bella Luce Hotel is one of the best, with a beautiful garden and terrace. It’s also right in the middle of St Martin’s, the little parish where much of the film’s action takes place.
The German Occupation Museum
The defining historical event that provides the backdrop for the novel and film is treated in exquisite, sensitive detail in this dedicated museum. It is surprising but many people don’t know that Guernsey was occupied by the Nazis in World War Two. This museum does well recapturing the islanders’ experience and bringing it to life for later generations, focusing especially on reconstructions of day-to-day life under the occupation. It’s absolutely fascinating, and crucial to understanding the island’s history.
The Little Chapel
The Little Chapel features in the film as the site of a crucial emotional beat, but the history of this place goes back much further than the 1940s. Around the turn of the twentieth century, a monk named Brother Déodat came to Guernsey with the aim of creating a functioning miniature house of worship. Amazingly, he succeeded, and the result looks like something out of a Disney movie. Its architecture is astonishing: a moderately-sized town church in scale-model form, with every surface intricately decorated with seashells.
St Peter Port
Finally, the place most closely linked to the reason for your holiday in Guernsey. The island’s capital, St Peter Port, was the home and place of work of the plucky islander who founded the film’s eponymous Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. An elaborate ruse to enable social gatherings and cultural flourishing despite the oppressive Nazi occupation, the society quickly took on a life of its own as a defining symbol of the locals’ quiet, steadfast resistance to terror. Walking the streets of St Peter Port today can help capture how these people must have felt during this darkest moment in their history – and the picturesque harbour is an essential sight for any holiday in Guernsey.
John Dixon is an experienced world traveller and the Managing Director of Prestige Holidays. For over 30 years, he has been providing luxury holidays in Guernsey, Bermuda, Sicily and many other destinations around the globe. John tries to visit each of the destinations regularly in order to ensure the quality of his properties, and stay up-to-date about the latest local news and events. He has a taste for the finer things in life and has an interest in arts, history and culture.
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