A couple of minutes’ walk towards St Peter Port from the Clarence Battery is the entrance to La Valette Underground Military Museum. As its name suggests, the museum, like the nearby aquarium, makes use of available tunnels used by the Germans during World War II in order to showcase what it has to offer in a pretty unique setting.

Although La Valette Museum was built in the 1940s (originally to securely store U-boat fuel that was otherwise at risk of RAF bombing raids) the museum itself covers a far wider range of military history of Guernsey. It’s not a huge museum by any means but there are plenty of things in various display cases along the walls of the tunnels to look at and if you’re keen on buying war memorabilia there seemed to be an awful lot of things available to purchase too.

One of the most interesting aspects of the visit to La Valette was seeing how the German occupation altered the way of life for the Channel Islanders. It’s well worth reading some of the rule changes – road signs, licencing for selling produce, who could sell to German soldiers, etc. – and newspaper accounts from an occupied location. There were parts of this that triggered memories of hearing from our battlefields tour guide in the Falkland Islands back in 2016 explaining about the Argentinian occupation of 1982.

I imagine with a lot of people visiting it could get a little uncomfortable in the museum complex both from a claustrophobia perspective (the connecting tunnel in particular is fairly narrow) and from a temperature perspective (while the museum is air-conditioned we both felt it was a little stifling during our visit with perhaps only a dozen other people present, although we might have still been recovering from our exertions along the coastal path earlier). However, the entry price was reasonable and it was a museum that certainly seemed to hold the attention of some very knowledgeable kids visiting with their parents so I’d not hesitate in recommending this if you’re visiting Guernsey’s capital city at any point and there’s someone in your group who wants to take a good, close look at wartime knives, swords, guns, or – in my wife’s case – uniforms, hats, and helmets.


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