Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Elizabeth Castle.

 On the 10th of September there will be another great opportunity to take the kids on a Discovery Day at the beautiful castle that graces St Aubins bay.

Like many people it's been years since I visited Elizabeth Castle so with some spare time and a fair wind  I headed out to reacquaint myself with its charms.

Ticket bought I trundled off on the little blue ferry to the strains of "Mission Impossible" (it does make you smile) to the castle entrance. If the tide is out it's a short walk along an historic causeway.

I'd forgotten how far the castle grounds extend. Like a lot of Jersey's historical sites there is evidence of many periods scattered around from an ancient hermitage home of St Helier, through the Elizabethan period to its life as a barracks for both the Jersey Militia and German occupying forces.

Built in 1594 and named by Sir Walter Raleigh as "Fort Isabella Bellisima" it remains one of Jersey's major attractions but because of a small stretch of water and a sense of it always being there we locals rarely visit.

Authentically garbed Jersey Militia men bring the whole place to life as they drill sullen recruits in the parade ground, fire an authentic period cannon and interact with visitors to add a touch of realism and a splash of colour within the castle walls.

It's a lovely safe environment for the kids to explore. A lovely place for a picnic or there's a cafe situated in the barracks.

Just being there gives you a whole new perspective on the island.

Find out more about the first people who lived in Elizabeth Castle and the fascinating people who have stayed there – from a saint and soldiers, to nurses, surgeons and Germans. Discover the amazing war trophies and militia silver from the troops that have been garrisoned there and why they have pieces of silver as decoration.

They will be making medals, meeting the characters from the past, following the silver trail around the site. 

Take some time out to rediscover another place that time forgot. Bring your kids, tell your friends, take a picnic and just relax. This volunteer's smile says it all. Enjoy.

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