Another working day, another lunch hour. Luckily if you work in St Peter Port there is so much to be explored that you needn’t waste away another lunchtime wandering aimlessly through the high street. A great place to visit on a sunny day is Candie Gardens. Initially it is easy to simply think of the large grass area there as somewhere to sit or sunbathe, however there is so much more to see. Here we discover just some of the abundance of features and history here at Guernsey’s very own Central Park.
Places to see
Have you discovered Guernsey's own Central Park?
1. The Gardens
Candie Gardens was once part of a much grander estate which was in private ownership. In 1859 the owner Osmond de Beauvoir Priaulx gifted the house and the grounds to the island. The house was turned into the Priaulx Library which now contains some of Guernsey’s oldest artefacts, maps and books. The grounds were transformed into a park area and gardens and opened to public to enjoy.
2. The Greenhouses
Originally the gardens comprised of an upper lawned area with a lower fruit and vegetable garden. The lower gardens are now made up of a combination of flower beds, ponds and traditional greenhouses. The restored greenhouses on the lower tier are thought to be the first of their kind to be constructed in the island. They now hold a number of interesting types of plants, perfect to venture inside and discover.
3. The Statues
Two notable statues stand in the area. The first of Queen Victoria, built to commemorate her diamond jubilee and unveiled in March 1900. The other commemorates one of Guernsey’s most famous visitors, Victor Hugo and was unveiled in 1914. The statue was purchased by the French Government for 30,000 francs and shipped to Guernsey where it was taken up the hill from the harbour on a trolley pulled by a steamroller and mounted on a block of Guernsey Granite.
4. The Museum and Gallery
The modern building near the top entrance to the gardens is the Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery. This houses a number of exhibitions that change regularly and some of the greatest artwork and oldest artefacts on the island. The other main feature that has been incorporated into the modern building is the old bandstand. Before the area was transformed into a museum it was Candie Auditorium where a number of notable musicians have entertained thousands of islanders and visitors over the years.