An impressive sight to behold, and one of the island's most spectacular places of interest
Located just a short distance off the coast of St Helier
The incredible defensive fortification was built in the 16th century by Queen Elizabeth I in a bid to protect the island from French and Spanish invasions that threatened Britain
Elizabeth Castle is among Jersey’s most iconic attractions, located just a short distance off the coast of St Helier. It is an impressive sight to behold, and one of the island’s most spectacular places of interest. Elizabeth Castle stands on her own little island and is connected to the mainland by a causeway during low tides. However, visitors can also get there by taking a ferry. As one of Jersey’s main defence points for centuries, the 400-year-old fortress still stands tall in all its glory. Visitors can explore its beautiful grounds and walls which include various features like bunkers and battlements. For those who desire to really take in the atmosphere of Elizabeth Castle, there is an option to stay in the fortress. Enjoy resting your head in a setting of contemporary luxury that also preserves its initial historical charm.
History of Elizabeth Castle
The incredible defensive fortification was built in the 16th century by Queen Elizabeth I in a bid to protect the island from French and Spanish invasions that threatened Britain. Still standing today with over 400 years of history, Elizabeth Castle is a testament to the brilliant engineering of its time. This incredible feat of architecture has served as a reminder that even in times of turmoil, great things can be achieved with enough dedication and ingenuity.
During the 17th century, Civil War broke out in England and the island provided refuge to King Charles II who stayed at the castle for ten weeks. As a thank you to the island for taking care of him during this time, American land was gifted to Jersey and this land is what we now know as the state of New Jersey in the USA.
In 1781, Elizabeth Castle was witness to the Battle of Jersey that took place in St Helier’s Royal Square, soldiers of which ended up stranded at the Castle by the tide.
Throughout the Second World War, Elizabeth Castle was occupied and controlled by German soldiers. The Castle was captured during the German Occupation of the Channel Islands and made up part of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall. During this time, the Germans built bunkers and added searchlight and gun emplacements. German soldiers remained in situ at Elizabeth Castle up until Liberation Day in 1945.
Nowadays, it has become a major tourist destination for many travellers who want to explore its rich and diverse history, as well as its captivating and stunning architecture. Tourists who visit this place can learn a lot about its culture, traditions, and other interesting aspects from the past. With its impressive coastal views, Elizabeth Castle is a must-see for anyone visiting Jersey.
The majestic castle has witnessed many historic battles over the centuries and is an inextricable part of Jersey’s rich history. It is a symbol of strength, resilience and courage that has stood the test of time and gives us an insight into our past.
How to Get to Elizabeth Castle
Elizabeth Castle is located one mile off the coast of St Helier on her own tidal island. Located in St Aubin’s Bay and close to the centre of the capital, Elizabeth Castle is exceptionally easy to visit.
If you are driving, there are a multitude of car parks close to the beachfront and in the centre of St Helier that are within walking distance of Elizabeth Castle.
For those using public transport, Jersey’s main transportation hub, Liberation Station is within walking distance with connections across the island. No matter where you are based when visiting Jersey, you can easily hop on a bus to St Helier in order to visit Elizabeth Castle.
Alternatively, if you are based in St Helier, many of the capital’s hotels are just a short walk from the causeway to Elizabeth Castle.
The primary way to access Elizabeth Castle is via causeway. During low tide, the Castle is accessible by foot from the West Park Slipway in St Helier.
If you are planning to visit Elizabeth Castle on foot, plan your trip in advance by checking tide times and making sure you can make it across to the island. The length of the causeway is 1.1km and takes approximately 15 minutes to cross. Make sure to keep an eye on the time to ensure you have plenty of time for your return crossing.
However, rest assured that if you do happen to miss the low tide and get cut off on the island, you can alternatively take the Castle Ferry, subject to weather conditions.
An alternative way to visit Elizabeth Castle is by Castle Ferry. The amphibious vehicle runs every 30 minutes during operation hours and is subject to weather conditions. You can purchase tickets for the ferry from the Castle Ferry Kiosk at the top of the West Park Slipway. The journey by sea only takes a few minutes.
When to Visit Elizabeth Castle
Elizabeth Castle is open daily between March and October.
The island is exposed, encountering cold and windy conditions. Whilst there is no bad time to visit Elizabeth Castle, summer days provide an optimal experience.
If you are visiting Elizabeth Castle on foot, it is best to visit to arrive at the causeway just before low tide. This allows you to cross as soon as the causeway is clear and spend ample time exploring the Castle.
Things to do at Elizabeth Castle
Bursting with history, Elizabeth Castle is packed with things to see and do making it a great day out for all the family.
Explore the Museums and Exhibits
With history spread across multiple buildings and storeys, there are many fascinating exhibits to discover at Elizabeth Castle. Learn about the Castle’s history through the ages, as well as her architecture and build.
Climb the Battlements
With over 15 acres to explore, there is plenty to discover at Elizabeth Castle. Climb the battlements to get an insight into Jersey’s war history as well as a great vantage point of the scenery of Jersey’s southern coastline.
Visit The Hermitage
Cross the breakwater to discover The Hermitage, a dramatic and imposing house opposite the Castle where St Helier himself is said to have lived for many years around 550 AD.
Witness the Midday Parade
Travel back to 1781 in the days of the Battle of Jersey to meet the Castle Gunner. Offering an insightful tale about his role in the battle, you will discover the story of one of Jersey’s most historic events. During this experience, you will witness demonstrations of musket and cannon firing that will no doubt impress and awe.
Meet the Living History Enactors
Journey back in time to explore Elizabeth Castle’s history with the help of knowledgeable and entertained costumed actors. Scattered around the Castle grounds, the Living History Enactors will recount tales of the Castle’s historic events.
Grab a Spot of Lunch
With so much to explore at Elizabeth Castle, there is no doubt you will need to stop for a spot of lunch or a quick snack during your day. The Castle Cafe is the perfect setting for a light lunch offering a menu of great dishes and a selection of mouth watering cakes. Offering both indoor and outdoor dining, you can enjoy a bite at The Castle Cafe whatever the weather.
Stay at Elizabeth Castle
As part of Jersey Heritage’s portfolio of historic holidays lets, Elizabeth Castle provides the unique opportunity to spend a night within her walls. The most remote accommodation option you can find in Jersey, the Elizabeth Castle Apartment sits a mile off the mainland surrounded by the waters of St Aubin’s Bay.
Offering a modern, luxurious aesthetic whilst retaining the glory of Elizabeth Castle’s historical features, the apartment is an impressive place to rest your head. Catering to parties of up to six, Elizabeth Castle offers accommodation across two floors with a double bed and two singles in the first floor bedroom and a pull out double sofa bed in the living area. All facilities and amenities are provided including a shower and a fully-equipped kitchen complete with oven, fridge and washing machine.
During your stay at Elizabeth Castle, you have full unrestricted access to the entire castle at all times allowing you to explore her history to your heart’s content. This offers a unique perspective allowing you to discover the castle without other visitors on site.
As a self-catering property, Elizabeth Castle is very reasonably priced with nightly rates from as little as £21.76 per person. In addition, as a guest at Elizabeth Castle, you also have free crossing on Castle ferries with no need to lug your baggage across the causeway.
The Elizabeth Castle Apartment is only available from March to October.
Jersey Heritage Pass
Elizabeth Castle is included in the Jersey Heritage Pass. The Jersey Heritage Pass provides admission to four of Jersey’s historical sites for the price of three with unlimited access. This offers great value for money for the whole family to visit Jersey’s finest museums, Castles and historical sites.