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Heritage sites welcome more visitors as they begin to recover from covid

Heritage sites welcome more visitors as they begin to recover from covid

Friday 05 November 2021

Heritage sites welcome more visitors as they begin to recover from covid

Friday 05 November 2021

Visitor numbers at States' heritage sites bounced back in 2021 but remain a long way short of pre-Covid levels.

By the start of this week, the sites had welcomed 42,656 visitors this year. That is approximately double the number of visitors in 2020 but fewer than half the number in 2019.

Ticket and shop sales for the year so far are £193,000. That is an increase of 107% on 2020 but is still down 66% on 2019. 

Express spoke to Helen Glencross, the States' Head of Heritage Services, as three of the four sites which she and her team manage closed their doors for the season: Castle Cornet, Fort Grey and the German Naval Signals Headquarters. The Guernsey Museum at Candie remains open until the end of the year.

Mrs Glencross is delighted that visitor numbers and income are growing again and that the number of Discovery Passholders is now higher than ever. 

“The pandemic has really impacted the way we’ve been able to operate,” said Mrs Glencross. "But we are really pleased with the numbers we’ve seen this year. We’re heading in the right direction."

Total number of visitors:

2021 42,656 (to 31st October)

2020 21,878

2019 93,934 

Number of visitors at each site in 2021 (to 31st October): 

Castle Cornet 20,984

Fort Grey 5,022

German Naval Signals HQ 1,428

Guernsey Museum 15,222


Pictured: Guernsey Museum at Candie has welcomed more than 15,000 visitors so far this year as the States' heritage sites begin to recover from the sharp decline in visitor numbers and income caused by Covid.  

The number of Discovery Passes circulated reached a new record of 4,000 by the end of September. That is 500 passes more than two years ago. And in July, August and September of this year, nearly five times as many local people visited the heritage sites compared with the same months in 2019.

Guernsey Museums has now commissioned a survey for feedback on the heritage sites. The survey results will help shape the sites' exhibits and events for next season. 

There will be some refurbishment at the sites this winter, as well as switching exhibitions and planning for the 2022 season.

The sites are occasionally used for events during the winter. The programme of events coming up includes the following: 

  • 14th November: Remembrance Sunday – Castle & RGLI museum open 10am – 1pm. A cannon will be fired to mark the start and finish of the two minutes' silence at 11am
  • Viking Film series continues at Guernsey Museum on Friday evenings
  • The Greenhouse Gallery: Monika Drabot – Passage of Time exhibition
  • The Brian White Gallery: Viking Heroes – touring exhibition from the Jorvik Centre
  • December: Candie Christmas – with elves, lucky dip and films

“We have started planning our 2022 events and exhibitions and we have an exciting and packed programme,” said Mrs Glencross. 

Guernsey Museum reopens on 28 January with the Natural History Museum Wildlife of the Year exhibition.

Castle Cornet, Fort Grey and the German Naval Signals Headquarters reopen on 6 April.

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