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Partial reopening of heritage sites planned

News | Published:

OPEN air parts of Mont Orgueil Castle, Hamptonne and La Hougue Bie will reopen next week following the recent relaxation of coronavirus restrictions.

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They are the first Jersey Heritage sites to reopen after the general closure on 20 March following government advice.

From Monday the castle will be open as far as the grand battery, while the other two sites will follow on Wednesday next week although the exhibition spaces, shops and playgrounds at all three will remain closed.

The café at Mont Orgueil and at Hamptonne will reopen soon to offer take-away beverages but the new tearoom at La Hougue Bie will not open yet.

Elizabeth Castle will remain closed until licensing issues for the ferry service are resolved, a process delayed when the Island went into lockdown.

Jersey Heritage’s main covered sites – the Jersey Museum and Art Gallery, the Maritime Museum and Occupation Tapestry Gallery and Jersey Archive – also remain closed to the public for the moment.

Louise Downie, Jersey Heritage’s director of curation and experience, said that they were pleased to reopen the sites consistent with government advice.

‘A lot of careful work has been carried out by staff to make sure the sites are ready for visitors given the current circumstances. Social distancing measures, including one-way systems, are in place to enable the outside areas to be accessed.

‘We’d like to thank Islanders, and especially our loyal members, for their patience and support during this difficult time, and look forward to welcoming people back to Hamptonne, Mont Orgueil and La Hougue Bie,’ Ms Downie said.

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Normal admission prices will apply to the three sites, with contactless payment only. Entry for members is free.

Ms Downie explained that, as a charitable organisation, Jersey Heritage depended on admission fees to its visitor sites to help it continue to care for and protect the Island’s history.

‘Over the past few weeks, we’ve had no visitor income at all, although our staff have been busy maintaining these historic places. Meanwhile, our loyal members have continued to pledge their support and we feel it would be unfair to them not to charge entry, especially as over 95% of local visitors are Jersey Heritage members,’ she said.

Meanwhile, as parts of the three sites reopen, Jersey Heritage continues to add new content to its online ‘Heritage at Home’ hub to enable Islanders to enjoy stories about all the sites and Jersey’s history in general.

The material includes free live webinars of the popular ‘What’s Your Street’s Story?’ series which normally takes place live at the Archive on Saturday mornings.

Now the webinar programme has been extended to the end of May with full details of the talks, and how to register, available at jerseyheritage.org/athome/heritage-live.

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