Jersey Heritage is reopening a number of its visitor sites to the public as restrictions surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic in the Island are relaxed.
The outside areas of Mont Orgueil Castle will be open from Monday (25th), with Hamptonne Country Life Museum and La Hougue Bie reopening from Wednesday (27th), giving people the opportunity to visit the sites and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
Exhibitions spaces at each of the three sites will remain closed, as will the shops and playgrounds at Hamptonne and Mont Orgueil. 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 be opened yet. Access at Mont Orgueil will be as far as The Grand Battery from where visitors can enjoy amazing views.
Elizabeth Castle will remain closed until licensing issues for the ferry service are resolved; this process was delayed when the Island went into lock-down. Jersey Museum & Art Gallery, the Maritime Museum & Occupation Tapestry and Jersey Archive remain closed to the public for the moment.
Louise Downie, Jersey Heritage’s Director of Curation & Experience, said: “We have been working closely with the Government advice over the past few weeks since we closed our historic sites and are very pleased to be able to reopen some of them to the public, especially as the sites look so lovely at this time of the year. Our priority remains the safety of staff and visitors and, for that reason, we are unable to reopen exhibitions spaces within the sites just yet.
“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 Hamptonne, Mont Orgueil and La Hougue Bie.”
There will be ticketed entry operated by staff with normal admission prices to the three sites, with contactless payment only. Entry for Members is free, as usual.
Louise said: “As a charitable organisation, admission fees to our visitor sites are vital income and help us to 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.”
Jersey Heritage temporarily closed all of its visitor sites and Jersey Archive to the public on 20 March following Government advice for all Islanders to follow the principles of social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Although exhibitions spaces at the reopened sites and Jersey Museum & Art Gallery, the Maritime Museum, Elizabeth Castle and Jersey Archive will remain closed to the public, new content continues to be added to the ‘Heritage at Home’ hub on www.jerseyheritage.org to enable Islanders to enjoy stories about all of the sites and Jersey’s history in general.
This includes free live webinars while Archive staff are unable to deliver the popular ‘What’s Your Street’s Story?’ talks in person. The webinar programme has been extended to the end of May and full details of the talks, and how to register, can be found at www.jerseyheritage.org/athome/heritage-live-