One of the Guernsey parishes with non-contiguous territory, St Sampson is separated by Vale with one area on the east coast and one on the west. Both territories feature breath-taking sea views with contrasting landscapes whilst towards Vale, inland boasts luscious green landscapes. A haven for families, St Sampson is a vibrant hub of outdoor activity with endless adventure to embark upon. With fewer historical attractions and more entertainment and leisure facilities than other Guernsey parishes, St Sampson offers an alternative side to the island.
St Sampson Historic Sites and Attractions
St Sampson’s harbour on the east coast territory is the second largest port in Guernsey with a rich history of shipbuilding. Guernsey built boats were renowned across the world for quality with the majority manufactured in St Sampson with the harbour’s ability to accommodate vessels of adequate size. The harbour is a functioning commercial port with goods regularly arriving to the island whilst ship repair and maintenance is still carried out at St Sampson’s harbour.
Overlooking St Sampson’s harbour, Mont Crevelt is the third in the series of fifteen loophole towers built on the island in the late 18th century. This harbour defence was used as a resistance nest by the German Occupation during World War II. With such close proximity to St Peter Port, Mont Crevelt can often be viewed as part of the capital’s landscape.
Known as Ivy Castle, Chateau des Marais can be found in the heart of St Sampson. This 13th century castle was built as a traditional motte and bailey fortification for refuge from the pirates. Before the construction of Castle Cornet, Chateau des Marais was the island’s main defence and was enhanced after the King of England lost the Duchy of Normandy. During World War II, the fort was utilised by the Germans during their occupation of the island. A bunker was built with inner walls, trenches and machine gun emplacements which sadly destroyed a lot of the castle’s archaeological integrity and evidence of the early motte and bailey style.
For those interested in Guernsey’s abundance of megalithic sites, St Sampson’s can be found by the entrance to the car park at Delancey Park. The ruined remains of a gallery grave can be seen whilst it is thought that a second dolmen remains buried to the west of this one.
St Sampson Other Points of Interest
Oatlands Village is the best family attraction on the island, home to an exciting assortment of activities. From the 18-hole mini golf course and thrilling play barn to the pet shop and chocolate store, families with children of all ages will have plenty of entertainment for an afternoon in St Sampson. Little ones can enjoy building their own bear whilst older children can try their hand at painting pottery and all the family can compete in a game of bowling. Oatlands Village has so much to offer, including an arcade and trampolines, that families will not want to leave.
St Sampson is also home to Karting Guernsey, the island’s only go-karting track allowing visitors to feel the thrill of racing. Delancey Park offers an expanse of grassy areas for kids to run wild whilst the play area features equipment for all ages plus ramps for skaters to enjoy.
Rousse Bay is a popular beach on the west coast offering a sheltered bay with a jumping point and excellent snorkelling opportunities. Port Grat Beach is another contender for best beach in St Sampson, a hidden gem of a horseshoe bay with a breathtaking Mediterranean-esque landscape. On the east coast, the large bay of Belle Greve takes up the majority of the parish’s coastline with a promenade along the shore. Whilst sandy corners can be found, better beaches are found nearby in St Peter Port and Vale or in the St Sampson territory on the west coast.
St Sampson Shopping, Dining and Nightlife
With the second largest population of any Guernsey parish, St Sampson has ample shopping with well known high street retailers and a number of independent stores scattered throughout St Sampson. For more unique shopping, Oatlands Village is the perfect place to purchase gifts and souvenirs with a chocolate shop, craft store and bear building workshop.
When it comes to dining, St Sampson offers both well known franchise restaurants and highly regarded local eateries. The parish offers a wide variety of cuisine to enjoy with multiple restaurants surrounding St Sampson harbour and offering marina views.
Meanwhile, nightlife in St Sampson is more lively than in many of Guernsey’s parishes but is still relatively tame. There are numerous cocktail bars and pubs offering an evening vibe and some feature live entertainment on select nights.
St Sampson Sports and Events
Straddling the border of St Sampson and St Andrew, The Track is a multi-functional sports facility neighbouring Footes Lane Stadium, the homeground of Guernsey Football Club. The outdoor sporting facility features a circular running track with a central green for additional sporting activity. The grounds also feature sports pitches in addition to Karting Guernsey.
St Sampson hosts a number of parish and church events throughout the year with sporting events also held at The Track. Meanwhile, Oatlands Village hosts an annual fayre every May with live entertainment and family-friendly activities.
St Sampson Transportation
Driving in both territories of St Sampson is highly convenient with numerous main roads, ample parking and decent signposting. Meanwhile, for those travelling by public transport, the Guernsey bus service operates multiple routes through both territories of the parish. Two routes (31 and 91) head to the west coast whilst a further five routes service the east coast of St Sampson. All routes connect to St Peter Port Bus Terminus with three routes directly stopping at Oatlands Village. The bus service operated by CT Plus provides affordable, reliable and frequent transportation across the island with single and family fares available.