Entrance to the Jersey War Tunnels

How to Visit the Jersey War Tunnels – An Amazing Labyrinth of WW2 Horror

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The top visitor attraction in the British Channel Island of Jersey is The Jersey War Tunnels (also known as the Jersey Underground Hospital). These Jersey tunnels give a unique insight into life in the Channel Islands during almost five years of Nazi occupation.

I grew up in Jersey, and visits to the War Tunnels were an essential part of most schools’ curricula (especially those of us studying German). Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the Jersey War Tunnels.

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About the Jersey War Tunnels

German forces constructed more than 25 tunnels around the coast and in the hills of Jersey. The Jersey War Tunnels are just one element of this dark time in the island’s history. Planned as part of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall fortifications, these tunnels are well preserved, sobering, and worth visiting.

Visitors can learn about how the tunnels were built by slave labourers and life in Jersey before and during the German occupation.

hidden entrance to the Jersey War Tunnels
The striking entrance to the Jersey War Tunnels

The Germans built the war tunnels as an artillery repair facility and barracks store. By 1944, however, with the fortunes of war changing, the Germans feared an attack on the island.

They converted the tunnel complex into a Casualty Receiving station, capable of sheltering and treating up to 500 casualties, safe from gas and air attack.

The Start of the Jersey War Tunnels Tour

Located about four miles northwest of St Helier – Jersey’s main town – the Jersey Underground Hospital is in the heart of St Peter’s Valley. Invisible from the road, the gate to the tunnels only reveals itself as you follow the signs to the entrance from the car park.

On the approach to the tunnels, there’s a collection of imposing copper panels. One panel bears the original German name of the tunnel – Ho8 (Höhlgangsanlage 8). The others have quotes from key political figures of the day, including Churchill, Anthony Eden, and Alexander Coutanche (the Bailiff of Jersey).

copper panels outside the Jersey War Tunnels
One of the large plaques at the entrance to the Jersey War Tunnels

Ho8 (Höhlgangsanlage 8) was just one of the tunnel complexes built on Jersey, taking almost three years to build.

It would be impertinent for any country that has not suffered occupation to pass judgement on one that did

Anthony Eden (British Prime Minister 1955-1957)

What to Expect When Visiting the Jersey War Tunnels

The museum is impressive with engaging exhibits that follow the timeline of World War Two and illustrate the pressures of living under occupation.

As the war dragged on, the islanders’ plight became more critical, as Churchill refused to send supplies, believing that this would help starve the Germans out. Eventually, the Red Cross delivered parcels for each Islander on the strict understanding that these were not for the German occupiers.

The most compelling aspect of the Jersey War Tunnels is that you get to think like the Jersey residents living under the Nazi regime. You get to think about what you would do in their situation.

Tips for Visiting the Jersey War Tunnels

Take a jacket: The Jersey tunnels are cold inside, even on the warmest days.

Plan at least 90 minutes of exploring: The tunnels are chilling and thought-provoking, with lots to take in. It’s not unusual for visitors to spend at least three hours here.

Wear comfortable walking shoes: The tunnel complex is more than 1 kilometre long.

air turbine Jersey war tunnels
Air turbine in the Jersey Underground Hospital

Top Tip: As you buy your tickets, pick up an identity book for one of the islanders – issued by the occupying Germans. Look out for mentions of the person in your identity book during your visit, then find out what happened to that person in the cafe after your tour. Did they survive the Occupation? Did they become famous or infamous? What was life like for them?

What to See in the War Tunnels

As soon as you step inside the war tunnels, it’s like you’ve travelled back in time to the 1940s. You’ll walk past a replica Stug (Sturmgeschutz III) tank and take in the chill of the bare concrete walls.

stug tank Jersey war tunnels
Stug Tank

A Threatened Island

When World War Two broke out in 1939, Jersey’s Lieutenant Governor appealed to the UK government for coastal defence and anti-aircraft guns. This area of the museum throws light on why the UK did not grant this request.

Learn how island life carried on much as before in the early months of the war until the rapid advancement of German forces through Belgium and France, and the mass evacuation of British troops from the beaches in Dunkirk, in June 1940.

Inside the jersey War Tunnels
One of the long corridors inside the Jersey War Tunnels

Top Tip: Look out for the telegram which arrived from London on the 19th of June 1940, dashing the hopes of islanders that the British Government would provide any protection to the Channel Islands during World War 2.

The Channel Islands will not, repeat, not, be defended against external invasion by sea or air

Winston Churchill 19th June 1940
Tunnel inside the Jersey Underground Hospital
More of the tunnel labirynth

To Stay or Leave

What would you do if you had just 24 hours to pack and evacuate from your home or find yourself living under Nazi rule? Here you get to find out why 23,000 people registered to leave, but only 6,600 people left Jersey, out of a population of about fifty thousand.

I will never leave, and my wife will be by my side.

Alexander Coutanche, Bailiff of Jersey (1935 – 1961)

The Operating Theatre

Inside the Jersey Underground Hospital Operating Theatre

Seriously wounded soldiers were to receive immediate care at the Underground Hospital before either being returned to battle or transported to the Jersey General Hospital (if possible).

Jersey War tunnels hospital ward
The hospital ward

This part of the museum explains why the hospital was never used.

Daily Life

You can explore many stories of oppression and hardship that islanders experienced, with every aspect of their lives dictated by the occupying Nazi forces.

There are moving video clips of what life was like during the war in Jersey and lists of things Jersey people were not allowed to do, including fishing, cycling in groups, and owning a radio.

rations poster - Jersey War tunnels

Day-to-day life was challenging for islanders under Nazi rule. They made clothes made from curtains and experimented with “Ersatz” foods. Would you want to try a tea made from bramble leaves or carrots, coffee from acorns, or blancmange made from seaweed? And what about wearing shoes resoled out of wood or old tyres?

Top Tip: Watch out for all of the interactive displays. One holds a sign saying, “Would you say hello to a German soldier?” In another, a young German soldier offers chocolate to children and asks how you would feel about this.

Would you be angry or worried, or would you consider that this soldier might have left family at home and may not have joined the army willingly?

inside the Jersey underground hospital, jersey

Whispers and Lies

Local girls who formed relationships with German soldiers, enjoying special privileges, parties and presents, and jobs for their loved ones – were branded as “Jerry Bags” by other Islanders, who mistrusted them. After all, what secrets might they share with their boyfriends?

As conditions worsened and supplies dwindled on the island, mistrust was rife amongst Islanders, with the German forces actively encouraging people to inform on each other.

This section of the Jersey War museum has copies of anonymous letters written by informers and talks about some of the fatal consequences.

Once more, the old saying is proved true “When patriotism touches a man’s pocket or his stomach, it often evaporates.”

Edward Le Quesne. President of the Jersey Labour Department during the Occupation

Cooperation and Resistance

This area in the Jersey Nazi Hospital highlights the fine line between cooperation and collaboration and shares stories of attempts at resistance – both successful and unsuccessful. There are plenty of real-life stories shared.

Would you have risked resistance knowing that you would be putting your life – and the life of your family – in danger? Many of the Islanders arrested for resistance activities were deported to concentration camps, where they perished.

The Unfinished Tunnel

This gloomy space gives an insight into the appalling conditions suffered by the forced labourers on their 12-hour shifts. The holograms of labourers toiling in dark, dangerous conditions amidst falling rocks are very chilling.

the unfinished tunnel - jersey underground hospital
The Unfinished Tunnel

Under Siege

After the D-Day landings of British troops in June 1944, Jersey folk held out high hopes for an end to the occupation of their island. As the months dragged on and French ports fell, conditions on the Channel Islands got even worse.

Stocks of the most essential goods will be exhausted by the middle of November 1944

Alexander Coutanche, Bailiff of Jersey (1935 – 1961), in a message to the German Military Commander

Islanders faced starvation as the Germans felt that providing supplies for civilians was not their responsibility. At the same time, Churchill refused to send supplies to Jersey, wanting the German garrison to be starved into submission – even though the Islanders would also suffer.

Let ’em starve

Winston Churchill


After the unconditional surrender of the German forces on 7th May 1945, Islanders in Jersey has two more days to wait for their liberation. This part of the Jersey War Tunnels uncovers exactly what happened during those two final days of occupation and how the Islanders celebrated once their freedom finally came.

Freedom is not just a word to those who have lost it

Frank Keller
liberated at the Jersey War Tunnels

After your tour, don’t forget to pop into the gift shop and try out the rather excellent cakes in the Jersey War Tunnels cafe.

How to Get to the Jersey Underground Hospital

By bus

Liberty Bus Route 8: Monday to Saturday, all year round

Liberty Bus Route 28: Monday to Sunday   

By car

Parking at Jersey War Tunnels is free and plentiful.

Jersey War Tunnels, Les Charrieres Malorey, St Lawrence, Jersey, JE3 1FU
+44 (0)1534 860808


The Jersey War Tunnels complex (including the Visitor Centre and Cafe) is fully equipped for disabled visitors, with wheelchairs available – free of charge.

Visitors can also use their own wheelchairs and mobility scooters in the tunnels.

Guide dogs are allowed in the War Tunnels.

Plan Your Visit to Jersey War Tunnels

Opening Times: In Spring and Summer, the War Tunnels are open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (last entry at 3:30 pm)

Cost: £16 (Age 16+); £13 (Age 65+)

Book online and save £1.00

How to Visit Jersey

Getting to Jersey

Several airlines fly to Jersey from the UK, including Easyjet, Jet2.com, FlyBe, and Blue Islands, offering good value travel options. Skyscanner is the best place to search for great deals.

Alternatively, Condor Ferries operates from the UK, Guernsey, and France to Jersey.

Getting around in Jersey

If you’re only visiting Jersey for a quick break, hiring a car is probably not your best option. The local bus service – Liberty Bus – visits all of the main attractions, offers good value 1,2,3 and 7 day passes, and saves you from worrying about finding somewhere to park.

Watch out though – taxis in Jersey are relatively expensive, and there is no Uber!

Alternatively, Jersey is the perfect place to cycle, with a network of “green lanes” where the speed limit is restricted to 15 mph. There are several places where you can hire a bike.

Staying in Jersey

Jersey is a popular place to visit – both with tourists and business travellers, so there’s an abundance of good quality places to stay. Over the years, I’ve stayed or dined at most of them, so here are some of my favourites:

Longueville Manor Hotel The Royal YachtBeachcombers Hotel

Find more places to stay in Jersey here.


In Conclusion

If you’re planning a trip to the beautiful island of Jersey, visiting the Jersey War Tunnels is an absolute must. There’s so much food for thought at the underground hospital Jersey – it is sure to leave a lasting impression on you.

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