Government House is the official residence of the Lieutenant-Governor and his wife. It is used to host guests from all over the world, and to entertain Islanders from all sections of the community at various functions in the house and grounds. The grounds are also used as a venue for a number of public events such as charity fêtes and school sports days.
Royalty and other important official visitors stay at Government House during their visits to Guernsey.
The current Government House is the latest of 16 buildings that have housed the Sovereign's representative and family. In fact the current house, known originally as 'Le Mont' has served as the house of the Sovereign's Representative twice in its history. Built by Nicolas Maingy as an elegant new mansion at the corner made by Mont Durant and Petite Marché it was very much a Georgian residence of some standing and was first inhabited by Major General John Small, Lieutenant-Governor 1793-96. It subsequently reverted to private ownership, including belonging at one point to a certain Jean Allaire, possibly Guernsey's most notorious privateer, and certainly one of its wealthiest citizens.
The Mount became Government House more permanently in 1925 when it was purchased by the Crown. It has remained the residence of the Lieutenant-Governor ever since except during World War Two, when it was used as the residence of the German Kommandant of Guernsey.
Gardens and Grounds
The grounds of Government House comprise around 10 acres of elegant parkland and landscaped gardens. There are copious mature trees of all varieties including two planted by Her Majesty The Queen during her visits in 1989 and 2001, and a number planted to commemorate other Royal visits. The grounds also contain a specialist camellia collection.
A particular treasure is the historic Victorian walled garden. At over 1700 square metres it is one of the best examples of a traditional walled garden in the British Isles. It is fully utilised to produce around a hundred different varieties of fruits and vegetables for the kitchen, and cut flowers to decorate the house.
Support to Charities
It is his Excellency's policy to try and make the facilities of Government House available to support Bailiwick charities and other organisations in as open and immaginative manner as possible. For example, the house was recently lit up in purple floodlighting in support of the global Rotary 'Purple 4 Polio' effort to eradicate polio worlwide. The ballroom is also used extensively to host various charity receptions and other events in support of the community. To find out how to make enquiries about using Government House facilities use the following link.
The grounds and main function rooms of Government House are fully accessible to wheelchair users and other guests with limited mobility. Appropriate toilet facilities are also available.