24 hours in Cherbourg

Only have a limited amount of time to spend in and around Cherbourg? Here are our top things that you shouldn't miss while in the area.

Cherbourg is famous for its maritime and naval heritage and its spectacular coastline such as the beautiful Cap de la Hague. The city also had its part to play during the Battle of Normandy, when a month-long campaign was launched to free the port from the Germans.

Nearby Carentan has some wonderful marshlands to discover all sorts of wildlife. It too, played its part during the Battle of Normandy and has several interesting WW2 sites and museums to visit.

Cherbourg and the surrounding area is perfect for discovering some of the beauty and heritage of this seafaring area and learning about some of the lesser-known but important D-Day sites.

Getting there: With year-round daily sailings from Poole to Cherbourg, up to twice a day, and seasonal fast-craft sailings from Portsmouth to Cherbourg, Cherbourg is an ideal day trip destination.

Book a day trip to Cherbourg

What can I do in a day?

Visit historic sites and gardens, learn all about life on and under the sea and enjoy a night away...

Here's an example itinerary of what you could do with your day in Cherbourg...

07:00 You'll arrive into Cherbourg nice and early giving you time for a wander while the streets are quiet. Head west out of the port to find the pretty marinas and quays for a peaceful seaside walk where you're sure to find a café for breakfast. The Gothic basilica of Saint Trinity close by is worth a look.

14:00 Make sure you have a good few hours to discover Cherbourg's biggest attraction: Cité de la Mer. Housed inside the former terminal for transatlantic liners, this is an attraction in love with everything about the sea. The deepest aquarium in Europe, a gallery of nautical machines and an exhibition about the Titanic are all waiting for you inside and outside is La Redoubtable, the biggest submarine open to the public in the world.

09:00 Visit the Liberation museum at the 19th century fort. Occupied by the Germans during WW2, the liberation of the fort and the town of Cherbourg were pivotal in the success of the Battle of Normandy and the museum tells this fascinating story.

17:00 Les Eleis shopping mall, on the quayside, is perfect for a spot of retail therapy with a host of big name brands all under one roof. Drop in to Normandie Wine, opposite the shopping mall, to pick up some extra wine and beer if you didn't get enough on your earlier shopping trip!

11:00 Drive 10 minutes east out of the heart of town to the Château des Ravalets. Take a walk around its lovely park and gardens and, in summer, the chateau is open to take a look inside. As you drive back into town, stop off at a supermarket on the way to stock up on some French goodies.

19:00 Spotted some other restaurants you liked earlier on at lunchtime? Head there now for an elegant evening meal. Seafood is, of course, a speciality in this coastal town.

13:00 You'll find plenty of excellent restaurants in the district to the west of the marina to enjoy a delicious lunch.

20:30 Enjoy a drink or two before you get back on board in Cherbourg's wine and beer bars 

Things to do in and around Cherbourg

The unmissable sights and attractions in Cherbourg.

An unmissable attraction when you are in Normandy, La Cité de la Mer is a fantastic place to spend the whole day learning about man's adventures under the sea.

This excellent museum is set in the Fort du Roule, a Second Empire fortress which was occupied by the Germans during WW2 and liberated by the Americans in 1944.

Just 15 minutes from Cherbourg is the elegant Château des Ravalet, a wonderful example of Renaissance architecture

Further afield

Head out to more great places to visit nearby.

Carentan in Normandy is a quaint town surrounded by vast wetlands and marshes teeming with wildlife - but it is most famous as the site of the Battle of Carentan during the Battle of Normandy in WW2.

Coutances in Normandy is an historical market town, set amongst beautiful countryside and close to the coast, that is famous for its beautiful cathedral.

Villedieu-les-Poêles in Normandy is known as the 'city of copper', because of it's talented copper artisans, and is a beautifully preserved medieval town.