There’s so much more to the Islands of Guernsey than their world-famous dairy cows and hard wearing jumpers. Think white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, rugged clifftops. Imagine tucking into freshly caught fish at a beachside restaurant or exploring coves on stand-up paddleboards. But best of all, did you know you can hop from one glorious island to another without even leaving the British Isles?
Catch a 55-minute flight from London to Guernsey and you have the option of four further Islands of Sark, Herm, Alderney and Lihou to explore.
Warmed all year by the Gulf Stream in the English Channel, springtime arrives roughly four weeks earlier on the Islands of Guernsey than on the mainland UK. The Islands make the perfect post-winter break with balmy sunshine and stunningly beautiful wildflowers and sub-tropical plants.
Getting to the Islands of Guernsey
It couldn’t be easier with flights from airports across the UK, including Gatwick, Stansted, Southend, Manchester, East Midlands, Bristol, Exeter, Birmingham, Leeds Bradford and Southampton as well as seasonal routes including Liverpool, Newcastle, Newquay, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Alternatively, you can catch a ferry from Portsmouth or Poole in Dorset.
You don’t need a passport if you’re travelling from the UK or Republic of Ireland, just be sure to take photographic ID such as a driving license. And the currency is the British pound, cutting out all those currency conversion worries. And of course, everyone speaks English. How’s that for reassuringly easy?
Here’s a snapshot of what you can look forward to on each of the unique Islands of Guernsey:
Just a 50 minute boat ride from Guernsey, a visit to Sark gives you the chance to really unplug from daily stresses and step back to a more peaceful time whether on a day trip or staying for longer. The two-mile Island is entirely car-free, so you can explore its rugged beauty by hired bike, on foot or even by horse-drawn carriage.
Why not walk or cycle over La Coupée, which links Sark and Little Sark, for glorious views then reward yourself with a delicious afternoon tea at the La Sablonnerie Hotel?
There are no street lights in Sark, making it the perfect destination from which to view the night sky. Sark is the first island in the world to have received this ‘dark skies’ status.
The Island may be small but you can still enjoy a vast choice of dishes, from the gastronomic delights of French cuisine (thanks to Sark’s close proximity to France) to traditional English fare. You’ll always have the chance to sample the day’s catch of fresh fish and seafood.
Forgive us, but there really is no place like Herm, especially when it comes to its picture-perfect white sandy beaches. Only three miles and a 20-minute boat ride from the capital of St Peter Point in Guernsey, Herm is also an island with no cars and no stress. Relax on unspoilt beaches, explore sandy paths and see Europe’s most southern puffin-breeding colonies.
Herm's scenic coastal paths can be walked in their entirety within a leisurely couple of hours. The gently undulating route takes you across a common to the famous Shell Beach, with its clear waters and sand made from millions of tiny shell fragments. You’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to the white sands of the Caribbean.
A little further around the coast is the pretty cove of Belvoir Bay and its rock pools teeming with fascinating underwater life. Herm is where the heart is when it comes to family, multi-generational holidays and keeping kids happily entertained without a screen in sight. They’re sure to be intrigued by the world’s smallest prison on Herm, with space for just one.
There’s only one hotel in Herm, but it’s gorgeous. The White House Hotel is set in award-winning gardens and has glorious sea views. Alternatively, Herm has a charming selection of holiday cottages and log cabins to choose from.
The second largest of the Islands of Guernsey, Alderney is a bird watchers’ paradise attracting 300 different species of bird, especially gulls and waders. Alderney boasts golden beaches, and over 50 miles of beautiful walking trails.
The easiest way to arrive at Alderney is on a 15-minute flight from Guernsey, although you can take a ferry. From a converted fortress to boutique cottages, luxury independent hotels to friendly guest houses, there’s accommodation on the Island to suit every taste and budget.
You’ll never forget arriving on Lihou – at low tide a magical cobbled causeway is revealed and on you go. A must-visit is the famous Venus Pool at the end of the Island, a deep and clear natural pool that forms at low tide.
The hub of the five Islands, Guernsey is an enchanting island, the source of inspiration and creative sanctuary for Victor Hugo, who wrote Les Misérables here, and the painter Renoir at his most prolific.
Guernsey offers stunning walking trails through abundantly flowered meadows, past lush subtropical gardens, along rugged coasts and down to golden beaches and hidden pirates’ coves. You can even explore from sea by booking a high-speed ride on a RIB for the chance to spot seals and dolphins.
Wandering or driving sedately – the speed limit is 35 miles an hour – around Guernsey gives ample chance to uncover intriguing historical sites like the 13th century Castle Cornet or the megalithic burial tomb, La Varde. If you walk around the mysterious Fairy Ring in Pleinmont, legend has it that your wish will come true. Another must-visit is The Little Chapel, a grotto decorated with shells and mosaics of china and glass.
Sit back and enjoy traditional afternoon tea, looking over bustling St Peter Port from the Old Government House. Tuck into a memorably delicious crab sandwich from a beach kiosk, savour some of Guernsey’s finest gins at Bella Luce or pick up some fresh produce from one of the many ‘veg hedge’ stalls with their honesty boxes.
So for your next holiday, why not book a proper break in the Islands of Guernsey?
Ready to cross the channel to visit the Islands of Guernsey? Go to visitguernsey.com to find out more and start planning your fascinating island-hopping break.