Visit Guernsey - Channel Islands holiday
Guernsey, one of the two bailiwicks which constitute the crown dependency of the Channel Islands, has been a tourist destination since the Victorian times.
Only an hour away by plane from London, Guernsey offers an array of attractions.
Apart from the main island, the Bailiwick of Guernsey consists of smaller islands - Herm, Sark, Jethou, Lihou and Alderney, as well as of a variety of uninhabited islets. See map of Guernsey (bailiwick).
English is the official language, despite strong historical and cultural influence of France, and in the past, of the Duchy of Normandy. St Peter Port is the capital and the largest city on the island.
See below a few suggestions on what to see in Guernsey.
Active holiday in Guernsey
Picturesque landscapes of Guernsey, both along the coast and inland, provide ideal settings for a variety of outdoor activities.
Water sports as, naturally on of the greatest attractions for active holidaymakers in Guernsey. The surrounding waters offer great conditions for diving, surfing and kayaking.
Coasteering, that is exploring the coast by a variety of activities, such as swimming, jumping, kayaking and rock climbing, is very popular in Guernsey.
If you prefer landsports rather, you will also be spoilt for choice in Guernsey; cycling, hiking, climbing are the options for the more adventurous ones; golf at the excellent Royal Guernsey Golf Club is an alternative for the enthusiasts of more static sports.
Beau Sejour Leisure Centre
Multiple sports installations are available in Beau Sejour Leisure Centre, located in Amherst, on the outskirts of St Peter Port, amongst them an indoor pool, with separate children’s area, football, basketball, netball, volleyball, squash and badminton courts, as well as an outdoor skate park.
After your workout, relax in the spa area and enjoy a movie in the Beau Theatre which is Guernsey’s largest cinema. Visiting the Beau Sejour with children will not be a problem as the centre caters for the needs of the youngest visitors, offering in- and outdoor play areas and professionally staffed daycare.
Beau Sejour Leisure Centre is open 7 days a week, for most of the year. Find more information about opening hours, tickets and family holiday passes Beau Sejour here.
Historic heritage in Guernsey – Castle Cornet
The Channel Islands have quite an interesting past, having been disputed over the century by France and United Kingdom.
A visit to the Castle Cornet complex is a great way to learn about Guernsey’s history. Constructed over a period of 800 years on, what in the past used to be a tidal island, Castle Cornet is a somehow chaotic, yet fascinating witness to the turbulent past of Guernsey. This fortified castle erected in the 13th century defended the island from the French attacks, supported the royalists during the English Civil Wars, served as a prison and, later, as the official residence of the Governor of Guernsey.
Apart from the historic fortifications and interiors, five museums can be visited in the Castle Cornet, namely, the Story of Castle Cornet Museum, 201 Squadron RAF Museum, Maritime Museum, Royal Guernsey Light Infantry Museum and Royal Guernsey Militia Museum.
Castle Cornet is situated at the mouth of the harbour of St Peter Port, on Guernsey’s eastern coast.
Cultural Guernsey - the Victor Hugo Experience
The island of Guernsey played a role in the development of the European literature. Victor Hugo exiled in Guernsey wrote some of his best works here, amongst them, Les Miserables. The islanders are very proud of their liaisons to the great novelist and explore the tourist potential of the ‘Victor Hugo’ chapter in the history of Guernsey.
A variety of Victor Hugo themed activities are available locally, amongst them guided tours of the house where Hugo lived, the Hauteville House, and other places which inspired his writing.
In the cultural section still, the Bailiwick of Guernsey has plenty to offer in terms of festivals. Amongst the most popular events held regularly on the island are:
- The Channel Islands Heritage Festival
- Guernsey International Food Festival
- St Peter Port Carnival
- Sark Folk Festival
- Seafront Sundays (St Peter Port culinary festival)
Eat well in Guernsey
Guernsey is a great destination for food lovers. With virtually no fast food chains, Guernsey shows it takes food seriously. Quality restaurants abound across the island, being seafood the main item of the local cuisine. Prices of dining out in Guernsey can be quite steep. Luckily there is quite a wide range of available options. If the high-end restaurants are outside your holiday budget, you will find also less sophisticated eateries, bistros, gastro pubs and informal cafés, many of them situated picturesquely along the coast and offering splendid sea views.
Amongst the best restaurants in Guernsey are: Pier 17, Mora Restaurant & Grill, Le Petiti Bistro, all of them located in St Peter, as well as La Reunion located on Cabo Coast Road and The Auberge in St Martins.
Beetons Fish and Chips Shop, serving the bellowed English dish, has been favourite of the locals and visitors alike for over a decade now. In 2015 it was declared Guernsey’s most loved business. In the same year also the island held for the first time an International Food Festival.
How to reach Guernsey?
The island of Guernsey is served by an international airport which receives flights from several UK airports, amongst them London Gatwick and Stansted, Bristol, Manchester and East Midlands. On international routes, flights to Guernsey are available from Barcelona, Dusseldorf, Stuttgart and Grenoble.
If you prefer to travel by seas, St Peter Port has ferry services to and from Portsmouth in the UK and several locations in France (St Malo, Dielette and Granville).