Guernsey - how to make the most of your visit

By Tsai Wharton, a Travel Enthusiast

Read more on Guernsey.

Overall rating:4.1 out of 5 (based on 7 votes)
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Recommended for:
Activity, Food and Drink, Short Break, Mid-range

Guernsey is an often-forgotten island that has a great deal to offer, including adventure and delicious cuisine

Geographically closer to France than England, Guernsey is the second largest of the Channel Islands. Its 60,000 residents welcome visitors with open arms into their approx. 24sq miles of narrow lanes, postcard-perfect houses and beautiful landscape. You can sense the slower pace of life straight away which helps you relax and enjoy your idyllic surroundings from the moment you arrive.

The UK is well-served with flights to Guernsey - from Gatwick, Stansted, Southampton, Exeter, Birmingham and Manchester. You can also take your own car. Condor Ferries operates routes from Portsmouth, Poole and Weymouth (www.condorferries.co.uk).

Driving and currency tips on the island

Three top tips for the island.

  • If you have hired a car or brought your own car over don’t forget to use the parking disc to display the time when you park the car. A hire car will usually supply one but when taking your own car over you can purchase one on the ferry.
  • Guernsey has a filter in turn system at certain junctions. On approaching this just means that cars take it in turns to make their turn.
  • Guernsey has its own pound notes and coins. Don’t forget to change your money before you leave the island or ask for English change as you can’t use it back on the mainland

If you’ve only got two to three days, start by driving around the island or, for the more active, cycle around the coast.

Top things to see and coastal walks

Start off in St Peter Port; the beautiful, cobbled streets are a delight to walk along but be sure to wear flat, comfortable shoes. It’s a mix of quirky shops and high street names and full of charm. Set on the water with the local and visiting marinas in front of the main parade of shops, there is plenty to occupy you even if just boat and people watching. If you fancy a dose of history, Victor Hugo’s house (whilst exiled in Guernsey) is definitely worth a visit (Hauteville House; 01481 723552; www.victorhugo.gg). Another historical visit is Castle Cornet, Guernsey’s ancient harbour fortress (www.museum.guernsey.net/castle.htm).

The second stop can be reached either by car or by foot. Guernsey is renowned for its beautiful coastal walks. If you want to walk the coastal path from St Peter Port to the West Coast you should allow 8 hours, but I prefer to do it in parts rather than all in one go. Fermain Beach Café (Fermain Bay, St Peter Port; 01481 238636) is one of those hidden gems that’s hard to find until you stumble across it. It can be reached by car but beware as there is no car parking so it’s best to park further along the coast and walk some of the coastal path, either from St Peter Port or closer in. Tucked away in Fermain Bay, it’s an idyllic place to sit outside and have lunch or a coffee. The seafood paella is fantastic. They also have an indoor restaurant which is open in the evenings too and well worth a visit.

 If you choose to have only a brief coffee pit-stop and continue walking the coastal path you will come to Jerbourg Point, which is one of my favourite spots on the island. From the monument here you can see the islands of Herm, Brecghou, Sark and Jethou and the town of St Peter Port. It also provides a stunning setting for The Auberge Restaurant (Jerbourg Road, St Martins; 01481 238485; www.theauberge.gg). 180 degree views make the already fabulous gastronomic delights even more perfect. If you then feel the need to walk off your food from this point, the coastal path from Jerbourg Point to Petit Bot Bay is, in my opinion, one of the most charming parts of the coast. The walk is undulating and has a few teashops scattered along the way, taking you through Moulin Huet Bay, Saints Bay and Icart Point.

For those driving from Jerbourg Point, make for the West Coast where the road is right next to the sea, giving you a completely different vista of the island. Lihou Island on the West Coast is worth stopping at and walking around but make sure you check the tides first as it can only be reached at low tide www.lihouisland.com. Back in the car, if you continue along the West Coast you will reach Cobo Bay (Cobo Coast Road, Castel; 01481 257102; www.cobobayhotel.com). This is a great place to pause and watch the sunset. If you’re a lover of cakes then Cobo Tea Room is just a bit further down (Cobo Coast Road; 01481 253366).

For the more adventurous

If you’re adventurous then why not try kayaking or coasteering. Most of the adventures start from Petit Bot Bay. It’s a great way to explore the coastline from the water. Try Outdoor Guernsey (01481 267627; www.outdoorguernsey.co.uk).

Island of Sark

The other boat trip worth doing is the ferry to Sark (01481 724059; www.sarkshippingcompany.com). The smallest of the four main islands, Sark has no cars and offers a unique and enchanting environment. It’s worth hiring a bike (available in the main high street) to see as much as you can of the island. Cycle over to Little Sark but remember to dismount on La Coupee (why? it’s a narrow, sometimes very windy path). La Sablonnerie (01481 832061; www.sablonneriesark.com) is a stunning little hotel on Little Sark with a restaurant and tea garden. A perfect place to stop for lunch and to enjoy the tranquillity of the island whilst fuelling up before cycling back.

Eating out

Guernsey is full of amazing restaurants. For a great location, fabulous service and, above all, mouth-watering food try Pier 17 (01481 720823; www.pier17restaurant.com) located on Albert Pier, St Peter Port.

Where to stay

Finally, depending on what sort of accommodation you are looking for, I would recommend either The Old Government House Hotel (St Ann’s Place, St Peter Port). This offers stunning views over the harbour and is ideally located in the heart of St Peter Port, a short walk from all the amenities. Or, alternatively, Fermain Valley Hotel (Fermain Lane), situated high up above Fermain Bay. Both are four-star properties offering all you would need for your stay on this beautiful island.

I hope you fall in love with the island as much as I have.

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More information on Guernsey - how to make the most of your visit:

Author:
Tsai Wharton
Traveller type:
Travel Enthusiast
Guide rating:
4.142855
Average: 4.1 (7 votes)
Total views:
208
First uploaded:
18 February 2011
Last updated:
4 years 14 weeks 5 days 4 hours 29 min 51 sec ago
Destinations featured:
Trip types:
Activity, Food and Drink, Short Break
Budget level:
Mid-range
Free tags / Keywords:
gourmet food, coastal walks, great sightseeing, island visits

Tsai recommends

Hotels

Price from Rating
(out of 5)
1. Old Government House Hotel
N/A
2. Fermain Valley Hotel
£87
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Community comments (7)

Rating:
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0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

Lovely to see how much you enjoyed your trip. Just a quick note on spelling - you have a typo on Brecqhou (no G although it is sometimes written Brechou). Also, perhaps if you are giving tips on driving in Guernsey it might be useful to mention the maximum speed limit is currently 35 MPH.

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0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

This is an extremely practical guide to Guernsey full of tips and information. There are plenty of hotel and restaurant recommendations. I am sure that many readers will find this a useful overview.
I agree with Kevin’s comments about including more information about the hotels and places to eat to give readers an idea of costs and what to expect. You describe Fermain Beach Cafe beautifully so perhaps use this as a model for the other recommendations.

I would like to see a few more photos. I really like the cycling one on Little Sark- that is a tough hill!

I think the guide reads better if the tips are put at the end. I prefer the “story” and inspiring stuff at the beginning and the tips at the end. That’s just my personal opinion though.

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0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

After reading your article I have booked a long weekend in Guernsey in July. Sounds like a fascinating island with plenty to do and see. I'm particularly looking forward to doing the coastal walks. Thanks for the driving and currency tips - very useful.

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0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

Used this guide very successfully on a trip to Guernsey this week. Restaurant recommendations were spot on and interesting to understand about the blend of English and French influences. Obviously from someone who knows their stuff.

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0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

Found this guide really usefull as we're going to Guernsey over Easter and wanted some ideas on what to do so this has given me lots of ideas for a fun filled weekend!

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0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

I have been to Guernsey several times and your info just brought it alive for me again. What an incredible place.I have never been to Sark.. but feel I would know exactly where to go and what to do when I get there,

thanks for the update!

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0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

Tsai,

Thanks for an interesting guide which is a good introduction to Guernsey.

Can I suggest you have a read back through your guide looking at punctuation.

Also perhaps include different headings. For instance, Top things to see and coastal walks: would perhaps be better with sub headings such as St Peter Port, Fermain Bay, Jerbourg Point and so forth.

At the moment you have big sections of writing that are quite hard to read. By breaking them up into paragraphs with their own headings you will make it easier for the reader to follow and keep him or her interested.

Perhaps include a little more detail on some aspects too. For instance,Victor Hugo, who was he? Why was he exiled in Guernsey? You can't assume someone reading your guide will automatically know.

When it comes to restaurants you recommend Pier 17 and give the reader a website address to check it out which is useful. However, you don't tell us what sort of food they serve nor give any indication of what a meal is likely to cost.

Similarly, with your hotel recommendations, how much are rooms per night on average? Why are the hotels four star? What amenities do they have?

You have really got the basis of a great guide if you tidy things up and make it more user friendly. I hope my comments help.

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