Unforgettable Guernsey: Discover the Island’s Hidden Treasures
Welcome to Guernsey, the second largest of the Channel Islands! You may not have heard of this tiny dot on the map (nestled between the UK & France), but I can assure you it’s well worth exploring.
Having grown up in the Channel Islands, I’ve visited this little slice of paradise more times than I can count! So, after lots of requests, I’ve put together this little Guernsey Travel Guide to help you plan an unforgettable adventure here.
What’s Life in Guernsey Like?
Guernsey is truly a hidden gem in Europe, offering a captivating blend of British and French culture. The island can be described as a mix of quaint fishing villages, charming countryside, and a bustling town that has something to offer for everyone.
However, with miles of pristine coastline that’s unspoiled by crowds of tourists, I’m sure it won’t be long before the secret is out, so be sure to visit Guernsey before the masses descend!
💿 Fun Facts About Guernsey 💿
- Guernsey language: The island’s native language, Guernésiais, is a blend of Norman French and English. Although only a small percentage of the population still speaks it fluently, efforts are being made to preserve the language.
- What is Guernsey famous for? Believe it or not, Guernsey is famous for its golden milk! Guernsey has its own breed of dairy cow, the Guernsey cow, which produces some of the finest dairy products in the world. Don’t forget to sample some while you’re here!
- No VAT: Guernsey does not have Value Added Tax (VAT) on goods and services, making it the perfect place to shop until you drop!
- Guernsey currency: Although a British Crown Dependency, Guernsey currency is totally independent and called the Guernsey Pound (GGP), which is at par with the British Pound Sterling (GBP). Both currencies are accepted on the island.
- Guernsey Population: The population of guernsey is 64,600 people, spread out across an area of 78 sq km.
- Guernsey people are traditionally nicknamed ‘donkeys’ or ‘ânes’, especially by Jersey people (who in turn are nicknamed crapauds – toads)!
Best things to do in Guernsey?
1. Experience the Capital
I would begin your Guernsey adventure in the charming capital, St. Peter Port.
Here you can stroll along the picturesque marina, explore the cobbled streets, and dive into the island’s rich history at the Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery.
For any history buffs, I highly recommend checking out the Occupation Museum.
Did you know that Guernsey / the Channel Islands were the only parts of the British Isles invaded and occupied by Nazi forces during WWII?
This exhibit tells the fascinating story of Guernsey’s occupation, featuring artefacts and personal accounts from islanders who lived through it.
Also, don’t miss the chance to visit Hauteville House, the former refuge of Victor Hugo (a famous French author who lived in exile on Guernsey for 15 years).
His former residence, Hauteville House, which can be visited by members of the public on a guided tour – be sure to add it to your Guernsey itinerary!
2. Epic Outdoor Adventures & Wildlife
One of the top things to do in Guernsey is to explore the island’s dramatic coastline on foot.
For stunning views, follow the cliff paths, taking in the vibrant colours of wildflowers and picturesque beaches.
If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the iconic puffin, which flock to the island between mid-March and July.
The most popular routes are the South Coast Cliffs and the North Coast Path, both offering the perfect opportunity to take some incredible photos.
There are also loads of other popular outdoor activities in Guernsey, from kayaking or paddle boarding in peaceful bays to exhilarating rib boat rides or coasteering adventures, there is definitely something for everyone.
In terms of beach recommendations, Guernsey boasts some of the top beaches in Europe, making it hard to narrow down the options, but I’ll give it a go!
Cobo Bay is the most popular Guernsey beach due to its golden sands, picturesque sunsets and nearby amenities (just across the road).
For a more serene and secluded experience, try Petit Bot Bay, which has lush green surroundings, dramatic cliffs, and a calming waterfall, making it one of the best Guernsey beaches.
L’Ancresse Bay, on the other hand, provides a vast stretch of sand and shallow waters, making it the perfect Guernsey beach for families and anyone into water-sports.
Finally, for a unique combination of history and beauty, head to Fort Grey, where the shipwreck museum is nestled within an idyllic cove, featuring crystal-clear waters and an intimate vibe.
3. Explore Fascinating Fortresses
Standing guard over St. Peter Port for more than eight centuries, Castle Cornet is a must-visit attraction in Guernsey.
Construction began in 1206, which was two years after King John’s loss of Normandy to France and when the European coast nearby had turned hostile. While certain parts of the edifice date back to this time, there is also evidence of a different era: the walls have engravings of names and dates that were added during the Nazi occupation of Guernsey from June 1940 to May 1945.
For me, this is one of the most fascinating fortresses in the British Isles and a great way to spend an afternoon in Guernsey. Top tip: While you’re here, don’t forget to catch the Noon Day Gun, a tradition dating back centuries!
4. Visit the World’s Smallest Chapel
As one of the world’s smallest chapels, Little Chapel is one of the more unique attractions in Guernsey.
The Little Chapel can be described as a stunning masterpiece built with passion and dedication by Brother Déodat, who started working on it in March 1914. His intention was to create a miniature replica of the renowned grotto and basilica in Lourdes, France.
The version of the Little Chapel that stands today is actually the third version. The first, measuring just 9 feet long by 4.5 feet wide, was criticised, so Brother Deodat spent the following night demolishing it! He soon set to work again and, in July 1914, the grotto was completed and blessed. This version survived until September 1923 when Brother Deodat demolished it because the Bishop of Portsmouth had not been able to fit through the doorway!
The third version of the chapel, which you see today, was a laborious effort that involved collecting pebbles and broken china to adorn the shrine – the end result is well worth checking out for yourself.
Note: There is no charge to enter the Chapel as it relies totally on public donations. The Little Chapel is definitely a must visit during your Guernsey trip, and it makes for a great photo / Instagram opportunity.
Guernsey Day Trips: Island Hopping
Guernsey is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, which also includes the smaller islands of Alderney, Sark, Herm, Jethou, Brecqhou, and Lihou, each offering unique attractions and experiences.
- Sark is under an hour from Guernsey (by boat) and offers car-free tranquility. It’s the perfect place to switch off and take in the fresh air and gorgeous scenery.
- While Herm is just a a 20-minute boat ride away from Guernsey and on a Summers Day it feels like an unspoilt Caribbean island.
Feel free to check out my other Channel Island Travel blogs to find out more about these awesome little islands!
Best Hotels in Guernsey
Guernsey accommodation offers something for every traveller. Here are my top picks for different budgets:
Luxury: For a truly indulgent stay, consider the Old Government House Hotel & Spa. I’ve stayed here a couple of times and in my opinion, it’s the best luxury hotel in Guernsey. This 5-star retreat offers elegant rooms, a lavish spa, and fine dining options, all within easy walking distance of St. Peter Port’s attractions.
Mid-Range: The Duke of Richmond Hotel offers stylish accommodation and excellent service at a more affordable price. Take advantage of the hotel’s outdoor pool, on-site restaurant, and convenient location to enjoy the best of Guernsey. For a mid-range budget this is the best hotel in Guernsey.
Budget: La Collinette Hotel, Cottages & Apartments provides travellers with a range of affordable options, including self-catering apartments and cozy hotel rooms. Guests can enjoy the heated outdoor pool, beautiful gardens, and friendly atmosphere. For travellers on a budget, this is where to stay in Guernsey.
Where to Eat in Guernsey
I’ve dined out in Guernsey on countless occasions and can attest that Guernsey has it all! Whether you’re looking for a fine-dining restaurant or a budget friendly-café, you won’t be short of amazing restaurants in Guernsey.
Here are my top picks:
The Crow’s Nest: For a taste of traditional Guernsey fare, visit The Crow’s Nest. This cozy pub serves generous portions of hearty dishes, such as the island’s famous “bean jar” casserole, alongside a wide selection of beers and ales.
Le Nautique: Treat yourself to a memorable meal at Le Nautique, which is by far one of the best restaurants in Guernsey. With a focus on fresh, local seafood, the menu offers a delightful fusion of British and French flavours. The stylish setting and waterfront location only add to the incredible foodie experience.
The Hook: Looking for a mid-range dining option? Head to The Hook, a contemporary seafood restaurant located in St. Peter Port. From sushi to fish and chips, The Hook offers something for every palate, along with an impressive wine list and creative cocktails.
Crabby Jack’s Crabby: For budget-conscious travellers seeking a taste of Guernsey’s local cuisine, Jack’s is a great choice. This lively, family-friendly Guernsey restaurant serves generous portions of seafood, burgers, and traditional British pub fare.
How Long Should you Spend in Guernsey?
The ideal length of time to spend in Guernsey depends on your interests and travel style. For a quick Guernsey getaway, a weekend trip will allow you to explore the main sights in St. Peter Port and enjoy some time by the sea.
However, if you have more time to spare, you should definitely spend a week or longer visiting Guernsey. This will give you the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the captivating history of the island, explore its beautiful coastline, and even visit neighbouring islands.
Weather in Guernsey
Guernsey’s climate is mild and temperate, with warm summers and cool, wet winters.
The island enjoys plenty of sunshine throughout the year, but the best time to visit Guernsey is undoubtedly during the summer months of July & August, when temperatures range from 18°C to 28°C, and the days are long and sunny.
Best Global Travel Insurance
If you are planning on heading to Guernsey, one thing that is essential for everybody is good travel insurance. Accidents can happen anywhere and at anytime and unexpected hospital bills will no doubt spoil your trip. Remove the stress from your next adventure and get covered for the worst!
SafetyWing Insurance provides reliable travel insurance that will keep you covered for any level of adventure in Guernsey. You can get your quote before you leave on your trip here:
Share the love! 💙
If you loved my Guernsey Travel Guide please share this article with your family and friends to show them how stunning Guernsey is! I find it such a shame that so many travellers miss out on this unbelievable part of the world.
Also, if you have any questions about visiting Guernsey please feel free to ask me in the comments below!
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