Guernsey Activities and Places to Visit
The Island of Guernsey
Guernsey is the second largest of the Channel Islands, second in size only to Jersey. Guernsey is probably one of the most perfect destinations for tourists seeking a UK holiday, as it has a mild climate, beautiful scenery, abundant wildlife, clean sandy beaches, loads of outdoor and indoor activities as well as plenty of historical places to visit. Many people choose to return to Guernsey year after year for their holidays as they love the friendliness of the locals and the safety the island has to offer.
These days many people tend to the think of Guernsey as a tax haven and therefore predominantly providing a base for the finance industry. This too is true, but it should not be forgotten that the island was always primarily a tourist haven, and can boast some of the most spectacular scenery within the British Isles, as well as having a fascinating history that includes the German Occupation during the second world war.
For even more images of scenery and attractions around Guernsey please view my separate Picture Gallery.
This is an island that once visited is never forgotten, and will always hold a special place in the hearts of those fortunate enough to have experienced it.
Getting to Guernsey
Getting to Guernsey can be either by flying or by boat.
Flybe offer services from London Gatwick, Southampton, Norwich, Birmingham, Manchester, Exeter, Dublin and now Paris.
Aurigny offer services from London Gatwick, Bristol, London Stanstead, Manchester, Dinard, Alderney and Jersey.
Condor Ferries offer services from Poole, Weymouth and Portsmouth.
- Guernsey hotels. The Cobo Bay Hotel Guernsey Channel Islands beach hotels. The beach hotel.
The leading three star beach hotel in Guernsey Channel Islands. Guernsey hotels The Cobo Bay beach hotel. Hotels for business, family holidays and short breaks.
- The Chalet Hotel
Located near the idyllic bay of Fermain, this is a high caliber hotel with an excellent reputation for food and accommodation.
- Fermain Valley Hotel
A stunning hotel with breathtaking views and boasting it's own cinema, indoor pool and sauna and nearby to exceptional cliff walks.
- Guernsey holiday at La Pointe Farm Apartments, holidays in Guernsey
Guernsey: La Pointe Farm Holiday Apartments, luxury self catering holidays in the Channel Islands
- Wisteria Self Catering in Guernsey. 4 star country cottages. Guernsey self catering accommodation.
Check our Guernsey self catering Special Offers section for last minute deals. Wisteria Self Catering in Guernsey. 4 star country cottages. Accommodation in a traditional style.
- El Tabora Guest House
Located in St Peter Port just outside the main town in a countryside type location.
- Maison Bel Air
A picturesque non smoking guest house situated in the rural parish of the Forest, one of Guernsey's most beautiful parishes.Only a short walk to the south coast bays and the cliff walks of the south coast.
There are a large selection of hotels around the island, and if you either click on the "hotel" link above or look at the links section you will find a number of suitable suggestions.
For those who prefer to go down the self catering route there are also plenty of high quality apartments available as you will see if you click on the above link. There are a number of recommended suggestions in the links section
Guest Houses are a further option (follow the link previous) readily available in scenic locations around the island. For further suggestions try the links section .
If you prefer a camping holiday then there is a beautiful camp site in a superb location in the Fauxquets Valley centrally located on the Island. The Fauxquets Valley Campsite is the perfect place for those who love living in the great outdoors and waking up to the sound of birds singing every morning.
There are certainly no shortage of things to do whilst you are on holiday in Guernsey, whether you like walking, eating out, sunbathing, sports, fishing, visiting historical sights etc.
Apart from the beautiful country lanes that Guernsey is covered in, there are miles of cliff walks that surround the island, alive with wildflowers and wildlife. Icart provides some of the most astounding views, and the path has various benches situated along the route for those of us who need time to take a breath and enjoy the scenery.
La Vallette in St Peter Port to St Martin's point, starts in St Peter Port by the Aquarium and can be followed all the way to St Martin's point, featuring stunning south coast views.
Havelet Bay to Pleinmont , one of the most unspoilt and magnificent cliff walks on Guernsey, featuring stunning coastal views.
The Millennium Walk takes you around Guernsey's reservoir in the country parish of St Saviours, allowing you to view abundant wildfowl swimming contentedly on the water.
The Bluebell Woods , located in St Peter Port are truly an exceptional experience with mature trees and an abundance of bluebells for about one month each year.
Herm Island , only a short boat ride away you will arrive on an island that has no cars, only bicycles and the occasional tractor. There are some beautiful walks on this tranquil little island, and it is possible to walk completely around the island within about an hour. With it's quaint pubs and gorgeous beaches Herm is well worth a visit.
Sark Island, again has no cars, only cycles, tractors and horses. An island full of extensive walks and the option to take a horse and carriage tour around the island. The hill that greets you when you get off the boat is not for the faint hearted, and unless you are very fit and active I would suggest catching the tractor and trailer service to the top of the hill before you commence any recreational walks.
Bluebell Woods Guernsey
Guernsey has an abundance of sandy or rocky beaches that far exceed UK purity requirements. Some of the best ones for sunbathing are as follows:
Vazon Bay , A sandy beach on the west coast of the island.
Cobo Bay , An ever popular sandy beach with an excellent bar over the road which will sell you drinks in plastic glasses to take down onto the beach. Spectacular sunsets are also seen at this bay.
Port Soif , a small sandy beach, but very quaint and has some great windsurfing.
Grand Rocque , a combination of rocks and sand, but very popular as a location.
Pembroke , a large sandy beach adjacent to the largest golf course on the island.
L'eree , a sandy beach that is a wildlife haven for birds. Plenty of rock pools, nearby cafes and easy access to Lihou island at low tide.
Herm , a nearby small island that has no cars at all. Easily accessible using the local boat service . Great walks and lovely beaches. Two good bars which serve excellent food. Hotel accommodation on Herm available.
All of the above beaches are more than suitable for a family day out. Ice creams are available nearby, the beaches are clean and the water more than safe to swim in. Be aware that in Guernsey you are more likely to get sunburned than in the UK, so bring a high protection factor sun tan lotion with you. Herm is especially high risk for sunburn, and many a person has come back from a day trip to badly burned. If you don't want to ruin your holiday come prepared!
Les Rouvets Coarse Fishing Lake
Whether you prefer sea fishing or coarse fishing, there is an option on Guernsey for you.
Coarse Fishing is available on the island at Les Rouvets Coarse Fishing Lake , which is a good sized lake containing various species of Carp up to about 32lb in weight (as well as good sized Rudd, Roach, and eels). The scenery here is idyllic and the area is full of wildlife, mature trees and semi-tropical shrubs. You have the option here to bivvie up overnight, and year's membership costs £50 allowing 24 hour access. Memberships are available direct from the lake owners if you call 01481 268233.
Sea Fishing is readily available on the island and is renowned for being world class. Fishing is available either from the beaches, the rocks, the lighthouse or by boat . Species available vary widely, and the following is a fairly comprehensive list:
Bass, Grey Mullet, Conger, Red Mullet, Dogfish, Triggerfish, Gurnard, Black Bream, Plaice, Pollack, Wrasse, Mackerel, Garfish and Sole .
Tackle for both types of fishing can be hired from local fishing tackle outlets, and from the charter services.
Sports, Activities and Places to Visit.
There are an abundance of sports, activities and places to visit available on the island if you follow the links below, including:
Horse Riding, various stables offer hacking around the island, and often onto the beaches of an evening. A lovely way to see the island and well worth a try. Beginners also catered for.
Golf at either La Grande Mare Golf Club, St Pierre Park Hotel or The Royal Guernsey Golf Club. Naturally golf is a popular sport, and there are several golf courses to choose from, all of which are of a very good standard.
Go Karting, for those who like an adrenalin rush this is a great fun sport to try to both the men and the children love it equally, sometimes even the more adventurous ladies will be willing to give it a try.
Island Rib Voyages are a great way to explore the islands on fast boats. A range of tours are offered, none of which will disappoint and are all great value for money.
Climbing, an ideal way to see some of Guernsey's cliffs and views, so long as you have a head for heights. Excellent supervision provided.
Water Sports for everyone are available, whether you like diving, water skiing, snorkeling etc.
Children's Activities (including the model yacht pond, the Aquarium, the Dolls House Museum, the Model Railway Exhibition etc)
Catherine Best Jewellery, perfect for that last minute going home gift, or for the lady who has everything. World famous jewellery at it's best.
The Guernsey Tapestry was created as a celebration of the New Millennium and tells the story of a 1000 years of Guernsey history over ten panels. Each panel covers 100 years of history and has the crest of the parish that created it.
The Little Chapel is quite possibly the smallest chapel in the world. Originally built by a French Monk before the war, it is covered in millions of pieces of broken china both inside and out. This attraction is free to see and no admission fee is charged.
Auberge du Val Herb Gardens are situated within the grounds of Auberge du Val Hotel and are a beautiful attraction to visit.
Sausmarez Park, a lovely park that has lots of children's play equipment, swings, slides, roundabouts etc, as well as a large pond with a tree house over it.
Various Museums. There are a number of museums to visit on the island, covering a wide range of interesting periods of history.
Victor Hugo's Garden displays many statues by well known artists hidden amongst the maze of paths and shrubs. There is also a miniature train available for children and adults to explore part of the gardens on.
Guernsey Clock Makers is located next to the Little Chapel, and sells a wide variety of clocks made in Guernsey.
Candie Gardens, a scenic location in the parish of St Peter Port, featuring a museum and extensive well kept gardens and statues. Well worth a visit.
Beau Sejour Leisure Centre (featuring tennis courts, squash courts, swimming pools, sauna's etc).
The Chapel of Christ the Healer was built by a Reverend Drake many years ago following a vision he received after the death of his son from Cancer. Up until his own death he performed regular faith healing sessions on his congregation with an impressive success rate. This chapel only seats around 40 people and only holds services on Wednesdays, but it is available to be visited any time in between.
Castle Cornet, a medieval castle that has an extensive history and is reputedly extremely haunted. They offer various tours, and if you can find one that is hosted by Annette Henry they are the best, and often take you into places such as the dungeons, that are not normally accessible to the general public.
The German Military Underground Hospital, was literally a hospital that was underground during the German Occupation.
The German Occupation Museum, features the history of the German Occupation of Guernsey along with memorabilia such as mines, coins and displays featuring models. A fascinating and poignant place to learn a little more about Guernsey's history.
Fort Grey, otherwise known as "The Cup and Saucer Museum" due to it's appearance, displays history, details and artifacts of shipwrecks that have happened around the coast of Guernsey.
The Fairy Ring is located at Pleinmont Point. Due to subsidence of the road it is necessary to park a short distance away and walk the last few hundred yards to the location. It is said if you walk three times around the stone circle and make a wish it will come true.
Guernsey Candles make intricate candles while you watch, involving dipping the candles alternately into different coloured waxes followed by water then other coloured waxes. When these are carved the effect is amazing, and you can see all the layers of colour in the intricate "petals" of folded down wax.
Oatland's Craft Centre features a number of individual attractions all in one location, including a gift shop, Rebecca's Chocolates, Guernsey Goldsmiths, Miniature Golf, Bishes Fishes etc.
The Mallard Cinema shows up to date newly released films as well as the option of having a meal.
Puffin Patrols via Boat take you on two hour tour of the Puffin colonies of the Channel Islands between the months of late April and Mid July. You will also most likely see a number of other species of birds including Oystercatchers, Gulls, Shags and Terns. Pre-booking preferred.
Local Bars and Restaurants
There are numerous high quality bars and restaurants on Guernsey, and to give you a few ideas my personal recommendations are listed in this section.
Cobo Bay Hotel serves award winning food with outstanding views across the sandy beach of Cobo. The sunsets here have to be seen to be believed. Truly breathtaking.
The Auberge is perched high on the cliffs with fantastic views across the sea to the the other Channel Islands.
The Farmhouse Restaurant is newly renovated and set in the country parish of St Saviours. Locally grown and organic produce is used wherever possible and the option to eat in the pretty outside gardens is offered.
Saints Bay Hotel is located very near to the cliff walks at Icart. They offer a range of good menus and dining by the pool is also an option. Special diets can also be catered for.
The DogHouse is a lively bar and restaurant which frequently has live bands performing. Probably more suitable to a younger generation, but the food is very good and the venue popular.
La Frégate Hotel is situated in St Peter Port and can genuinely boast some of the best cuisine on the island. Prices are fair and it's reputation impressive.
Le Nautique Restaurant located in St Peter Port overlooking the harbour. Top quality award winning food is served in this quaint intimate restaurant tucked away up stone steps along the seafront.
The Rockmount is probably the most popular bar on the island. Located along the seafront at Cobo the recenty refurbished interior has a "Harvester" type feel to it. Stunning views over the beach and good quality food. Sitting outside in the Summer months is a must, and the sunsets here are among the best on the island. Special licensing means you can purchase alcohol from the bar and take it down on to the beach which is only across the road. Live tribute bands are booked several times each summer to perform on the outside balcony, allowing people to sit on the sea wall or the beach and enjoy the free entertainment.
Fleur du Jardin is a luxury hotel and restaurant situated in the parish of Castel. The food is of a superb standard and the accommodation is excellent. Although slightly on the pricey side, this hotel is well worth a visit.
L'Eree Hotel immediately opposite L'eree Bay offer superb and inexpensive meals in the restaurant to the rear of the hotel. Do not be put off by the dated appearance of the front of the hotel as you approach, the rear restaurant is very quaint with old fishing nets and boats etc hung from the ceiling, as well as a huge piece of natural granite rock embedded in the floor which the restaurant has been built around. The Chef "Frosty" cooks outstanding food, and even the onion rings are home made and deliciously light. The portions are excellent sizes and the bill when it arrives is remarkably low compared to other restaurants around the island.
Although Guernsey is not really known for it's nightclubs, there are a few options for those who like to dance well into the early hours.
Barbados Beach / Nightclub is situated in Le Pollet, St Peter Port and opens until around 2 am.
Les Folies D'Amour Nightclub, the oldest nightclub on the island located in St Peter Port. Tel 01481 722544
Rogues Nightclub, located at Le Truchot in St Peter Port this lively nightclub opens until 2.30am. Live music and top UK DJ's frequently appear at this popular venue.
The Dog House can be found on the Rohais in St Peter Port. A very busy venue with weekly live band appearances. Parking can be tricky as they only have a very small car park, probably best to get a lift or a taxi, (and then you can really enjoy yourselves).
Buses. Guernsey Bus offer a service in clean comfortable and modern vehicles. You can travel anywhere on the island for £2.00 which also makes it an inexpensive way of taking an island tour.
Taxis. There are a number of taxi services available on the island, but they are fairly expensive and it is worth asking for an approximate quote before you book.
Car Hire. This is a very good option for most visitors as car hire is still not as expensive as the UK, and offers a lot more freedom when wanting to explore those out of the way places that are way off bus routes.
Cycle Hire The environmentally friendly option and a lovely way to explore the countryside that Guernsey has so much of.
Scooter Hire An inexpensive but quick way to travel throughout the island exploring.
Summary and a Few Key Points to Note.
If you are considering paying Guernsey a visit then you should know a few extra pieces of useful information.
Guernsey no longer allows smoking in enclosed places, so be aware that if you are a smoker you will have to either go outside for a cigarette, or use the smoking shelters many of the pubs and restaurants provide.
Guernsey is VAT exempt, so any purchases you make over here should have had the VAT deducted from the usual UK price.
The speed limit on Guernsey is 35 mph, and on many roads lower, so please keep an eye out for the signs that state the limit for each particular road.
Guernsey roads are very narrow, and many people have lost wing mirrors caused by being to close to the cars coming the other way. Keep as close to the kerbs as you can and slow down when you see cars approaching you.
Do not be tempted to try and bring any illegal drugs into Guernsey. The authorities are very thorough and few drugs ever get through to the island. The penalties are also severe, and often the smallest amount of an illegal substance will result in several months or more in prison. The sentences stand in full, and there is no parole so you would have to complete the full sentence if caught. It really isn't worth it!
I hope this article has whet your appetite to visit Guernsey, and that if you are already planning a holiday here the information has been of help to you. As a resident of Guernsey myself I can honestly say this is one of most beautiful places I have ever been, and the fact the crime rate is so low makes it a perfect destination for people who have children or teenagers accompanying them.
© 2008 Cindy Lawson