At the beginning of August I made my second trip to Guernsey and fell in love with the island just that little bit more. As the home country of my boyfriend James our trips have always been a balance of seeing family and friends, and James showing me as many beautiful corners that we have time to discover. As it’s a trip that involves a short flight from Gatwick, and (so far) sun, sand, sea and loveliness, I can’t help but treat it like a holiday. It’s a place which reminds me of trips to Devon and Cornwall, and as it is so accessible from London I think it’s pretty perfect for a weekend trip.
So even though it feels like the end of summer and we’re all either returning to a regular work routine or going back to school, I thought I’d share the top 10 reasons (in no particular order) for why I think you should visit Guernsey. I’m hoping that at the end of this post (if you haven’t already been) I’ll have convinced you to consider it for a future city escape!
1. Portside prettiness. St Peter Port is Guernsey’s main town centre. It has a lovely little sea front where you can nose at the yachts and watch the fishing boats wobble on the waves.
Grab a coffee and croissant, perch on a bench away from the roadside, and enjoy the views.
If you nip into the town centre you’ll find cobbled streets lined with shops, a mixture of British high street stores and boutiques (Indica is a lovely homeware shop), and a few restaurants and bars.
There’s also a little food market in one of the main squares where you can pick up fresh bread or a sweet treat.
2. Beautiful beaches. The beaches in Guernsey are incredible. I couldn’t quite believe I was in the Channel Islands when I first set eyes on its turquoise shores (until I took a dip that is, brrrrrr!).
On our most recent trip we hopped on a bus from St Peter’s Port and enjoyed a leisurely cliffside walk from Moulin Huet (above^^^) to Fermain Bay. Aren’t cliffside walks the best? A salty breeze to blow off the city cobwebs and beautiful sights like these.
Petit Port is probably my current favourite. There’s a steep climb down but it’s worth it for its wide stretch of sand and shallow shore to paddle and play games. The water’s also a bit warmer there too!
But Fermain Bay does have a great little cafe to grab lunch and soak up the sunshine.
If you can make it round to Cobo Bay there’s a great fish & chip shop to enjoy dinner by the sea.
There are plenty of beaches to explore in Guernsey and I’m hoping that after a few more summer trips I’ll know all of the best ones. I recommend checking out the Guernsey Beach Guide to discover those places only the locals know about, having met the guide’s editors you can certainly trust their knowledge.
4. Wildlife. It possibly didn’t really need a separate point but as part of the cliffside walk we did you can peer up at tall pine trees (which smell pretty nice too).
Wander through enclosed paths and sandy tracks.
With fluttering butterflies crossing your path. I spent most of this summer’s trip trying to get this shot.
(Butterflies are far too camera-shy!)
It makes the walk such a lovely mix of earthy greens and shimmering sea blues.
5. Hydrangea heaven. It’s the pretty plant that has won over Instagram this year and it decorates so many front gardens in Guernsey. But if you do head out to Moulin Huet be sure to visit its tea room for something quite beautiful!
I’ve never seen so many hydrangea gathered together. Apparently, it was attacked by the Japanese Knotweed and they’ve had to replant a whole new section down the cliffside. I’m certainly going back to see how it’s getting on!
We didn’t manage to have tea and cake as they can only take cash, but with this view I’d be willing to go back and make a separate trip to try some treats.
6. French influence. Although Guernsey is owned by the British Crown, French was the island’s official language until 1948. It’s a beautiful language to me and you will find the island’s French heritage all over Guernsey, from street names, to restaurants and simple signs like this.
7. Lovely houses. In the centre of town you’ll find tall town houses to gaze at. If you head out to St Martin’s Parish you’ll find cute little houses like this.
Alongside some grand estates.
7. A surprising history for a small island. The only piece of Guernsey history I knew before visiting was the German Occupation in World War II (information shamefully supplied after reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society shortly after meeting James). The next piece of history I picked up on my last visit. Did you know that from 1855 Victor Hugo spent 15 years in exile in Guernsey? Apparently his time there helped inspire works including Les Miserables. The place he called home, Hauteville House, is open to the public and whilst I haven’t visited yet it’s on the list for the next rainy visit.
I’m sure there is so much more to learn about the island, I just need to have a trip when the sun isn’t shining. Those lovely beaches are pretty distracting! 🙂
8. Sark. Off the coast of Guernsey is an even smaller island, even more beautiful and thanks to no cars being allowed it’s pretty peaceful too. It’s the place where James grew up so it holds an extra interest for me, but I promise that you’ll enjoy it too.
After a boat ride from St Peter Port, you’ll arrive at the island. There’s a steep climb to the top but to save your energy you can hop on Sark’s main form of transport, the tractor. Being brought up in a big city like Birmingham I was in a fit of giggles when we got on the tractor bus. But after exploring the island I can totally see why no cars are allowed and why that makes it a lovely place to be.
^^^ This is the main high street and it pretty much provides all the necessities you’d need to stay there.
Hire a bike and take off down the dusty tracks.
For some reason (maybe everyone using bikes to get around) I think it feels a little like the French countryside in Sark.
You should definitely seek out La Coupée.
The link between Greater Sark and Little Sark.
There are plenty of other peaceful views to enjoy though.
Apparently it’s a great place to star gaze due to its limited street lights. I can’t wait to find out if the rumours are true, I haven’t enjoyed gazing at the galaxy since my travels to the Australian outback in 2007!
The island also has its own chocolate factory, Caragh Chocolates. I’ve tried and tested both the chocolates and the cream tea on offer and both are worth enjoying. Yum!!
I can’t wait to go back!
9. Herm. Another island off the coast of Guernsey which is even smaller than Sark. Due to its beautiful beaches it’s perfect for a day trip but I’ve heard it’s fun to camp overnight there too.
There’s another cliffside walk which takes you around most of the island in about 40 minutes (depending on how long you stop to take photos!).
Shell Beach looks like somewhere in the Caribbean.
A beautiful stretch of sand.
But make sure you top up on your sun lotion if visiting in summer. Herm burn is a thing and I was shamefully a victim of it.
10. Ice cream. In my opinion no summer holiday is complete without an ice cream and due to Guernsey’s infamous dairies it has its very own. You’ll find the vanilla flavour has a much stronger yellow colouring than you may usually find but it is pretty creamy.
Of course you’ll find a Mr Whippy option too!
How to get there – We fly from London Gatwick with Auringy and if you book far enough in advance a return flight should be about £100.
Have I convinced you to add Guernsey to the city escape list?