Guernsey feels at once very British and very different – it’s close enough to France to feel like you’re visiting a foreign country, yet, when you get there, Guernsey has a touch of slightly displaced British charm. In short, it feels unique.

There’s a wide range of accommodation in Guernsey, from luxury hotels to self-catering coastal cottages, full of character.

 

A Coastline with Character

With 27 bays to choose from, Guernsey’s coast is a big draw for visitors. Beaches range from hidden coves to bigger, and more popular, stretches of sandy beach.

The beaches on Guernsey’s west coast are generally of the sandy variety, including the easily accessible Cobo, Vazon, Pembroke, Grandes Rocques and Port Soif. Here you’ll find plenty of facilities and amenities and, in some places, such as Vazon Bay, excellent surfing conditions.

In contrast, on the east coast, Fermain Bay is a secluded pebble beach you can only reach on foot, a short walk along the cliff path from St Peter Port. It feels quite hidden away and has wonderfully clear waters for swimming in.

It’s also well served by the Fermain Beach Café, serving refreshing drinks and good quality food and great views across the bay.

With its shallow, turquoise waters, Moulin Huet Bay on the south coast inspired the painter Renoir with its tranquillity combined with stunning views of the surrounding cliffs.

There’s enough variation on Guernsey’s coast to suit most tastes, whether you’re for watersports, lounging in the sun, or exploring rockier terrain.

A Great Harbour Capital

St Peter Port has been a bustling centre of activity on the island dating back to Roman times. Guarding the town is Castle Cornet, some 800 years old, at the mouth of the harbour.

It’s a short walk from the town centre and contains five museums and four gardens. From here the noon-day gun is fired, and you can experience great views of the port, and across the sea to other, neighbouring islands.

In the town, steep, cobbled streets lead you up to Candie Gardens and the Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery. The restored Victorian gardens have some of the oldest heated glass houses in the British Isles, and a wide selection of beautiful flowers, tended lawns and glittering ponds.

The whole town has an air of easy refinement, while feeling utterly accessible and welcoming. There’s much Regency architecture to admire and a variety of tearooms to visit.

The German Occupation Museum provides plenty of information about the Nazi occupation of the island during the Second World War, and offers a fascinating contrast to the more genteel side of Guernsey’s cultural history.

The French writer Victor Hugo, author of Les Miserables, spent 15 years living in exile on Guernsey. He fell in love with the place and his home, Hauteville House, is open to the public on guided tours. At the very top of the house is the Crystal Room, where Hugo did his writing, and which has glorious views across St Peter Port.

Visitors can also enjoy the surrounding gardens free of charge, and there are lectures on Hugo held there.

Whether it’s activity and culture you’re after, or pure relaxation, or a combination of the two, Guernsey can offer it, wrapped up in its own idiosyncratic island charm.