Guernsey is a small island in the English Channel, just off the coast of Normandy. It’s got an interesting history, a beautiful port and lots of things to do. Despite being British, it has a mixed French and Spanish charm, as well as much better weather than the mainland, whilst still keeping the familiarity of somewhere close to home and you don’t need a passport to travel there – although you will need a photographic ID such as your drivers license or a Citizencard. France is a very quick boat journey away though and you will need a passport if you intend to pop over to the mainland so I always take mine. You can get flights from most regional airports, or you can head over on the ferry.
Guernsey has both hotels and self catering opportunities galore. When traveling with the family these days I prefer self catering because of the flexibility it offers both in terms of space, dining and noise (and I mean for other guests, since my 2 year old is rather noisy!). We use Airbnb for a lot of our self catering breaks these days and there are some lovely apartments, cottages and houses available in Guernsey to rent, and Airbnb customer services are available if you have any problems.
I’m sharing why I love Guernsey with the five best things to do on the island – each of them available for families, couples or solo holiday goers.
My top 5 things to do on a break to Guernsey
1. Head to the beach
The island offers a unique coastline with 26 different bays, many of which are surrounded by lush foliage and with higher temperatures than the UK, seem positively tropical over the summer. This includes stretches of long sandy coastline, towering cliffs and hidden coves off the beaten track. This makes it ideal for anyone who enjoys the outdoors and beaches, whether you just want to soak up the rays and work on the tan, or explore somewhere very few tourists ever go. The floury white sand and palm trees give it a distinctly Caribbean feel!
Up until the 1980s Guernsey was one of the most popular beach destinations for British tourists, but as flight prices came down and budget European resorts sprang up, holiday goers began traveling further afield. These days that means Guernsey isn’t packed to the rafters, but still has a lot to offer.
2. Go on a boat trip
There are a ton of boat trips on Guernsey, which should come as no surprise considering it’s a small island surrounded by beautiful calm blue seas. There are other islands in the areas with beautiful beaches, imposing cliffs and amazing scenery, such as Sark, Herm and Alderney, or you can go on a wildlife cruise to take an array of sealife. If you’re looking for a bit more adventure, there’s diving, paddleboarding or RIB boats (which are usually suitable for older children).
Some of the wildlife you’re likely to see around the island includes birds of prey, over 150 species of sea birds, puffins and seals! If you’re interested in unique wildlife, the land also has something to offer, with the famous Guernsey cow who produces the richest milk!
3. Cycle around the Island
Visit Guernsey offers cycling routes categorised into how easy they are, and the distance. These are comprehensive routes that will help you see everything that you want to. With low traffic and ample cycle paths, cycling around Guernsey is a breeze. Drivers on Guernsey are very considerate and roads are well maintained, but if you don’t want to cycle with traffic, there are plenty of off-road trails. There’s the odd hill dotted around, but on the whole the terrain is flat and accessible to cyclists of all experience – meaning it’s ideal for the whole family as well. There are plenty of places to hire a bike whether it’s for a few hours or for the whole weekend.
Enjoy your weekend car free – it’s more economical and better for the environment, as well as good for your health too.
4. Explore St. Peter’s Port and Castle Cornet
St Peter’s Port (the capital of Guernsey and where most of the accomodation is) has a modern, Mediterranean sea-side feel to it. It is compact and easily explored by foot, with an extensive harbour area, cobbled streets and history around every corner. The city has an extensive maritime and wartime history behind it, with structures dating back to the Roman times. Castle Cornet is perhaps one of the most famous landmarks and well worth a visit with the whole family.
5. Sample the Seafood
As you can imagine, a small island that is surrounded by the bounties of the ocean has fantastic seafood. Here you will find the freshest fish and shellfish that can possibly be obtained, locally caught and prepared. Oysters and lobster will tempt you with every meal along with mackerel, scallops and shrimp. Despite being a small island, Guernsey has a veritable bevy of award-winning restaurants and it’s not all seafood – there’s ample British, French, Moroccan and Persian influences too. Couple with wine from the mainland or a delicious cocktail for a perfect evening.
Well I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry now – both for travel and seafood! I can’t wait to head back to Guernsey with my family and get exploring. We’ve got a trip booked for June 2019, followed by a trip to Portugal and Spain so keep an eye on my Instagram if you want to see how we get on, traveling with a three year old. I’ll also be writing more extensively about family-friendly attractions in Guernsey and what to see in Guernsey when you’re on a tight schedule like a cruise ship, stay tuned.
I hope that these 5 reasons to visit Guernsey have given you some inspiration, if you have any other suggestions for why the family should visit Guernsey, drop me a comment!
If you liked this post you might also enjoy my other posts about travel in the UK and great British places to visit:
- 10 Reasons to visit Pembrokeshire as a Family
- The Top 10 Things to do in Edinburgh as a Family
- Visit the real Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle)
- My Top 5 Winter Family Holiday Destinations