There’s more than enough to keep you occupied on Guernsey, but the nearby islands are a tempting prospect, easily reached by local ferry or small aircraft. Each one has its own particular charms and attractions.
Just 20 minutes by boat from St Peter Port, Herm is a tranquil beach paradise just a mile and a half long and half a mile wide. As soon as you step off the boat onto the jumble of granite and wood that forms the harbour wall, the stresses of the modern world simply evaporate - there are no cars, no crowds and definitely no stress!
You can spend the day relaxing on gorgeous Shell Beach or beautiful Belvoir Bay – perfect for snorkelling in the crystal clear waters, crabbing or just snoozing in a deckchair.
You can take a picnic but a refreshing pint at The Mermaid Tavern or a delicious seafood lunch at The White House Hotel is very tempting!
There’s a spectacular coast path circling the whole island – you can see the French coast, as well as Puffins, Terns and a host of migratory birds. Visit the tiny 11th century chapel with its beautiful stained glass windows, discover Neolithic tombs and oxen shoeing stocks that date back to the residency of Trappist monks in the 1800’s and squeeze yourself into one of the smallest prisons in the world.
The Island of Sark is just 40 minutes on the ferry from Guernsey but is a huge step back in time to a tranquil traffic-free environment overflowing with natural beauty.
Whilst only three miles long, and a mile and a half wide, it boasts 40 miles of what must be one of the most picturesque coastlines anywhere in the world. Dark caves indent into the cliffs and huge austere-looking perpendicular rocks lie in isolated and detached masses off-shore. The varied inlets and bays possess a wealth of sea and bird life. The island's isolated position affords it a large array of bird species, and many hours can be spent watching and admiring the abundance of wildlife. There are many ways to experience this island of infinite variety - by horse-drawn carriage, bicycle, or on foot….but there are no cars.
Much of its unique charm stems from the fact it’s the smallest self-governing island in Europe. The Channel Islands have belonged to the Crown since the time of William the Conqueror. In 1565, Queen Elizabeth I granted Sark to Helier de Carteret as a 'fief haubert' and the island's unique status has remained the same ever since. Today, Sark retains this independence but through a fully elected parliament (called the Chief Pleas); neither part of the United Kingdom nor European Union, yet not a sovereign state either.
Just a 15 minute hop by plane and well worth the trip – just one and a half miles wide, three and a half miles long, and home to around two thousand friendly and welcoming inhabitants it’s truly a world apart with its own government and a fledgling off-shore finance and E-commerce sector.
With over 50 miles of walks and paths taking you across commons and beaches, along the cliffs and around town, the best way to discover Alderney is on foot. The south coast is mainly dramatic cliff walks, dotted with Victorian and German fortifications. The northwest coastline, towards the bird sanctuary island of Burhou, is designated a RAMSAR site. The north and east coast features golden beaches interspersed with picturesque Victorian forts and the occasional reminder of the German occupation during WWII.
The island is also perfect for exploring by bike and even has its own railway, opened in 1847 and still operating today.
It’s a bird watcher’s paradise. About 7000 pairs of gannets nest at Ortac and Les Etacs, which is about two percent of the entire world’s population. Alderney has 260 species of birds that has made the island their home including puffins, pulmars, guillemots, Dartford warblers and peregrines, and many interesting continental visitors can be seen as they stop off here on migration. It’s even home to the Blonde Hedgehog, which is unique to the island.