Situated in the Bay of St Malo, the group of islands we know as The Channel Islands are an eclectic mix of old English traditions and France ambience. Many street names are in French and shops retain an olde worlde feel to them, this is the perfect place to head off to as the weather is glorious most time of the year. With roads about half the size of their English and French counterparts, everything is super scaled down and packed into these tiny islands on a smaller dimension. But with each of the islands holding its own quirky charm, which should you visit?
Jersey – At nine miles from end to end, this island is actually one of the largest of the Channel Islands. The stunning coast provides beautiful views across the sea and inland you can indulge yourself with the many fine bistros tucked into the quayside on the East of the island. Check out the Jersey war tunnels from WW2, visit the famous Durrells Zoo or simply go on a walking holiday around the island. The beach at St Ouen is a surfers mecca and you can take in the sights from the battlements at the Mont Orgeuil Castle.
Guernsey – My favourite island by far, this pretty place is home to Jenson Button, carnation planations and much more. With dramatic cliff walks and stunning villas set in the hills, rides to see puffins and seals and of course the cafes and restaurants, this island is picture perfect. From the main quay of St Peters Port, visit the Occupation Museum and the underground tunnels of the hospital, or check out the former home of Victor Hugo, and there is the must see of the Little Chapel made entirely of shells.
Alderney – Famous for bird watchers, keep your binoculars out for the many rare birds on this gorgeous unspoilt island. Gannets nestling offshore will compete for your attention with the blonde hedgehogs known locally as Spike Girls, and it is also the place to see a huge array of rare species of butterflies. There are over 50 miles of walks on this island which wind through sandy beaches and hilltops and bays, past wartime monuments and old Victorian fortresses.
Sark – No cars are allowed on this island so you’d better get used to travelling by bicycle, tractor bus or horse and cart. Fear not however as this is a tiny island so cafes and bars are never too far away. With amazing views you can wander across to Little Sark, via the La Coupee, which is a narrow causeway situated 240 ft above the sea level. Sark has just been named the world’s first Dark Sky Island and is perfect for star gazers who want to capture images of the Milky Way and streaking comets across the night sky.
Herm – As with Sark, no cars are allowed here but bicycles are also banned so if you want to really return to nature this is the place to be. Catch the beautiful white beaches of Belvoir Bay and Shell Beach which is full of crystalline tiny shells, perfect for snorkelling.
Flights are available to Jersey and Guernsey from Gatwick and other major London airports and ferries arrive from Weymouth, Poole and Portsmouth on a daily basis.