The beauty of Guernsey is that it is just a short hop from the UK, made all the more accessible to us by the fact that we could fly from Stansted.
Slightly smaller than its neighbour – the one beginning with J – there is still plenty to see and do on a week’s holiday. Don’t mention the J word while you’re there though – a history of rivalry between the two islands is definitely more obvious when you’re on Guernsey and a massive chip sits on the shoulders of this island. Every tour guide will mention it – but woe betide any visitor who dares to say they have been to that other island or who tries to compare the two!
St Peter Port is an excellent base for those who don’t want or need a car. We stayed at the Best Western Moores on a B&B basis and couldn’t fault it. A few minutes easy walking through the town takes you to the port and the bus station where the buses run pretty much on time and all journeys are just £1, wherever you go. Bus stops around the island, on the other hand, can be confusing as sometimes there is only a stop on one side of the road and you may not be sure which bus is going which way! There are buses going to all areas of the island and the No. 91/92 is a coastal service going the whole way round – the Guernsey Vaeux. The French word vaeux may loosely mean “doddery” but don’t be fooled – some of the drivers can certainly put their foot down!
Guernsey is a walkers’ paradise and if, like us, you prefer the peace and quiet of rugged cliff walks then head to the south of the island. Plenty of steps lead down to small bays, and almost always you can find a tea room nearby. The one on the way down to Moulin Huet bay has splendid views from the cafe and garden and rather good cake!
The north of the island is a good choice for families with children. Small, sheltered, sandy beaches with a refreshment kiosk at every bay. You can walk from bay to bay but a lot of this is on the roadside and doesn’t have the same scenery – however, if you want a leisurely “flat” walk without steps then the north might suit you.
Rain or shine there is plenty to do, especially around the capital St Peter Port. Castle Cornet is worth a visit – allow yourself a half day and take advantage of the guided tour. Our guide was relaxed, informative and had a very dry sense of humour, putting everyone immediately at ease. The noon day gun is a popular attraction but you might need to cover your ears as the noise of the gun certainly makes you jump!
We also did a walking tour of the town, starting at 10.00am from outside the Tourist Office for just a few pounds. If there’s something you particularly want to see, just ask, otherwise your guide will lead you on one of the several different walks they undertake; a leisurely and entertaining stroll through the history of the ancestors of the island.
There are many eating and drinking establishments in St Peter Port – one of our favourites being Cafe Delices in the Market Square. Delicious by name and by nature. A real French cafe and as good a galette as you’ll find anywhere. If the weather’s warm you can sit outside and watch the world go by and if you’re lucky there may be some live music in the Square.
All in all, an excellent place to visit. Guernsey may be pocket sized but there’s plenty to do – and you can do as much or as little as you want. Oh, but did I say? Don’t mention the J word!