Located in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy in France, the Channel Islands are full of wonderful beaches and old-world charm. They are independent, self-governing British Crown dependencies, and are divided into two “Bailiwicks” – Gurnsey and Jersey. The Channel Islands are also known for outdoorsy activities like surfing, kayaking, coasteering and diving.

The Bailiwick of Guernsey is made up of the picturesque island of Gurnsey, as well as the islands of Alderney, Sark, Herm, and numerous small offshore islands; while the Bailiwick of Jersey just has the large island of Jersey. The islands are full of historic forts and castles along the coastlines, as well as museums dedicated to their occupation by German troops during World War II.

Also Read: A Quick Guide to Visiting the Scottish Highlands

How to get there

Channel Islands
St. Helier harbour and waterfront in Jersey

Like the UK, the Channel Islands are not a part of the Schengen Agreement. They form a Common Travel Area with the UK, Republic of Ireland and the Isle of Man.

By Air

There are daily flights to the Channel Islands from both the UK and France, as well as several destinations in Europe. Guernsey Airport has flights from London Gatwick, as well as from Jersey, Manchester, Birmingham, Southampton, Bristol, France (Dinard and St Brieuc), Germany (Dusseldorf and Stuttgart) and Amsterdam (Rotterdam). Jersey Airport receives flights from London Gatwick, London Stansted, Liverpool, Birmingham, Southampton, Cardiff, Exeter and Guernsey, as well as European destinations.

By Boat

St Peter Port in Gurnsey is the docking point for ferries to and from the UK (from Poole, Portsmouth and Weymouth) and St Malmo in France. The island also has regular boats to Jersey, Sark and Herm, through connections to Alderney are a bit infrequent.

Getting around the Channel Islands

Saint Peter Port in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, Channel Islands
Saint Peter Port in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, Channel Islands
By Air

The Channel Islands have their own airline, Aurigny, which has flights between the two main islands, Gurnsey and Jersey, as well as to Alderney.

By Road

Most of the islands have well-maintained roads which can easily be navigated by car or bike. There are also taxis and bus services, though these can be infrequent and expensive.

By Boat  

The best way to travel between the many islands is by boat, and regular ferry services run between all major towns.

Places to see when you visit the Channel Islands

Mont Orgueil Castle, Jersey, Channel Islands
Mont Orgueil Castle on the Island of Jersey, Channel Islands
Jersey
  • Mont Orgueil Castle: a medieval castle located on a hill on the east coast of the island
  • Jersey War Tunnels: this complex of tunnels details the island’s WWII German occupation, and is located outside the main town of St. Helier
  • Grosnez Castle: a ruined 14th-century castle in Saint Ouen, situated on the north-west corner of the island, with scenic views
  • Jersey Museum: it covers the history of Jersey from prehistoric times. You can also visit the Maritime Mmuseum and the Occupation Museum
  • Saint Helier: this is the largest town in Jersey, and has a picturesque waterfront. Don’t miss the ruined 16th century Elizabeth Castle
Gurnsey
  • Castle Cornet: located on a tidal island at the entrance to St. Peter Port’s harbour, 13th-century castle has museums & gardens
  • Sausmarez Manor: this historic house in Saint Martin’s dates back to the 13th century, and also features amazing Victorian walled gardens
  • Fort Grey: a Martello tower located on a tidal rock in Rocquaine Bay in Saint Peter. It houses a fascinating shipwreck museum
  • Victor Hugo House: also known as Hauteville House, this was where French writer Victor Hugo lived in exile
  • Little Chapel: a chapel in Guernsey’s centre, whose walls are embedded with pebbles and broken china.
  • Lihou Island: this tiny, bird-rich is located just off Guernsey’s west coast
Isthmus on Sark, Channel Islands
Isthmus on Sark, Channel Islands
Alderney
  • Fort Clonque: a 19th-century coastal fortress built by the British
  • Alderney Society Museum: the only museum in Alderney, it explores the history of the island from the Stone Age to modern day
Sark
  • La Coupée: this narrow isthmus joining the two parts of the island (Great Sark and Little Sark and has spectacular views on either side.
  • Le Moulin: the highest point in Sark
  • Sarkhenge: a historic stone circle marks 450 years since Queen Elizabeth I granted the Fief of Sark to Helier De Carteret, the original feudal lord of the island.
  • Fairy Grotto: picturesque spot on the island of Sark
Herm
  • Shell Beach: a 19th-century coastal fortress built by the British
  • Alderney Society Museum: the only museum in Alderney, it explores the history of the island from the Stone Age to modern day

Other Information

Saint Peter Port, Guernsey

The Channel Islands are located in the Gulf of St Malo which ensures that they have pleasant weather all year-round. However, the best time to visit is between July and August, when temperatures are warm. It is also when the islands hold the Alderney Week  Festival, as well as Jersey Battle of Flowers which features parades of flower-covered floats.

The islands are also known for their excellent seafood. It can be found at local restaurants at St Helier (Guernsey) and St Peter Port (Jersey).

 

 

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