| Guernsey has a quieter charm than its neighbour, Jersey, with fewer of the trappings of mass tourism, and is a tranquil alternative. Like Jersey, though, it has a strong culture of annual special events like the Battle of Flowers floral carnival which takes place in August. |
St. Peter Port
The island’s capital retains the character of a traditional fishing village. The church dates in part from the 12th century, while the 17th-century oldest house, now a National Trust shop, is located in Cornet Street.
The Priaulx Library contains a large browsable collection of historical records. Nearby, Castle Cornet overlooks the harbour and built during the reign of King Stephen, it bears influences from many eras, through to the German occupation of World War II. It also contains the Royal Guernsey Militia Museum, a Maritime Museum and attractive gardens.
Hauteville House, on the south side of St Peter Port at the top of the hill, was once the home of Victor Hugo. It was here that he wrote The Toilers of the Sea, which is set in St Sampson. His statue stands in Candie Gardens, as does the main Island Museum, and a small botanical gardens.
Guernsey has an extensive array of lovely beaches ranged all around its coastline. Within walking distance of St Peter Port are those of Havelet Bay and Belle Grève Bay.
On the West Coast lies Fortress Rousse, an 18th-century tower which is now open to the public. Fortifications are scattered all around the coast – among them are Ivy Castle near Le Bouet, a Norman stronghold, and Vale Castle in St Sampson.
In the north of the island are L’Ancresse Bay and Grande Havre, both with large sandy beaches.
Further afield, and popular with surfers, is the northwest-facing Vazon Bay, with huge sweeping sands. At the western end lies Roquaine Bay, which boasts 2 beaches as well as the Fort Grey Maritime Museum, focusing on the many shipwrecks that have occurred off Guernsey. At the northern end of the bay, Lihou Island is home to flocks of seabirds, and is accessible to walkers during low tide.
On the south coast, steep steps reach the beach at Petit Bôt, and Moulin Huet Bay is a sheltered location for sunbathers. The cliff paths around the island make for very interesting walks. The Water Lanes leading to the shore, particularly at Moulin Huet and Petit Bôt, are highlights among these.
Dolmens (neolithic tombs) are fairly common on Guernsey. Among them are Déhus Dolmen, near the yacht marina in the Vale, and La Catioroc, on a mound overlooking Perelle Bay and reputedly once a witches’ meeting place.
North of the island at Sausmarez Park, the Folk Museum has an extensive collection of old farming equipment and Victorian domestic furniture. The wartime German Underground Hospital at St Andrew is now a tourist attraction, and the German Occupation Museum at Forest gives an insight into island life during World War II German occupation. Also located in German tunnels is the island’s Aquarium.
The Little Chapel at Les Vauxbelets is thought to be the smallest church in the world, with space for a priest and a congregation of just two.
Guernsey’s only stately home is Sausmarez Manor at St Martin which is open to the public.