• The Channel Islands, United Kingdom
    © iStockphoto.com / Nickbeer
  • The Channel Islands, United Kingdom
    © iStockphoto.com / Rzoze19
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Trave to the Channel Islands' quaint English coasts

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile
Welcome to an archipelago where culture does not follow geography. Very close to France, these parts of the Cotentin Peninsula speak English and eat insular cuisine: fish and seafood caught offshore, thin skin potatoes, Jersey Royals, butter, yellow-coloured milk and cream, strawberries and tomatoes that are grown in green houses!

Travel guide

Wildlife exploring in Alderney

Alderney is the third largest of the Channel Islands but still only stretches 3 miles long and a half mile wide. It's one of the best places in the UK for spying on animals in the wild, especially those possessing wings (270 different species in total). The list of birds able to be spotted is rather extensive, to name just a few, seabirds, gulls, gannets, fulmars, guillemots, razorbills, plovers and terns. Other creatures popular in Alderney include blonde hedgehogs; arm yourself with a torch at night if you're keen to see some of these furry, or not so furry, friends. In terms of marine life, the Blue Bay is often famous for its common and bottle nosed dolphin sightings and a short boat trip will also take you to Les Etacs, where Atlantic Grey Seals reside. This is the perfect place for the ornithologists and wildlife fanatics amongst you and the impressive range of wildlife for such a small island has even been recognized by the British Wildlife Trusts.

Coasteering in Sark

Coasteering is a watersport that effectively involves jumping and swimming from area to area along the shoreline, dipping in and out of the caves along the way. Sark has one of the most unique coasteering routes in Britain with incredible not only caves but caverns for example the Victor Hugo, Cathedral Cave, Boutique caves and the Derrible Head Cavers or even the famous Gouliot Caves. Adventure Sark arms you with everything you might need to take part in the coasteering for example a 5mm wetsuit, buoyancy aid and helmet. You'll be ready to have ALL the fun with friends, family and/or colleagues. Whilst on the topic of water sports, Sark is also one of the few places in Britain where you can dive. It's necessary to be of an advanced level and if so some of the wrecks and caves that can be explored underwater are truly phenomenal.

Kayaking in Herm

Herm is the smallest of all the Channel Islands, measuring at just a mile and a half long and half a mile wide. Seeing as it is so small no cars or even bikes are allowed on the island, it is only accessible by ferry or private boat. Kayaking is very popular here especially just off Shell Beach where guided tours are offered. Kayaks can be ordered from Easter onwards, weather permitting. The water surrounding shell beach is such a crystal clear blue and the sand is so white that when the sun shines it can often be described as a scene from the Caribbean. If you're a fun of breathtaking beaches but not too fussed about taking a back seat on the kayaking visit the neighbouring beach Mouisonniere which is a bit less well known but perhaps more stunning than Shell Beach.

Motorcycle tours in Jersey

Jersey's Limobikes offer an extraordinary way to explore this Channel Island, the company offer to pick you up from the destination of your choice in Jersey and take you for a spin in a Harley Davidson. The drivers know Jersey like the back of their hand so will take you on any route that you so desire, the only requirement is that you listen to a briefing on safety aspects and agree to wear the protective clothing (includes jackets, helmets and gloves.) Also, you must wear long trousers and enclosed footwear so don't come from the beach wearing flip flops. There's no need for you to have any prior experience or qualifications.

Our Editorial team's advice

Summer is a very popular time to visit the Channel Islands and so accommodation and restaurant prices drastically increase. Therefore, it's better to come during spring or during the low season when the weather is still quite mild. If you decide to stay in Sark during the high season, think about booking well in advance as accommodation is limited.

Restaurants in Jersey tend to have special offers from early October to mid-November. There's a selection of 40 different restaurants which offer entire meals starting from 10 pounds, often for a two course meal.

Make sure that you convert your money and take out enough cash before travelling to the Channel Islands. Guernsey and Jersey have their own notes and pounds and Sark, Herm and Alderney all use the Guernsey pound. American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are all accepted in most restaurants, cafes and bars and there are plenty of cash machines dotted around Jersey and Guernsey. However, in Alderney there are only two ATMs and in Sark and Herm there are no cash machines whatsoever so make sure that you withdraw money before arrival. Be aware that Channel Islands notes and coins are also not accepted in the UK - although they can be reconverted in UK banks.

pros

  • +The possibility of immersing yourself in the British culture while only one hour from the French coast.
  • +The option of switching from cultural visits to bathing on two big islands and three smaller ones in less than a week.

cons

  • -Between October and March, the archipelago lives at a slower pace and is more difficult to reach.
  • -Lovers of cultural attractions will be disappointed by the lack of major cultural sites.

Traditions

Less than an hour from the French coast, this is the dream place to spend a typical "tea time". Here, even more than usual on the British continent, people know how to take their time and when you are finished eating the delicious muffins and mini-sandwiches served in the best porcelain, it will almost be time for happy-hour. And for just that, the pub across the street welcomes you with open arms. The atmosphere is less cosy than the one in the tea rooms, but after one or two pints of beer, you will soon seem right at home.

Food

You can't find dishes or flavours more quintessentially British than in the Channel Islands. Favourites include: fish and chips, potted shrimps, shrimps seasoned with nutmeg and lime, assortments of British sponge classics without forgetting the delightful selection of pastries that are served with tea at 5 pm.

Freshly caught fish and shellfish are the most popular. Lobsters, crabs, and oysters are eaten almost all year round and seafood restaurants typically offer superb views of the harbours, beaches and bays. You will have the opportunity to see numerous greenhouses in Jersey or Guernsey. Tomatoes and strawberries are widely consumed on the islands, starting from the end of spring. Finally, since breakfast always seems to be the more hearty meal of the day, locals eat a light lunch usually to save themselves for dinner. Also note that Jersey holds a culinary festival in May and that if you go to Guernsey in October, you will be able to enjoy the local cuisine at attractive prices as a couple of the restaurants offer meals from 10 pounds.

The Channel Islands are renowned for their incredible selection of pubs offering an array of craft beers and great pub lunches. For example Guernsey's 'Wonky Donkey' and Jersey's 'Liberation Ale' or 'Jimmy's Real Ale' are thoroughly recommended.

Ideal Weather Search

Find weekly weather forecasts for The Channel Islands . Different criteria make it possible to predict with precision the best time of year to go to The Channel Islands . A comprehensive weather score, made up of temperature indicators, bad weather predictions, sunshine levels and wind speeds, will allow you to choose the activities best suited to the weather conditions and therefore make the most of your holiday in The Channel Islands .

Reviewed hotels

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Our journalists' reviews for you 19 hotels United Kingdom . Take a look at our hotels, their facilities or their value-for-money score according to your departure dates so that we can find the best offer to suit you United Kingdom . Book a hotel United Kingdom it's never been so simple !

Souvenirs

The islands are exempt from value-added tax, you will find many shops with imported products on the main streets of St. Helier (King street and Queen street) and St. Peter Port (Market street). Besides the customary perfume shops and luxury jewellery shops, you can also bring back warm clothes worn by sailors. Handicraft is fairly limited besides pottery, but you can always find local food products (honey, marmalade) or delicatessen imported from England. Shops are open from 9:00 to 17:00 or 17:30 from Monday to Saturday.

What to see

Fishing ports, farmlands , The Channel Islands, United Kingdom , United Kingdom
Fishing ports, farmlands
Jersey , Jersey, Channel Islands , United Kingdom
Jersey
Guernsey , Bailiwick of Guernsey, Channel Islands , United Kingdom
Guernsey
Sark Island , Sark Island, Channel Islands , United Kingdom
Sark Island
Herm , Herm, Channel Islands , United Kingdom
Herm
Alderney , Alderney, Channel Islands , United Kingdom
Alderney
The Eric Young Foundation garden. , The Eric Young Orchid Foundation, Jersey , United Kingdom
The Eric Young Foundation garden.
Samares Manor , Samares Manor, Jersey, Channel Islands , United Kingdom
Samares Manor
The Guernsey Flower Show , The Guernsey Flower Show, Channel Islands , United Kingdom
The Guernsey Flower Show
Jersey Zoo , Jersey Zoo, Channel Islands , United Kingdom
Jersey Zoo
Saint-Ouen pond , Saint-Ouen pond, Jersey, Channel Islands , United Kingdom
Saint-Ouen pond
Jersey's dolmens , Dolmens, Jersey, Channel Islands , United Kingdom
Jersey's dolmens
Mont-Orgueil Castle (Jersey) , Mont-Orgueil Castle, Jersey, Channel Islands , United Kingdom
Mont-Orgueil Castle (Jersey)
Churches in Jersey , Jersey churches, Channel Islands , United Kingdom
Churches in Jersey
Hampton Museum (Jersey) , Hampton Museum, Jersey, Channel Islands , United Kingdom
Hampton Museum (Jersey)
The Channel Islands : Explore