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Trave to the Channel Islands' quaint English coasts

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!
  • The Channel Islands, United Kingdom
    © iStockphoto.com / Nickbeer
  • The Channel Islands, United Kingdom
    © iStockphoto.com / Rzoze19
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination United Kingdom

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.

The Channel Islands: the key figures

Surface area : 116.0 km2

Population : 75 inhabitants

  • 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.
  • 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.

The Channel Islands: what to visit?

Landscapes

  • The Channel Islands, United Kingdom, Fishing ports, farmlands, Landscapes, The Channel Islands
    Fishing ports, farmlands
  • The Channel Islands, United Kingdom, Fishing ports, farmlands, Landscapes, The Channel Islands

Coasts

  • Jersey , Jersey, Channel Islands , United Kingdom
    Jersey
  • Bailiwick of Guernsey, Channel Islands, Guernsey, Coasts, The Channel Islands
    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
  • Alderney , Alderney, Channel Islands , United Kingdom

The fauna and flora

  • Eric Young Foundation's garden. , The Eric Young Orchid Foundation, Jersey , United Kingdom
    Eric Young Foundation's garden.
  • Samares' manor park, Jersey, Samares' manor park, The fauna and flora, The Channel Islands
    Samares' manor park
  • Guernsey's flower shows
  • Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
  • Saint-Ouen's pond, The fauna and flora, The Channel Islands
    Saint-Ouen's pond
  • The Eric Young Foundation garden. , The Eric Young Orchid Foundation, Jersey , United Kingdom
    The Eric Young Foundation garden.
  • Samares Manor, Jersey, Channel Islands, Samares Manor, The fauna and flora, The Channel Islands
    Samares Manor
  • The Guernsey Flower Show, Channel Islands, The Guernsey Flower Show, The fauna and flora, The Channel Islands
    The Guernsey Flower Show
  • Jersey Zoo, Channel Islands, Jersey Zoo, The fauna and flora, The Channel Islands
    Jersey Zoo
  • Saint-Ouen pond, Jersey, Channel Islands, Saint-Ouen pond, The fauna and flora, The Channel Islands
    Saint-Ouen pond
  • Saint-Ouen pond, Jersey, Channel Islands, Saint-Ouen pond, The fauna and flora, The Channel Islands

Monuments

  • Dolmens, Jersey, Channel Islands, Jersey's dolmens, Monuments, The Channel Islands
    Jersey's dolmens
  • Mont-Orgueil Castle, Jersey, Channel Islands, Mont-Orgueil Castle (Jersey), Monuments, The Channel Islands
    Mont-Orgueil Castle (Jersey)
  • Churches in Jersey , Jersey churches, Channel Islands , United Kingdom
    Churches in Jersey
  • Hampton Museum, Jersey, Channel Islands, Hampton Museum (Jersey), Monuments, The Channel Islands
    Hampton Museum (Jersey)
  • Dehus dolmen, Guernsey, Channel Islands, Dehus dolmen (Guernsey), Monuments, The Channel Islands
    Dehus dolmen (Guernsey)
  • The Little Chapel, Guernsey, Channel Islands, The Little Chapel (Guernsey), Monuments, The Channel Islands
    The Little Chapel (Guernsey)
  • Hauteville House, Guernsey, Channel Islands, Hauteville House (Guernsey), Monuments, The Channel Islands
    Hauteville House (Guernsey)
  • Hauteville House, Guernsey, Channel Islands, Hauteville House (Guernsey), Monuments, The Channel Islands

Activities and leisure

  • The beaches of Jersey, Beaches in Jersey, Activities and leisure, The Channel Islands
    Beaches in Jersey
  • , Pleasant back roads, Activities and leisure, The Channel Islands
    Pleasant back roads
  • Tennerfest, Activities and leisure, The Channel Islands
    Tennerfest
  • Tennerfest, Activities and leisure, The Channel Islands

Traditions

  • The Viaer Marchi, Guernsey, Channel Islands, The Viaer Marchi, Traditions, The Channel Islands
    The Viaer Marchi
  • , Medieval banquets, Traditions, The Channel Islands
    Medieval banquets
  • , Medieval banquets, Traditions, The Channel Islands

The Channel Islands: what to buy?

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.

The Channel Islands: what to eat?

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.

The Channel Islands: what are the cultural particularities?

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.

The Channel Islands: travel tips

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.

The Channel Islands: Latest hotel reviews
  • 8.2 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    La Pomme d'Or
    St Helier - United Kingdom
    Hotel 4 Etoile(s)

    The Pomme d'Or is one of the best-located hotels in Saint-Helier. ...

  • 7.95 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Hôtel De France - Jersey
    St Helier - United Kingdom
    Hotel 3 Etoile(s)

    This hotel is fine for a weekend all year round. There is a courtesy ...

  • 7.8 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Revere
    St Helier - United Kingdom
    Hotel 2 Etoile(s)

    This is one of the best hotels in Jersey for its traditional ...

  • 7.8 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Somerville
    St Helier - United Kingdom
    Hotel 4 Etoile(s)

    This is a great hotel for a weekend break at any time of year. ...

  • 7.8 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Hougue du Pommier
    Castel - United Kingdom
    Hotel 3 Etoile(s)

    One of our favourite places in Guernsey. For its traditional ...

  • 7.65 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Water's Edge
    St Helier - United Kingdom
    Hotel 3 Etoile(s)

    A calm strip of water (in summer) surrounded by an abundance ...

  • 7.45 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Royal Hotel
    St Helier - United Kingdom

    Here, you can eat well, sleep well in comfortable rooms, and ...

  • 7.45 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Cristina
    St Helier - United Kingdom
    Hotel 4 Etoile(s)

    Here is a hotel which we recommend if you want to come to Jersey ...

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