Guernsey Trip Report – A French Island Paradise in Britain
The lovely island of Guernsey, a unique blend of French and British culture is located in the English Channel, 30 miles off the northwestern coast of France and only a 50-minute flight from London Gatwick.
Guernsey is a self-governing British Crown dependency, that has been influenced by nearby France through the centuries. Why am I telling you this? Personally I feel it is this fusion of French and British cultures that makes Guernsey so unique and attractive. The language spoken is English, but there is still a Guernsey patois French spoken by some of the population. You’ll also find the majority of the roads are named in French. Every aspect of island life is a charming Anglo-Franco fusion.
I must start my introduction to Guernsey with the local cuisine and dining options. Being an island there is obviously a wide array of locally caught, extra fresh seafood. Nearly every single restaurant on the island will offer a seafood menu, and fairly priced too. I went out for a meal at a restaurant called The Farmhouse, which had been recommended to me by some locals I had met on my visit. I chose the Seafood of the Day special which was pan-fried sea bass in a lemon butter sauce. It was superb. There are comparative meals back home in London, however they are at the higher end restaurants where you are going to be paying over the odds for your meal. Other seafood restaurants of note in Guernsey are The Absolute End, Le Nautique and Pier 17, to name a few.
As well as the fantastic restaurants, the island also boasts a first class selection of hotels and accommodation. With something for everyone you can choose between the five star Old Government House hotel in the heart of the island’s capital, the four star Bella Luce hotel tucked away in the country lanes outside of the town center, or the four star La Grande Mare hotel out on the west coast of Guernsey where you can watch the sunset from your balcony.
Having booked myself into one of the lovely local hotels, I set off early each morning to explore this magnificent jewel of an island. My most memorable days were walking the cliffs on the south of Guernsey and spending time sat on the white sandy beaches. Starting from the capital, St Peter Port, I spent the next six hours on a self-guided walk hiking along the coastal path on the southern cliffs of the island all the way to Pleinmont, the most southwesterly point of Guernsey. With the cliffs interrupted every few hundred meters with views of scenic bays and beautiful beaches it is easy to see why the famous French novelist Victor Hugo dedicated his book, Toilers of the Sea, to Guernsey and this area of the island in particular. There are also many cafes and rest points along the route so please don’t let me put you off if you aren’t the most active holidaymakers.
After my few days of walking around the island and exploring the area I felt I had earned some deserved relaxation time on the beach. My hotel was in the town center on the east coast of the island so I hopped onto a bus and took the short twenty minute ride to get to Vazon bay, the largest of Guernsey’s beaches, on the west coast of the island. At over one and a half miles long, Vazon beach accommodates every type of person splendidly. During my time basking in the sun there were multiple surfers and windsurfers towards the southern end of the beach, teenagers playing beach soccer in between us and then several families in the area I had chosen close to the beach café, and more vitally for my feet, the bus stop.
Sadly my week in Guernsey came to an end far too quickly and I felt myself wishing to stay longer as I boarded my flight back to London. I do truly claim that anyone thinking of travelling to the UK or Europe has to stop off and spend some time in the beautiful little island that I lost myself in. It may only be a 50-minute flight from my hometown of London, but it felt like a whole other world.
About The Author: Emma is an avid traveller and loves visiting quirky places. She works to travel and loves to spend as much time discovering new places as possible. Check out her blog at www.travelbagel.com