10 things you might not know about Guernsey
There are many islands in the waters around Great Britain. None of them is close to being tropically exotic, but most of them are wildly exciting. With that said - this article will be about Guernsey, the second-largest of the Channel Islands. It turns out to be an interesting and unexpected destination with lots of potentials to take your breath away. I will try to reveal some compelling facts about Guernsey to prove that this statement is legitimate. Additionally, you will understand why Guernsey Island is nowhere related to Guernsey County other than by name. And finally, I will give some tips on places to visit and cheap places to stay in Guernsey. Are you ready to get ready for your holidays in Guernsey? Let’s go!
1. Where is Guernsey located?
Yeah. Unless you know this island, the answer to the question of where is Guernsey located might be one to put things into perspective. Guernsey is an island in the English Channel (or La Manche commonly adopted from French). It lies right off the coast of Normandy. If you intend to look up the ways how to travel to Guernsey, let me save you the trouble. Assuming you are not a sailor yourself, there are two main ways how to travel to Guernsey. A ferry from Portsmouth will cost you 60-70£ for a return ticket. Usually, ferries from the French mainland are also available, but they are temporarily suspended. If you are eager to travel this way, check the Guernsey tourism website for updated information. And the second way is arriving by plane from other British or French airports to Guernsey Airport.
One of the most defining characteristics of Guernsey Island is its location in the sea. When planning a trip there, consider visiting other heavenly beautiful islands surrounding it, too. Take the island of Sark or Jersey, for example. The particular composition of weather and geological traits list all of these among top places to visit in the world for enjoying steep, grass-covered cliffs that breathtakingly drop right into the sea.
There is much to say about the location of this island, but whatever you do - just make sure you are looking up the right travel destination. It definitely is NOT located in Guernsey County. Not getting too much into detail about the name connections, be aware that the latter one is a half-world away. Guernsey county is located in Ohio and if you do go there, you are probably planning a trip to Cambridge.
2. Guernsey has one of the world's largest tidal ranges
It is quite a spectacular view. If you have never seen a tidal wave then head right to Guernsey Island. It is definitely among the top places to visit in the world to observe this natural phenomenon because the water level changes every six hours or so. And the most stunning is the fact that the tidal range is up to 10 meters! Scavenge the rock formations on low tide and swim in the waters of the high tide. Surely the locals will be able to give you some hints about the best places to do it!
3. It is an amazing place for hiking enthusiasts
The island is small. So small that you can walk the circumference of Guernsey island in just a day. To give you an impression - it is just 10km across! If you like hiking and exploring new destinations on foot, this might just be one of the best places to do it. And cliffs on the coastline are literally breathtaking. Additionally, you won’t need cash for local Guernsey transportation. How convenient is that?
4. There are quite a few Guernsey references in the literary world
This island is one of the main heroes in the bestselling novel and Netflix movie The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. If you are keen on immersing yourself in the environment set by the authors, just book one of the places to stay in Guernsey dive deep into reading. Or re-reading, if that’s the case.
Another remarkable fact in literary history is that the island used to be a permanent residence for Victor Hugo from 1856-1870. What’s even more exciting is the fact that he wrote many of his acclaimed works there, including the very popular Les Miserables. The house where he used to live is one of the most visited tourist attractions! If you have always wondered where such artistic geniuses draw their inspiration from, travel to Guernsey is a must!
5. Be prepared for the weather in Guernsey
To be honest, the weather in Guernsey could be better. The temperatures range from 6C to 17C on average throughout the year, but that is not the most characteristic feature. The fact that it is an island comes with a few notions one should bear in mind when visiting this island. It is rather humid most of the year, and the harsh winds might make it feel like the weather in Guernsey has some serious vendetta towards every living human being. Don’t worry! Do some research to figure out what weather to expect in the time you plan to go and make sure to pack everything needed for the respective conditions. Socks, gloves, whatever you may need to enjoy this natural beauty fully!
6. Guernsey Island was occupied by Germans during WWII
Even though the fact itself is not too cheerful, it has left some interesting artifacts for modern tourists to explore. If you too are interested to see these historic spots, here is a suggestion from me. Among other places to visit, start with one of three museums devoted to these historic events. Go to the German Occupation Museum, German Naval Signals HQ or Valette Underground Military Museum to get some more background information on what happened and why. Then move on to exploring some slightly scary bunkers on the coast or visiting the underground hospital with long tunnels.
7. The island has a unique culinary heritage
Let me get that off my chest right away. If you like seafood then this might be among the top places in the world for trying abalone (locally known as Guernsey ormers). These are big, meaty shellfish. Besides these, many other sea-bound delicacies like spider crabs, mussels and others will be easy to spot in the local eateries. It does make much sense due to the proximity of the sea here! Other things locals are proud to call Guernsey typicals are gache (a rich fruit bread), bean jar, and conger soup. Rich dairy produce is also historically significant for the locals because the resources allowed farming goats and other grazing animals. For example, Guernsey ice cream is unexpectedly a thing to try there, too!
8. Travel to Guernsey to enjoy France, too
One of the most exciting facts about Guernsey is the notion that France is just about 43 kilometers away. It is actually closer than Britain! Flip the scenario around and take a short ferry ride to have dinner in one of the top places on the beautiful French coast! You will find a link about the available travel options in the section where I explained ways how to travel to Guernsey.
9. Going to Guernsey Island you can expect a rich folklore heritage
If you have decided to spend your holidays in Guernsey, be very aware of their cultural heritage concerning myths and legends. Believing in fairies, witchcraft, pirates, and mad dogs are something locals take very seriously. Also if you enjoy cosplay, this might be one of the top places for you to immerse into some fairy tale action!
10. How does the Guernsey flag look like?
I was also surprised that the Guernsey flag has nothing alike to the one of Great Britain. Basically, imagine white background with a red Saint George's Cross, and an additional gold Norman cross on top of it. Typically, you will see it on many souvenirs over there. Definitely consider some mug or T-shirt with Guernsey flag to bring home to your friends and family!
Tips for places to stay in Guernsey
A short intro. It might be harder to find really cheap places to stay in Guernsey, but I will try to list some ideas here. Usually, the price per night starts at around 30 EUR, but the average price you will see is 50-100EUR per night, per person.
If you aim for the budget end, go for El Tabora Guest House, St.Georges, or the Grand Lodge hotel. All of them are located at St.Peter Port. But my favorite by far was Fleur du Jardin! If you want to research your cheap places to stay in Guernsey of your own liking, just check Booking.com or AirBnB.com for more options of choice!
Let’s wrap it up. I truly hope these facts about Guernsey made you even a bit curious about visiting this island. After all, there are so many exciting and beautiful places to visit on your holidays in Guernsey! And the best thing is - you can plan it as a segment of your trip to Normandy or Britain because the island is rather small. That is unless you travel to Guernsey to take in some beautiful nature and retract yourself from the worldly rush and routines. Either way, my dearest suggestion is: just give Guernsey Island a shot!
Ieva Miltina is an activist and entrepreneur of many sorts. By profession project manager of marketing and culture events, in her heart she is a passionate traveler and a cook, soon to become a pastry chef. Deeply rooted in non-formal education she has been involved in youth work since her teenage years and up till nowadays holds a deep interest in innovative approaches to learning and personal development, which she transfers to people from all Europe during various international trainings. Always looking for new discoveries and adventures she happily shares her positive view on the world and the neverending stories with the people who cross her path. While studying hospitality and tourism management she wrote a thesis on home-chefs, which ignited her dream of owning her cozy and heartwarming home restaurant, which will hopefully materialize very soon. Meanwhile writing articles and doing food photography she is working towards another dream of hers - becoming a published author someday.