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Sister Islands and Day Trips

Guernsey is the perfect launch pad to explore neighbouring Bailiwick islands and beyond. Whether you are looking for a stroll along a deserted beach or a quiet nook to cosy up and read your book in, an action filled day, a bit of shopping or a chance to explore a castle, Bailiwick island hopping holidays are what you are looking for.

Herm and Sark offer a traffic-free paradise for those who long for the quiet life. Alderney will welcome you with open arms and Jersey is perfect if you want a more cosmopolitan day out. Further afield, France offers a whole host of opportunities. Explore ancient picturesque towns or just sit and watch the world go by in one of the many cafes and restaurants.

Herm Sark Alderney Jersey France

Herm is where the heart is.

Herm Island is a haven of calm in an increasingly frenetic world.

With its award-winning gardens and breath-taking stretches of white sandy beaches, it's easy to see why it is love at first sight for many visitors to this small but perfectly formed island.

For those craving a traditional family beach holiday, this is it - with a sprinkling of the Famous Five.

This tranquil beach paradise in within easy reach of Guernsey - just a 20-minutes ferry ride away - and is a favourite with both locals and visitors, especially throughout the summer season.

Taking a stroll with the family

As soon as you step off the boat the stresses of the modern world evaporate. To really appreciate the peaceful nature of Herm Island holidays stay overnight in either the hotel, self catering cottages and log cabins or campsites.

Car-free Herm is just a mile and a half long and half a mile wide and the coastline offers unspoilt beaches and spectacular views from the southern cliff paths lined with wild flower hedgerows.

View of Herm's west coast

The east coast beaches of Shell and Belvoir are where childhood memories are made. The soft white sand and clean blue water are perfect for play and swimming but it's best to tentatively dip your toe in, rather than dive in - the waters may be clear but they are also infamously chilly.

Belvoir Bay Herm island quote

Have a drink or bar meal at the Mermaid Tavern, a courtyard lunch at the Ship Inn or, for more formal dining, there is The White House Hotel, the island's only hotel, which has no telephones, televisions or clocks in its rooms. The beach cafes are also open in the summer months for snacks and sandwiches.

Herm gift shop

The gift shops are a magnet for visitors, especially children, and have a wide range of quirky and interesting items, as well as practical beach gear.

Herm village Shop in peace and tranquility

Herm is as proud of its gardens as it is of its beaches and, each Tuesdays throughout the summer, the Island's head gardener, Brett Moore leads a tour. The gardens have twice won the coveted Britain in Bloom title and are a Mecca for gardening enthusiasts.

The island may be tiny, but it has a fascinating and colourful history. Most recently, Herm was also the temporary custodian home to a striking Anthony Gormley sculpture.

Neolithic settlements have been found in the north of the island and recently evidence was uncovered of a prehistoric beach. This is where smugglers landed 100s of years ago and where pirates were hung as a warning to others.

Herm has been home to monks, Nazi soldiers, and even the famous writer, Sir Compton MacKenzie.

A lot of Herm's ways and traditions have been in place for several generations, having been established by the Wood family who ran the Island from 1949, followed by the Starboard Settlement, which took over their guardianship from 2008.

Herm is the perfect place to rewind and recharge your batteries. But don't take our word for it, go and see for yourself.

For more information on the beautiful island of Herm, go to www.herm.com

To read more about the island and its secrets, pick up a copy of 'Hidden Treasures of Herm Island' by Catherine Kalamis, a one-time resident on the island, which is available at the Herm Island gift shops and select Guernsey books shops.

Sea Travel:

Travel Trident

T: +44 (0) 1481 721379

W: www.traveltrident.com

If you are holidaying with a car, please note that, due to ongoing works at the harbour, there is currently no provision for parking for more than 10 hours. There is a large car park, North Beach, situated alongside the harbour which has 10 hour, two and three hour spaces. Also worth bearing in mind is that, from Monday to Friday, this long term parking is popular with office workers so does fill up early, by approximately 8am. Salerie Corner is a short walk from the harbour, along the seafront heading North, which also offers 10 hour parking.

If you are planning on staying in Herm for longer than a day trip, it is advised that you take public transport or a taxi to and from the harbour.

There is no paid parking in Guernsey but vehicle owners must display a paper parking clock which will be supplied with a hire car or can be bought from the Tourist Information Centre or Police Station.

Herm Island Video

Please click on the image below right to visit the Herm Island website:

View across to Herm harbour Link to the Herm Island website This link opens in a new browser window

For a truly unique day out head to our sister island of Sark.

Island Parish follows the life of parishioners in the tiny Channel Island

Traffic-free, with stunning coastal views and a picturesque rural interior, the island is easily reached by ferry from Guernsey in about 50 minutes.

Rattle up harbour hill in the legendary 'toast rack', a makeshift tractor-pulled minibus - an unforgettable experience for every visitor. With no cars, the 600 residents get about by bicycle or horse and carriage, which has a dramatic affect on the pace of life.

A holiday on Sark really is like stepping back in time. But, while it has retained a more sedate feel, many of the island's hotels have introduced a more modern luxurious feel. In January 2011, Sark was designated the first Dark Sky Island Community in the world. This recognises that Sark is sufficiently clear of light pollution to allow naked-eye astronomy.

Sark is also proving to be a haven for writers, well-known Danish author Lene Kaaberbol has made the island her home. Sark also provided the inspiration for Rosa Rankin-Gee's book The Last Kings of Sark. Rosa was featured in The Guardian, read more here: www.theguardian.com/books/2013/dec/01/rosa-rankin-gee-interview-sark

Sark is the perfect island for star-gazing as it has Dark Sky status

It may be small in numbers, but Sark has still managed to produce a gold medal-winning Olympian. Carl Hester struck gold in the 2012 London games as part of the dressage team and, as a result, the island's only post box outside the post office on the Avenue was painted gold - and will remain gold for at least four years.

Sark is best experienced either on foot or by bicycle, which are available for rent on the island.  Alternatively, take a horse-drawn carriage and let a local guide show you the highlights and hidden gems, including La Seigneurie, the Venus Pool and Adonis Pool, both natural swimming pools whose waters are refreshed at high tide.

The island has become increasingly self-sufficient and Sark residents produce a whole host of local produce. This is not limited to the freshest vegetables and fruits, the island has its own bakery and, among other goods, produces its own milk and butter and luxury chocolate. Islanders also rear beef and pork which is highly sought after because of its fabulous taste. Of course, the island is also famous for its amazing seafood, with juicy hand-dived scallops and lobsters caught and served daily during peak season.

Evidence shows that the Island was occupied as far back as the megalithic period. Fascinating finds of Roman horse-silver, dating from the first century BC, have brought archaeologists back to the island time and time again to uncover more about Sark's unique early history.

La Coupee, Sark

Sark is split into two islands - the main island, which is just over two square miles, and Little Sark to the south, which is accessed by Le Coupee. The narrow causeway is 300 ft long and has a drop of 330 ft each side. Protective railings were erected in 1900 but previous to that children would crawl across in their hands and knees to avoid being blown over the edge.

Until 2008, Sark was the last feudal system in Europe. A new constitution was approved by HM Queen Elizabeth II through Privy Council and a general election for a new style fully demographic government was held in December 2008.

The new government is made up of 28 fully elected Conseillers and the Seigneur still has a role. In the new government there are no protected seats for landowners, as there were previously.

Horse and carriage rides in Sark Rural Sark

If you do choose to stay in one of the many hotels, guest houses, self-catering cottages and campsites there is one essential piece of advice, and that is to take a torch.

Sark Video

For more information about holidaying in Sark contact on +44 (0)1481 832345 or email office@sark.co.uk

*SPECIAL OFFER FOR JULY & AUGUST 2014*

Book your day trip to Sark and a Coastal Cruise of the east & south coast of Guernsey together and receive 20% discount off both trips.

In order to receive this offer, please telephone the main ticket office on 01481 724059 or call into our ticket office at the White Rock in Guernsey.

Adult to Sark  £22.24
Adult Coastal Cruise £19.99

Child to Sark £10.32
Child Coastal Cruise £9.59

Sea Travel:

Isle of Sark Shipping Company

T: +44 (0) 1481 724059

E: info@sarkshippingcompany.com

W: http://www.sarkshippingcompany.com/

If you are holidaying with a car, please note that, due to ongoing works at the harbour, there is currently no provision for parking over 10 hours. There is a large car park, North Beach, situated alongside the harbour which has 10 hour, two and three hour spaces. Also worth bearing in mind is that, from Monday to Friday, this long term parking is popular with office workers so does fill up early, by approximately 8am. Salerie Corner is a short walk from the harbour, along the seafront heading North, which also offers 10 hour parking.

If you are planning on staying in Sark for longer than a day trip, it is advised that you take public transport or a taxi to and from the harbour.

There is no paid parking in Guernsey but vehicle owners must display a paper parking clock which will be supplied with a hire car or can be bought from the Tourist Information Centre or Police Station.

For further details on Sark see the Island's Tourism website

The most northerly of the Bailiwick islands, Alderney is a nature lover's paradise.

View of Alderney

At three miles long by one-and-a-half miles wide, it is the closest to France of all the islands and has a permanent community of approximately 2,400.

The island is small, relaxed and friendly and has its own distinct identity. Car passengers do not have to legally wear a seatbelt and there is a box of half-finished knitting in a box at the airport in case you are ever delayed by bad weather. It was one of the last places in the British Isles to introduce a smoking ban in June 2010.

Alderney's wildlife colonies Miniature railway, Alderney

Alderney holidays allow you to discover an island steeped in ancient and varied history, a huge variety of flora and fauna, beautiful beaches and an enviable lifestyle.

It is a paradise for nature lovers with a combination of beautiful landscapes and abundant wildlife.

The cobbled high street of St Anne has quirky gift and antique shops as well as a post office, bank, hotels and restaurants.

Street in St Anne, Alderney

Shopping in Alderney Shopping in Alderney

One of the main events of the summer is Alderney Week. Celebrated in the first week of August, organisers pick a different theme each year and the week includes Quarry parties, street markets, a cavalcade, raft races and man-powered flight competition and a torchlight procession

The island is easily accessible from Guernsey by air throughout the year and from  March to September by scheduled boat service, or boat charter at anytime.

Braye beach and harbour is protected by the longest breakwater in the UK, and the surrounding coastline is punctuated with imposing Forts from the Romans to the German Occupation of the early part of the 1940s.The entire population of, at the time, 1,500 were evacuated. The Germans arrived to a deserted island and began orders to fortify Alderney and build four concentration camps.

Over the years, the island has had a number of famous residents, including Wombles creator Elizabeth Beresford and even named one of her characters after her island home.

Alderney is renowned for its severe tides and rugged and dangerous coastline.

Braye Beach

Alderney's beautiful coastline Alderney's unique railway

Over the centuries it has proved the undoing of dozens of ships, many well known, some obscure and some whose wrecks still await discovery.

Each shipwreck represents a moment frozen in time, but one in particular has provoked world-wide interest - a vessel which came to grief towards the end of the 16th century.

Currently under investigation, this is the only known wreck of an English warship of the Elizabethan Age, perhaps even one of the ships which fought against the Spanish Armada.  Alderney Island Video

Getting to Alderney is part of the fun.  You can fly on Aurigny's iconic Trislander aircraft (you may be even lucky enough to fly on the famous G-JOEY) or you can travel by high speed catamaran The Bumblebee.

Carriers by Air:

Aurigny Air Services

T: +44 (0) 1481 822886

E: reservations@aurrigny.com

W: www.aurigny.com

Sea Travel:

Bumblebee Boat Cruises

T: +44 (0) 1481 720200

E: skipper@bumblebee.gg

W: http://www.bumblebee.gg/

For further details on Alderney see the Island;s Tourism website

Perhaps best-known for its Jersey Royal new potatoes and being the home of TV detective series Bergerac, Jersey has much to offer visitors, from its beautiful beaches to its capital St Helier.

Gorey, Jesrey

The largest of the Channel Islands, it is 46 square miles and divided into 12 parishes which all border the sea. With a population just short of 100,000, Jersey has a more cosmopolitan feel than Guernsey.

Jersey beaches are on a different scale to those in Guernsey and those such as St Aubin's Bay, Grouville, Greve de Lecq, St Brelade's and St Ouen's - also known as five mile beach - have huge expanses of uninterrupted, white sand.

La Cotte de St Brelade is a Paleolithic site inhabited before rising sea levels transformed Jersey into an island. It was a centre of Neolithic activity, demonstrated by the large number of dolmens that still exist today.

Evidence of both Bronze and Iron Age settlements have been found and, in June 2012, two metal detectorists uncovered what is thought to be Europe's largest hoard of Iron Age coins at Grouville. The 50,000 coins have an estimated value of up to £10M.

Jersey's history is most notable from its spectacular coastal castles, including Mont Orgueil and Elizabeth Castle.

Families playing on the beach

Mont Orgueil, or Gorey Castle, dates back to the early 13th century, and stands guard over Gorey harbour. The pretty village is a great out of town spot for a bit of lunch and shopping.

Work on Elizabeth Castle, at the mouth of St Helier harbour, began in the 16th century and Sir Walter Raleigh, Governor of Jersey between 1600 and 1603, named the castle Elizabeth Castle after Elizabeth I of England.

The Castle can be reached at low tide on foot via a causeway or on a castle Ferry. Historical displays include the Jersey Royal Militia Museum.

As with all of the Channel Islands, Jersey was occupied by Nazi Germany during WWII. During that time the Germans constructed many fortifications using Soviet slave labour.

The Channel Islands were one of the last places in Europe to be liberated on 9 May 1945.

The Jersey War Tunnels offer a fascinating museum dedicated to the occupation years.

Promenading along Jersey's seafront St Helier

Among famous historical residents is singer and actress Lillie Langtry (1853-1929) best known as the mistress of the Prince of Wales.

Born Emillie Le Breton, she was the only daughter of the Dean of Jersey. In 1874 she married Edward Langtry and they had their reception at the Royal Yacht Hotel in St Helier, still a popular St Helier hotel. The couple moved to London and it was here she embarked on a number of affairs with high-profile members of society including the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII.

More recently, naturalist and author, Gerald Durrell, founded Jersey Zoo, now The Durrell Wildlife Park, in 1959.

With approximately 170,000 visitors each year it is one of Jersey's best-loved attractions and now also houses the Conservation Trust.

Jersey's varied coastline offers visitors plenty of variety

Another must for Jersey holidays is the island's pottery. Established in 1946, it has become renowned around the world for award-winning ceramics and restaurants.

It has three cafes, including one on the High Street in St Helier, the bustling capital of the island.

Alongside well-known brands, there are plenty of independent boutiques and quirky gift shops to explore. There is still a historic market in the town, which retains its French roots in its café culture that spills out onto the pedestrian streets.

While Jersey does not have VAT, a Goods and Service Tax was introduced in May 2008, which now stands at 5%.

For a real slice of community life, visit the island in August for the main event during the summer. The Jersey Battle of Flowers remains a family favourite and has been held annually since 1902.

Carriers by Air:

Aurigny Air Services

T: +44 (0) 1481 822886

E: reservations@aurrigny.com

W: www.aurigny.com

Blue Islands

T: +44 (0) 1481 8456 202122

E: book@blueislands.com

W: www.blueislands.com

Sea Travel:

Condor Ferries

T: +44 (0) 1481 8456 091026

E: reservations@condorferries.co.uk

W: www.condorferries.com

Manche Ile Express

T: +44 (0) 1481 701316

W: http://www.manche-iles.com/

For further details on Jersey see the Island;s Tourism website

France is in easy reach of Guernsey and makes a great day trip or long weekend.

The historic town of Dinan

From the famous mediaeval Bayeux Tapestry to the Mont St Michel, the Normandy Beaches, and the historic hillside town of Dinan, you don't have to travel far to get away from it all.

Guernsey to France day trips are available by both air and sea. St Malo is just two hours away by ferry or 25 minutes by air to Dinard airport.

A passenger-only ferry also runs between Guernsey and the Normandy Coast with Manche Ile Express. The only thing you need to remember is your passport.

St Malo

The walled city of St Malo traces its modern roots to a monastic settlement founded in the 6th century. The city's history is steeped in legends about pirates and privateering - to find out more visit the Privateer's House, a ship-owner's town house built in 1725 which shows objects from history.

As well as the many shops and cafes to explore, there are plenty of sites of interest charting the city's colourful past including the St Malo Cathedral and city Chateau, the aquarium and the Solidor Tower in Saint-Servan, a 14th century building that hols a collection tracing the history of voyages around Cape Horn.

Dinan

Dinan is one of the prettiest French towns. With its picture-postcard steep cobbled streets and original Tudor timber buildings.

Cafes and restaurants line the river and the medieval walled town on the hilltop has many fine old buildings some of which are as early as the 13th century. The town retains a large section of the city walls, part of which can be walked round.

The historical centre of Dinan, based around Place des Merciers and Place Saint Sauveur, is perfect for a wander about or to just take in the atmosphere.

Major historical attractions include the Jacobins Theatre, dating from 1224, the Romanesque St Saviour's Basilica, Duchess Anne's Tower and the Chateau de Dinan.

A major highlight in the calendar is Dinan's Fête des Remparts. The town is transformed with decoration and many locals dress up in medieval garb for this two-day festival. It occurs only every other year.

Mont St Michel Dinan's timber-framed buildings

Dinard

With beaches, great restaurants and hotels, a casino and one of the finest spas in Europe, it is easy to see why Dinard has a reputation for being the 'Cannes of the North'.

Over the years, it has attracted a wide variety of stars including Joan Collins and Winston Churchill, Picasso and composer Debussy.

Dinard was first settled by Saint-Malo's shipping merchants and, in the late 19th century, American and British aristocrats made the town popular as a fashionable summer resort.

They built stunning villas on the cliff tops and exclusive hotels such as the 'Le Grand Hotel' on the seafront, still a popular hotel today. Sadly, very few survive today but the town has retained its French charm and has 407 listed villas.

In the summer, the population swells to over 40,000 with the influx of holiday makers. The nearby towns of Saint-Briac-sur-Mer and Saint-Lunaire have reasonably-sized golf courses and the beach of Longchamp is renowned as a surfers' spot.

Carriers by Air:

Aurigny Air Services (Dinard)

T: +44 (0) 1481 822886

E: reservations@aurrigny.com

W: www.aurigny.com

Sea Travel:

Condor Ferries (St Malo)

T: +44 (0) 1481 8456 091026

E: reservations@condorferries.co.uk

W: www.condorferries.com

Manche Ile Express

T: +44 (0) 1481 701316

W: http://www.manche-iles.com/

For further details on visiting France see the Britanny and Normandie tourism websites