Plan the Perfect Winter Break in Guernsey
Just a short 40-minute flight from the UK, or 3 hours by ferry, Guernsey is nearby for a quick getaway, but can feel a world away. If you're looking to plan a winter break in Guernsey, whether you are keen for outdoor adventures or cosying up and exploring some history inside, there's plenty to enjoy.
We've compiled some advice to help you plan your perfect break, including accommodation options, travel advice, places to visit and where to eat, in this 3 day itinerary.
Traveling to Guernsey
You can fly to Guernsey in as little as 40 minutes. Several airlines operate flights to Guernsey from regional and international airports across the UK including: London Gatwick, Exeter, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Southampton and more. There are also a range of seasonal flights operating over the festive period from Edinburgh, Dublin and East Midlands with Guernsey's airline Aurigny.
If you'd like to bring your own transport or prefer travel by ferry, you can reach Guernsey in as little as 3 hours from the UK. With overnight services from the UK and a direct service from Cherbourg that takes just 2 hours and 30 minutes, there are many options to approach our Islands by sea.
Once on-Island, to get around easily, we’d recommend hiring a car if you didn't bring your own. Getting around Guernsey by car gives you the greatest flexibility for discovering the island at your own pace. When looking for car hire on Guernsey, there are a range of options, with most conveniently located at or near the airport. Just remember to take the roads at a relaxed island pace, as the maximum speed is 35mph on bigger roads
If driving isn’t for you, Guernsey has a regulated, licensed taxi service. Taxi ranks are available at the airport, as well as The Bridge (St Sampson) and St Peter Port. We highly recommend booking your taxis in advance wherever possible, especially if you are planning to travel early in the morning or in the evening when demand is highest. Alternatively, there is a network of accessible public transport that makes it easy to explore the Island. Here is where you can find the available bus routes and times.
Where to stay
Guernsey has a range of unique, quality accommodation options for you to choose from. From luxury spa hotels to boutique independent boltholes and everything in between, you’re guaranteed a comfortable stay during your time here. Or, if self-catering is more your style, there are plenty of accommodation options that will allow you to have all the comforts of home, whilst being able to explore our Islands at your own pace.
You can browse accommodation options here.
Head out for Brunch
If you’re arriving early in the morning, Guernsey has some great spots to enjoy brunch. Whether you are looking for a leisurely catch-up with friends or a tasty place to refuel before exploring the islands, a classic fry-up or vegan wellness juices, there is a place to suit everyone.
In St Peter Port, Guernsey’s capital, you’ll find Christies Brasserie with its amazing harbour views; Fat Rascal with its cosy interior and inventive dishes; Coco with its classic French pastries; and Muse with its delicious coffees, to name just a few. There are also many options outside of the main town, with views out over the coast or hidden away in the countryside.
Wherever you go, you can be sure of delicious food, with most establishments catering to all dietary requirements.
Discover our full list of brunch options here.
Visit a museum or art gallery
Why not pay a visit to one of our many museums and art galleries during your break? Guernsey has a fascinating history and has a whole host of museums and galleries scattered across all of the Islands, some of which have exhibitions running throughout this winter.
Some of our most popular museums include:
The award-winning, restored Victorian Candie Gardens offer spectacular views across St Peter Port harbour and our sister Islands, along with a rare example of a late 19th-century public flower garden. They are home to the oldest known heated glasshouses in the British Isles, which date back to the late eighteenth century. In the grounds, you will find a museum and an art gallery with rolling programmes of temporary exhibitions and art displays, as well as a cafe housed in a Victorian bandstand. The museum and cafe are closed throughout January.
Found at Saumarez Park, step back in time and enjoy the fascinating and unique historic collections housed within a cluster of meticulously renovated traditional buildings. The museum allows visitors to learn about the history of Guernsey’s people over the past 250 years, with displays that tell the story of daily life for those at home, school and work. Selections from any of the 8,000 pieces in the nationally acclaimed costume collection are on display throughout every season.
The Little Chapel was a work of art built by Brother Déodat, who started work in March 1914. It is a beautiful building measuring just 19ft by 9ft, intricately decorated with seashells, pebbles and broken china. There is no charge to enter the Chapel as it relies totally on public donations.
Located within walking distance of the island's airport, the German Occupation Museum provides a unique insight into life in Guernsey during the occupation. The museum is complete with an authentic recreation of an occupation-era street, exhibitions on maritime history, and Second World War fortifications.
The Guernsey Tapestry Gallery is an independent museum that houses The Bailiwick of Guernsey Millennium Tapestry. It illustrates 1000 years of local history in ten panels of embroidered canvas work, each panel covering one century. The panels were stitched by the residents of the Bailiwick, with each one bearing the crest of the parish that stitched it. The story in each panel is brought to life by an audio guide which is available in English, French, German and Dutch.
Enjoy some evening drinks
After an afternoon of culture and history, why not unwind over a glass of wine or a cocktail or mocktail? Guernsey has a range of bars that offer delicious drinks and extensive wine menus.
For the best selection of wines, try Rouge, our local wine and cheese bar or its sister restaurant, Tinto, where you can enjoy Spanish tapas with your wine. If a cocktail is more your style, both Red and The Hook and Sling offer a wide selection of cocktails and mocktails with unbeatable views over the harbour. Or, for quieter pre-dinner cocktails, Koi Koi is a hidden gem in Saint Peter Port, and you can enjoy your drinks under their cherry blossom tree.
Dinner in town
For your evening meal on The Islands of Guernsey, stay in St Peter Port and experience one of the world-class restaurants on offer. Guernsey is renowned for its gastronomic scene, and with everything from traditional French cuisine, authentic Italian dishes, seafood and meat dishes and, everything in between.
Some suggestions in St Peter Port include:
The newly refurbished Red has a fresh design, a few new dishes, and yet the same hugely varied wine list and staple menu classics. Famous for its delicious steaks, but also with the ability to provide for all dietary requirements, the ambience in Red, paired with the wine and food, is the perfect recipe for an evening out.
Alternatively, Rosso, Red’s sister restaurant, is an authentic Italian restaurant which offers delicious pizzas and pasta.
The Hook, Guernsey’s sushi bar, seafood and steak restaurant, is located on the St Peter Port Seafront, offering beautiful views of Victoria Harbour. The specials often change on a daily basis, and the menu is a mix of Japanese and local cuisine, with Chirashi bowls, tempura dishes, sushi platters, steak and other ever changing options available on the a la carte menu. The Hook is open for lunch and dinner with takeaway options, too. The Hook and Sling, Hook’s cocktail bar, also offers a great drinks selection, just upstairs.
Hook’s sister restaurant, Fukku, has only recently opened, and brings Japanese street food to St Peter Port. With a focus on using authentic Asian ingredients, you will find ramen, poke bowls, katsu and tempura at Fukku. The restaurant has a great, informal atmosphere and is ideal for sitting down to relax of an evening.
Octopus not only has one of the best locations on the island, offering views over Castle Cornet and the neighbouring Islands of Herm and Sark, but they also cater to everyone. Whilst their speciality is seafood, they are happy to make a range of options for vegans and vegetarians, and allow you to pick three of your favourite ingredients and they will create a unique dish just for you.
Buho is one of Guernsey’s Mexican restaurants, with an array of authentic dishes on the menu, which can be customised to your tastes. The restaurant is also a popular bar and dance venue later in the evening. Situated just above Guernsey’s escape rooms, you can have fun challenging yourselves and working together to solve the mystery and escape, and then enjoy your meal.
You'll find the restaurant on the boundary between St Peter Port and St Martin, just up the hill from the Fermain Valley Hotel. Buho is associated with the hotel and its two other restaurants; Ocean Greek Eats which offers a Greek and Mediterranean-inspired menu, and The Rock Garden - a steakhouse with a great menu.
You can find even more options for dinner on Guernsey here.
An evening out in St Peter Port
If you’d like to continue the evening, head to one of our bars and pubs. If you fancy a drink with a harbourside view, Balthazar and Mojito offer delicious drinks for you to enjoy. At Balthazar, you will often be treated to live music and, of course, the famous disco bathroom. The newest bar on the scene, Bad Habits, offers a range of unique and delicious drinks - their ‘teapots’ are perfect for sharing. Or you can enjoy a wide range of drinks at The Slaughterhouse or travel further along the front to The Little Big Brew Co.
Find more recommendations on how to spend an evening in St Peter Port, in this blog.
Discover the Island on a morning hike
We’re lucky to have a milder climate in Guernsey, allowing us to get outside and enjoy the fresh air for longer, so wrap up warm and take a brisk walk.
Head to the coast and wander along the beaches and coastal paths, hike around our cliffs to admire the views, or stroll down our country lanes. Whichever route you choose, there’s a lot to see and explore.
If you don’t feel like creating your own route, the VisitGuernsey Walking App has trails throughout the island to enjoy. With audio accompaniment and an interactive map, as you walk your chosen route, the app tracks your steps and highlights points of interest along the way. You can filter by difficulty and duration to find your ideal hike.
Discover more about hiking on The Islands of Guernsey here.
Explore St Peter Port
Whilst you're here, spend some time in St Peter Port. With a number of independent retailers up and down our high street selling everything from clothes and jewellery to toys and gifts, you’re sure to find something unique. With no VAT on the Islands of Guernsey, you can also venture into the larger retailers and shop for competitive prices.
After shopping along the main high street, why not explore the Market Place? Its old buildings used to house the Guernsey Market, and are now home to The Guernsey Weigh, our zero waste store, various eateries including The Streat, the Guilles Alles Library and more.
Once you've explored all that our shops have to offer, we suggest stopping in at one of our independent coffee shops and enjoying a cuppa. You can even try some local favourite treats including Guernsey gaché.
For more things to do in St Peter Port here.
Evening meal on the west coast
For your second evening, pay a visit to one of our restaurants and bistros along the west coast. For views over the beaches and food cooked with local ingredients wherever possible, try somewhere like The Rockmount, with its classic pub food, or La Reunion, specialising in fresh fish and seafood.
You can head further south for a relaxed atmosphere and modern British food at The Imperial, with its views out over Rocquaine Bay or follow the coast north for a weekly-changing fixed price table d’hôte menu at the Sarnia Restaurant at The Peninsula Hotel.
Visit the Mallard Cinema
Wind down with a film at the Mallard Cinema. There is a large pick 'n' mix sweet selection, freshly popped American-style popcorn to enjoy as you sit back and unwind. There's always a selection of films to choose from.
Spend the morning wild swimming
Join in with a cornerstone of Island life. With proclaimed health benefits such as lowered stress levels and a boosted immune system, cold water swimming is a growing wellness trend across the world that has long been a daily activity for islanders year-round. Even in winter, you can find many individuals and groups braving the cooler temperatures of the sea. Join Guernsey Swim Adventures or take yourself on your own wild swimming adventure. Just remember to take something warm to wrap up in after, and either bring your own hot drink with you or stop in at one of our beachside cafes, such as Vistas at Vazon, Mim’s kiosk or Cobo Tearooms, to grab a hot cup of tea or coffee to warm you up.
Find out more about wild swimming on the Islands of Guernsey here.
Unwind with spa treatments
If a cold swim is not for you, why not enjoy a mindful moment at one of our spas. Book a treatment, relax in a jacuzzi or swim in a heated pool. Many of our hotels have spas within their grounds which you can purchase a day pass for, or you can venture out to one of our boutique spas such as The Lavender Rooms, The Beauty Clinic and The Health Suite at Beau Sejour.
Head for afternoon tea
Warm up after your swim or continue unwinding after the spa with some tea and cake. A British tradition, Guernsey has many different options for afternoon tea. Whether you want a traditional afternoon tea, one with champagne, or a simple cream tea, you’ll find great spots across the Island. The OGH in St Peter Port also does a kids' afternoon tea, letting the whole family enjoy the experience together.
Discover a full list of afternoon teas on The Islands of Guernsey here.
Have a creative afternoon
Spend the afternoon at one of Guernsey's craft venues. Iris and Dora is one of the leading art studios offering pottery throwing lessons, craft sessions and pottery painting. All ages and abilities are welcome in the studio. They have intricate pottery or plain mugs for you to create your own design for adults and older children, and for kids, they have special mini figures and quick-dry paint, so they don’t have to wait for their creation to go in the kiln.
If painting isn’t your forte, you could head to Guernsey Candles instead. Step into the family-owned workshop and watch the candle-making process or make your own candle to take home. Be sure to browse their unique gift shop on the way out to take a piece of Guernsey home with you.
Enjoy sunsets and stargazing
Since it's winter, take advantage of the darker skies and finish off your winter break in Guernsey with a sunset, best enjoyed from the West Coast. And once the sun sets, our unpolluted skies will allow you to spend an evening stargazing.
You can read more about stargazing on our Islands here.
Find even more things to do on the Islands of Guernsey here.