The festive season has arrived on the Islands of Guernsey, and we have a whole range of events to help you get into the holiday spirit. Whether you want to find unique gifts at our independent shops and Christmas Markets, want to celebrate with our Christmas events or enjoy a relaxing festive cocktail in themed surroundings, there is something for everyone.
Whether you are visiting family for an extended stay or are just here for a weekend getaway, there is plenty to explore. We've compiled a list of things to do in Guernsey this Christmas to help you plan your trip.
Don your skates, explore local independent shops, visit Winter Wonderland, enjoy some Island hopping or a unique foodie experience - there are plenty of festive experiences to enjoy on our Islands this year.
Take a turn on Guernsey's ice skating rink and spin around the Christmas tree. You'll find the rink at Le Friquet Garden Centre, where you can enjoy a hot chocolate and snacks after your skate, and even take a turn on their Santa Sleigh Ride VR ride. Skate aids are available for younger visitors, just make sure to reserve one on your booking as they are very popular.
Alderney is the perfect place to enjoy a unique Christmas break. The Island hosts a range of festive events taking part during the holiday season. From late night shopping and christmas markets to the Panto and a range of concerts, there is something for everyone.
Late night shopping dates on Victoria Street in Alderney this year are 5pm-late on the 8th and 24th November and the 1st and 15th December. Head on down to pick up local gifts, enjoy entertainment and soak up the unique atmosphere of Alderney's main shopping street.
The terrace at the Old Government House is transformed into a stylish and cosy Alpine Lodge complete with snowy scenery and everything you’d want in an après ski experience. The bar is fully stocked with festive drinks including mulled wine, hot spiced cider, beer and a wide selection of schnapps and flavoured vodkas to get you into the Christmas spirit. There are also hot chocolates and platters of delicious food. You wont want to miss the Family Sundays, when children are welcome with festive activities and a chance to meet Father Christmas.
Late Night Shopping
Every year during the run up to Christmas, businesses in St Peter Port in Guernsey stay open until 9pm on Thursdays in December for visitors and locals alike to enjoy some Christmas shopping. Whether you are looking for the perfect gift for a loved one, or want to treat yourself, you’re guaranteed to find something. You can find some recommendations for Guernsey gifting in this guide.
Shops on The Bridge, St Sampsons, also open late during the festive season, with dates for this year to be confirmed soon.
Sail over to Herm throughout November and December for the perfect pre-Christmas shipping trip and day out. The Herm Shop will have plenty of decorations, cards and ornaments, as well as beautiful and unique stocking fillers and gift ideas to make your Christmas extra special. Plus, bring your letters to Santa to post in the Puffin post box. After shopping, enjoy a walk around the island and tuck into a festive meal at the Mermaid Tavern.
Hop on board the Petit Train from Albert Pier and head around Town singing along to Christmas hits. You'll stop off at Pier 17 for mulled wine and mince pies, before setting off again to see the Christmas lights and enjoy some more singing!
Soak up the Christmas atmosphere and enjoy the Christmas lights, Father Christmas, music, food, Elf Door Trail and a laser show. This event will be held at Les Ruettes Cottage in St Saviour by kind permission of Mr & Mrs P Bachmann. Free shuttle bus service from Specsavers and Le Rondin School. Entrance by ticket only. Kindly sponsored by Specsavers, Autism Guernsey and Lions Club Guernsey.
MTG Escapes, run by the Music Theatre Guernsey, invites you to a family-friendly, festive, escape room. This year's room is The Greatest Snowman, a Frozen-inspired game. You'll explore various rooms, solving puzzles to assemble the snowman together in a fun one-hour experience. Please note that you won't be locked in and can take breaks outdoors to make the experience more comfortable for young players.
Food & Drink Experiences
Enjoy a social afternoon on Herm this festive season and try the White House Hotel’s Christmas cocktails and charcuterie, cheese or vegan platters, available every Wednesday up to Christmas. Tickets include 3 x Christmas Cocktails per person and a Charcuterie, Cheese or Vegan platter. Ferry tickets to be brought separately.
The Domes at The Duke of Richmond provide the perfect way to get into the festive spirit, with a party menu, afternoon tea, breakfast and an exclusive winter à la carte menu. There are three domes available: two that seat 6 guests and one that seats 8. A minimum spend of £300 applies to the 6-guest domes and £400 to the 8-guest dome, and there is a pre-order requirement.
On the 10th December there will be a special Family-Friendly Festive Afternoon Tea. Enjoy a range of activities, from soft play to face painting and festive crafts and more. A festive afternoon tea for every member of the family will be provided before a visit from Santa himself.
A magical party at Oaty and Joey's at Oatlands Village with the chance for the kids to meet Santa. Tickets include entrance to the playbarn, a visit from Santa with a gift, Christmas craft making, Christmas party food and more. There are two separate age ranges for the parties, one for 2-5 yrs and the other for 6-11 yrs, although siblings can attend the same party. Please note that booking is required.
This year's theme is film, so come dressed as your favourite movie characters and head on down to Koi Koi in St Peter Port. Ticket price includes bottomless house drinks, a buffet of Food, back to back DJs and movie snacks. Please note that there are a limited number of tickets available, and there will be no tickets sold on the door.
Visit the Christmas Lights
The lights around the Islands of Guernsey add a joyful atmosphere in the colder months. There are several switch-ons taking place around the Islands in the lead up to Christmas.
Join in The Christmas Lights Switch On in St Peter Port on the 25th November, where Father Christmas will be travelling through town to greet children, before turning on the lights. Don't forget to being your letters for him to take back to the North Pole!
He will start at the Model Yacht Pond at 4pm before making his way around town to Market Square where the lights will be switched on at 5pm. The Parade will continue around town until 6pm, finishing in Le Pollet.
Parade sponsored by Handpicked Hotels.
Father Christmas will return to Guernsey on Friday 1st December around 4pm in time to turn on The Christmas Lights on The Bridge in the parish of St Sampson at 5pm.
Watching the lights being switched on is a great experience, but if you can’t make these dates, don’t worry. The Christmas Lights are left on until January, giving you plenty of time to visit them.
To make seeing the lights even more special, from the 26th November until 20th of December, you can book one of the Tuk Tuk Christmas Lights Tours. These Christmas lights tours take you around the streets of St Peter Port.
You could also book a tour on The Little Black Bus, singing along to Christmas classics as you travel across the Island to see light displays. The bus seats 8 people and you're welcome to bring drinks and snacks for the journey. Perfect for a festive evening out with friends or family. Departures are from the Albert Pier on Sunday and Wednesday evenings throughout December.
Island Christmas Traditions
The Islands of Guernsey have many traditions and events that happen every year that we love, and you can experience them too during your stay here.
The Guernsey Christmas Tractor Run, currently planned for 16th December, features tractors from around the Island covered in fairy lights taking a tour of the Island to spread festive cheer. You can sit on a coastal wall or head into town to cheer on the tractors as they parade the Island.
Christmas Markets and Winter Fairs
The Islands of Guernsey have traditional markets all year round, but the fairs and markets during the festive season are truly special. With attractions, stalls selling homemade goods and plenty of festive food and drink available, these unique markets are a must visit.
The Traditional Christmas Fayre at St Pierre Park organised by Handmade by Faybelline is one of the biggest Christmas Fayres on the island and one not to be missed. There will be a selection of local sellers at the events, selling everything from food and drink to crafts and that perfect unique gift for christmas.
A classic festive fair with local stall holders selling homemade goods, gifts, food and drinks at Le Pommier.
A traditional Christmas Market at The National Trust of Guernsey Folk and Costume Museum at Saumarez Park. There will be a range of local stall holders selling homemade goods, plenty of food and drinks and carols around the tree.
Christmas Markets in Market Square
Join local small businesses and stall holders in the Market Square of St Peter Port every Thursday evening and Saturday from 30th November. There will be live music accompaniment from various performers, organised by Guernsey Arts, to get you in the festive spirit.
Christmas Shows and Concerts
You'll find plenty of pantomimes and concerts taking place across Guernsey this Christmas, from classic carols to modern shows, there's something for all tastes.
Experience Guernsey's local pantomime, performed by the Guernsey Amateur Dramatic and Operatic Club at Beau Sejour from 23rd December 2023 - 6th January 2024. This year's family-friendly show is Beauty and the Beast and you can be sure to expect some great musical numbers and comedy.
Get ready for the story of Aladdin, complete with everything you’ve come to expect and love from a traditional pantomime at St Stephen’s Community Centre. Booking is required.
A family-friendly festive concert at St James with carols and a selection of seasonal music. Featuring a children’s choir from the Guernsey Music Centre and a visit from Father Christmas. Kindly sponsored by the Swallow 2018 Charitable Trust.
Guernsey Chamber Choir is renowned for its unaccompanied singing and will be joined by talented instrumentalists at St James in a varied programme of traditional and modern carols, providing a perfect evening for the festive period.
Festive Dips and Swims
Year-round wild swimming has been growing in popularity on The Islands of Guernsey over the past few years and is something that many Islanders enjoy. You can head down to any bay you wish whenever you like and take a dip, or you can get involved in one of the many festive swimming events happening across the Islands.
Just remember, swimming outdoors in the winter is particularly cold, so you will need to prepare - grab your fluffiest hats, flasks of tea and lots of layers before heading to the beach.
Join in this classic Guernsey event to raise money for our local hospice. The 12 Bays of Christmas invites you to take a dip in 12 festively 'themed' bays around the island during December. New for this year is an open day down at "The Bathing Yules", where you can drop-in for your swim between 10am-3pm on Sunday 11th December and get a free hot drink and mini mince pie next to their wood burning stove.
Click here to find out the festive bays included in this year's swim.
Brave The Bathing Pools on Christmas Morning with The Guernsey Swimming Club from 9:30 - 10:30am. This event is open to everyone of all ages and always proves to be a fantastic atmosphere.
Join thousands of islanders as they brave the cold and take a dip in the sea. The Boxing Day swim is an extremely popular annual event taking place at Cobo Bay, with a start time of 11am. Funds raised go towards the upkeep of a vital local charity, The Guernsey Cheshire Home.
Start the new year off with a refreshing dip in the sea. Meet at the Imperial Hotel and get ready to run into the water. There will be free hot drinks available for all swimmers to warm up after. All donations go to local charity, Guernsey Mind.
The milder climates on The Island of Guernsey mean that we can enjoy being outside for much longer. Nothing is better than wrapping up warm and taking the family out for a walk. Whether you want to stroll along Guernsey's coast, hike along cliff paths or explore the winding country lanes, there is a walk that everyone can enjoy.
The VisitGuernsey 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.
Find out more about walking on The Islands of Guernsey here.
Guernsey is well known for its gastronomic scene, with countless award-winning and highly acclaimed restaurants across our Islands. With a focus on using fresh and local produce and ingredients wherever possible, restaurants in Guernsey pride themselves on serving high-quality dishes in beautiful settings.
Over the Christmas season, many of our eateries adopt a festive menu, with dishes specially designed to warm the soul and bring Christmas cheer. From hot soups to full turkey roast dinners and everything in between, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Many of our bars and restaurants also have Christmas themed cocktails and mocktails to enjoy, so make sure you ask for their drinks specials.
Click here for a full list of restaurants, bistros, bars and cafes on The Islands of Guernsey.
- Make sure you book your activities and dining in advance as Christmas is a busy time for the Islands of Guernsey. Booking ahead of time will help you have a more relaxed and fun holiday experience.
- For transport options, taxis can get quite busy at Christmas so try to book in advance where possible, or check the Night Bus timetable. There is also a local service called Home James that returns you and your car to your residence after an evening out.
You can find out more about what's on each month on the Islands of Guernsey here.
Main image © Martin Sarre