Travel Guide: Herm Island
Guernsey is a perfect hub from which to visit the other Islands of Guernsey. This guide focuses on our sister island of Herm.
Herm's scenic coastal paths can be walked in their entirety within a leisurely couple of hours. The gently undulating route takes you across a common to the stunning Shell Beach, with its clear waters and sand that is made of millions of tiny shell fragments, which give the beach its name. A little further around the coast is the pretty, sheltered cove Belvoir Bay. Herm is perfect for children, too. They will love its sandy paths that wind their way from one adventure to the next and its low-tide rock pools that teem with life.
How to Get to Herm Island
The only way to reach Herm is via boat from St Peter Port. Hop on the ferry and a mere 20 minutes later you’ll be on what many call a paradise island. Boats operate all year round from St. Peter Port. The ferry docks in Herm either at the harbour at high tide and otherwise at Rosaire Steps at low tide, which is just a 10 minute seaside stroll from Herm Harbour and main facilities.
Where to Stay On Herm Island
There is only one hotel on Herm Island. Quality over quantity, The White House Hotel is set in award-winning gardens and boasts the most captivating sea views back towards Guernsey. The hotel has an old fashioned elegance and sense of decorum that transports you back to simpler times. There are no TVs, no clocks, and no telephones in the bedrooms which allows you to set your own pace and escape from 21st century life for a day or two. There are two choices for dining in the hotel: the informal Ship Inn where casual pub grub is served with both outdoor and indoor seating, or if you prefer to dress for the occasion, you can dine in the double AA Rosette Conservatory Restaurant.
Alternatively, Herm has a charming selection of holiday cottages to choose from.
Sleeping under canvas is a wonderful way to enjoy the tranquillity and unspoilt beauty of Herm. The campsite sits on the top of the island and boasts 80 pitches with modern toilet and shower facilities, a laundry, communal barbecues and a dedicated warden. The views from the campsite are unforgettable. You won’t forget that first moment in the morning when you unzip and peer out. In terms of supplies, milk, bread and provisions can be collected from the Herm shops near the harbour.
Things to Do on Herm Island
Shell Beach is a one of the most wonderful beaches in the Channel Islands. Millions of tiny shell fragments, washed in from the Gulf Stream, give the sandy expanse its name. During the summer months, you can hire kayaks and paddle boards or simply grab a snack from the beachside kiosk before simply sitting, relaxing and watching the world go by - or one of the many local boats float in with locals coming to enjoy an afternoon. For those looking to check out for a few hours, you’ll be pleased to hear that you may even lose phone reception on this side of the island or even pick up the signal and timezone of the neighbouring French coast!
Belvoir Bay is a beautifully secluded beach on the East coast of Herm Island. Its location shelters the beach from the prevailing southerly and westerly winds, and it is a firm favourite for those visiting Herm; without the breeze temperatures can soar. There is a beach café serving snacks and ice-creams, and also selling toys, beach games and postcards from mid-April until mid-September.
Cliff Walking on Herm
Herm's south coast cliffs offer some of the best scenery in the Bailiwick - you can take in views across to all of the other Channel Islands as well as the nearby coast of France. Starting from Belvoir Bay, follow the cliff path until you reach the steps that take you all the way around to near to the top of Rosaire Steps on the Herm's west coast. During Spring, you may be lucky enough to spot a puffin or two bobbing in the sea. Don’t forget your camera!
Watersports & Activities on Herm Island
You can enjoy the Outdoor Guernsey experience in the stunning surroundings of Herm Island, as they offer a full range of activities in Herm including kayaking, puffin spotting, archery and more. Either hire a stand-up paddle board or a kayak on Shell Beach and enjoy a paddle at your own pace or join a kayak tour. Guides can take you on a two-hour Puffin Patrol adventure or even around the entire island by in just two and half hours! Pre-booking is essential on both of these trips, as they are understandably very popular.
Where to Eat on Herm Island
The Ship is an extremely popular restaurant with visitors. It is situated as part of The White House Hotel. On fine days, sit out and enjoy drinks and lunch on the patio or if the weather is not in your favour, you can sit in either the bar with its cozy open fire or in the main indoor restaurant area.
The pub serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and can cater to all diets and tastes. Fresh fish and shellfish are abundant, along with salads, baguettes and a variety of main dishes. There is also a children's menu for tiny diners. It is the place to pop in for a coffee throughout the day and maybe even add a slice of cake, an ice-cream sundae or go for a Herm cream tea.
The Mermaid Tavern is a Herm institution. Traditionally a fisherman’s pub, it is now a popular place for customers in the summer months with its sun-trapped courtyard. Order hearty pub meals with a pint of local cider and enjoy the atmosphere before heading on over to the beach for the afternoon. The menu boasts burgers, curries, salads and sandwiches and The Mermaid Chip Shop is top of most islanders’ lists with its offering of classic fish and chip extras, such as mushy peas, curry sauce and bread & butter.
If you’re having too much fun on the beach and don’t want to leave, each beach boasts its own kiosk,
Fun Facts about Herm Island
For history buffs, there is much to learn about this tiny island in the middle of the Channel. And it goes back a long way. For one, there is evidence of life on Herm over 8,000 years ago, in the Mesolithic period. Settlers arrived in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages in search of food, and even used the north end of the island for burials!
In the Second World War, German soldiers used the sandy beaches of Herm to practice landings from barges ahead of their intended invasion of mainland Britain. They even shot a propaganda film on the island entitled ‘The Invasion of the Isle of Wight’. Read more about the Islands of Guernsey during World War Two here.