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Travel Guide: Alderney

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Travel Guide: Alderney

Alderney is the third largest Channel Island only a short distance from Guernsey, and at just 3.5 by 1.5 miles, you’ll never be far away from the charm of its town centre, the tranquillity of its sweeping bays or the depth of its history.

Golden beaches, historical intrigue and unique island charm await you on Alderney. A bird watchers’ paradise, the island is renowned for its rich wildlife and boasts over 50 miles of scenic walking trails and over 300 species of bird. It is also home to the only working railway in the Channel Islands.

How to Get to Alderney

The easiest way to get to the most northerly Channel Island is a 15 minute flight from Guernsey. Alternatively, you can catch the ferry every day during peak season. Journeys last around an hour.

Aurigny's Dornier flies daily to Alderney

Where to Stay on Alderney

Small in size, Alderney still have plenty of holiday accommodation to choose from. From a converted fortress to beach camping, luxury independent hotels to friendly guest houses - There is something to suit everyone.

Alderney Boutique Cottages

If you are looking for a home from home on the island, both luxury boutique holiday cottages here have been renovated to the highest standard to make the most of your time on Alderney. You can expect modern kitchens, large luxurious beds and bathrooms as well as private gardens with outdoor seating and a BBQ, as well as all the mod cons such as fast WIFI, Smart HDTV and bluetooth speakers.

Alderney Bird Observatory

Located in the fascinating remains of a Roman fort at 'The Nunnery', overlooking Longis Bay and beach, the Observatory offers Alderney's only bird observatory and field office, where bird migration and the island's seabird colonies are studied. The Nunnery sleeps 10 in 4-star self catering accommodation (3 twin rooms and one with 4 singles) with a traditional shared bird observatory common room and dining/kitchen area. There are 3 shared bathrooms (one on each floor). 

Whether you are interested in bird watching or ringing, rare bats and moths or viewing wildlife on a night safari, the Observatory offers a unique location, facing the French coast!

Saye Beach Campsite

Tucked away in the sand dunes, Saye Beach Campsite is the place for camping in Alderney. With a very high 4* standard bathroom block, dry room facility and an extensive play area for children, they also offer a well-stocked shop, picnic area, teas & coffees, ice creams and beach goods as well as the perfect location to pitch your tent. Tents are available for hire, or you can bring your own. Situated in a superb location behind the sand dunes of the unrivalled Saye Bay, pronounced ‘Soy’ by locals, Saye is a lovely long beach of white sand and a beautifully clear and blue sea right next to the campsite.

Saye Beach Campsite

Braye Beach Hotel

Setting high standards of quality in Alderney and on the edge of Braye Beach, boasting stunning views across the bay and harbour beyond, this AA rated 4 star hotel offers a high standard of comfort and excellence. It has 27 tastefully decorated bedrooms, some with balconies and sea views, which offer guests the perfect place to relax and unwind. The stylish restaurant serves delicious fresh local produce, from lobster and locally dived scallops, to rich Alderney cream and fresh seasonal vegetables flown directly from the markets of France. The bar and beach-side decked terraces overlook the bay and serve morning coffee, lunch and afternoon snacks, whilst the Diver’s Inn next door is open for traditional pub food. The hotel also has a private cinema, comfortable lounges to relax in and complimentary wireless broadband access throughout the hotel. A favourite beachside stay for many visitors. 

Farm Court Guest House

Farm Court Guest House is an old farm complex that has been delightfully renovated and is particularly popular with artists, musicians and naturalists looking for quality accommodation on the island of Alderney. The Guest House has accommodation for up to twelve people and also has a self-catering cottage for 5. All the accommodation is set around an enclosed area, giving privacy to guests, and is in a quiet part of the town of St. Anne.

Villa Mondrian

Villa Mondrian is a new concept to Alderney, offering high quality room-only accommodation. There are 4 en-suite bedrooms, each with individual access from the garden and has a decking area with table, chairs and sun loungers. The rooms can be made up with either twin beds or a super king size double bed. At Villa Mondrian, they offer a complimentary welcome pack to enjoy in the rooms. Each room is equipped with a mini fridge and toaster. Crockery and cutlery is provided and each room is also equipped with tea and coffee making facilities.

The Blonde Hedgehog, Alderney

The Blonde Hedgehog

Formed of three lovingly restored historical buildings, The Blonde Hedgehog has 9 stylish rooms and suites, and a charming 3-bedroom cottage perfect for families and larger group bookings. It is located in the heart of town, just a short walk from all the island has to offer. Rooms are beautifully finished and you can always find a nice nook around the hotel to sit in with a coffee or a glass of wine. The hotel also boasts a wonderful restaurant, serving seasonal farm-to-table dishes made from locally-grown ingredients including produce from their own kitchen garden.

5 Little Street

Built in the 17th century to accommodate animals, grain and people, 5 Little Street has been both a family home and a holiday house over the last 40 years. Little Street is one of the older streets in Alderney and it is worth working your way up the very pretty cobbles of Little Street to see other interesting buildings – the Old Barn, some random numbering at 8 1/2 Little Street, and the spooky steps outside some houses where it is said the witches and evil spirits sit. At the top of the street there are some truly elegant windows, very typical to Alderney and even a German bunker, with dragons. So much in such a small space. 

Sandpiper Cottage

Sandpiper is a traditional 3 story town cottage that has recently been refurbished to a very high standard throughout. The property offers comfortable cosy living space with a spectacular south facing garden and patio. Located on a quiet street just a few minutes walk from the centre of St Anne where you will find the local shops, pubs and restaurants.

Fort Corblets

If you are looking for a very unique place to stay, then look no further than Fort Corblets. A converted fort right on the coast, it is now available to hire. The Northern Ramparts has 2 Bedrooms, with stunning views over the sea and The South Wing has 2 Bedrooms and large Balcony overlooking the beach. All linen, electricity, central heating etc is included.

Fort Corblets is a unique place to stay

Things to Do on Alderney

Explore on Two Feet (or two wheels!)

Woodland, grassy commons, heaths, beaches and ponds are all connected by a network of over 40 miles of winding lanes and trails. Walking is one of the best ways to explore the unspoiled scenery of Alderney. With no long queues you can walk through peaceful countryside, trek along dramatic coastlines and explore the quaint high street of St Anne with its local shops and eateries – all at your own pace. Or, hop on your bike for a family day out and enjoy more than ten miles of virtually traffic-free roads and around 50 miles of tracks and pathways. You can even hire an electric bike and see more in less time!

Wildlife Watching

Alderney is the perfect playground for wildlife lovers. It is a seasonal hotspot for other sea and wetland bird breeds, dolphins, bats and insects thanks to its diverse habitats ranging from coastal grassland to sub-tidal kelp forests. Puffins arrive in late March and leave in early August as temporary visitors to rear their young. Their short stay on the islet of Burhou is their only time on land during the year as the the rest of which is spent out at sea. Boat tours run from April to October if you want to see these beautiful creatures up close. Speaking of seabirds, the gannet colonies of Les Etacs and Ortac account for 2% of the world’s gannet population – a truly spectacular sight which can be seen during a boat or walking tour. Finally, ;ook out for the rare blonde hedgehog as they can be found foraging soon after sunset from spring to autumn.

Discover the Island’s History

Head to the award-winning Alderney Museum and take in all of the fascinating displays including an Elizabethan shipwreck – one of the most important marine archaeological finds in the British Isles. Also, pay a visit to Mannez Lighthouse, the famous Bayeux Tapestry Finale at the library and the local Bell Tower.

Take a Train Ride

The island also has the only working railway in the Channel Islands dating back to the 19th century. It’s a fun way to explore the island.

Alderney Golf Club

A scenic course on the beautiful island of Alderney. This is a coastal course with 9 holes, each with two tees. Visitors are always very welcome, and tailored packages of golf and catering can be put together to your individual needs.

Take a Boat Trip

Skipper Richard Seager welcomes all aboard his 11 metre twin engine Catamaran, with full safety coding and seating for 12 persons. It is also wheelchair accessible. A long or short trip aboard 'Out The Blue' will be fun from the start whether it's a 2 hour Wildlife / Sightseeing trip looking for Puffins, Seals or Dolphins and taking in our wonderful scenery to a 3 or 8 hour fishing trip. Bespoke trips are also available and they offer fishing rod and tackle hire if needed.

Alderney's railway is the only one on the Islands

Where to Eat on Alderney

From home-grown produce and rich dairy products to seafood straight from the island’s fresh waters, there is a prominent French influence on Alderney when it comes to food. With an array of wildflowers, it is also a haven for bees to thrive, so don’t leave without trying the sweetness of Alderney Honey. Juicy crab, lobster, Kiln Farm beef and free range pork can all be found at various cafés, restaurants and pubs. Here are a few options:

Mai Thai

Alderney's only Thai restaurant is a favourite with the locals. All dishes are made fresh with the finest ingredients available, featuring the sensational flavours of Thailand. From pad thai to green curry, Mai Thai offers all your favourite Thai dishes, and plenty you may not have tried before. Take-away is available and the restaurant is also open for coffee and has a bar which is known for its popular cocktails.

Braye Chippy

One of Alderney’s favourites, Braye Chippy is adjacent to the inner harbour. With a selection of yummy food, the Braye Chippy is open in the evenings all year round to provide you with classic fish-shop delicacies. They also run special Burger fest, Moules and Frites, Bean jar and Chilli Con Carne deal nights. Takeaway is available and if you want a glass of wine, you are welcome to bring your own bottle to the restaurant.

Nellie Gray’s

Opened in 1996 by Mr Matin Miah, who still runs the restaurant, the food is tasty and delicious and the staff are very friendly and can help you choose if you're not sure what will suit your tastes. Experience the ever popular Curries, Tandoori, and Balti Dishes. Takeaway also available.

Jack’s Brasserie

Jack's Brasserie enjoys an enviable location at the bottom of Victoria Street and boasts a fabulous terrace area. Inside the décor and furnishings are modern, giving a light and airy atmosphere. Whether you're looking for a classic breakfast, a light al fresco lunch with a chilled glass of wine and some relaxed people-watching Jack's is the perfect town centre rendezvous offering café culture and dining in the heart of St Anne.

The Moorings, Alderney

The Moorings

The Moorings is the go-to venue for families in Alderney who are looking for a place where the kids can let off some steam and the adults can kick back and relax. Situated alongside Braye Beach they serve the usual favourites of burgers, pizzas, seafood and salads, all home-made by the chef. There are often bands playing throughout the season and a large terrace to enjoy.

Cantina Number 6

Cantina Number 6 has a relaxed and chilled atmosphere with amazing views over Braye Bay. Open for brunch, lunch or dinner, their menu is unique on the island. Along with fabulous tapas, handmade pastas and delicious local food they also daily specials on offer both at lunchtime and in the evening, as well as an array of cocktails, beers, wines and more.

The Georgian House

Food is what makes them tick at The Georgian House, especially with such an abundance of superb local produce on our doorstep. They aim to make the most of the surroundings and believe in sourcing local and sustainable produce where possible. Menus are contemporary with a mix of traditional British pub grub and European style with a seafood influence. It offers a cosy pub, a restaurant, a secluded garden with outside bar, as well as 4 charming en-suite bedrooms.

The Braye Beach Brasserie

The Braye Beach Brasserie, Beach Bar and Terraces are part of the ideally located Braye Beach Hotel. The main brasserie restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner offering casual dining at a high standard, with classical seaside dishes such as tempura battered fish and chips or moules and, in season, fresh seafood straight from the nearby fisherman's port.

Bumps Bistro

Tucked away from behind the top of Victoria Street, with a lovely enclosed garden, lies a little bit of paradise called 'Bumps' which is open for lunch, dinner, drinks and coffee. Owner and chef Eddie offers a daily selection of dishes to suit all tastes of freshly cooked local produce, from tapas to fish of the day and steak, to lemon tart and sticky toffee pudding. On Sundays, it is a traditional roast.

Bumps Bistro, Alderney

The Vaults

An original wine vault turned into an up tempo steakhouse restaurant and cocktail bar, The Vaults is very different from anywhere else in Alderney, serving succulent steaks, an eclectic range of wines and a great range of cocktails.

Le Pesked

In the heart of St Anne, at the top of the cobbled Victoria Street, you’ll find Le Pesked. Authentic, rustic and romantic, with all the joie de vivre and je ne sais quoi that French dining has to offer, Le Pesked is the only French restaurant on Alderney serving delicious, freshly cooked meals by Brittany chef and owner David. Menus include a wide choice of dishes prepared from only the finest locally sourced ingredients and feature freshly caught fish and seafood, along with a tempting array of signature dishes, including the popular Crêpe Suzette. 

Harbour Lights

The newly refurbished Harbour Lights Tavern offers great food in a relaxed atmosphere with an amazing tiered terrace from which you can see the sea and watch the sun go down. A lunch and dinner menu offers homemade seafood, pasta and salad dishes along with a 'build your own pizza' option and a range of beers, wines and soft drinks to quench any thirst. There are also BBQs on the terrace in the summer to enjoy with live bands to jig along to.

Alderney's Blonde Hedgehogs are a rare sight

Fun Facts about Alderney

  1. An unusual animal that inhabits the island of Alderney is the blonde hedgehog, which is extremely rare elsewhere in Europe. Rumour has it that the uniquely coloured creature arrived on the island hidden inside a Harrods shopping bag!
  2. Alderney’s own airport is the smallest in the Channel Islands, and even features a box of unfinished knitting to help you pass the time while waiting for your flight!
  3. During the Second World War, the whole of Alderney’s population was evacuated to mainland Britain. The Germans established four camps upon the island, and it housed as many as 4,000 forced labourers at one point, most of whom were Russian prisoners.
  4. A history like no other - Alderney has its own distinct timeline of events incorporating Roman, Napoleonic and German influence and architecture. In addition to Neolithic remains and the Roman construction of ‘The Nunnery’ at Longis Bay, there is an enormous breakwater and numerous forts and batteries, all built to defend Alderney against a potential French attack. During WWII, German occupying forces constructed a number of bunkers and defences that can still be visited today.
  5. Naming a few of her own ‘favourite things’, Oscar winning actress, Julie Andrews, listed Alderney as her favourite place. She lived on the island in a ‘hideaway’ cottage with her husband, Tony Walton, when expecting her first daughter. "I cherish every hour there. In my wallet I carry a colour snapshot of the cottage and stare at it like a fool when I yearn to steal away and can't. Alderney is my paradise. When there is rain in England, you can count on the sun in Alderney. Spring arrives two weeks earlier, with windblown meadows of maroon and yellow tulips, blue irises and daffodils dancing on the hills."

For more fun facts about The Islands of Guernsey, read this. 

 

Be sure to bookmark this post for your future visit to The Islands.

We have missed hosting tourists due to Coronavirus, but look forward to welcoming you to our Islands when it is safe to travel again. 

Latest Coronavirus travel advice can be found here.