It's time to unpause life and enjoy a short break to Alderney, where golden beaches, historical intrigue and unique island charm await you.
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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 30 miles of scenic walking trails and around 9,000 breeding pairs of gannets. It is also home to the only working railway in the Channel Islands.
Here are some ideas on what to do on your next short break 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. The novelty of a tiny airport is always in the details. From the tiny baggage carousel to the box of unfinished knitting in the waiting room to pass the time, Alderney airport is a part of the adventure itself.
The Little Ferry Company
Explore on Two Feet (or two wheels!)
Woodland, grassy commons, heaths, beaches and ponds are all connected by a network of over 30 miles of winding lanes and trails. Walking is one of the best ways to explore the unspoiled scenery of Alderney. You can walk through the 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. You can even hire an electric bike and see more in less time!
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 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, look 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. This will give you an good overview of Alderney’s long history from the iron age to WWII. Then put on your walking shoes, take a torch and go to explore! Should be high on your list the Victorian batteries of Fort Tourgis, Bibette Head complex of bunker and the best preserved small Roman Fort of the western Europe locally known as the Nunnery heritage site, the 13th century watermill, the St. Anne’s Church and iron age pottery site are also well worth a visit.
Take a Train Ride
The island also has the only working railway in the Channel Islands dating back to the 19th century. Originally used to carry stones from the quarry to the breakwater, it’s a fun way to explore the island. Whilst at the Mannez Station, why not have a couple of rides on the newly open miniature railway.
Take a Boat Trip
Embrace another perspective and take a boat tour to discover Alderney from the see. Explore the island’s fascinating wildlife and seabirds. Boat tours are available from April to October. It is worth remembering that puffins arrive on the islet of Burhou in early April and leave late July.
There is nothing better than a long lunch in Alderney in the sun. Enjoy a glass of local cider, wine or Pimms with some local crab or classic fish and chips.
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.
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 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 Braye Beach Brasserie
The Braye Beach Brasserie 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.
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.
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 for an evening meal, no matter what mood you are in:
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.
Opened in 1996 by Mr Matin Miah, who still runs the restaurant. The Indian food is tasty and delicious at Nellie Gray's and the very friendly staff 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 if you are in self-catering accommodation.
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. The restaurant is also open for coffee and has a bar which is known for its popular cocktails.
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.
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.
Finally, look out for the rare blonde hedgehog as they can be found foraging soon after sunset from spring to autumn.
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!
Braye Beach Hotel: now a part of Handpicked Hotels
There are so many wonderful places to stay on the island of Alderney. Here is just a taster of the different kinds of accommodation on offer, from luxury beds and friendly guest houses to charming self-catering accommodation and beachside camping.
Braye Beach Hotel: For a Beachside Break
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. 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. A favourite beachside stay for many visitors.
Fort Corblets: Self Catering with a Difference
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 South Wing has 2 Bedrooms and large Balcony overlooking the beach.
The Blonde Hedgehog: Luxury on a Tiny Island
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.
Saye Beach Campsite: A Real Summer Adventure
Tucked away in the sand dunes, Saye Beach Campsite is the place for camping in Alderney. With a high standard bathroom block, dry room facility and an extensive play area for children, they also offer a well-stocked shop, picnic area, pizzas, 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.