Gems of the English Channel IV - Guernsey the Green Island
The Bailiwick of Guernsey also comprises Sark and Alderney and some small uninhabited islands. The landscape and atmosphere of Guernsey are totally different from the one in Jersey.
You will also find bunkers, watch towers, ruins, castles, burial mounds here, but also splendid beaches. Guernsey is a quiet place compared to busy Jersey. It is more rural.
There is an airport and frequent ferry liaisons.
Please refrain from taking a plane from Jersey to Guerney and vice versa. It is best to avoid pollution when you can take the ferry or private charters.
A few views from the bus.
For 1£ only, you can have a great overlook of the island.
Guernsey Buses have a great website with all the information you need to prepare your journey.
St Peter Port
St Peter Port is really much more nicer than St Helier. It is a beautiful colourful little city, with a lovely harbour, a splendid garden, a castle in the bay. Also, Victor Hugo lived here.
Tip: It is a small town but streets are steep. Have good shoes.
This is the first thing you will see when arriving by ferry. It is a beautiful sight, one of Europe's prettiest harbour towns.
On your left, there is Castle Cornet and on your right St Julian's Pier.
The Romans already used this place as their harbour. It has been since changed into an artificial harbour where all ferry and cruise ship passengers embark and disembark.
Wandering in the city
Architecture lovers will enjoy St Peter Port.
Beautiful little church. The main island church holds a strange Guinness World Record: it is the closest church to a pub in Great Britain.
Fish and Meat Market
It is a beautiful building that has not change a bit in more than a hundred years. It is now housing a supermarket.
Banned from France, Brussels and Jersey, the French author and poet spent 15 years in exile in the island with his family and his secretary (and lover) French actress Juliette Drouet to whom he gave his first home in St Peter Port. He then moved to a nearby house, known as Hauteville House. It is now a museum dedicated to Victor Hugo. It has been preserved exactly as it was when he was living there. There are amazing views over the bay and the furniture is really beautiful, as are the gardens.
His most famous work was started, completed or published whilst living in Guernsey. Victor Hugo was in love with Guernsey. In Les Travailleurs de la mer, he wrote “I dedicate this book to the rock of hospitality, to this corner of old Norman land where resides the noble little people of the sea, to the Island of Guernsey, severe and yet gentle...”.
He also described the Channel Islands as "fragments of France which fell into the sea and were gathered up by England".
Some 150 years later, these fusion of French and British culture still makes the Channel Islands so unique.
Archives of Guernsey
The Archives are housed in the beautiful deconsecrated St Barnabas Church.
The 800 years old castle does not look that big but you wil need at least 3 hours in order to visit it in full. It houses five museums and four period gardens, as well as the firing of the noon-day gun by scarlet clad gunners and a Living History performance right after it.
The cutest streets in town can be found around Mill Street. Beware that it can be steep.
Supposedly haunted, Elizabeth College was founded by Royal Charter on 25 May 1563 on the orders of Queen Elizabeth I.
St James Concert Hall
The former garrison church of St James-the-Less is one of the largest auditoria in the island. It houses a beautiful gem: the Bailiwick of Guernsey Millennium Tapestry. Ten beautiful embroidered panels illustrate a thousand years of local history.
Check the schedule beforehands, opening hours are quite short.
Award-winning Victorian gardens, it is a must-see. It offers beautiful views over the bay and the city as well as a relaxing place to rest for a little while. There is a café and a library. Victor Hugo and Queen Victoria have their statues on the ground. Entrance is free. Beware that the walk up there is steep.
This beautiful tower was built in honour of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert who visited the island in 1846.
I did not have time to visit Alderney but I highly recommend it.