Guernsey for a holiday?

By | Category: Travel destinations


The Channel Islands get overlooked by some holidaymakers. They aren’t really like going abroad because, well, they are British. Except that holidaying there is not really like staying at home and yet it isn’t really like France or Spain.

Listen to the Guernsey patois, largely French but largely unfathomable to the average visiting French person, and you will realise that although your money has the same value and you have shops with recognisable names it is different.

So why do the islands appeal to such a small market? Maybe the Channel Islands don’t really want to become just a tourist magnet preferring to keep some of their lights under a bushel.  You don’t really hear excited youths in the pub saying they are going on a stag do or a hen party to the Channel Isles? Their loss is our gain.

This is the time of the year when all sorts of festivals and attractions begin  such as the folk festival beginning in six days’ time. With ferry links from Poole and Portsmouth as well as air links from a number of regional airports it is easy to get to.  You can even do just a day trip on a fast vessel from Poole that will take you just three hours.

Cruise ships have embraced the islands and Guernsey, for example, will see 113 ships visiting it this year which could mean as many as 171,257 people wandering around St Peter Port, Saumarez Park, Castle Cornet, Cobo Bay, the underground hospital or Hauteville House – the home of the great French writer, Victor Hugo.


a cliff walk in Guernsey

So far this year, the tourist board says that visitor numbers are up by only 1.5%. But visitor numbers amongst business people or conference attendees are up by over 35% which is a much more significant figure. The docking of so many cruise ships has meant that day visitors from the ships is up by 82%; good news for an island that wouldn’t be able to build enough hotels to house that number but can support that number of day-trippers.

With three nearby islands as part of the bailiwick, Alderney, Herm and Sark , there is more than enough for an overseas break. Me, I am lazy. I prefer to head to one of the many fish restaurants and eat fresh crab that has been caught off the island that morning. Nowhere have I enjoyed crab so much and the Guernsey Food Festival in September is one opportunity for sampling the fresh wares of the island.

I have even thought of an advertsing slogan for the island. “Guernsey – the overseas destination that is just like home.”

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