If you have read our About Page, you know we love to explore places away from the large tourist spots.
We do enjoy the vibrancy of big cities and the large tourist attractions. It’s why we created European City Walks to help you easily navigate to the places of interest.
But whether it’s our age or an escape from all the noise, we find ourselves attracted to visiting the smaller, lesser-known places.
Researching alternative places for you to visit, even for a short break, we feel, gives you better travel experiences. It’s how we decided to spend three days seeing the best of Guernsey on our way to Paris.
It was an opportunity to catch up with some friends from New Zealand who now call Guernsey home.
Plus a short break to Guernsey is perfect for a weekend away from London.
Where is Guernsey?
Guernsey is the second largest of the Channel Islands; the other Channel island is Jersey. It is 48 km from the coast of Normandy, France and 113km from the coast of England.
English is the official language spoken on the island, as Guernsey is a self-governing British Crown dependency.
You won’t need a passport if you are travelling from England, but do take some form of identification. And if you are travelling to France, you will need your passport.
How to Get to Guernsey
Travel to Guernsey, you have two options from England or France:
- Condor Ferries – is a 3-hour journey from England or a 2-hour journey from France.
- Fly 45 minutes from England or 30 minutes from France.
Guernsey has its own airline, Aurigny otherwise, you can book flights using Skyscanner for the best deals available.
Getting Around Guernsey
When you want to see more than St Peter Port, the town centre of Guernsey, you have a few options:
- Bring your own car
- Hire a car
- Take the bus
- Hire a bike
Hire a Car in Guernsey
In Guernsey, they drive on the left (same as in the UK), so if you own a right-hand-drive car, you can bring your own car on the ferry.
Otherwise, hiring a rental car is the next best option.
Pick up a rental from Europcar at Guernsey airport and spend your three days exploring the island.
Things to know when driving in Guernsey
- They drive on the left (same as the UK)
- The maximum speed limit on the Island of 35mph (56kph)
- The speed limit in town, the speed limit drops to 25mph (40kph)
- Public parking is free
Buy an All-Day Bus Pass to Travel to Guernsey
The bus to catch is the R91 or R92, which starts and ends at St Peter Port. One bus travels clockwise, the other anti-clockwise and takes 1 hour 40 minutes.
- one day for £5
- a two-day pass for £8.50
Where to purchase your Guernsey bus pass
- From the bus driver
- At the airport
- Town Terminus shop
- Guernsey Tourist Information Centre
What is there to do in Guernsey?
Guernsey and Jersey have always held a fascination with the French influence and German occupation during WWII. The island has many interesting places for you to see, which is why a Discovery Pass is a great option.
Buy Yourself a Discovery Pass
One of the best things to do when in Guernsey is to buy yourself a Discovery Pass.
If you are visiting between Spring to Autumn, the £20 Discovery Pass (valid for 12 months) will give you access to:
- Castle Cornet
- Guernsey Museum at Candie
- Fort Grey
- German Naval Signals HQ
You also get free entry to the Jersey Museum and Alderney Museum.
If you are planning a short break, here is a list of ideas for things to do in Guernsey.
Day One: Explore St Peter Port
A 20min walk took us down to St Peter Port to explore the waterfront.
Guernsey is an island, so the wind was prevalent today and very cold as autumn took hold.
The first place of interest was the Lighthouse Pier and Castle, Cornet.
Walking to the end of the pier, we were able to see the outlying islands of Alderney, Sark, and, a little further away, Jersey.
We loved seeing all the private vessels moored and the views back towards the town centre. It was so picturesque.
Take a Tour of Castle Cornet
Castle Cornet kept us enthralled for over an hour.
We used our Discovery Pass and were just in time for the guided tour of the castle. It was an informative tour with a history dating back to the 1200s.
The castle built on an island – now joined to the mainland – has a varied history.
We learned the medieval curved portico was a brilliant idea to keep aggressors out, along with the reinforced inner walls.
The castle has had additions throughout the centuries, the last being the German occupation in WWII – lots of concrete bunkers and gun emplacements were built.
Of interest were the five museums within the castle detailing military and local life through the ages.
At 12 noon during the opening season, the canon is fired by two men dressed in tunics, originally worn by the Guernsey Militia in 1868-1881.
Wander the Cobblestoned Streets of Guernsey
We walked up through the cobbled pedestrian streets to a little cafe called Bouche for a yummy French baguette and a great flat white.
We later found out that Guernsey in October has a special week called the “tenner week.” This week, some local restaurants offer 2-3 course meals for £10.
A visit to the local tourist centre was also very informative, helping us organize the next day’s trip.
The centre offers walking tours in St Peter Port and some coastal bays.
Enjoy a Walk at the Candie Gardens Museum
If you are thinking you might find trees full of candy, unfortunately, it’s not that kind of garden. But the walk up the hill is good for the heart rate.
The history of the Gardens dates back to 1894 when the property was gifted to the people of Guernsey. Only the bandstand (now a cafe) is left of the original pavilion used for summer festivals.
A plaque commemorating The Beatles playing at the pavilion in 1963.
The museum replaced the pavilion, which has an entrance fee (extra to the Discovery Pass) to see the current exhibitions.
Climb up the Victoria Tower
Near the Candie Gardens Museum, we spied a tower and walked up to investigate.
It was the Victoria Tower, built to commemorate the visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the only reigning monarch to visit Guernsey, in 1846.
Now, if you want to access the tower, the key for the door is held at the Candie Gardens Museum. So instead of finding this out at the history board on the tower, get the key before you walk up.
Then you can enjoy the spectacular 360 views of St Peter Port.
Make a Stop at Hauteville House
Our last stop today was a walk back up the streets to Hauteville House, the home of Victor Hugo, composer of Les Miserables.
The house of his exile from France in the 1800s attracts many French visitors each year.
And having walked 17,000 steps today, we have had a wonderful day exploring Guernsey.
Day Two: Explore the Island of Guernsey
This morning we purchased an all-day bus pass for £5 each, allowing us on all buses for the day.
The tourist office’s suggestion is to take either Bus 91 or 92, taking you around the island’s coastline. Because of the narrow roads, Bus 91 travels westward and Bus 92 eastward around the island.
We decided to use the bus as our “hop on/hop off” for the day to travel around Guernsey.
Views from Vale Castle
Our first stop today on Bus 92 was St Sampson, where we found an old gun fort and Vale Castle. There was no access to the gun fort, but we did find an interesting paving stone.
We walked here to Vale Castle, dating back to the Iron Age overlooking Herm Island. The castle was reinforced with concrete for German gun emplacements.
We spent an hour here before catching another Bus, 92.
Enjoy the Beach at Pembroke Bay, Guernsey
Having explored for over an hour, we hopped back on the bus to pass by Pembroke Bay.
This was one area where having a car would have been advantageous. It is a bit of a walk from the road down to Pembroke Beach, but well worth the walk.
From Pembroke Bay, you have Fort Pembroke to the west and Fort le Marchant to the east.
See inside Fort Grey at Rocquaine Bay
When you travel around Guernsey, one thing you will notice is all the forts built around the island.
Guernsey, from its early history in the 1800s, had General Sir John Doyle petitioned the state for £30k to build gun fortification around the island. This was to protect the island from an invasion.
An example is Fort Grey – a Martello fortification built in 1840 in Rocquaine Bay now housing the shipwreck museum.
The Shipwreck Museum tells the story of the many shipwrecks from ancient to modern times. Guernsey is a very treacherous area of coastline.
Enjoy Lunch at Guernsey Pearl Cafe
Across from Fort Grey is a perfect place for lunch, Guernsey Pearl Cafe. The lunch at the cafe was generous and full of flavour, especially the steak and ale pie.
After lunch, you can browse at the Guernsey Pearl shop and see the remains of a Roman ship.
Visit the German Occupation Museum
Back on the bus to our next stop near Guernsey airport, the German Occupation Museum.
With a £6 entrance fee, we were treated to a vast collection of memorabilia and detailed history for the period 1940-1945.
Once again, we were enthralled for over an hour reading of the occupation by the Germans, the internment in France if not native-born Guernsey, and the vast amount of tunnels dug by Russian prisoners bought to the island by the Germans.
The German Occupation Museum is one of the top things to do in Guernsey.
You can also take Bus71 from St Peter Port to the German Occupation Museum.
Day Three: Find the Hidden Gems of Guernsey
Today we spent the morning with our friend Linda who now calls Guernsey home, exploring some of the hidden gems of Guernsey island.
We spent the morning visiting two of her favourite spots before enjoying a “tenner” lunch at St Peter Port.
The Little Chapel of Guernsey Island
One of Linda’s favourite spots is The Little Chapel, built by Brother Deodat. He built it as a replica of the Basilica of Lourdes, France. Although very small, the intricate detail of the mosaic work was intriguing.
Coffee at Fermain Beach
Down to the sheltered Fermain Beach Cafe for a coffee, we were amused as we watched a local having a swim in the very cold seawater!
The east side of Guernsey, although rocky, has some beautiful sandy beaches accessible from St Peter Port on foot.
At St Peter Port, we stopped to look at the sea pools, popular in summer when the high tide is out and everyone can enjoy a sea swim.
Guernsey has 9-meter tides, the second largest tides in the world, so swimming in the bays is very popular.
Lunch was at Village East restaurant for the £10 “tenner” deal of the main course with a wine.
The menu available had some tasty dishes. Linda and Terry chose the steak and Maura the vegetable lasagne – delicious (thanks, Linda.)
Saying our goodbyes to Linda, our next stop for us was the Condor Ferry and our two-hour ferry crossing to St Malo, France.
Wrapping up Guernsey
We have enjoyed exploring this friendly, tax-free island, the easy-going island of Guernsey.
When you are looking for an alternative break away from London or Paris, Guernsey holiday destination is ideal for two or three days.
You can explore the island by car or local bus to discover one of many forts. You can even take a short ferry ride to the nearby island of Sark.
Life in Guernsey isn’t rushed, so you can relax and enjoy your short break.
For a quaint island experience, book a flight or ferry to Guernsey.