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Guernsey Background information

A sedate holiday destination, this most densely populated Channel Island has a few pockets of countryside, but still has superb beaches, miles of spectacular cliffs along the south coast and St Peter Port, the islands’ most attractive town. There’s a host of small-scale horticultural and crafts attractions, and interesting historical sights. Guernsey is best placed for boat trips to the smaller islands.

Idyllic coves lying at the end of gladded glens and sweeping strands behind rocky reefs – Guernsey’ 27 beaches will satisfy anyone’s seaside taste. And when the Atlantic waves pound the west coast, they reverberate around the whole island.

All you must know about cultural aspects of Guernsey. You can visit various parishes in Guernsey:

St Peter Port: From an arriving ferry, this ancient port is utterly delightful. The whole harbourfront has been reclaimed from the sea: ships would once have moored outside warehouses which are now restaurants, and in front of shops along what is still called The Quay. Since 1672, the Castle Cornet has represented the medieval military architecture. The old stone walls are now enhanced by carefully nurtured gardens. With several specialist museums inside the castle walls, you need a couple of hours in which to explore fully. Probably the most majestic church in the Channel Islands is the Parish Church of St Peter Port. Behind the church, the Markets, which are 200 years old, have been given a long-overdue makeover. The General Post Office in Smith Street sells philatelic material and models of blue Guernsey post-office vans. You can visit the Royal Court House, the Candie Gardens, the Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery, Dorey Centre, the Guernsey Tapestry or La Valette Underground Military Museum.

Around St Martin: Guernsey’s most appealing piece of prehistory stands in the most unlikely spot for a pagan monument: at the entrance to the gaveyard of St Martin’s church. Just east of here, the opulent Sausmarez Manor has been the much-loved home of the de Sausmarez family since as long ago as 1254. Beautifully enclosed by verdant cliffs, Fermain bay is pebbly at the top, revealing sand only as the tide goes out: an 18th-century tower and tea room supervise the beach, while high above stands a curious white landmark called the Pepper Pot, a guard house large enough for only one soldier.

The South Coast: On the southeast corner of the island, Jerbourg Point has the most compelling views on the south coast. From here you can see and reach Petit port, indisputably the most spectacular of the south-coast beaches. Like Moulin Huet, Petit Bot sits at the end of a lush valley. In Forest and St Andrews, you can visit the German Occupation Museum and the German military Underground Hospital or even the Little Chapel, a mini Lourdes. Around Rocquaine Bay, the Pleinmont Point offers a glorious Atlantic headland. The Fort Grey Shipwreck Museum, Libou Island and Rocquaine Bay are also good places to visit.

The Northwest Coast: St Apolline’s chapel in the village of Perelle, near the bay of the same name, is a pretty 14th –century church dedicated to the patron saint of dentist. Just inland, there is Les Rouvets Tropical Gardens. Just along the coast, Vazon bay is a whopper of a sandy beach where Guernsey beach boys come to do battle with the surf. Fort Hommet, the Brooklands Farm Implement Museum, Cobo Bay are good places to see in the Northwest Coast. Heritage, Candles and crafts are shown with the Guernsey Folk Museum, Saumarez park, Guernsey Candles or Oatlands Craft Centre.

Grand Havre: A fishing flotilla and windsurfing sails fill the last of the west coast bays, Grand Havre. Its various little strands include a fine beach known as Ladies Bay. Les Fouaillages, just behind Ladies Bay alongside the fifth green of the golf course, may be holder than the Pyramids of Egypt. The flawless beach of L’Ancresse bay is the islands best, with cafes and watersports.

The Northeast Coast: The northeast corner is defended by 19th-century Fort Doyle. More modernity can be found in the sleek yachts at Beaucette Marina, an all-weather harbour blasted out of the island’s bedrock. The most impressive Neolithic site is Dehus Dolmen. Bordeaux Harbour is a popular haunt with fishermen and divers alongside a couple of passable little beaches. It is overseen to the south by medieval Vale Castle, now reduced to its exterior walls.

St Sampson: It is the second harbour of Guernsey, handling bulk carriers and serving as a boat repair depot. The beaches dotted along the northeastern coast - notably at Belle Greve bay between St Sampson and St Peter Port – are more appealing for rockpooling and birdwatching than for sunbathing or swimming.


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