One of the three crown dependencies, Guernsey is a breathtaking island located in the English Channel nestled between the UK and France. The second largest island in the archipelago, Guernsey is home to magnificent landscapes, unrivalled beaches and ten parishes bursting with life. A destination just a short journey time from the UK mainland, Guernsey boasts a mild climate, fascinating attractions and endless adventure. From the golden sands of unspoilt beaches and the depths of the picturesque valleys to the charming streets of St Peter’s Port, Guernsey is an island full of highlights. The captivating island is also one of rich history and strong heritage abundant with Roman ruins, ancient settlements and historic war sites. Guernsey is also shrouded in legend, a mystical land with folklore of witches and fairies. Whichever version of Guernsey you embrace, you will truly be inspired, educated and fascinated by this incredible island that begs you to return.
The beautiful Channel Island of Guernsey is divided into ten parishes, all of which feature an individual community and unique attractions. As an island destination, all parishes with the exception of St Andrew feature a coastline offering phenomenal landscapes and endless exploration.
As the capital of Guernsey, St Peter Port is a vibrant hub of activity with exciting attractions, phenomenal dining and a vibrant nightlife scene. Home to the largest population on the island, St Peter Port is at the centre of the action. This charming parish is considered one of Europe’s prettiest port towns boasting cobbled streets, a historic backdrop and exquisite marina views. The marina is truly hypnotic with glistening waters and picturesque boats gently bobbing along the water. Standing guard, the iconic Castle Cornet has watched over St Peter Port for over 800 years. Touring Castle Cornet offers a great insight into the island’s military history along with unrivalled views back towards St Peter’s Port. The parish is home to a number of rocky beaches with scenic promenades including the hidden gem of Fermain Bay. The rugged coastline, white sands and turquoise waters of this secluded spot make Fermain Bay one of Guernsey’s most breathtaking beaches and just a short cliff walk from St Peter Port. Offering a safe space to swim, La Vallette Bathing Pools is a Victorian lido that fills with seawater during high tide. The facilities at La Vallette Bathing Pools have recently undergone an extensive renovation offering new changing rooms, sun trap bathing benches and a revamped cafe. In addition to relaxed swimming, La Vallette is also a destination for excitement with diving boards, swimming competitions and community events.
The idyllic streets of St Peter Port are bursting with incredible shopping and outstanding dining locations including some of the island’s best restaurants overlooking the waterfront. Whilst nightlife on the island reflects the island’s vibe and is relatively chilled, St Peter Port is where the party is at. The town is home to an incredible selection of bars with a laid-back atmosphere and live music whilst Fusion is the largest nightclub on the island and welcomes a host of international djs throughout the year.
The history found in St Peter Port is truly remarkable from the captivating presence of Castle Cornet to the home of one of the world’s most famous French writers. During his exile, Hauteville House was the home of the legendary author Victor Hugo. The house was where Hugo wrote his most famous works including the renowned Les Miserables. Now a museum, a visit to Hauteville House takes you through Hugo’s life and work through an exploration of his creativity in the home he designed himself.
As the largest port on the island, St Peter Port also has a strong military and war history. Across the parish, historic war sites highlight the German Occupation during World War II including German Naval Signals HQ and La Vallette Underground Military Museum.
The largest parish of Guernsey occupying the central section of the north-western coastline, Castel is a peaceful corner of the island with exceptional beaches and quaint countryside. Castel provides the perfect base for a countryside retreat with cosy pubs, quiet surroundings and ample walking trails, the ideal location for hikers and families travelling with pets to spend their holiday. The parish boasts some of Guernsey’s most scenic bays with Blue Flag beaches and unspoilt scenery found in abundance. The award-winning Vazon Bay is the most famous beach in the parish stretching for 2 miles and is considered one of the island’s most stunning beaches.
Castel is a significant area of Guernsey history featuring Fort Hommet, a Victorian fortification later used and enhanced during the German Occupation of the Channel Islands in the Second World War. For a greater insight into Guernsey history, Castel is also home to the National Trust Folk Museum and Guernsey Telephone Museum. For families, Saumarez Park can be found in Castel, the largest park in Guernsey inspired by the beauty of Japanese gardens. Here you can discover the rose garden, explore the Japanese walk, admire the Japanese pond and stop by the tearooms. Children from tots to teenagers will enjoy the thrilling playground of Saumarez Park with play equipment to delight and excite all ages. Castel also hosts some of the island’s biggest events of the year including Battle of the Flowers, a vibrant annual festival that takes over the Channel Islands every August. A charming parish overflowing with culture, Castel is one of Guernsey’s most magnificent destinations.
The small parish of Forest is a Guernsey location of outstanding natural beauty. As the name may suggest, Forest is an area with an incredible outdoor environment and is a popular destination for adventure on the island. With expansive open areas and wealth of woodland, Forest is a popular destination for hiking and cycling. Not only does the parish have endless countryside to explore, it also occupies a stretch of Guernsey’s coastline. As the highest point on the island, Forest boasts outstanding sea views from the cliff tops and sheltered bays for days by the ocean. Petit Bot is one of the most idyllic beaches in Forest, home to a sheltered bay offering calm waters for swimming and soft, golden sands for seaside days. The parish is also famous for spectacular floral displays and is a repeat award-winner for Britain In Bloom. Home to Guernsey Airport, Forest is often the arrival destination for many visitors to the island.
In terms of history, Forest is no stranger to fascinating attractions and captivating monuments. The dedication to honouring the island’s rich history can be found the moment you are landside in Guernsey with the Allied Aircrew Memorial just outside of Guernsey Airport terminal. The monument is a memorial to the 153 who lost their lives in Bailiwick waters during the German Occupation. Meanwhile, The German Occupation Museum provides a moving insight into island life during World War II. Featuring authentic artefacts, exhibitions on maritime history and a recreation of a war-era Guernsey street, the museum offers a unique and immersive experience.
Located in the centre of the island, St Andrew is the only landlocked Guernsey parish. Surrounded by an abundance of fields, woodland and valleys, St Andrew is a predominantly agricultural parish that also offers a wealth of nature for visitors to explore. The perfect destination for hiking and cycling, St Andrew offers endless exploration with scenic trails, vibrant nature and traditional agricultural buildings that add charm to the landscape. St Andrew offers a different pace of life to other parishes and visitors to Guernsey looking for a tranquil country escape will no doubt find it in St Andrew.
St Andrew is home to the most unique chapel on the island, a small church affectionately named The Little Chapel. The Little Chapel is inspired by the famous grotto in Lourdes with the aim to create a miniature version of the basilica Notre Dame in the heart of Guernsey. The beautiful chapel has a breathtaking and unusual facade crafted using tiny pebbles, pretty seashells and colourful china.
Of course, St Andrew also features a rich war history and boasts one of Guernsey’s most fascinating attractions. The German Underground Hospital is the largest World War II structure across the Channel Islands from the German Occupation. Featuring over 75,000 square feet of tunnels, The German Underground Hospital is staggering to explore. The labyrinth of tunnels is somewhat invisible from above but within the hill is an impressive concrete maze. Used by occupying forces as both a hospital and ammunition storage, the museum offers an eerie walkthrough tour with tales of casualties during construction and wartime imagery.
The perfect blend of rural and urban, St Martin offers the best of both worlds. Home to incredible independent stores and award-winning gourmet restaurants, the metropolitan side of St Martin is exciting and vibrant. In contrast, St Martin’s alter ego is found in its charming country lanes, scenic clifftop trails and breathtaking coastal views. The most magnificent landscape in St Martin is found at Jerbourg Point. This southeastern, rugged headland offers phenomenal coastal views of neighbouring Channel Islands Sark and Alderney whilst on a clear day, views stretch as far as Jersey.
The parish of St Martin boasts some of Guernsey’s most breathtaking beaches, many of which are unspoilt hidden gems. With shallow waters and Mediterranean views, Moulin Huet Beach is undoubtedly the parish’s best beach and one of the best places to swim. A firm favourite with Guernsey locals, Moulin Huet is a charming spot that was also loved by Victor Hugo, author of Les Miserables, and French artist Renoir. An alternative beach spot in St Martin is Saints Bay Beach, a pebbled bank with spots of sand. This quaint cove offers great protection from weather conditions creating calm waters for swimming. The beach is a popular destination for stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking due to the water’s tranquillity.
As part of Guernsey’s Privilege Pass, the island has many fascinating museums, buildings and monuments to discover including St Martin’s Sausmarez Manor. Home to exquisite grounds and an impressive sculpture park, Sausmarez Manor is a delightful location to spend a summer afternoon. Meanwhile, Guernsey’s oldest monument sits in the courtyard of the parish church, the intriguing and captivating La Gran’mère du Chimquière. The Grandmother of the Cemetery dates back to 2500 BC, a neolithic statue that is one of the island’s most famous monuments.
The rural parish of St Pierre du Bois is an idyllic country setting with a small village at its heart. The parish features incredible beaches including L’Eree Beach, a sheltered sandy beach that is popular with families. During low tide, the beach is covered with rock pools to explore and there is plenty of activity to keep little ones entertained.
The main attraction in St Pierre du Bois is Fort Grey. This Martello tower, known by locals as Cup and Saucer, is located on a tidal islet in St Pierre du Bois’ Rocquaine Bay. A place of both history and legend, Fort Grey was built during the Middle Ages and used through the ages by the military. The fort was also occupied the Nazis during the German occupation when it was armed with machine guns and an anti-tank gun. Whilst the rich history of Fort Grey is fascinating and monumental, the mystical side to the fort is also a great attraction. The fort is said to have been a popular haunt for practising witchcraft during the 16th century whilst there were also reports of the fort housing a coven and providing a place for meetings with the devil. Today, Fort Grey is a fascinating shipwreck museum exhibiting salvage from marine wreckages.
The parish is also home to Guernsey Astronomy Observatory, an incredible destination for stargazing. Housed in a unique building constructed as part of a battery during the German Occupation, the observatory is home to two state-of-the-art telescopes and hosts astronomy club nights as well as public viewing events. Also in Pierre du Bois, visitors can admire the artistic excellence of both local Guernsey and international artists with fine art exhibitions at Coach House Gallery.
Just off the coast of St Pierre du Bois, the small tidal island of Lihou is accessible for two weeks every month. When the tide is low, a tidal causeway appears providing a walkway to this stunning nature reserve. Wildlife is abundant on Lihou with the island an important location for migratory birds. All will be awed by Lihou but wildlife lovers in particular will find the island simply magnificent.
The parish of St Sampson is one of the three Guernsey parishes with non-contiguous territory. Separated by Vale, St Sampson falls into two areas, one on the east coast and one on the west. Both parts of St Sampson featured stunning coastal scenery with contrasting views whilst inland, they boast luscious green landscapes towards Vale.
St Sampson is a paradise for families, a vibrant hub of activity with a wealth of outdoor action on offer. Oatlands Village is the best family attraction on the island, home to an exciting assortment of activities. From the 18-hole mini golf course and thrilling play barn to the pet shop and chocolate store, families with children of all ages will have plenty of entertainment for an afternoon in St Sampson. Little ones can enjoy building their own bear whilst older children can try their hand at painting pottery and all the family can compete in a game of bowling. Oatlands Village has so much to offer including an arcade and trampolines that families will not want to leave. St Sampson is also home to Karting Guernsey, the island’s only go-karting track allowing visitors to feel the thrill of racing. Delancey Park offers an expanse of grassy areas for kids to run wild whilst the play area features equipment for all ages plus ramps for skaters to enjoy.
Meanwhile, St Sampson’s harbour on the east coast is the second largest port in Guernsey with a rich history of shipbuilding. Rousse Bay is a popular beach on the west coast offering a sheltered bay with a jumping point and excellent snorkelling opportunities. Port Grat Beach is another contender for best beach in St Sampson, a hidden gem of a horseshoe bay with a breathtaking Mediterranean-esque landscape. On the east coast, the large bay of Belle Greve takes up the majority of the parish’s coastline with a promenade along the shore. Whilst sandy corners can be found, better beaches are found nearby in St Peter Port and Vale or in the St Sampson territory on the west coast.
One of Guernsey’s most rural parishes, St Saviour offers unspoilt scenery and untouched landscapes. Home to a network of country lanes, St Saviour is an excellent destination for hiking and cycling with local farms, expanses of woodland and phenomenal wildlife. The beaches of St Saviour are renowned for their excellent waves and the parish is the go-to destination for surfing on the island.
St Saviour is also home to a high number of protected historic buildings and sites. World War II fortifications can be found in abundance across the parish including St Saviour’s Tunnel which is hidden from view in a field next to the parish church. The best war site is Batterie Mirus where visitors can experience a guided tour inside the biggest gun emplacement in the Channel Islands. The parish also features numerous neolithic sites including Le Crocq and Le Catioroc. The latter is the most impressive megalithic site on the island featuring the well-preserved Le Trepied dolmen. The dolmen is an impressive site to visit with a certain mystical air. The headland of Le Catioroc and in particular, Le Trepied is shrouded in mythology and a prominent place in Guernsey folklore. Le Catioroc is associated with fairies whilst Le Trepied is said to have been a meeting place for witches.
The smallest of Guernsey’s parishes, Torteval, occupies two corners of the south coast split by St Pierre du Bois. With a name deriving from the Guernesiais word for twisted valleys, Torteval is a beautiful parish to explore. Sitting on the westernmost point of the island, the detached part of the parish named Pleinmont-Torteval is home to the outstanding Pleinmont Nature Reserve. The nature reserve is a designated bird sanctuary and was redeveloped for the Diamond Jubilee in 2021.
Located on a rocky islet roughly one mile from Pleinmont Point, Hanois Lighthouse is a fascinating point of interest in Torteval. The construction of the lighthouse was an important stepping stone in lighthouse engineering. Built in the late 19th century, Hanois Lighthouse was the last to be automated in the British Isles when it was finally demanned in 1996. The light shining from Hanois Lighthouse stretches for 20 miles and is one of the most important navigational aids in Guernsey waters.
An extremely cultural parish, Torteval plays host to many of the island’s biggest events including the Rocquaine Regatta. This exciting family-fun day boasts unusual boat races, free entertainment and exciting activities. The parish also hosts the Torteval Scarecrow Festival every July with a delightful trail of unique and comedic scarecrows.
The second largest parish on the island, Vale is the final non-contiguous parish, split by St Sampson. Vale is one of the most elegant corners of Guernsey home to the island’s leading golf clubs and some of the island’s most breathtaking beaches. The prestigious L’Ancresse Golf Club is nestled on Vale’s coastline featuring a challenging 18-hole championship golf course whilst the Royal Guernsey Golf Club can also be found in the parish. At the most northern part of the island, the bays of L’Ancresse and Pembroke are renowned for their turquoise waters and golden sands. The beaches offer long stretches of sand with gentle slopes ideal for families with children who wish to swim or paddle in shallow water.
Vale is bursting with historical sites and monuments scattered across the parish. Overlooking the northeast coastline, Vale Castle is a staggering and well-preserved fort that has stood guard over this corner of the island for over 1000 years. The impressive castle can be explored on a daily basis and offers phenomenal coastal views taking in the neighbouring Channel Islands of Herm and Jethou. The parish also features multiple prehistoric burial sites including La Varde, Les Fouaillages and Dehus Dolmen, incredible examples of the Channel Islands’ megalithic sites.
Guernsey’s landscapes are some of the most diverse in the Channel Islands. Coastal views range from breathtaking beaches reminiscent of Mediterranean destinations to rugged headlands featuring historic monuments and unspoilt scenery. Heading inland, Guernsey is bursting with valleys, farmland and woodland with incredible locations for hiking, cycling and country retreats. Dotted with charming villages and quaint port towns, the landscape of Guernsey is one that will certainly imprint on your memory.
As an island with strong culture, history and heritage, Guernsey is no stranger to exciting annual events. From community festivals to large music events, Guernsey offers it all including the traditional Battle of the Flowers and Liberation Day events. Click here for a full schedule of Guernsey’s events.
Getting to Guernsey
From the UK, Guernsey is incredibly accessible with short flight times from multiple UK airports. Guernsey offers frequent flight schedules from many UK airports in addition to seasonal flights from regional airports. Guernsey is also accessible via sea with sailings from both Poole and Portsmouth operated by Condor Ferries. Flight and sea connections are also available from neighbouring Channel Island, Jersey.
Guernsey has a wide range of accommodation options including luxury hotels, budget-friendly guest houses and exceptional self-catering accommodation. For more information about hotels in Guernsey, browse the extensive accommodation section.