Peter Morrell reports on one of his favourite holiday destinations
The island of Guernsey is only a short plane ride away from the UK mainland but when you arrive the difference is enormous. A dramatic coastline, a rich history, friendly English speaking locals and sterling currency all combine to make a relaxing and interesting holiday.
Here are a couple of package suggestions, the first for active walking and the second for people who may be less able physically or who just want a well earned break.
Ramblers Walking Holidays
Ramblers Walking Holidays’ seven night tour to Guernsey explores the dramatic coast and picturesque interior of Guernsey and two of the other islands of the Bailiwick: Sark and Herm. The guided walks take in some of the best stretches of the coast, with cliff-top paths and fine views out to sea.
Along the coast are many signs of Guernsey’s history, from the WW2 defences built by the German occupiers to fortifications against Napoleon; right back to Megalithic tombs from 3000-2000BC. There are also artistic sights, such as Renoir’s Viewpoint. Inland, Guernsey is criss-crossed with ‘Green Lanes’ through picturesque and varied countryside.
Walkers have the chance to visit Sark, just three miles by one and a half, which is a ferry ride away, where ‘traffic’ consists of tractors, horses and bicycles. They may also wish to visit Herm island on the free day.
The islands of the ‘Bailiwick of Guernsey’ lie in the Bay of St Malo and despite loyalty to the British crown since 1066, at only eight miles from the French coast at their nearest point, they inevitably have a ‘Taste of France’.
For 2017, the tour operator has increased departures and will now run five trips between May and September taking in the capital St Peter Port and both inland and coastal walking.
The lead in price is £769pp and includes return flights from the UK, half-board accommodation and transfers (www.ramblersholidays.co.uk/guernsey).
Adagio, the gentler, more culture focused arm of Rambler’s Walking Holidays offers a week long gardening themed trip to Guernsey, with five departure dates throughout 2017, with the first departure on 15 April.
The escorted trip, ‘Gardens of the Channel Islands’ is based at La Barbarie Hotel in the quiet parish of St. Martin’s on the south coast. Highlights include a visit to Sausmarez Manor for a tour of the subtropical garden with one of the specialist gardeners; a trip to Candie Gardens to see the oldest known heated glass houses in the British Isles; a visit to a Victorian walled garden; a nature trail walk and a guided walk along the north coast with magnificent views of the wildflowers. There are also separate day trips to Guernsey’s sister islands of Herm and Sark, which are a 20 and 50 minute ferry ride from Guernsey respectively. On Herm there is a private tour of the island’s gardens, which have many exotic species and on Sark there is a guided tour through La Seigneurie Gardens which have been described as some of the finest formal gardens in the Channel Islands.
The trip costs from £1,225 per person including return flights from London Gatwick (flights from regional airports are also available), seven nights’ accommodation on a half board basis, entrance fees all tours and ferry crossings.
For bookings and further information: www.adagio.co.uk /01707 386700