This verdant island with pristine beaches, brilliant diving, panoramic walks and a passionate foodie scene is perfect for a London short break.
DO Lying off the coast of Normandy, the island has a very French influence (it was where Renoir did much of his painting) and anyone seeking organic produce, fresh seafood or delectable French pastries will be more than well sated. Milk is local, butter is from the neighbouring island of Sark, bacon is from locally reared pigs – essentially it’s a slow-food heaven. Passionate gourmands might want to time their visit with the Guernsey International Food Festival in September.
Walk the streets to collect picnic supplies as almost all residents participate in what they call a “hedge veg stall”, putting home-grown produce or house-made treats out the front of their house with a donation policy. Now, hit the trails: you can find excellent free walking guides written by a passionate local on the site Guernsey Walker. If the weather is warm, enjoy a dip at Petit Bot Bay on the way. Don’t worry if you forget to pack lunch, many of the bays have little tearooms serving light meals. Back in the main town of St Peter Port, wander the romantic cobblestone streets, which are closed to cars; it’s all about window-shopping and café-hopping.
EAT AND DRINK For the island’s best bread, croissants and other pastries, head to Boulangerie Victor Hugo. Vintage furniture will make you feel like you’re sipping your coffee in Paris, accompanied by the refreshing waft of clean island air. It’s de rigueur to sample a pasty while in the UK. Here on Guernsey, the most irresistible pasty can be devoured at The Pasty Presto near the port. Out the back of the shop you’ll find a surprise view over the marina. As night falls, head to The Restaurant at Beaucette Marina for a delicious seafood dinner with a vista overlooking yachts and neighbouring islands.
STAY In St Peter Port, The Old Government House Hotel offers elegant and lavishly decorated rooms, alfresco dining with views to the sea and lots of luxurious extras. The Bella Luce Hotel in Saint Martin is a 12th-century manor with fairytale grounds and surprisingly modern rooms. They have a spa, bar, restaurant and pool. Family-run site selfcatering.co.gg has four quaint accommodation options spread over the island, from a barn-converted apartment in a tranquil hamlet to a lodge apartment with a swimming pool.
GET THERE If you have time to spare, there are ferries; otherwise charter flights depart from London City, Stansted and Gatwick airports. Once on the island, driving can be harrowing due to narrow lanes and surprising amounts of local traffic. You’re better off walking or taking the bus.