Cultural Getaway in Guernsey: After a few hectic weeks the time had finally come for my much needed, and much earned, weekend trip to the island of Guernsey. Closer to France than England, the island is still only a 50-minute flight from London Gatwick, and as you fly in for landing you can see the scenic charm and appeal on offer.
I had chosen Guernsey, not only to enjoy its slower pace of life, but also to visit some of the different islands in the jurisdiction. None being no more than 50 minutes away from the main island of Guernsey, each offers a different perspective and refreshing experience. Aside from Guernsey there is also Alderney to the north, and Sark and Herm to the east.I didn’t have enough time to make the trip to Alderney however I was more than pleased with my trips to Sark and Herm.
A beautiful little emerald of an island, Sarkseems to be set in a time long past, in a very good way though! Most locals and visitors get around on bicycle as there are no cars allowed, there is the odd tractor for farming and transporting goods, however you will still see some travelling in a horse drawn carriage or just going for a reflective walk. All of this adds to the intensely relaxed aura of the island. After a picturesque bike trip around the island, and a particularly refreshing sampling of the local cider, I headed back to the harbour for my 45-minute boat trip back to Guernsey.
The next day I then made the 20-minute boat trip across to the smaller island of Herm, which also has a no car policy. There isn’t really a need for bikes on Herm, so I strolled around the island taking in the gardens and sea views, whilst sneaking another cider in the local pub, perfectly named The Mermaid. For me though, the highlight of Herm is Shell Beach on east side of the island. Looking like something you would expect to find in the Caribbean I spent the remainder of the afternoon soaking up some sun, however, I would hasten to add that the water is a bit cooler than its Caribbean counterpart.
Aside from my island hopping adventures I also made time to visit an amazing collection of museums and historical sites and here I run through some of the highlights of my journey.
This lavishly decorated house was the home of the famous French novelist Victor Hugo during is fifteen years spent in exile on the island. It was donated by his descendants to the city of Paris in 1927, who then restored it to its original conditions and transformed it into the museum we see today. The museum shows you the inspiring conditions that enabled Victor Hugo to pen some of his most famous and beloved works, including the now Oscar-nominated film, Les Miserables.
The German Military Underground Hospital
Even though it is the largest single construction in the whole of the Channel Islands, slaves of the German forces in World War II carved the underground hospital out of solid rockat a time when Guernsey was being occupied by the German armed forces. With its horror film like tunnels, the hospital gives an eerie insight into life on the island during the war and what it took to survive on a day-to-day basis. This is definitely one attraction to tell the family about.
This fort was built in the 13th century and stood guard over the town of St Peter Port up until the mid 19th century. Now the host of five museums, four feature gardens, a café and a gift shop, the castle runs guided tours on most days. The tour guide took us around all of the museums and exhibits in the castle; from a maritime museum exhibiting Guernsey’s naval history, all the way from the Romans up to the present day, to an RAF museum, with great displays and information on Guernsey’s own 201 Squadron. There truly was something for everyone to enjoy and learn.
At the end of my trip I felt like I had taken full advantage of the opportunities the islands had afforded me to de-stress and unwind, as well as expand my knowledge on its culture and heritage. With its relaxed pace of life and variety of experiences I trust you will enjoy it just as much as I did, maybe more if that is even possible!
Emma is an avid traveller and loves visiting quirky places. She works to travel and loves to spend as much time discovering new places as possible. Check out her blog at www.travelbagel.com. Hope you enjoyed reading “A Cultural Getaway in Guernsey”. Please do share your thought in the comment section below.