It’s just three hours by ferry from Poole, but Guernsey offers the sense of going abroad, as Charlotte Cullinan and family discover on an activity-filled short break
It’s a sunny Saturday morning in Guernsey, and we have a conundrum: we can’t pick which of the 27 beaches to visit first. Do we want one of the wide expanses of white sand in the north, or a sheltered cove backed by rugged cliffs in the south?
The north wins, and we head to Pembroke beach, which is popular with watersports enthusiasts. I’m here with my two sons, five-year-old George and two-year-old Harry, so our activities lean towards competitive sandcastle-building, seaweed-throwing and shell collecting, and the boys are entertained for hours.
The beach is huge and quiet, the water is clear, and there’s a well-stocked snack kiosk. It’s the type of beach trip I want to bottle, and it’s hard to believe we’ve just hopped across the English Channel.
Covering 25 square miles, Guernsey is situated just off the Normandy coast and is the second- largest of the Channel Islands.
We’re visiting for three nights with Premier Holidays, and short-haul general manager Beverley Scarr says the island is ideal for a short break. She explains: “People tend to book a four- or five-night stay during spring and summer, and three nights is the norm out of season between November and April, as many attractions close during the winter months.”
She recommends it as the “perfect family destination for pre-teen children”, adding: “Guernsey is only a short trip from mainland UK but it offers a sense of a holiday abroad.”
One of Scarr’s top tips is to take a ride on the cute Le Petit Train. It snakes around the cobbled streets and marina in the capital of St Peter Port and up the hills dotted with pretty boutiques. Advise customers to take a ride early in their trip, as there’s an interesting commentary, which helps us get our bearings and decide which attractions to visit.
Having our own car means it’s easy to flit around the island. We’ve brought our vehicle with us on Condor Ferries, and the crossing from Poole takes three hours.
While some roads are narrow, driving on the island is easy, and there is a maximum speed limit of 35mph in most areas. As we drive around the rural roads, George loves spotting the hedge veg stalls selling home-grown produce next to an honesty box for payments.