Wow, wow Guernsey, what a lovely place for a visit! We spent four days here in July, taking our small camper and a large drive-away awning / tent.
I hadn’t expected too much from Guernsey. It was a last minute decision comprised mainly of what we wanted to avoid. The thinking was, we need to go somewhere different enough that it’s like a holiday, but we can’t quite face the hassle of going abroad with a dog and a toddler.
Chilled out Channel Islands
Well, I just love this place. It is very low-key, beautiful and charming. There are amazing, plentiful and uncrowded beaches without high-rise buildings, just the odd simple beach café if you are lucky. The tiny capital of St Peter Port is charming and easy to navigate. There are some very good restaurants if you are so inclined and feeling flush. If like us you are mainly self-catering, there are a range of supermarkets and smaller food shops, as well as homegrown fruit and vegetables sold from people’s garden gates.
We stayed at La Bailloterie Campsite, a perfect place to park up, which is fully reviewed here – La Bailloterie Campsite.
Micro campers for the Channel Islands
Because the roads in Guernsey are so narrow, we chose to take our small campervan, a Mitsubishi Delica L400, along with a large tent that served as our permanent base. We then had the best of both worlds: a small camper that we could nip around the islands in and use as a day van and for everything except sleeping in back at the campsite, and a large tent where we had everything else spread out plus lots of room to hang out and play in to get out of the midday sun. So the camper was essential and made everything really easy, but we didn’t have to get involved in packing everything up every time we wanted to go out for the day.
It cannot be overemphasised that the roads in Guernsey are extremely narrow. Do not be tempted to take anything larger than a VW Transporter (even that is a bit large), unless you plan on driving straight from the ferry portto a nearby campsite and then staying put. Our Mitsubishi Delica L400 campervan was perfect for getting around the island in. We made good use of the 4WD and high clearance as it enabled us to get up on banks when the roads were particularly squeezed.
Highlights of our trip were:
- The low key tourism – This island is a tax-haven, people. They don’t need our tourist dollar and very refreshing it is too.
- The beaches and the bathing pools – Just so many lovely little beaches.
- The proximity to the smaller islands – There are daily boat trips from Guernsey to the smaller Channel Islands of Sark, Herm and Alderney. I went to Alderney for a day and have never in my life been anywhere like it.
- The history – Guernsey is full of history and for this reason, endlessly fascinating. There are many opportunities to buy tea-stained “original” wartime newspapers speaking of key events during the occupation. But the WW2 German bunkers scattered around are only vestiges of the most recently dramatic events on the island. You can delve as deep as you want to into Guernsey’s past.
- The call to adventure – because of the low key nature of the island, none of its history is handed to you on a plate, so there’s a real sense of exploration about engaging with the history of the island.
My favourite part of this charming Channel Island, however, was the slow pace of life. It encapsulates everything I want from a holiday and I will definitely be going back.
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