The dramatic sweeping landscape and lush mountainous terrains that make up the dual islands of Guernsey are a constant source of pleasure for visitors. Made up of equal parts wealthy capital of commerce and relaxing island get-away, it still manages to retain a feeling of beach-front relaxation, in no small part helped by the welcoming sub-tropical climate and gentle, sandy beaches. Although a firm favourite for sight-seeing, the selection of hotels, boutique stores and enviable assortment of restaurants allows these friendly islands to host an exciting calendar of events throughout the year.
Part traditional fishing port and part wealthy capital of commerce, this sleepy island encompasses two very different worlds. Accommodation here ranges from classically elegant five-star hotels to cosy, family-run guest houses – many of the best options are gathered around St Peter Port. Here, The Old Government House Hotel and Spa (St Ann's Place) has cornered Guernsey’s luxury market with its exquisite 19th-century interiors and state-of-the-art spa; while the well-priced St George’s Guesthouse (21 St George’s Esplanade) offers comfortable rooms with oodles of nautical charm. In nearby Castel, mid-range Le Friquet Country House (Rue Du Friquet) attracts visitors looking for peace and quiet with its well-tended gardens.
The pedestrianised centre of St Peter Port is Guernsey’s retail hub where independent wood-fronted shops mingle with classy chains – and with no VAT (Value Added Tax) to pay, this is a great place to bag a designer bargain. Rummage through the racks of Samuel Pepys (31 High Street) for outfits by the likes of Armani and Hugo Boss; browse the range of brands at high-end fashion store Nautilus (8 Mill Street); or head out of town to the stunning jewellery showroom at Catherine Best (Steam Mill Lane) in St Martins. Traditional farmers’ markets such as Castel Parish Farmers’ Market (Le Friquet Garden Centre) in Castel and St Peter Port’s Fresh Fridays Produce Market (Market Square) showcase Guernsey’s best local producers.
Guernsey’s foodie scene mainly revolves around fresh seafood, with the menus at top St Peter Port restaurants Le Petit Bistro (The Pollet) and Pier 17 (Albert Pier), in particular, influenced by the coastal setting. Award-winning eatery The Auberge (Jerbourg Road) in St Martins also has a fish-heavy menu, but the creative combinations and just-picked produce set it aside from similar offerings. Another standout is The Old Government House (St Ann's Place), where dishes are often based around foraged ingredients. Perhaps the most romantic place to eat is the capital’s Fermain Beach Café (Fermain Lane), a friendly little brasserie that has grown up around an old ice-cream hut.
Celebrating the liberation of Guernsey from German forces in 1945 after five years of occupation, this island-wide event features a series of parades and pageants, as well as a popular rock concert and firework extravaganza.
Sure Festival of Comedy
The best European comedy talent comes together for this lively stand-up festival. Film screenings, big-name shows and open mike nights make it the funniest event on Guernsey’s calendar.
St Peter Port Carnival
This week-long event takes over Guernsey’s capital with a succession of parades and performances. Street musicians and bands provide live entertainment throughout the festival.
Based at the Castle Cornet in St Peter Port, this family festival has a historical theme. Highlights include archery lessons and competitions, sword-fighting displays, traditional music, and a host of arts and crafts workshops.
It might sound like a classical musical festival, but this popular six-week event is actually directed at promoting Guernsey’s many restaurants. During the Tennerfest, a selection of the island’s best eateries offer discounted, all-inclusive menus starting at just £10.