What to do on Guernsey Island

Isle of Guernsey

The Isle of Guernsey is a beautiful destination where history comes alive and life moves a little slower.

Guernsey Island
The gorgeous landscapes of the Isle of Guernsey can’t be beat!

What to do on the Island of Guernsey

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You may not have heard of this tiny island in the English Channel until the popular book and movie, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, was released a few years ago. But this gorgeous island has a lot more to offer than just a literary reference. From thousands of years of history to a modern foodie scene, Guernsey is a great place for an active vacation, romantic getaway, or family holiday. The Isle of Guernsey has it all! 

Guernsey Island

My husband and I are celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary this year and wanted a little getaway that would be relaxing, quiet, and unique. We are both huge history buffs so I was really excited about visiting Guernsey island England as I know that it’s full of ancient and modern history.

We had the best time on the Isle of Guernsey and we both agreed it was just what we wanted and needed! A mix of fun, relaxation, and activity. Because we both know that if we go anywhere too relaxing, we will just end up sleeping and working the whole time haha!

But while I was doing some research on Guernsey island, I found it was pretty difficult to come across any detailed guide to this exquisite place. So I wanted to share what we did in Guernsey in hopes that it will help you plan your own trip.

A Little Bit About the Isle of Guernsey

Where is Guernsey Island?

The Isle of Guernsey is located just 30 miles (48 km) off the coast of Normandy, France in the English Channel islands.

Is Guernsey a Country?

As I was sharing our trip on social media, I got many questions, the biggest one being “Is Guernsey a country?” I too had the same question! Guernsey UK is a self-governing dependency of the British Crown.

It is not part of the United Kingdom but it is part of the British Islands which the United Kingdom is also a member. Guernsey is known as the Bailiwick of Guernsey and includes the outer islets of Herm, Sark, and Alderney. Guernsey prints its own money and has its own government, but is greatly tied to the UK. Yes, it is confusing!

Isle of Guernsey

A Brief History of Guernsey

The earliest record of Guernsey is from the Romans who knew the island as Sarnia in the 11th century. It was ruled by Normandy but separated in 1204. In the 1800s the islands were placed under the rule of a “Bailiff” and this is how Guernsey got the name of “Bailiwick of Guernsey.”

Guernsey has been passed back and forth between the Romans, British, and French for centuries. It was the only British territory to be occupied by Germans during WWII.

How to get to Guernsey?

Getting to Guernsey is easy from Frane or England. There are two options for getting there.

  1. Ferry: There are two ferry lines that travel to Guernsey. Condor Ferries and Manche Iles Express. Both lines have frequent crossings and a ferry is a great way to go if you want to bring your own car. We chose to arrive by ferry and went from St-Malo, France on Condor Ferries. It was affordable, quick, clean, and a great experience overall!
  2. Fly: There are several airlines that fly to Guernsey, including Flybe, Blue Islands, Loganair, and Augigny (Guernsey’s own airline). Most flights leave from the UK, but there are a few each week from France.

Island of Guernsey
On the windy ferry from St-Malo, France to the British Isles of Guernsey!

How much time should I spend in Guernsey?

We stayed in Guernsey for 3 days. We saw almost everything we wanted to see in about a day and a half, which left lots of time for leisurely eating meals, swimming in the pool, picnicking at the beach, and napping! I think you could see the whole island in 2 days if you needed to. Everything is very close together and easy to access. I would plan for a minimum of 2 days in Guernsey.

Guernsey can easily be combined with a trip to France (like we did) or a trip to London. I loved combining this beautiful island with a visit to a bigger city. It gave us a little break from the city life in Paris.

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Where to Stay in Guernsey

I surprisingly found a lot of options for accommodations while on Guernsey. For such a small island there are a lot of houses and hotels. It’s a popular holiday destination and also a retirement destination as there is no sales tax or income tax on the island. It’s known as a tax haven for many in the UK.

Airbnb in Guernsey

You can find a lot of great Airbnbs on Guernsey. I’ve compiled a wishlist of places in great locations for affordable prices. You can find that list here.

Isle of Guernsey

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Hotels in Guernsey

There are a variety of hotels in Guernsey. Most can be found in the main port town of Saint Peter Port, but I recommend getting out of the “city” and staying somewhere in the country or along a more secluded beach.

Hotels in Guernsey
Absolutely loved this romantic feeling hotel on the Isle of Guernsey!

We stayed in Le Friquet Country Hotel in the center of the island and it was just perfect. The rooms were clean and bright and the staff was amazing. We loved having a heated pool too! The setting in the country among the flowers and trees was so relaxing. I’m already dreaming about going back. And our room was a steal too for just $100/night in June!

Best Hotels on Guernsey Island

The Old Government House Hotel & Spa

The Old Government House Hotel & Spa

Nearby the city center and the bay of St. Peter Port, this elegant five-star hotel offers luxurious rooms, a spa and wellness center, an outdoor pool, and fine dining restaurants. It’s a great place to enjoy the great outdoors and this hotel is nearby hiking and biking trails.

Fermain Valley Hotel

Fermain Valley Hotel

A 4-star hotel comfortably located in St. Peter Port and near the beach. A perfect location for a romantic getaway or family vacation. The hotel offers modern rooms, an indoor pool, a coffee shop/cafe, two onsite restaurants, and a sun terrace where you can take in the beautiful views of the island.

Le Friquet Country Hotel

Fermain Valley Hotel

Only 1.8 mi (3 km) from the Guernsey Harbour, this 3-star beachfront hotel is a great place for a family to stay while enjoying the island’s natural beauty and attractions. This hotel offers the perfect island life experience with its direct access to the beach.

Stocks Hotel

Stocks Hotel

If you’re visiting Sark Island, this 4-star hotel is a great place to stay. The Stocks Hotel offers amenities such as a pool, free parking, free complimentary breakfast, an onsite restaurant, and luxurious rooms. This hotel is in the perfect location as it also offers easy access to all of Sark’s attractions and activities.

Les Douvres Hotel

Les Douvres Hotel

Formerly an 18th-century manor house, located in the southeast corner of Guernsey, Les Douvres Hotel offers scenic gardens and a heated outdoor pool in the summer. This unique hotel provides a mix of modern and antique furnishings, and it offers a variety of activities for guests to do during their stay.

How is the weather in Guernsey?

Like most of the UK and Northern France, Guernsey weather can be unpredictable. Plan for at least a little rain and wind. I brought my trusty raincoat to keep me dry and block the wind.  We also had a fair amount of sun in June, but the weather changed every few minutes!

Driving in Guernsey

Driving on the Isle of GuernseyThe great thing about the island of Guernsey is that it is so small and everything is only about a 5-20 minute drive! You can easily cover the entire island in a day if you want to. There are some gorgeous coastal drives on the island and it’s fun just to enjoy the ride.

There are a few things you need to know before driving in Guernsey.

  • In Guernsey, they drive on the left
  • The roads are SUPER narrow! You’ll have hedgerows or stone walls on most sides instead of a shoulder.
  • Rather than stop signs, you will see a lot of “filter” signs. This basically means first come, first serve. You treat the intersections like a 4-way stop, except you don’t have to stop.
  • The top speed limit in Guernsey is 35 miles/hour and honestly, you won’t want to or need to drive any faster than that. Remember how close everything is?

What to do in Guernsey

There is so much to do in Guernsey, but all the sites are really close together, making it super easy for you to cram a ton of site seeing into a short amount of time without feeling rushed. Here’s a helpful map of Guernsey with most of the places we visited, slept, and ate.

Guernsey Island Map

Wander the Streets of St. Peter Port

Streets of St. Peter Port
The picturesque town of St. Peter’s Port is Guernsey Island’s largest town.

St. Peter Port is the main town on the island of Guernsey. It’s full of hills, colors, and super cute shops! Take a few hours to wander the cobblestone streets and soak up the history and adorableness of it all.

walking in the Streets of St. Peter Port
You can’t help but pose on these adorable streets decorated with colorful bunting!

Visit the Eerie Underground German Hospital

German hospital on the Isle of Guernsey
Probably one of the eeriest places I’ve ever visited!

Guernsey island world war II history can be found anywhere you look, but for this stop, you’ll have to head straight down! This was one of the most moving and depressing places I’ve ever been to. But I’m so glad that we visited. The German Underground Hospital was built towards the end of WWII by forced labor from Nazi work camps. There are over 75,000 SF of tunnels. They just go on and on. You can see old hospital beds and other WWII era paraphernalia.

Guernsey Island UK

the Isle of GuernseyThe tunnels are dark, cold, and wet, and also very depressing. The hospital wasn’t actually used for very long as conditions were not optimal for health and healing.


Learn some History at the Guernsey Occupation Museum

Guernsey Island EnglandAs an avid reader of WWII history and a frequent visitor to WWII museums, I can say without a doubt that this is one of the most comprehensive collections of wartime artifacts I have ever seen in one place. The occupation is one man’s collection. He’s been amassing these artifacts since the 1960s. Guernsey is full of WWII history and items because when world war II ended, everyone just dropped everything and left it there.

the Isle of GuernseyThe Occupation museum contains war vehicles, ration books, postcards to Nazi officers from their families in Germany,  wartime recipes, an Enigma machine, Nazi uniforms, Holocaust artifacts, and much much more.

We spent at least 2 hours just wandering through this museum which is housed in an old farmhouse near the island’s airport, reading stories of the citizens of Guernsey and how they survived the German occupation.

the Isle of GuernseyWhen you visit, be sure to take time to read these stories, as they really bring the horrors of WWII on the island to life. I loved learning about the GUNS (Guernsey Underground News Service) which consisted of several men who hid forbidden radios and wrote up the news that they heard on the BBC and distributed it amongst the island’s inhabitants.

All of the men were caught and sent to concentration camps. Only one survived, Frank Falla, who went on to write a book called The Silent War, which I immediately purchased at the gift shop along with a Nazi Reichsmark, which was also left all over the island.

Guernsey Island England Potato PieAlso if you’re a fan of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, then you can see a real wartime recipe for Potato Cake, which is pretty darned close to pie!

La Valette Underground Military Museum

Duck into the Little Chapel

the Isle of Guernsey Little Chapel
Seriously so cute…and just my size!

The Little Chapel is quite possibly the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s actually the smallest chapel in the world! But the astonishing thing is that the entire chapel, interior and exterior, is covered in broken bits of pottery, glass, and china. It’s really a beautiful site! Visiting the Little Chapel is free, but there is a donation box if you feel so inclined.

Walk around some of the many Fortifications

the Isle of Guernsey
One of the many many forts on the Isle of Guernsey

If you drive along the coastline of Guernsey you will hit military fortifications almost every 2 minutes or so. These were built during the Napoleonic wars to protect Guernsey from France.

They did their job then and when WWII came around, the German also used them as lookouts and bunkers. Fort Hommet is a big one, but there is a fee. The rest are free to walk around and inside.

the Isle of Guernsey

Watch the Cannons at Castle Cornet

Guernsey Island UKHonestly, this castle looks really unassuming from the shore and I didn’t really have high expectations, especially after seeing so many castles and ruins in France a few days earlier. We planned on getting to the castle just before noon because they fire a live cannon daily. It was really amazing to see the cannon go off, but be warned, it is LOUD. I recommend plugging your ears!

the Isle of GuernseyThe castle also puts on little plays that are really fun for old and young! We learned about letters of Marque, privateering, and pirating. It was actually really interesting.

the Isle of GuernseyThe castle grounds are quite large and there are also some great displays about WWI and WWII. Be sure to climb to the top of the ramparts for a great view of St. Peter Port and the lighthouse as well.

the Isle of Guernsey Castle Cornet
I wish we would have had more time at this beautiful castle on Guernsey!

Visit the Victor Hugo House

Victor Hugo House Guernsey
Color/Texture/Pattern overload at the Victor Hugo House!

If you love the writings of Victor Hugo at all then Hauteville House is a must. This is where Victor Hugo spent 25 years of his life exiled from France. He finished Les Miserables here and wrote several other books as well.

Hauteville House has recently been renovated and was just opened back up to the public in April 2019, so we were lucky enough to get in to see it.

the Isle of Guernsey Victor Hugo House

Victor Hugo House Guernsey Island UKThe entire interior of the house is Hugo’s design and it is beyond eccentric! Every inch of the home is covered in either wood carving, tiles, or fabric. It’s sensory overload and so incredible to see! If you want to visit Hauteville House, you must email the museum at Maison de Victor Hugo, which is run by the city of Paris, to schedule a tour.

Keep in mind that the tours are run by the French and your guide will act accordingly. Members of our tour were yelled at several times! Despite the demeaning guides, the house was still worth visiting. Be sure to take time to stroll the gardens.

the Isle of GuernseyIf you can’t get into Hauteville House, you can visit the gardens for free. This is a good option if you have kids with you, as I would not take kids younger than 10 on this tour due to the guides, the strict rules, and tight spaces while on the tour. The cost of the tour is £10 per person.

the Isle of Guernsey

Take in the views at Cobo Bay

Guernsey Island Cobo Bay is one of the most beautiful sandy beaches on Guernsey. I loved seeing the old ladders on the old walls going into the sea too.

Hike up to Le Guet

the Isle of GuernseyLe Guet is a Napoleonic watchhouse built on a high rock behind Cobo Bay. This picture really doesn’t do it justice. You can take a little hike up the hill to get to the house, and the views of Cobo Bay and the Guernsey coastline are worth it! On the hike up to Le Guet be sure to stop at the rope swing on the hill!

Picnic at Petit Bôt Bay

the Isle of GuernseyPetit Bôt Bay was one of my favorite stops on Guernsey. It’s a very secluded beach surrounded by hills on either side. The water is freezing, but we saw several kids playing in it anyways. It’s a great place for kids as the little inlet means calmer waves. Hit up Waitrose and pack a picnic to take to the beach.

Cycle or walk on Ladies Bay

the Isle of GuernseyAnother great beach spot on Guernsey is Ladies Bay. Here you can find beautiful rocky and sandy beaches, a golf course, and some ancient ruins too! There were a lot of dogs here, so if you’re bringing your pup this would be the perfect spot. There are some really nice walking and biking trails along the coast here.

Enjoy the beautiful Flowers and Foliage around Guernsey

the Isle of GuernseyWe visited Guernsey in the spring and the island was bursting with life! Amazing flowers were everywhere and I wish we could have visited a few of the private gardens. Stop along the side of the road and smell the flowers!

Guernsey Island

Guernsey Island England

the Isle of Guernsey

Take a Day Trip to the Islands of Sark or Herm

the Isle of GuernseyIf you’re feeling like you’ve had enough of Guernsey island, hop on a ferry and visit the islands of Herm or Sark. You won’t be able to take your car to Sark (tractors and carriages only), but you can rent bikes instead!

Visit a Guernsey Cow and try some Guernsey Dairy

the Isle of Guernsey
Love these guys! So cute and friendly!

Guernsey is famous for its cows and their dairy. Be sure to try some milk, butter, yogurt, and ice cream while you’re there. Guernsey cow milk naturally contains a higher fat milk, making it extra delicious! You can find Guernsey Dairy at any grocery store in Guernsey. The Guernsey cow is also super cute! I mean, look at them!

Have an indulgent Afternoon Tea

the Isle of Guernsey
Afternoon tea ANYWHERE makes me happy, but it’s extra special on the Isle of Guernsey!

Since you’re technically in the UK you’ll be able to get some great afternoon tea and even some clotted cream! We had tea at Christie’s in St. Peter Port. The portions were huge! I should have clued in when the waiter asked “you want 2 afternoon teas?” when we ordered.

Two full-size sandwiches, a little sausage roll, croque monsieur, tons of desserts including a delicious cumquat creme brulee, and of course, a scone with clotted cream and jam! Christie’s is right on the water with a gorgeous sea view too.

Try Guernsey Gâche

Guernsey Gâche

Guernsey Gâche is like a light raisin bread, best eaten with Guernsey Butter! I prefer it toasted and warm. You’ll find it in most cafes around the island

Shop at Waitrose

Guernsey Island WaitroseWaitrose is our favorite grocery store in the UK, and I was happy to find several around the island of Guernsey! They have lots of great packaged fruits, vegetables, sandwiches, and snacks that are perfect for a picnic. Be sure to grab some smoked hummus!

Best Tours on Guernsey Island

Guernsey: Half-Day Small-Group Coastal Highlights Tour

Guernsey: Half-Day Small-Group Coastal Highlights Tour

A coastal tour is the perfect way to explore Guernsey and see some of its most beautiful landmarks. This half-day small-group tour offers breathtaking views of Guernsey’s main bays and hilltops, as well as a visit to Fort Houmet.

World War II Occupation Small Group Tour

World War II Occupation Small Group Tour

Want to know more about Guernsey’s wartime history? This four-hour tour takes visitors to the sites of both German and British fortifications, as well as a little backstory of how the Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles under German control during WWII while you visit the German Occupation Museum.

Here are some of the highlights of this tour:

  • Small-group tour (maximum 7): Ensures a more personal experience
  • Tour sites around Guernsey related to the Second World War
  • Get insights into Guernsey’s war history from your guide
  • Explore a side to Guernsey overlooked by many visitors

Guernsey Coastal Small Group Tour

Guernsey Coastal Small Group Tour

Go on a boat tour to see Guernsey’s coastal cliffs, bays, and forts up close. This three-hour small tour will take you around the island and you’ll get to see some of Guernsey’s best-kept secrets.

Highlights of this tour include:

  • Easily discover Guernsey’s coast on a small-group tour from St. Peter Port
  • Let the scenery come to you, with no driving, parking, or planning fuss
  • Admire top beauty spots such as Pembroke Bay, Pleinmont, and Petit Bot Bay
  • Hear tales about Guernsey’s shores and history that you may otherwise miss

Guernsey City Tour – Walking Private Shore Tour

Guernsey City Tour - Walking Private Shore Tour

Another fun activity to do while on Guernsey Island is to explore the city’s shoreline. This four-hour walking private tour will take you through the city while getting to know the many stories of its past.

Highlights of this tour include:

  • Pickup and drop off at the port provided for ease
  • Be prepared to get your steps in on this walking tour
  • Admission fees are included so no paying on the spot
  • Tour for around 4 hours, then the rest of the day is free

Guernsey Island FAQ

What is Guernsey famous for?

Guernsey is known for its dairy herd and dairy products like the famous Guernsey cow, its stunning coastal landscape featuring beautiful bays and beaches, as well as its rich history and culture.

Is it worth going to Guernsey?

Totally! I found really friendly people, stunning scenery, delicious food, and plenty of activities to do. From exploring the coast and historic sites to enjoying some outdoor activities like hiking or kayaking, Guernsey is a great place to explore and spend a few days.

Why should I visit Guernsey?

If you want to really dig into the history and culture of a place, Guernsey is a great destination. From exploring historic sites to enjoying local cuisine, this small island has something for everyone. The stunning coastline and beautiful bays are a must-see!

I hope you have an amazing time in Guernsey. If you need any help planning your trip, please get in touch! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, or Email.


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