Following a couple of quite surreal years, regular travellers Mr and Mrs 50 Plus dipped their toes back into the holiday mode with a mini break to the beautiful island of Guernsey.
Sitting far closer to France than the UK, the Channel Isles offer a different way of life and yet are only a short hop away from the mainland. A couple of years ago we visited Jersey and thoroughly enjoyed our time there. This year we decided to see what its little brother Guernsey had to offer and how it compared.
Taking the Condor ‘Liberation’ fast ferry from Poole takes only three hours. It definitely makes getting around that much easier taking our own car. It’s a great, comfortable way to get there.
I have very fond memories of visiting Guernsey as a young child and I can still remember individual moments during that holiday. This means that it was undoubtedly memorable, but I didn’t know why.
So we left the ferry port and headed on up through the streets of St Peter Port to our hotel, Les Roquettes. It’s a delightful and busy little hotel with two bars; The Oak and Ella’s Lounge, a restaurant and a health club and swimming pool. It’s one of those places that just seems to welcome you in. We both commented on how ‘nice’ the whole vibe was, from reception to the bar staff and the restaurant team. Everyone seemed genuinely pleased to serve us. The swimming pool proved a great hit and it was never too busy, despite us going at different times on each day.
On our first morning in Guernsey the heavens opened. It rained like it had never rained before! However we were determined not to let it dampen our spirits. So we dashed to the car to set off and explore the island. Guernsey isn’t a big place, so getting to anywhere on the island doesn’t take long, even in a deluge! We’d packed our macs and were ready for whatever was to be thrown at us. Guernsey isn’t what you’d class as a race track. There appear to be only two speed limits on the island. It’s 25 in built up areas and 35 everywhere else – not that the roads are built for racing. The majority of the roads are narrow, winding roads, usually with walls built on each side. Not for the faint-hearted!
Taking in the German underground hospital and the Little Chapel, there were many interesting and historical places to go. Having the car was a godsend, what with the weather and the flexibility to come and go at our convenience. On our second day we took a leisurely drive around the perimeter of the island. We marvelled at the numerous bays and headlands, each with its own charm.
One thing we particularly liked about Guernsey was its wealth of good eating and drinking spots. On our first night we ate (and drank) at Les Roquettes, sampling some of the Oak Restaurant’s famous steaks. On the second day we treated ourselves to a meal at the beautiful Copenhagen Bar and Grill. It sits in the grounds of the Hotel de Havelet and overlooks the impressive Castle Cornet and St Peter Port Harbour. The food was fantastic and the service impeccable. It was one of the best meals we’d had in a long time.
Arrival at Guernsey
It’s worth mentioning that there was a certain amount of procedure required regarding Covid19 when we visited Guernsey. However, none of it was particularly difficult and it didn’t take long. We did learn though, at our own cost in time, that it’s essential that you have a device that is online. I wasn’t aware of this and, as Guernsey is not included in my mobile provider’s included roaming areas I had decided not to set up roaming. This resulted in me having a delay on arrival while working out a way to get my phone online to show my Guernsey Covid arrival clearance. A minor hiccup, but still worth a mention! Our understanding is that these procedures are no longer required, but please check current regulations before travelling.
Our overall impression of Guernsey was that of a laid-back, slow pace of life with a big focus on quality. It’s not the cheapest place to visit. But that slightly higher cost will reward you with some lifetime memories and an unending urge to return.