Guernsey travel guide

Lush botanical gardens, alluring hidden coves, and glorious sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean give the Channel Island of Guernsey an unlikely subtropical feel. Sitting just 50km (30 miles) from the shore of Normandy in France, this little isle also has a Gallic air with its French street names and culinary flair. Listen carefully and you may even hear the ancient local dialect of Dgèrnésiais (Norman patois) being spoken.

Although small, only 62 sq km (38 sq miles) in size, Guernsey harbours a strong local identity. It's a self-governing British Crown dependency, and the locals are quick to point out that it is not part of the United Kingdom and European Union. Keen-eyed observers will spot a few differences, like blue post boxes and the use of numerical car plates. On May 9 Liberation Day, the islanders celebrate the end of the German occupation during World War II with the towns and houses across the island decked out in flags and bunting.

British families have been drawn to Guernsey for generations – it certainly is the quintessential holiday destination, where kids can roam free while parents relax with a book on the beach. The pace of life is certainly more relaxed than Britain, so visitors can take their time, wander the coastline, enjoy a round of golf and stroll the streets of the island's pretty capital, St Peter Port.

Vazon Bay on the north western coast of Guernsey is the largest beach among the island's 27 beaches. Meanwhile, the southern coast's rocky coastline is perfect for nature-loving kayakers who can gaze back at the towering cliffs, or even get up onto the rocks for coasteering and abseiling. Alternatively, head to Cobo Bay and Vazon Bay to join scores of kitesurfers and windsurfers testing their mettle out to sea.

Landmarks to look out for on Guernsey include the Little Chapel and Castle Cornet, while a little patch of France comes in the form of Victor Hugo’s house. With daily ferries to the nearby islands of Herm, Sark and Jersey are popular, Guernsey also makes a great base from which to explore the other Channel Islands.