Side Street Style: A Family Travel guide to Guernsey

Side Street Style

Family travel and lifestyle blog

14/06/2019

A Family Travel guide to Guernsey


Kids in Guernsey

Promotional Feature

As you may already know we recently visit Guernsey, the second largest of the Channel Islands, a place on a bucket list we were keen to tick off and it didn't disappoint, we had an incredible time and one we won't forget for a while. Being well travelled and having visited over 25+ countries I can honestly say Guernsey is something special and I know we will be back as it truly offers that relaxed island life without the long-haul stress, so if you're looking for a Brexit-proof break this summer then I highly recommend you consider the Channel Islands.

I would say that reading up before you go anywhere is essential but if your planning on visiting with your kids, even more so, as you need to know there are going to be the right facilities and what to expect. Now what I loved about Guernsey was the lack of takeaway chains restaurants, garish seaside arcades or multi-story soft play centres - instead, the focus is far more on embracing nature, getting outdoors and enjoying the simple things, which is what we love. However, some places are naturally more family-friendly than others on the island so I thought I would share my guide to getting the best out of your stay in Guernseys.


Family travel Guernsey
My son in a disused canon at Clarence Battery, just above the coastal bathing pools


Getting there

Ferry

We took the high-speed Condor Ferries service from Poole to Guernsey, with a sailing time of only 3hrs! The big benefit to taking the ferry is you can take your own car and even though there is a bus service on the island, having your own car massively helps.

You can of course also hire a car on the island and if your time short and really want to make the most of your stay you really do need to have your own set of wheels. Our ferry crossings both left and arrived on time, the staff were very professional and friendly and the ships have good facilities to help make your crossing as comfortable as possible including wifi, kids TV room, viewing platform, a duty-free shop, a well stock bistro and bar and a guaranteed seat for every passenger, plus the option to upgrade. The trip out what a bit chopping so if your prone to seasickness than I do recommend using Sea-bands which helped with both my son and I, as well as drinking real Ginger juice, although our crossing back was so smooth and very enjoyable.

Flying 

There are quite a few airlines that fly from the UK to Guernsey and Jersey although the Islands actually have their own airline called Aurigny, which flies daily to both London Gatwick and Stanstead as well as 6 other smaller airports across the UK. The prices are in general really budget friendly and this, of course, is the quickest way to get to the Islands and perfect for quick weekend breaks although if you plan to stay for more than a few days I would highly recommend hiring a car so you can explore more of the island.


Guernsey travel guide



Where to stay

I can personally recommend Les Rocquettes Hotel having stayed there 3 nights with my two young boys and it's perfectly located within walking distance of St Peters Port. It's a 3-star hotel but certainly packed a punch with the facilities as there is free parking on site, a relaxing family friendly lounge, a reasonably priced Bar with children's menu, as well as an upmarket restaurant. You also have access to the Health Club with an indoor heated swimming pool (and kids pool) which my boys loved and there is also a quiet and well-contained garden to the back of the property.

Our room had a comfortable king sized bed along with a pull out sofa bed, as well as all the normal amenities such as a coffee station and TV, as well as Wifi but with all hotel Wifi, it can occasionally be a little hit and miss.

There are also some great Wood Cabins and glamping options at Fauxquets Valley Campsite, which also has an outdoor pool, kids outdoor play park and far animals as well as La Bailloterie Campsite which offers a tranquil tea garden, Boules, mini golf and an outdoor play area. These are both great budget-friendly options but still keeping comfort in mind and perfect for families.

If camping or glamping is not your thing Visit Guernsey have an extensive list of the accommodation available on the island, from high-end hotels to Bnb's and self-catering, there is something for everyone's needs and budgets. 

Where to eat

Crabby Jacks, Vazon Bay

Crabby Jacks is probably the most family-friendly restaurant on the island and a fun dining experience with friendly out-going staff and a well-rounded home cooked menu including vegan options. I loved the colourful surf inspired interior and located right next to the beach in Vazon bay and the kid's eyes were on stalks when they saw the massive ice-cream menu. I went for the vegetable fajitas which were delicious and the kids enjoyed pizza and hot dogs. It is slightly on the pricey side but a great treat for the whole family when you're on holiday.

Cafe Delices, Market Street, St Peters Port

Hands down some of the best Crepes I have ever had and well worth the wait as the first time we visited all the tables were filled but after a little stroll around the cobbled streets of St Peters Port we made out way back to Cafe Delices and managed to grab a table. They offer a variety of sweet crepes and savoury galettes as well as omelettes and salads and some excellent coffee. Great place for a lunch stop, and bonus they don't use any single-use coffee cups either. 


Cafe Delices


Dix-Neuf, Commercial Arcade, St Peters Port

This all-day cafe restaurant welcomes families and we popped in here just before our return crossing back to the UK. It located in the heart of the capital, on one of the quaint streets with bunting hanging across it and has a lovely al fresco terrace to hang out in and people watch. I had a delicious French Onion soup while the kids enjoyed some pastries, the staff were welcoming and the atmosphere nice and relax, a great little place to wind away the day.

Richmond Kiosk, Vazon Bay

Inevitably you are going to spend a lot of time at the beach if you visit Guernsey and with most bays having a little Kiosk it would be wrong not to indulge in some locally made Guernsey Ice-cream. What I love about Richmond Kiosk is that is had a seating area so you can avoid the sand while you and also that they offer up a surprisingly good variety of choices for lunch including baked potatoes and pulled pork baguettes, as well as veggie and vegan options, all being very budget friendly too.


Guernsey travel guide


What to see and do 

We really wanted to focus on getting outdoors, discovering the history of the island, connecting with nature and allowing the boys to enjoy those moments of carefree childhood joy in the simple pleasures. Of course, there are tons of things to do in Guernsey but here are the ones we enjoyed the most.

La Vallette Coastal Bathing Pools

With the weather being warmer and milder in the Channel Islands it means you can have more fun enjoying the simple pleasures such as swimming outdoors and not just outdoors but in a sea pool! The La Vallette Coastal pools have a fantastic view of the sea and Castle Cornet. The pools are free to use and have changing facilities.

The Little Chapel, Saint Andrew

No visit to Guernsey is complete without visiting one of the worlds smallest chapels. Created by Brother Deodat in 1914 the chapel is decorated with seashells, pebbles and broken china and it really is quite breathtaking how beautiful it is. The boys and I loved wandering around it looking at all the pretty decorations and intricate details. It's free to visit by leaving a donation goes back into helping to restore the Little Chapel.


Wild swimming

Guernsey travel guide


Explore Fort Hommet and The Gun Casemate Bunker 

For those who don't know Guernsey was occupied by the Germans in WW2 with many coastal bunkers and forts remaining as a permanent reminder of this prominent time on the island's history. Fort Hommet is a large fortification on Vazon Bay headland and a fantastic place to explore with kids, overlooking the ocean.  Next to Fort Hommet is the Gun Casemate Bunker which is open from April-Oct on Tues and Saturday with a nominal entrance fee. The kids were really keen to go inside one of the 21 Fortress bunkers built on Guernsey and this offers an interesting insight to the history of this time without being overwhelming.


Get on your skates at Beau Sejour Skate Park

Located right new to the island Leisure Centre which itself has an indoor swimming pool, cinema and cafe. If you take the ferry to the Channel Islands like we did, we made sure to pack the kids scooters so they could enjoy one of Guernsey latest additions that is the large concrete skatepark. With a bowl, street course, mini ramp and many features for beginner to intermediate it's a great space for skaters, inline, scooters and BMX.


Fort Hommet Guernsey

Beau Sejour Skatepark


Walk across the causeway to Lihou Island

If you're looking for a family-friendly adventure then pack your sandwiches and water bottle and head out across the causeway at low tide to small tidal Lihou Island. You need to check the tide times before you go as you will only have a limited time to make the crossing which takes around 20mins (longer with small children). Once your on the island which is rich in marine and bird life, you are free to run around as there are no cars or roads. There are ruins of a Priory on the island and are worth visiting as well as the famous Venus Pool. I highly recommend this mini day adventure, just make sure to take a picnic along with you and you know the right times to cross.

Take in 800yrs of history at Castle Cornet

The castle which sits proudly in St Peters Port is one of the islands main landmarks and while the entrance is more on the pricey side but the Castle is much bigger than it appears and also includes five museums and four-period gardens and more than enough to spend a few hours taking it all in. Kids will love the firing of the noon-day gun by scarlet-clad gunners followed by a living history performance as well as many other activities on offer.


Castle Guernsey

Causeway Guernsey
On the causeway from Guernsey to Lihou Island


Other things we really enjoyed doing during our time on the Island was Fort Grey, Candie Gardens, Clarence Battery,  the small Aquarium housed in a tunnel used by the Germans, Pleinmont Observation towner and the Petit Train. There are also plenty of beaches to explore, 27 in fact and spend the whole day simply building sandcastles and going for a swim.

Guernsey is also great for those with older children or if your there on couples break and want to try something new such a surfing, kayaking, sailing or stand-up paddle boarding or if relaxing is more your thing then why not visit on the islands spa's for a treatment.

We really enjoyed our time on the island and are already planning a return trip, especially as there are 5 off-islands to visit and explore and feel we have only just scratched the surface of what makes this very special place tick.


Travel Guernsey

This blog post was written as part of my Press Trip with Condor Ferries to Guernsey, words and thoughts my own. 

19 comments:

  1. What a lovely break! We are limited to holidays that can be accessed via ferry because my eldest couldn't manage an airport so Guernsey would be a fantastic option for us. Plus those crepes look hard to beat!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is such a great guide, perfect for families visiting. I visited Guernsey once for the day from Poole in Dorset, it was such a lovely day. You have reminded me I must return one day.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, this place looks incredible. There’s so much to do and see there! Looks like a brilliant place to take the whole family

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh how lovely! We went to Jersey last summer and really wanted to visit Guernsey too! It looks beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Very great post. I love all your photos. So awesome! Looks like an awesome place to visit

    ReplyDelete

  6. These are the trips I love to do, maybe for a weekend get-together and switch off from the tramway of everyday life!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh goodness this looks like a great trip! I've never been to Guernsey before so I'd love to check it out!

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a fun time! I need to get here one day. I'm sure my family would have a blast. We enjoy learning about history.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This island looks like a nice place to visit. The food all looks so delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I went to Guernsey when i was in my teens and found it an interesting place, I was with the school friends thought so we probably didn't see quite as much of the island as there was to offer.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have never been to guernsey, but it looks really lovely! I have young kids so I love that there seems like there is quite a bit for us to enjoy as a family!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh wow! Guernsey is very close to me and I have never been. In fact, I never knew that there were so many fun things to do there.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a great vacation. I love to learn about new destinations to visit. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  14. This place looks magical! I love the castle looking building so much!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love the old structures there, so rustic! Looks like a relaxing spot.

    ReplyDelete
  16. * I’ve been wanting to visit Guernsey since reading the book several years ago and more so after the movie came out. Thanks for the vicarious voyage. That crepe looks tasty!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Looks like a wonderful trip. I would really love to see that castle! So many fun and educational things to do in Guernsey!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I would love to go for a trip there. The kids seemed to really enjoy themselves too!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great way to start off the summer for the kids. I never heard of Guernsey until I read your blog.

    ReplyDelete

Lovely comments

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...