Guernsey, with its compact size and laid back pace of life, is perfect for relaxing family holidays – there’s something for everyone, including children of all ages.
Most holiday destinations have no more than a couple of beaches, but Guernsey has 27, all within just a few minutes of The Duke of Richmond Hotel! They’re clean, safe and delightfully uncrowded – there’s enough swimming, snorkelling and poking around in rock pools to keep the most hyperactive youngsters amused for hours.
L'Eree is a large and popular family beach that is particularly clean – it was classed as a Marine Conservation Society recommended beach for water cleanliness in 2005. Cobo Bay on the west coast is a large beach offering fine sand and scenery as well as excellent windsurfing conditions. L'Ancresse Bay is a wide and flat beach which is one of the biggest bays on the island - with deep sand, the water is perfect for windsurfing, surfing, sailing, sea kayaking and even fishing if you wish.
Vazon Bay is home to an award-winning Blue Flag beach, which stretches for around 2 miles and features good facilities. Portelet Bay is a charming, sandy beach at the southern end of Rocquaine Bay. On the south coast of Guernsey, Petit Bot is a glorious sandy bay that is surrounded by high cliffs that provide good shelter from winds.
Outdoor Guernsey, as the name suggests, is an adventure company that offers a wide range of activities for kids and adults alike, with qualified instructors who possess a wealth of experience of Guernsey's coastal environment. Kayaking is a fantastic way of exploring the coast and bays around Guernsey and you can either join one of their courses or rent their kayaks by the hour or day from some of the Islands best locations
They also run climbing and abseiling courses for children – Guernsey has lots of great rock faces and thousands of routes at all grades with virtually no-one using them. There’s also a superb climbing wall at Les Mainguys.
They run regular coasteering explorations most days throughout the season. Kids can experience the exhilaration of sea level traversing, rock scrambling, jumping, and swimming in gullies and caves along the wild and beautiful Guernsey and Sark shorelines.
There’s also an excellent surfing school at Vazon Beach – all the instructors are qualified Beach Lifeguards and accredited Surf Coaches who are friendly, patient and extremely committed to what they do.
A variety of companies offer boat trips and rib rides around the coast and to the neighbouring islands. You can visit deserted beaches and coves, admire the soaring cliffs, and spot seals, puffins, dolphins, plus a huge variety of seabirds including oyster catchers, shags, cormorants, gulls, egrets, fulmars, razorbills and guillemots, amongst others.
The island also has a well-established RYA recognised sailing school that offers courses for all levels. More experienced sailors can hire and charter anything from a sailing dinghy to an ocean going yacht from a number of local companies.
If your kids love fishing then there’s nowhere better than Guernsey – they can catch everything from Bass to Ballan Wrasse, Grey Mullet and Black Bream, depending on the season.
You can also take them on angling trips out of St Peter Port with professional skippers who know the local waters and the best fishing marks. These range from the rich sandbanks and mid channel wrecks of the northern island of Alderney to the varied coastline and reefs of Sark, which are home to just about every species that can be caught. Depending on the month you can expect to come home with Pollack, Turbot, Brill, Tope, Bass, Skate, Cod, Ling, and Conger Eel, to name but a few of the species around our fruitful shoreline.
Guernsey has loads of museums, archaeological sites, fortresses and other attractions – there’s more than enough choice to suit all ages from energetic toddlers to moody teenagers! The full list is too long, but here are a few of the most popular.
Castle Cornet, Guernsey’s ancient royal fortress, has stood guard over the town and harbour of St Peter Port for nearly eight centuries. The story of the Castle and other aspects of Guernsey’s past can be found in the five museums housed within its impressive walls: The Story of Castle Cornet Museum, The Maritime Museum, The 201 Squadron (RAF) Museum, The Royal Guernsey Light Infantry Museum and The Royal Guernsey Militia Museum. There’s also a Castle Trail, activity sheets, History In Action (most afternoons May - Sept) and live outdoor theatre on set dates.
There are a number of museums that give fascinating insights into the island’s occupation by the Germans during the Second World War, including the German Occupation Museum, German Naval Signals H. Q., German Military Underground Hospital, Pleinmont Observation Tower, La Vallette Underground Military Museum and the Fort Hommet Gun Casemate.
The Guernsey Aquarium has been housed in La Vallette tunnel for 31 years. There are currently forty-seven separate displays, ranging from local sea fish to European freshwater fish and finally to tropical marine fishes, anemones and inverts of various kinds. Also on display are frogs, toads, terrapins and basilisks, the resident lizards. All fish are fed 2 –3 times every week on squid, beef heart, sand eel and sometimes sprat as well as a once a week supplement of flake food to supply necessary vitamins and trace elements. The lizards are fed fresh fruit three times a week and live insects e.g. crickets and locusts, twice a week.
Fort Grey is a Martello Tower built in 1804 to defend Guernsey’s west coast. Many vessels have come to grief on this beautiful but treacherous coast, and the Martello Tower now houses a Shipwreck Museum with a surprising variety of objects recovered from the wrecks. The information panels tell the gripping stories surrounding the disasters which date from the HMS Sprightly in 1777 to the Vermontborg in 2003. On Tuesday mornings at 11.15am and Sunday afternoons at 2:15pm Guernsey Museums ‘History in Action Company’ enact stories from Guernsey’s Past.
The Model Yacht Pond on the quayside is great fun for the little kids. There’s a karting circuit with junior karts age 8yrs to 14yrs and adult karts. All equipment is provided and there’s computerised timing for those who want to get really competitive! The Island Bowl is an 18 lane centre with the latest in bowling technology including ‘pop-up’ bumpers for those new to bowling. There are also American Pool tables, video games, licensed bar and The Piazza Café serving food all day. The island also has two riding schools for those who fancy seeing the island on horseback.
If the kids fancy a change of scenery a visit to a neighbouring island is a mini-holiday all on its own.
Herm is just 20 minutes by boat from St Peter Port. It’s a tranquil beach paradise just a mile and a half long and half a mile wide with no cars, no crowds and definitely no stress! Shell Beach or beautiful Belvoir Bay are perfect for snorkelling in the crystal clear waters, crabbing or just snoozing in a deckchair. There’s a spectacular coast path circling the whole island – you can see the French coast, as well as Puffins, Terns and a host of migratory birds. Visit the tiny 11th century chapel with its beautiful stained glass windows, discover Neolithic tombs and one of the smallest prisons in the world.
Sark is just 40 minutes on the ferry from Guernsey but a huge step back in time to a tranquil traffic-free environment overflowing with natural beauty. Whilst only three miles long, and a mile and a half wide, it boasts 40 miles of what must be one of the most picturesque coastlines anywhere in the world that you can explore by horse-drawn carriage, bicycle, or on foot.