The hidden gem in the Channel Islands, Alderney is easily accessible from Guernsey, it is only a short 15-minute flight away. Alderney is the third largest Channel Island, it is one and a half miles wide and three and a half miles long, so you are never too far from their gorgeous coastline or the bustling town. Enjoy some delicious food at one of their mouthwatering restaurants and indulge in some of the freshest locally sourced ingredients. The uncrowded beaches of Alderney are a must-see on your island break, the crystal-clear waters and white sand make for the perfect family day out.
From the outstanding species of birds to the diverse landscapes there will always be something on the island that will amaze you. Wildlife enthusiasts are continually drawn to Alderney because the unique habitat is home to rare fauna which many visitors are eager to catch a glimpse of.
At night, Alderney reveals a blanket of stars. There is very little lighting that comes from the island so take the opportunity to lay on the beach or settle down on a bench and stargaze the night away. The peaceful island is perfect for a relaxing escape, there really is no other place quite like it.
What was once the island’s school is now a remarkable museum that holds up to 18,000 interesting and exciting monuments. The magical 1790 old building displays an impressive collection that incorporates history dating back to the Stone, Bronze and Iron age. You will be transported back to life in Alderney during the Victorian era and Second World War whilst learning about the island’s incredible past. The museum hosts several lectures and presentations by an assortment of knowledgeable speakers.
The most incredible way to discover the magical island of Alderney is by foot, there are over 50 miles of walks across a variety of different settings. Whether you want to experience the remarkable views from the clifftops or feel the sand beneath your feet at one of their pristine beaches there are plenty of walks that cater for the whole family. Make sure to keep an eye out for the incredible wildlife and unique plant species that are dotted around the island.
The Alderney Stones installation is a must-see! In 2011 the British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy created a set of 11 huge 2-tonne boulders made from local clay, all filled with different materials and objects from around Alderney. The boulders will naturally erode and in the process reveal an assortment of found objects such as tools, seeds, old fishing lines, gloves etc. The remarkable boulders are dotted around the coast of the island, so they can easily be incorporated into your coastal walks.
Alderney was occupied during WW2 and was the only island to be evacuated as it became part of Hitler's Atlantic Wall. As an outcome of the occupation, there are a variety of Victorian forts scattered around the island that was used to defend the island. The most notable forts include Fort Clonque, Fort Albert, Fort Tourgis, Fort Grosnez and Fort Chateau a L’Etoc, all of which provide an incredible insight into the Alderney’s remarkable history. Take a walk to 'The Odeon' to see the MP3 five-story naval range-finding tower which provides the most incredible views of France.
Built in 1850 and based on the designs of the prolific Gothic architect George Gilbert Scott, the beautiful church of St Anne should not be missed. The church is considered to be one of the finest Victorian buildings in the Channel Islands and is frequently described as 'The Cathedral of the Channel Islands because of its large size. The original intention of the impressive architectural building was to be a garrison church for the military stationed there during the 19th century. The church is situated in a beautiful location and can be easily reached from Victoria Street in St Anne's.
Officially opened in 1847 by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the Alderney Railway is the only working railway across the Channel Islands. The original purpose of the railway was to carry stone from the eastern end of the island to help build Victorian forts and the Alderney breakwater. The railway is still in use today but has been replaced by two London Underground carriages and carries passengers on a coastal route during the summer months. The perfect trip for train enthusiasts and families!
Mannez Lighthouse is situated on the eastern end of the island and was built in 1912 to protect shipping from the dangerous waters after the SS Liverpool ran aground in the adjacent Cats Bay. It is a popular and prominent landmark in Alderney due to its black and white striped exterior. Throughout the summer months, you can climb to the top of the lighthouse to learn more about its inner workings. The lighthouse can be accessed using the railway making it the ideal summer trip.
The well-known Bayeux Tapestry located in Paris ends after the Battle of Hastings and it is believed by experts that it should include more panels than displayed. Local Alderney resident Kate Russell wanted to complete the tapestry whilst keeping to the same style as the original. 400 people contributed to the stitching of the Alderney Tapestry including the royals the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles. The tapestry is 3 metres long and 50cm in height, it was a large community project and depicts the tale of the final days of King Harold’s final encounter with William the Conqueror in battle. The tapestry is on display in the Alderney Library.
The Bonne Terre Watermill Complex is one of the oldest surviving sites on Alderney and the earliest record of the Mill is from around 1236. The current ruins are of the remains of the mill that was rebuilt in 1796. The mill last operated in 1913 and was dismantled in 1961, it is now looked after by the Alderney Society who help to renovate and care for this important historical landmark. It is beautiful to visit at any time of day and can be perfectly incorporated into a woodland walk across the Bonne Terre.
For one of the more unique things to do in Alderney, you cannot miss the spectacular views of the Gannet colony of Les Etacs. The Gannet rocks are only 100m from the coastline and from mid-February until late September you will be able to see 5900 pairs of birds circulating it, the spectacle is a must-see. Giffoine is an ideal stop on your coastal walk and there is a bench and telescope for you to view the incredible colony.
Enjoy the magical Alderney beaches, their soft sand and crystal-clear waters are a must-visit on your break to the island. One of the most popular beaches to visit is the beautiful Braye beach and it is only a short walk from the main town! The horseshoe shaped beach is lined with soft white sand and glistening blue waters. There is also an assortment of facilities close by making it a popular choice amongst families.
Saye, Arch, Corblets, Longis, Platte Saline and Clonque beaches are also fantastic options, each offering something unique. For incomparable views head to the small beach of Arch as you can see the fortresses and the lighthouse in the distance. Saye is an accessible beach on the north-west coast of the island that is sheltered by rocky headlands and is the perfect spot for a relaxing swim. Corblets and Longis are also ideal locations and their inviting waters make them the perfect stop for a dip, and in the right conditions, Corblets is the best beach for surfing in Alderney. During low tide rock pools are unveiled making them an exciting spot for kids to play.
The shingle beach of Platte Saline is fantastic for nature lovers and fisherman, swimming is not permitted here due to the undercurrent, but it still makes for an excellent walking destination. Clonque bay is a stony beach and is perfect for rock pooling as well as enjoying the striking sunset. The remarkable beaches are waiting to be discovered…