Wondering what to do in Guernsey? Look no further than this the ultimate guide of what the beautiful Channel Island has to offer. Although the island is only 25 square miles, there is still something for every type of island experience, whether that’s a historical escape exploring the Castle Cornet and German Fortifications; a relaxing getaway lounging on one of the 27 beaches and bays, or a shopping trip making the most out of the tax-free prices. Guernsey has everything you would wish for; all boasting the unique island charm and hospitality. You might have to book another visit as you’ll struggle to fit it all in!
Guernsey holds a lot more than what’s in St Peter Port, and you’ll be surprised by just how much actually goes on around the island. The stunning beaches and fascinating history mean that there are plenty of things to do that the whole family will enjoy. What adventures will you uncover on this magical island?
Castle Cornet has been part of Guernsey’s landscape for over 800 years. The castle was originally built nearly a mile offshore before the enlargement of the St Peter Port harbour which the castle was built to protect. Now it is easily accessible via a causeway leading out of the capital and is a popular visitor attraction containing 4 different museums, 4 gardens and a refectory. Not only can visitors explore the battlements in and around the castle, but they can also enjoy fantastic views of the other Channel Islands and St Peter Port itself.
The Table des Pions is a folklore landmark on the south west of the island, leading up to Pleinmont Headland. It is supposedly a sight where pixies, fairies and witches would gather, but really it is a dug-out circular ditch with a circle of stones lying around the outside, used as a picnic spot made by island officials when inspecting roads and coastal defences up until 1837. It is a great way to soak up some Guernsey air and see some of the island’s history for yourself.
The Little Chapel was built in 1914 and is situated in the Les Vauxbelets valley in St Andrew. It was created by Brother Déodat, who aimed to imitate a smaller version of the grotto and basilica at Lourdes. It was originally the smallest chapel in the world, measuring at 9ft by 4.5 ft, but after criticism and complaints, Déodat expanded it to the final version it is today, measuring 16 by 9 ft. Unfortunately, Déodat never saw his complete chapel as he went back to France and died there before the final version was finished.
Cobo Bay is only 3 miles away from St Peter Port, but when you are on its sands, you might as well be in the Caribbean. The bay boasts beautiful white sands and crystal blue waters, as well as a host of amenities across the road where you can pick up a bucket and spade or an ice-cream. The bay is easily accessible for all ages and, if you go there at low tide, you can explore the rockpools as well as laying down to relax on the gorgeously soft sand.
Saumarez Manor is a glorious house dating back to the early 13th century. The building itself has gone through many transformations through the Tudor, Queen Anne, Regency and Victorian times yet still stands as a magnificent manor which is now open to visitors today. The public can hop onto regular tours of the house, where you can find out about the adventurers, diplomats, privateers, and inventors who lived there. The garden is also a wonder in its own right, with every season bringing a new and flourishing blossom.
The German Occupation Museum on the island is run and was created by islander, Richard Heaume. As a schoolboy, Richard found bullets in the local field after the plough went by and began collecting these. In 1966, his parents allowed him to display his collection in the cottage opposite their house, and since then his display has expanded exponentially. The museum now contains a collection of items from the occupation, as well as stories and documents that hold great importance to that period.
Stand-up-paddleboarding has become a recent trend that has taken the sea-lovers and adventurists by storm. SUPing is a unique art of standing up and paddling on a surf-board and is great for keeping balance and working core muscles. Guernsey waters are ideal for trying this out, with calm waters for beginners to find their feet, as well as stronger tides for those more confident to get stuck in. There is an abundance of water sport outlets offering SUP board hire, so you’ll be able to find it easily on the island.
Jerbourg lies on the south-east of the island and is the place to go for fantastic views of the south coast. Scattered along the clifftops are a number of German Fortifications to be explored, and multiple cliff paths that can take you around Jerbourg for multiple viewpoints. The walk down to sea level is steep, but worth it and once you’ve managed to work your way back up, the Hotel Jerbourg has a lovely café and dining area for you to refuel and enjoy the view.
Moulin Huet Bay is a hidden gem buried in the depths of St Martins. It is where the renaissance artist, Pierre-Auguste Renoir based all of 15 of his paintings and once you visit the bay, you’ll see why with its gloriously turquoise water and stunning St Martin cliffs. The Moulin Huet Tea Rooms are a great place to treat yourself to a delicious homemade cake or fresh crab sandwich.
Beaucette Marina is one of Guernsey’s attractions that is often forgotten. Tucked in to the north-east of the island, the Beaucette Marina is a tranquil space where visitors can discover the beautiful boats, take in the stunning scenery, and simply soak in the beautiful Guernsey air. The restaurant there is open all year round, and a great place to sit and relax with a warm or cool drink, and a plate of deliciously fresh Guernsey food.
St Peter Port is the capital of Guernsey and is where your ferry will enter the harbour, where fantastic views from the ship’s outdoor deck are a must-see. From quaint cobbled streets and gloriously coloured buildings to the impressive selection of shops, cafés and restaurants, the combination of French and English culture is what gives St Peter Port its unique charm.
Hauteville House on the cobbled streets of St Helier was once the home of the famous author, Victor Hugo. He stayed there for 14 years during his exile from France and the house is now an honorary consul to the French embassy at London, as well as a museum showcasing the life of Victor Hugo, making it one of the most popular St Peter Port attractions. The museum runs over 4 floors with the top floor boasting gorgeous views overlooking the other Channel Islands and St Peter Port. Its garden is also a wonder to explore, filled with trees and flowers that flourish in the mild climate.
The glorious Bluebell Woods are in the south of the capital within walking distance from the town centre. It is a perfect place to soak in the island’s nature without straying too far from the lively streets of St Peter Port. In the spring, the woods’ grounds become a carpet of bluebells underneath the beautiful tree canopy. The woods are a great place to start an exploration of the south east of the island, where you’ll find rugged cliffs and stunning sea views.
La Vallette Underground Museum covers all you need to know about the history of the island during the First World War and the German occupation of the island in 1940-1945. To make the learning experience even more authentic, the museum is set in the underground tunnels that were built by the German forces for storage during the occupation. The museum has a wide range of exhibitions, displays and information giving a detailed and informative insight into the military history of the island.
Victoria Tower is a breath-taking monument that was built in honour of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s visit to the island in 1846. This royal visit was the first time any reigning monarchs had come to the island, and the royals visited again in 1859 to inspect the tower. The top of the tower is the highest point of the island and is the perfect place to see Guernsey from above, as well as enjoy views over the north, west, and east coasts.
Candie Gardens was once part of a private estate, and now is a beautifully maintained public gardens boasting glorious views over St Peter Port harbour, as well as the sister islands Herm, Sark and Alderney. Within the gardens, you’ll find the oldest known heated glass houses in the British Isles, each filled with wonderful flowers and herbs. You’ll also find ponds, lawns, and an impressive array of flowers beaming out of the flowerbeds all year-round.
Guernsey Museum lies within the beautiful Candie Gardens and is the place to find out more about Guernsey’s heritage and culture. Here, you can learn about the original Guernsey language, Guernesiais, and listen to some traditional phrases and poems in the island’s mother tongue. You can also find out more about the folklore of Guernsey, including the Tables des Pions and the history of witches on the island.
The Bailiwick of Guernsey Millennium Tapestry showcases 1000 years of the island’s history in 10 embroidered panels. Housed in a purpose-built exhibition in an award-winning gallery, the tapestry is a wonder to behold, and a fantastic visual representation of the island’s history. An insightful audio guide is there to talk you through the 10 different panels, and a souvenir shop means that you can grab yourself a little reminder of the fantastic piece of artwork and history.
La Vallette Bathing Pools have been part of Guernsey’s east coast since 1865, and to this day remain a fun, safe and contained place to enjoy saltwater swimming. The pools fill with seawater at high tide, and the pool walls keep a certain amount of water in the pools at low tide, filtering out seaweed and sea creatures at the same time. Its history has seen well-known individuals take a dip in the pools, including Victor Hugo and the famous renaissance artist, Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
The picturesque St Peter Port Harbour is the first sight that greets you as the ship enters the island’s capital and its colourful buildings and quaint cobbled streets are a wonder to behold. The harbour is where you’ll see boats big and small come into the island, and it is a great place for boat-lovers to see the exciting array of ships out there. On the harbour there are multiple kiosks and outlets to grab a drink or ice cream, the perfect accompaniment for sitting and watching the ships gently bob around in the water.
When it comes to what to see in St Peter Port, the town market square is a hub of lively Guernsey culture with regular street food stalls, markets and events. Originally built in 1770 in the rectory gardens, the square was then expanded in 1818 to what it is today. In the summer, you can expect to find here musical ensembles, multiple food outlets, photographic displays and a rangeof stalls showcasing the island’s crafting talent. In winter, you can find beautifully presented Christmas markets, fully complete with mulled wine or a warming mug of hot chocolate.
Guernsey Rib Voyages are the best way to experience the beauty of the island’s coast from a different angle. The different expeditions mean you can choose how long and how far out you go, but with all options, you’ll be able to explore caves and bays, as well as spot some of the island’s amazing wildlife including the beautiful bottlenose dolphins. Don’t worry, lifejackets and waterproofs are available to keep you and any youngsters safe and comfortable!
St Peter Port is filled with shops for all styles and occasions. There are, of course, the token chain stores for the essentials such as Next, Sports Direct and M&S. However, there is also a selection of authentic outlets where you’ll find goodies and high-quality products you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
The St James Concert Hall is the place to go for entertainment in Guernsey based in a stunning building which was a former garrison church of St James-the-Less. The hall hosts a variety of different performances to suit all tastes including music, dance, drama and comedy. To compliment the creative buzz, there is also the ‘wall of St James’, where Guernsey artists are able to exhibit and sell their work.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) is a famous impressionist and spent a month on the island in 1883 where he worked on 15 paintings, all depicting the island’s Moulin Huet. 2019 marks the anniversary of his death, and to celebrate his importance to the island, the Art for Guernsey charity commissioned a ‘Renoir walk’. Along this walk, you’ll find 5 steel frames in the exact spots where Renoir worked on his paintings: a great opportunity for art-lovers to try their own versions of the works of art.
St Peter Port has an abundance of restaurants to suit all tastes and appetites. The island has plenty of local produce which many of the eateries use to make traditional Anglo-French dishes with a contemporary twist. For brilliant seafood, there is the Le Nautique facing the quay, where you can find fresh ingredients from the waters only a stone’s throw away. For a more quirky and varied dining experience, The Fat Rascal is a craft kitchen and bar serving up all of the favourites, as well as varied vegetarian and vegan options.
There are many family activities in Guernsey, and such a wide variety that even the fussiest children will be able to find something to keep them entertained. Guernsey tourist attractions for families are spread over the whole island, so no matter where you’re staying, you’ll have an option at hand for a family outing.
Outdoor Guernsey is a hub of adventure at L’eree, St Peters at the north of the island. Here, there are an abundance of water and land activities to get stuck into. On land, you can try out things like archery, bush craft, cycling and climbing. Alternatively, at sea you can get involved with coasteering, SUPing, kayaking and even puffin patrolling on the island’s coastal cliffs.
The Jungle House at Oatlands Village is the perfect place to tire out your little ones and ensure a good night’s sleep. There are 8 full-sized trampolines outside, with a cover for wet weather, as well as a roller-skating rink, mini golf course, and indoor play area. Kids of all ages will love this place – you might find it hard to drag them away!
Oaty and Joey’s World is every child’s dream of fun and games, all situated in a large barn at Oatlands Village. Here, you can expect to find ropes, swings, ball pits and a range of obstacles to tire out the young’uns, as well as a bowling alley and juke box. For those arty and creative, there is an area where you can create your own pottery pieces, and even make a bear!
Rock pooling is fun for all ages. Grab a net and sturdy shoes and you’re ready to go! There are many beaches and bays around the island that boast excellent rockpools for exploring, and Les Grandes Rocques, just north of Cobo Bay is one of our favourites. This beach is just as beautiful as its neighbour but tends to be less busy and has more rocky areas that fill with seawater at high tide: perfect for seeing what lies within Guernsey’s waters.
The beautiful Petit Bot Bay lies on the south of the island in between two valleys covered in woodland. The sheltered beach is a suntrap and has fantastic views out to the sea. It is a great place to launch a kayak, or simply relax on the beautiful sand. For those who fancy a bit more of an adventure, when the tide is right, you can swim out and explore some of the caves that line the glorious bay.
Guernsey’s Pirate Bay Adventure Golf is located at the luxurious St Pierre Park Hotel, and is a fantastic 12-hole course, with each hole having its own unique challenge and design. Expect erupting volcanoes, shipwrecks, and treasure chests. Make sure you keep your eyes open to spot the hazards including pesky monkeys, snoopy pirates and even running water! No previous golf experience is required, making it a great experience for the whole family.
The Island Voyage RIB Tours are the best way to explore and discover the glorious wildlife that lies around the island. Hop on board and join a cruise spotting wildlife circles around the lovely island of Herm, only 3 miles by 1, and there is even the possibility of seeing seals, puffins, dolphins, guillemots and more! Make sure you take your camera!
At Guernsey Candles in Les Petites Capelles, you can watch the experts make each unique candle in their specialised workshop. You can follow the entire candle-making process to see the finished product at the gift shop, where you’ll find an impressive selection of all different types of candle. It is the perfect place to pick up a souvenir to light up your home.
Les Caches Farm is the perfect place on the island for relaxation and peace with a beautiful thatched farmhouse and grounds. The entire farm, including the outbuildings and apple orchard achieved an award-winning status with the 2019 International National Trusts Organisation top award in the Open House category for its successful restoration. The gardens are glorious, with plenty of walks around the cliff paths to explore.
The only diamond museum in the British Isles, this is where you can learn all about the different types of diamonds and find out how you spot a quality diamond through the rough. The museum is tucked inside the Old John Tanns Bankers Vault and gives a fascinating insight into the history of diamonds, as well as the different gemstone meanings, diamond scandals and mystery.
When the sun goes down on the island, the Guernsey nightlife comes alive. There are an abundance of pubs, bars, clubs and live music venues to cater for every sort of evening: whether that’s a crazy night out on the town or a relaxed drink with stunning views.
The Fusion nightclub in St Peter Port is the biggest nightclub in Guernsey, with the best sound system. The club can fit over 450 people and has two different bars to cater for all tastes. The Luna Bar has more seating, and is fully equipped with beer pong tables, and a DJ. The Jungle Bar is where you’ll find the dancefloor and, the whole bar is decorated with a jungle theme – the perfect place for a wild and wonderful Saturday night!
On Friday and Saturday nights, Célébrité Bar joins forces with Les Folies D’amour Nightclub, and the bi-fold doors open to allow guests to enjoy service from both venues. The Célébrité Bar is the perfect place to start off the evening in one of the booths with a couple of their premium cocktails before moving on the Les Folies D’armour, where you can let loose on the dancefloor. Make sure to take a few photos with the ‘selfie’ wall to remember your great night out in Guernsey!
The Red Cocktail Bar overlooking St Peter Port Harbour is the newest and trendiest place to go for an evening to remember. Here, you can find a wide selection of drinks available with a gorgeous balcony boasting views overlooking the harbour. On a Friday and Saturday night, there is a live DJ to add to the buzz and vibrant atmosphere of one of the must-see Guernsey bars.
Laska is the island’s longest running cocktail bar and stands proudly in the centre of St Peter Port. It has one of the longest bars in St Peter Port, and is decorated in a contemporary style, with leather seats, soft lighting and rustic walls. The mixologists will craft for you whatever drink you would like, and the fantastic décor means you can enjoy your drink in style.
The Ship and Crown is part of the Liberation Pub groups and comprises of the hearty family pub on the ground floor, with the Crow’s Nest Bar and Brasserie on the top two floors where you can enjoy fantastic views of St Peter Port and Castle Cornet. The upstairs bar is designed to look like an old ship’s mess, with wooden booths, glass porthole windows and nautical-themed décor and fully compliments its position looking out onto the marina.
The Fermain Tavern labels itself as ‘home of Guernsey music’ and is situated on the border of St Peter Port and St Martin’s. Since the 1970’s, a wide variety of musicians from Jersey, Guernsey and further afield have graced its stage, including the likes of Elton John, Skindred, and Wilko Johnson. In 2009, it went through a refurbishment, making it the modern venue it is today, with the great music nights from its past still there in memory.
The Vault is a live music bar in the centre of St Peter Port, hosting a wide variety of different themed nights including acoustic sessions, open mics and lively bands. It is a great place for music old and new, and you’ll find all ages in here rocking, rolling and enjoying the sweet sounds. If you’re a musician yourself, pop down to the open mic night every Thursday and perform your debut set in this beautiful Channel Island.
The St James Concert and Assembly Hall is where you’ll find the more sophisticated and grander events. From film showings to orchestra recitals, jazz evenings to award ceremonies, if you are looking for a big event in a marvellous building, St James Concert and Assembly Hall is the place to go. The onsite bar and café adds to the mix and makes it a perfect evening, whatever event you are attending.
Having fun on holiday doesn’t have to be expensive, and in Guernsey you’ll find plenty of free things to do, meaning you can save your money for tax-free shopping or delicious Guernsey food. Whatever the time of year, you’ll be able to enjoy the island on a budget and here are a few of our favourite options.
The Town Church in St Peter Port is a beautiful Anglican church in the heart of the capital.
Pembroke Bay is on the northern point of the island and is its longest stretch of sand.
Fauxquets Valley is one of the most beautiful spots for a walk any time of year, with beautiful fields to walk through and views over the Moulin Huet Bay.
Cobo Bay is one of the most popular beaches on the island, and once you see its golden sands and crystal-clear waters for yourself, you will know why.
Guernsey has over 42 miles of coastal paths to be explored, and the rugged cliffs on the south west are particularly stunning.
The wonderful thing about the beautiful flora and fauna of Guernsey are that it is free for the public to enjoy.
The Grandes Rocques Beach marks the rocky point at the end of the beautiful Saline Bay at the north of the island.
Guernsey’s wild maritime climate and early spring keep the island decorated with lots of different flowers year-round.
The Guille-Allès Library is the largest public library in Guernsey and has graced the streets of St Peter Port since 1882.
Clarence Battery, also known as the Cow’s Horn is a headland that is just up the road from the La Valette Bathing Pools. The Battery was constructed in 1780 and was one of the original outer defences for Fort George. Fort George was the island’s primary base of defence ding the French Revolution and was also home to the German Luftwaffe early warning system in Word War II. The battery itself has been very well maintained and is made from thick walls which would have provided efficient protection when the area was under attack.
The most popular things to do in Guernsey with kids are:
What are the best outdoor activities in Guernsey?
Guernsey has something for all types of appetites, with so many fresh ingredients right on your doorstep. The seafood is caught in local waters, so you can expect many menus with fresh fish and shellfish on the menus.
See more food and drink in Guernsey here.
Guernsey has it all from luxury hotels, to glampsites, rental apartments and camping. For pure luxury, there is the Old Government House Hotel and Spa, the only 5* hotel on the island. If you are looking to stay right on the coast, there is the Imperial Hotel in the south west. Whatever type of accommodation you are looking for, Guernsey will be able to sort you out in comfort.