Ferries and cruises to Guernsey, Channel Islands

Guernsey (or the Bailiwick of Guernsey as it is officially called, which includes Sark, Herm, and Alderney) is one of the Channel Islands, located in the English Channel, just off the coast of Normandy.

In fact, it’s only 30 miles from France (compared to 75 miles from Weymouth), which means it’s more French than it is British. It makes for an interesting – and exotic – place to visit without having to go too far from home.

Reachable by cruise ship, ferry or plane, there are a number of options when it comes to getting to Guernsey depending on your budget and your preference. Whichever you choose, the outcome is the same; a great short break destination or family holiday location that is interesting, fascinating, and exciting. It’s relaxing too, and the tourist industry has been in place for long enough to ensure that every visitor has the time of their lives.

Known for being just that little bit different (Guernsey has its own currency, and its pillar boxes and phone booths are blue rather than the UK mainland red standard) it is certainly worth popping over for a look around.

Getting to Guernsey

Ferry Routes

Operator Route Services Travel Time Price
Poole Guernsey 1 daily 3 hours See prices °
Portsmouth Guernsey 12 weekly 7 hours See prices °

This information is for reference purposes only. Journey times are approximate. Frequency is based on typical schedules. Schedules are subject to availability and weather conditions. Information correct at the time of writing.

Taster Cruise Ship Itineraries

Cruise line Typical itinerary Prices
Southampton Ports such as Guernsey See prices °
Southampton; Dover; Portsmouth Ports such as Guernsey See prices °
Southampton Ports such as Guernsey See prices
Southampton Ports such as Guernsey See prices

This information is for reference purposes only. Information correct at the time of writing.

Top 3 Cruise & Ferry Deals

  1. Cruise & Maritime Voyages 2 for 1 sale from £279
  2. 2 for 1 Guernsey mini cruise on Condor Ferries from £32
  3. Day trip to Rosslare with Stena Line from £5.50pp

Top tips when travelling to Guernsey by sea

  1. You may struggle to visit everything you want to in such a short space of time on a mini-cruise to Guernsey. Consider booking a hotel room when you book your mini-cruise and change a quick getaway into a longer holiday to Guernsey.
  2. Consider taking your car or hiring a car to explore Guernsey at your own pace rather than relying on public transport or taxi drivers.

Guernsey Mini Cruise

I sailed on P&O Cruises' latest flagship, Britannia, on a short two-night mini cruise to Guernsey.

You can find my Guernsey mini cruise review here.

Sightseeing

There are so many attractions and activities available on Guernsey that it might seem a little overwhelming at first. But don’t worry; you’ll soon work out what’s best for you and your travelling companions. In the meantime, here is a guide to the best things to do on your first visit to the island.

Guernsey Museum

The Guernsey Museum is a great place to start your exploration of Guernsey. If you want to learn more about the island itself, its history, its inhabitants, and its future plans, then there is no better place to go than the Guernsey Museum.

It’s an ideal place to get acquainted with your holiday destination, and prepare the rest of your trip around everything you have learned. Situated in St Peter Port (Guernsey’s capital), it’s in a great spot; easy to get to no matter where you are staying on the island, and close to any other activity you may wish to move on to.

The museum itself has various fascinating exhibitions including how World War I affected Guernsey, an art exhibition featuring different methods of creating, ‘living history’ where volunteers dress up in period costumes and answer your questions, as well as interactive games and events.

Shell Beach

Shell Beach on Herm is a short boat ride from Guernsey itself, and is what could very easily be called a traditional seaside. With an ice cream kiosk, a café, and a beautifully golden sandy beach, it is a wonderful place to spend a day (or more!).

Ideal for both relaxing and playing, Shell Beach is well known across the Channel Islands for being the best beach they has to offer – and that’s saying something, since on an island there are always a number of different beaches!

The name Shell Beach comes from the fact that the ‘sand’ is made up of crushed shells, and if you want to find some whole ones you don’t need to look too far. Collectors and admirers of these beautiful natural finds will love this place, but you don’t have to be a shell obsessive to enjoy the peace and quiet of Shell Beach.

Hauteville House

Hauteville House in St Peter Port was the long term home of Victor Hugo. Hugo, famous for classic works such as Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, spent 16 years on Guernsey in Hauteville House, and penned some of the more famous lines in literature there.

It must have been utterly inspiring. And visiting his home is just as inspiring – you will learn as much about the man himself as possible through the expert guides on hand. As a bonus, the house is said to be haunted by a woman in white…

Guernsey Tapestry

The Guernsey Tapestry was awarded a Certificate of Excellence in 2014, and it’s not hard to see why. These ten embroidered panels show the entire history of Guernsey and the surrounding islands in minute detail.

Originally meant to be showcase for the millennium celebrations in 2000, the project became so popular that it is now a permanent fixture on the island. Every beautiful tapestry depicts one hundred years of Guernsey life, and there is an audio guide with each one to let you know exactly what is happening in the panel.

The ten tapestries were made in the ten parishes of Guernsey, and it was the local people who put their heart and soul into creating these beautiful works of art. Well worth a visit – and definitely something completely different.

German Occupation Museum

No visit to Guernsey would be complete without seeing the German Occupation Museum.

Visitors to this museum have described it as evocative, tear jerking, and fascinating all in one, and with exhibitions documenting the German occupation of the Channel Islands, and what happened to the islanders during that terrible time (many were forced to leave their homes, and some were even sent to camps such as Auschwitz), it would be a hard hearted person indeed who wasn’t touched by what they had to endure.

Despite the subject matter, the museum itself is a great place to visit, with informative exhibitions and knowledgeable staff to help you get the most out of it. Within this one time farmhouse you will see detailed reconstructions of how it would have looked during the invasion.

There is also a weapons exhibit, and an emotional look at letters sent and received during the war. After you have seen everything there is to see, you can be restored in the fabulous on-site tearoom.

German Underground Hospital

As well as the German Occupation Museum, you can also visit the German Underground Hospital.

At 7,000 square metres, this is the largest underground construction in the Channel Islands – the scale is immense and fascinating. Kept underground so that no Allied plans could spot it, this is a creepy and terrifying place to visit – it’s not for everyone. It’s cold and damp, so wrap up warm, and be glad you can get out again. Not everyone did…

Castle Cornet

Castle Cornet is situated on a rocky outcrop, and has been the sentry post for Guernsey for almost 800 years. You may think that they would take its toll on such a building, but the castle itself is in good condition, and can be explored at leisure.

Also on the site are five museums, each one detailing different aspects of military squadrons and history (The Store of the Castle Cornet Museum, The Maritime Museum, The 201 Squadron (RAF) Museum, The Royal Guernsey Light Infantry Museum, and the Royal Guernsey Militia Museum).

On top of all this there are beautiful gardens to explore, a refectory to enjoy, and a gift shop to buy yourself something to remember the day by. At certain times of the year there are additional children’s activities (including a fantastic treasure hunt), and if you want to make the most of your visit, join in one of the guided tours. The views are pretty breath taking too!

And there's more...

Many of the first time visitors to Guernsey become second, third, fourth, and more time visitors. There is something so peaceful and so unique about the place that those who come here just want to keep coming back. The good news is, there is plenty more to experience once you arrived.

  • Take the Folk and Costume Museum, for example. Lovingly curated and put together, this little hidden gem in Castel is a lovely way to spend a morning. Depicting Guernsey in days gone by through the use of costume and clothing, it’s an interesting and sometimes amusing look at what we used to wear. There is a garden that has seasonal play things for the children (including a bouncy castle). If you are a National Trust member it’s free to get in with your membership card, so there is really no excuse not to visit.
  • The Fort Grey Shipwreck Museum is located in a former sea defence tower, and is known locally as the ‘cup and saucer’ due to its strange shape. Inside there are two floors full of exhibits about the shipwrecks that have occurred around the coast of Guernsey, and the reasons (or possible reasons, not all are known) for what happened. Although the building too small to house pieces of actual wrecks, there is a lot of information here, including video and eye witness accounts. Tickets need to be bought across the road at Guernsey Pearl, but that’s no hardship as the two attractions can be combined into an fascinating visit.
  • Guernsey Pearl is a shop, visitor centre, exhibition, and café in one. On display are numerous beautiful pearls and pearl jewellery, ranging from a few pounds in price to many thousands. Something for every budget if you are looking to buy! But don’t worry, there is no expectation that you will, and you really are free to roam at your leisure and enjoy what humans and nature can do when combined. If you do want to buy something, there is plenty to choose from, and you can even pick an oyster and watch as the pearl is removed, cleaned, and mounted to your specifications. The on-site café is great, and perfect for a pick me up snack before heading on to your next destination. Guernsey Pearl is free to enter, but beware: it’s only open from March to October.
  • The Guernsey Aquarium is a delightful way to spend some time whilst on Guernsey. There are fish of all descriptions, plus snakes and reptiles too, and the display boards are informative and interesting. Located within the rocks in a tunnel type environment, this is certainly a different way to look at sea creatures! And Raymond the seahorse (rescued from the road outside) is the star!
  • Bumblebee Boat Cruises offer a varied range of cruises, including day trips to France and to the other Channel Islands. But if it is Guernsey you particularly want to explore, then there is certainly a cruise for you here that takes you around the coast of the island, pointing out the hidden caves and coves. Not only that, but you can take the seal safari and venture out to spot the creatures in their own habitat (you might even see dolphins!). Or you could make a night of it and have some romance on the evening dinner cruise (which includes a night cruise and then a three course meal in a superb restaurant on land). Whichever cruise you choose, you’ll be guided by an expert. Don’t forget your camera, as you won’t want to forget a single moment of this experience!

Hotels in Guernsey

Now that you have decided to visit Guernsey, and you know what you will do when you get there, where are you going to stay?

Guernsey Budget & Great Value Hotels

There’s plenty of choice, but if you are in a smaller budget, these great value hotels will suit you perfectly.

With beautiful views and excellent comfort, you might be forgiven for thinking that the Imperial Hotel is an expensive affair. Don’t worry, though – it’s just fantastic value! Good service with the right amount of friendliness and a breakfast to suit both meat eaters and vegetarians alike, like handily located hotel is an excellent choice for those watching the pennies.

The Green Acres Hotel is a lovely little hotel that caters for every visitor, and is in a great spot for exploring Guernsey. The staff make it their business to welcome and befriend everyone who walks through the door, and you’ll be pleased with the amenities too – they include hot cooked (locally sourced) breakfasts and afternoon tea.

Family Friendly Hotels in Guernsey

When travelling with family, sometimes it’s the hotel that makes a holiday. These child friendly places will certainly help you relax.

La Collinette is a lovely hotel, but it’s the self catering cottages that really make it stand out, and allow for some fun family time. There are large apartments that give you room to breathe, and you can also use the amenities at the hotel, including the bar, restaurant, and pool complex. Room service also includes the cottages, so you don’t even have to leave your cosy bed after a long day of exploring!

With a great pool and free WiFi, is there anything else you need on a holiday? Probably, and the Hotel Jerbourg can provide it. It’s located centrally, so all main attractions and beaches are either a walk or a bus journey away. And the food is excellent, allowing you to really relax with the kids. The Sunday carvery is a treat!

Luxurious Guernsey Hotels

If you want luxury, Guernsey has got it.

The Old Government House Hotel and Spa literally rolls out the red carpet for your arrival – and if you thought the outside was stunning, just wait until you make it through the double doors. You can arrange to be collected at the hotel in one of their private cars and taken straight to the front doors – a wonderful way to start an excellent break (and if you have your own car, there is a valet parking service). Sumptuously decorated rooms and gorgeous views make this a perfect getaway.

The prestigious Hotel de Havelet hotel (part of the well known Best Western group) offers all the luxuries one might want when on a break from home. A sauna and steam room, a pool, a Jacuzzi, two restaurants, a bar, free WiFi and a sun terrace to really make the most of your stay. The hotel bedrooms are large, and the building itself is full of character.

Restaurants in Guernsey

The thrill of discovering new favourite places to each is part of the fun of being on holiday, and Guernsey certainly doesn’t disappoint in that regard – for a small island, there are certainly a large number of places to choose from when it comes to dinner time. If you want your money to stretch further, why not try one of these great restaurants?

For big portions are low prices, the Captain’s Hotel Bistro is the place to go! Although a little off the beaten track, this is still a popular haunt for locals and visitors alike, and with items such as lemon sole, freshly made pizza, and lobster as well as more traditional ‘pub grub’ such as burgers and chips, it’s a great little find.

The Beach House in Pembroke Bay looks inviting with its crisp, clean exterior and outdoor seating, and that’s only the beginning. The menu – which covers everything from a quick snack on the go to a more substantial evening meal) is mouth watering… How does chicken and bacon Caesar salad, Pembroke fish and chips, or prawn linguini sound? And don’t forget the champagne!

The kids are a big part of any family, and finding a good restaurant that will cater to them can sometimes be a trial. Not on Guernsey – family friendly restaurants are everywhere.

Crabby Jack’s is ideally located for stopping off for either a lunch break or a family dinner at the end of a long day of sightseeing. There is a buzzing atmosphere along with a great menu that kids and adults alike will love. To make everything even better, there is a fantastic playground so the children can burn off the last of the day’s energy before heading off home to bed!

With a menu comprising of all the home-cooked favourites, and a children’s indoor soft play area to keep everyone happy, there really is nothing quite like the Longfrie Inn for good quality food in a superb atmosphere at excellent prices. Enjoy!

Want to splash a bit of cash on a nice meal out? You can on Guernsey.

Small on the outside, but well planned and large on the inside, Da Nello is a wonderful restaurant with a decidedly international flair, incorporating French, Italian, and British food on the menu. The building itself is 500 years old, and the restaurant has been there since 1978 – it looks as though it is going to stay.

Menu highlights include piatto di frutti di mare (seafood platter which includes crab, prawns, oyster and smoked salmon), cutlet di vitelo salvia (char grilled veal cutlet coated in sage, lemon juice, and butter), and the grilled fillet steak.

Seafood doesn’t get fresher than at Mora! And not only that, but there is live music and a cocktail bar to enjoy before, during, or (and) after your meal.

Why not try the exceptional Guernsey scallops with cumin and sesame flavoured fettuccine, the grilled fillet of turbot with spinach, or the medallions of monkfish with aubergine puree and olives? And to finish, there is always the stunning lemon tart, chocolate fondue or strawberry meringue!

Family travel

Guernsey is a great choice for families who need a bit of together time – there is plenty to do for young and not so young, as well as a large choice of hotels and restaurants who cater specifically for children and groups. Many hotels offer kids’ clubs, so parents can enjoy a little bit of alone time (perhaps in the sauna or spa, or perhaps taking a ling, leisurely stroll). Guernsey is a great place to get back to nature, and to remind the children what life is like without the hustle and bustle of home. Everyone will come away relaxed and happy.

When to Visit Guernsey

Guernsey is beautiful throughout the year, but when the colder months start to come in (October to March), many of the attractions close, or partly close, so it is worth checking that the things you want to see will be open when you visit.

To really make the most of the warm weather, and the gorgeous scenery, May is the optimum time to come to Guernsey. The flower (of which there are many!) are in full bloom, and the atmosphere on the island has a definitely buzz to it.

And what’s really great about May time is that it’s not tourist season (which tends to be more July and August), so it’s not as busy as it could be. Ideal for exploring the island and enjoying the weather too! Plus you might be lucky enough to spot some puffins at this time of the year…

Handy information

Where you will dock

Ferries dock at St Peter Port on the east coast of the island, as do small cruise ships. Large and mid-sized cruise ships instead anchor out at sea and use tender boats to ferry passengers to and from the shore.

Nearest airport

Guernsey's airport sits to the south of the island and is about 5 miles (about 8 kilometres) from St Peter Port. Airlines at the airport operate many routes to mainland Britain as well as a small selection to French and Spanish destinations.

Getting around

A public transport bus network is arguably the best (and easiest) way to get around. If you fancy cycling the island then you will find plenty of beautiful landscapes to make your way across. There are excellent routes between St Peter Port and St Sampson's.

If you are taking your car then bear in mind the maximum speed limit is 35mph on the island. You'll also need to purchase a parking clock to comply with parking regulations. It's best to research the intricacies of driving in Guernsey before you embark on your journey - ignorance is no excuse!

Currency

Guernsey uses a local version of the British Pound known as the Guernsey Pound. The currency uses the same denominations (1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1, and £2 coins plus £5, £10, £20, and £50 notes). They also have a £1 note.

Some shops choose to accept Euros at the prevailing rate although you are normally better off paying in Sterling instead.

Ferry Routes

Operator Route Services Travel Time Price
Poole Guernsey 1 daily 3 hours See prices °
Portsmouth Guernsey 12 weekly 7 hours See prices °

This information is for reference purposes only. Journey times are approximate. Frequency is based on typical schedules. Schedules are subject to availability and weather conditions. Information correct at the time of writing.

Taster Cruise Ship Itineraries

Cruise line Typical itinerary Prices
Southampton Ports such as Guernsey See prices °
Southampton; Dover; Portsmouth Ports such as Guernsey See prices °
Southampton Ports such as Guernsey See prices
Southampton Ports such as Guernsey See prices

This information is for reference purposes only. Information correct at the time of writing.

Top 3 Cruise & Ferry Deals

  1. Cruise & Maritime Voyages 2 for 1 sale from £279
  2. 2 for 1 Guernsey mini cruise on Condor Ferries from £32
  3. Day trip to Rosslare with Stena Line from £5.50pp

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