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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > United Kingdom > Channel Islands > Guernsey > Guernsey beaches

About Guernsey beaches

The second largest of the Channel Islands, Guernsey has great beaches and is even more picturesque than its larger neighbour of Jersey. Its main port, St Peter, is steeply terraced and laden by flower baskets. History also abounds and the island was the home-in-exile of the giant of French literature, Victor Hugo, who wrote Les Misérables. Guernsey’s sea air encourages a hearty appetite, and the island’s fertile sea and soil provides the island’s cuisine with a host of ingredients, from seafood to locally grown vegetables.

Beach:

Guernsey has a remarkable total of 27 beaches. Pembroke, on the north coast, is recommended for families and sunbathers, with its huge sweep of gently sloping sand. It’s also good for watersports, and has some kiosks and a restaurant. Cobo, to the west, is a popular sandy bay, edged by granite rocks, and attracting avid surfers. It’s also great for snorkelling, rock pooling, swimming and windsurfing, though water quality has deteriorated in recent years. L’Eree is another western sandy stretch that rarely feels crowded and is good for swimming, though rocks are evident at low tide. Also to the west, horseshoe-shaped Port Soif Bay is a lovely beach, and is a sheltered arc of fine white sand, popular with families for its good water quality.

Beyond the beach:

Discover the pretty Regency and Georgian lanes, tumbling terraces, blooming gardens and hidden alleys in Guernsey’s capital of St Peter Port. Those who want to stretch their legs further are served well by the spectacular cliff-top paths and rural lanes across the island, where walkers can discover semi-tropical plants, secluded bays and stunning coastal vistas. The Water Lanes leading to the shore make for a great trip, particularly at Moulin Huet and Petit Bôt. Throughout the summer months of April to September there are numerous guided walks on offer.

Family fun:

There are lots of chances for bucket-and-spade fun at Guernsey’s many sandy bays. For a change, just south of the picturesque St Peter Port harbour, there are some sculpted rock pools where you can take a dip. It’s also fascinating to take a tour of Victor Hugo’s eclectic residence, Hautville House (www.victorhugo.gg), where he lived in exile for 14 years. Families will also enjoy the Guernsey Aquarium (La Vallette), which is housed in an old tunnel and has displays of fish, frogs, terrapins and lizards.

Exploring further:

Take a boat trip over to Herm (journey time – 20 minutes) a tiny island ringed by sugar-white beaches and dotted by wild flowers. It has no cars, motorbikes or bicycles, one hotel and campsite, and there are some lovely walks winding across the island. Completely geared to tourism, it feels a little unreal, but in a good way.

Splashing out:

Guernsey has some wonderful restaurants, but if you really crave a treat, then make a beeline for La Frégate (www.lafregatehotel.com) (Les Cotils), a hotel housed in an 18th-century mansion that perches above St Peter Port. Views are fabulous, with food to match.