Guernsey — Attractions
Guernsey has a diverse range of attractions and is small enough to do everything on your itinerary. The beaches are a major draw, while historic sites in the capital, such as Castle Cornet can be seen on foot. The nearby islands of Sark and Herm are a popular, year-round side trip.
St Peter Port
The capital of Guernsey is a bustling city with an attractive harbor, steep, narrow streets, and a rich history. It resides on the east coast not far from the airport and beaches, and has plenty of hotels, shops, restaurants, and pubs to explore. Downtown is easily traversed on foot and there are several noteworthy sights, including Castle Cornet, Hauteville House, and the nearby Guernsey Aquarium in the coastal La Vallette area. Beaches within reach include Belle Greve, Soldiers Bay, and Havelet.
Address: St Peter Port, East Coast
The beach in this cute bay to the west of St Peter Port is one of the most popular on Guernsey. An easy drive, it is shaped like a stunning arc with good swimming and surfing, and ample amenities like parking and toilets. Vazon gets quite busy in the summer, though there are several beaches nearby to escape the crowds or take a walk, in particular up to the Fort Houmet Nature Reserve.
Address: Vazon Bay, West Coast
Sark and Herm
The nearby Channel Islands of Sark and Herm are very popular day trips from St Peter Port, with ferries running directly to both. Herm is the closer of the two and is noted for its complete coverage of white beachfront around its northern, western, and eastern flanks, and pretty interior. Sark is the more popular, though, owing to its air of yesteryear—think horse-drawn carriages and bicycles as cars are not allowed. Also within reach of Guernsey is Alderney, which has a pleasant capital and many old buildings.
Address: Off the east coast
The centuries-old Castle Cornet is a focal point of St Peter Port, residing at the end of the harbor. It originally rested on an island, but has since been linked to the mainland by a man-made causeway called Castle Pier. Worthy of a couple of hours’ exploration, the castle is home to interesting museums and period gardens. Be sure to see Maritime, Militia, 201 Squadron RAF museums, and the Noon Day Gun being fired. Guided tours are offered each morning.
Address: St Peter Port Harbor
Though not a must-do, the Guernsey Aquarium is a good alternative for a rainy day with kids. It resides in the pretty La Vallette area of St Peter Port amid German tunnels and has dozens of exhibits. Fish and strange creatures have been collected from around the region, and there are some weird and wonderful reptiles and amphibians in enclosures.
Address: La Vallette, St Peter Port, GY1 1AX
Victor Hugo, a famous French writer, moved to the Hauteville House after his exile from France and resided here for 14 years. During his tenure, he beautified the property and wrote many works, including Les Misérables. The house is well kept, with period furnishings and furniture and stunning gardens. The rooftop room is a highlight with its floor-to-ceiling windows and the site from where Hugo drew his inspiration.
Address: 38 Hauteville Street, St Peter Port, GY1 1DG
The Little Chapel
Residing amid the St Andrew’s countryside is this diminutive chapel, celebrated for its tiny dimensions and mosaic cladding. Built by Brother Déodat—a French monk—in 1914, the idea was to have a pilgrimage site on Guernsey a bit like that of Lourdes in the French Pyrenees. It is one of the world’s smallest cathedrals and is a must-see for its fun artwork and intriguing setting in this beautiful area of the island. It resides on the site of the Blanchelande Girls College.
Address: Blanchelande Girls College, Les Vauxbelets, St Andrew’s, GY6 8XY
Sausmarez Manor and Park
The de Sausmarez family has lived at Sausmarez Manor and Park since the 1200’s. Set amid stunning, established grounds in the southeast of Guernsey, the house is good for all types of visitor, with tours of the granite structure offering insight into the successful family through portraits. The gardens and woodlands are serene and worthy of a tour, as well. There is also a golf course on site, along with the Doll’s House Collection, Art Park and sculpture trail. Tours run all summer.
Address: Sausmarez Road, St Martins, GY4 6SG
Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery
Guernsey’s top museum has a variety of exhibits covering the history of the island and its people. Residing in the pretty Candie Gardens not far from the harbor, the museum focuses on the Victorian era in particular—antiquities, porcelain, and furniture—with many items coming by way of a huge donation from ex-locals. Be sure to take in The Story of Guernsey, and the White Galleries for temporary exhibitions. There’s also a gift shop and café onsite.
Address: Candie Gardens, St Peter Port, GY1 1UG
German Military Underground Hospital
This unusual place is one of Guernsey’s quirkier sights. The German Military Underground Hospital dates back to WWII when Nazi Germany occupied Guernsey (the only part of the British Islands they ever did take). The hospital was literally hewn out of rock and features tunnels and wards which visitors can tour. Also worth seeing is the German Occupation Museum at Forest, while nearby is the Little Chapel.
Address: Les Eperons, La Vassalerie, GY6 8XR