English, but not England.
French, but not France.
Jersey’s pretty little sister, Guernsey is one of the most wondrous places that I have ever been, yet alone lived. I feel very lucky to call this little island home. Here are 10 reasons why I think Guernsey is one of best places in the world.
10 Things I Love About Guernsey
1. The Beaches
Living by the coast is amazing. There is nothing like waking up to the sound of seagulls and the gentle clinking of the boats moored up in the harbour. It’s a magical feeling and I get it most days – especially in summer, as we sleep with our windows open and live just steps from the marina. I love finishing work at 5pm and hitting the beach for a lazy summer picnic or fish and chips with friends. Even a brisk, coastal walk in winter feels fresh and invigorating. Guernsey also boasts quite a few different kinds of beach – from the stony bays of Fermain and Petit Bot to the vast sandy crowd-pleaser that is Cobo and surfer’s paradise Vazon, there truly is something for everyone. I have yet to pick a favourite.
2. The People
People in Guernsey are so very friendly. As someone who was born in Yorkshire with vivid memories of walking up the road with my Grandad to buy his morning paper and the number of ‘ow do‘s we would encounter along the way, I love the small town feel of this island. I love how welcoming people are and, in a way, how in each others’ business they are too. You can’t help but get involved in a bit of local gossip – it makes you feel part of the crowd.
3. The Hiking & Outdoor Lifestyle
It was a walk from St Peter Port to Fermain Bay that solidified my decision to move to Guernsey almost 3 years ago. I have written about it since. It is the walk that I often take visitors when they come over – it has that wow factor. I have also explored so many other wonderful areas of coastline. I even walked the entire island last year – and for some reason, have challenged myself to do it again this June.
4. The Food
For such a tiny place, Guernsey is a true foodie’s dream. For starters, you can indulge in all kinds of Guernsey treats. From the sweet treats: cream teas with Guernsey Dairy butter and cream, luxury afternoon teas, Guernsey gache (pron. gosh), Guernsey fudge, Guernsey Dairy ice cream… to the local catches: Guernsey & Herm oysters, fresh fish and seafood in every restaurant and, of course, the quintessential seaside fish and chips. But for the foodies, the island also has a host of really amazing restaurants all pretty much walkable from each other, including a few French places and a couple of amazing steakhouses. You’ll be grateful for the active lifestyle to balance it out.
5. The Island-Hopping
The Bailiwick of Guernsey is made up of more than one island: the main 4 are Guernsey, Alderney, Herm & Sark. I haven’t ventured over to Sark (Edit: I now have! & blog coming soon!) or Alderney yet, but Herm is a firm favourite. Just 20mins by ferry (the boat is 2mins from my front door), it is a little haven surrounded by water. Super cute and super quirky. I love a day over at Belvoir Beach followed by fish and chips in The Mermaid Tavern or even a fun evening out when the dinner boat service runs in the summer.
6. The Tax-Free Life
Let’s not skip over it. It’s pretty nice to order something online and see the price drop the minute you put in your postcode. The lack of corporation tax is pretty good too. Not that I’m particularly in a position to take huge advantage of that, but it’s a big draw for many of the financial institutions on the island. And a girl can dream of huge business growth, right?!
7. The Lifestyle
There are few places on earth where you can walk out of an international corporate office and be on the beach surfing just a few minutes later. Guernsey offers that. Does anyone else take their lunch breaks on the waterfront or ambling along country cliff paths? My after work jogs along the seafront beat my busy jogs along the Thames or Regent’s Park any day. I love being able to live in a bigger place than I had in London – we have room for guests, room for me to have an office, outside space for a barbecue and, very randomly, a hot tub that was abandoned by the previous residents that we aren’t complaining about!
8. The Literary Connections
Guernsey was the home of Victor Hugo when he was in exile. He finished Les Miserables here and was inspired to write many other things. His home Hauteville House, owned by the Museum of Paris, is here and open to the public, where you can see his innate and unique artistic self in every nook and cranny. Guernsey was also the inspiration & setting for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society novel & now big Hollywood movie by Mary Ann Shaffer & her niece Annie Barrows.
It is also the home of the Guernsey Literary Festival, which I have been involved with for the past couple of years. The festival has brought many great writers & authors to the island to talk all things books, poetry and literature. It is an inspiring few days each May on the island. And each year sets me up to read more each summer, which I love.
9. The Sunsets
The Guernsey sunset is something to behold. Over at Cobo Bay where the sky can be all shades of pink and orange, you can sit for hours watching the tide go in and out with a glass of wine and some fish and chips, either on The Rockmount pub terrace or on the beach with a takeaway form Cobo Fish Bar. Both are the perfect way to spend an evening.
10. That Holiday Feeling
Driving around Guernsey, walking along the harbour, popping to the beach, trying a Guernsey Dairy ice cream, taking a cliff walk, you feel like you are on holiday all the time. I love Seafront Sundays, where all of the local stallholders & food vendors come together for a fun seaside market. You get that holiday evening feeling. And I feel so lucky to be able to walk out of my house and experience it every day.
And with that, I’m off to enjoy a day at the beach, so I hope you all enjoy your weekend too!
P.S. I wrote a Healthy Guide to Guernsey a couple of years ago over on Zanna’s blog. Take a look here.