Last July, we spent a couple of nights staying on a magical place called Herm Island at The White House Hotel with friends. Herm is only a 20 minute ferry ride from Guernsey and it’s a 2min walk from our house in St Peter Port to get on the ferry. We went over on a Wednesday. The guys were already over there with work colleagues. So my friend Sonal and I just enjoyed the sun and the hotel gardens. I had my first Pimm’s of the summer with great views and great conversation.
Evening eventually rolled around and we showered and changed before heading to The Mermaid Tavern for the guys’ Summer work group meal. I went for the traditional fish and chips, but it’s pretty good fare at that place whatever you choose. After the rest of the group caught the ferry back to Guernsey, we retired to our little cottage rooms and crashed after a day in the sun.
A Staycation on Herm Island
We stayed in the upstairs rooms of the Mermaid Cottages, alongside the tavern. We were in Room 27 and it was lovely – some weren’t as modernised, but we had a clean, new bathroom. There is no tv, which I liked (they have wifi for your Netflix if needed anyway.) I was pleased to see fresh white linen, and a cute little window seat. Air conditioning or at least a fan would have been appreciated. But it was actually a bit cooler overnight. So wasn’t a major issue – and never really too hot at night in our area of the world anyway.
On Thursday morning, I had some work to do. So I woke up at about 6.30am and made my way to the lounge area with a comfy seat and my laptop. I bashed out a couple of hours of client content before waking Rob up for breakfast. The selection was extensive and fresh. We thoroughly enjoyed a full breakfast with a croissant on the side and a pot of coffee. The restaurant is traditional but good quality and I was very surprised by the number of people there and the various different languages that I could hear. As goes my classic work-life balance when travelling, I then skulked off to do another couple of hours of work whilst the others headed to the beach. I joined them at lunchtime for a couple of hours in the sun. Rob hired a paddle board. I did some writing.
At 2pm, we packed up at the beach and went back to our hotel for afternoon tea.
It was included in the room offer rate that we had booked. It was a lovely setting. We sat on the lawn overlooking Guernsey. It’s kind of weird to be on holiday, but still technically be able to see your house across the water. But that is the beauty of a staycation. We enjoyed small sandwiches, a scone each and some small pastries plus tea and a bottle of prosecco between four – or technically 2 if I’m being honest! We chilled in the lounge chairs for a couple of hours before the boys decided to play tennis. I fetched my yoga mat and set up under the trees whilst they played. It was so nice to sit outside and enjoy a couple of hours of peace. With stunning views and nice chat. I even tried a bit of tennis myself.
Afterwards, we did a quick change and headed to dinner at The Ship Inn, where they had a simple pub menu that was pretty good quality. We ordered Herm oysters (you have to!) and burgers. We sat and watched the sun go down over Guernsey on the sheltered terrace before heading to the hotel lounge to play games and have dessert. It took us quite a while to organise a game to play because they were all quite old with a lot of pieces missing. But we eventually opted for Trivial Pursuit.
I had the brownie with Herm ice cream. It was supposed to come with strawberries but there were none on the plate. So the waitress grabbed me some from the bar, which was nice of her to do. But a shame I didn’t get more on the plate.
The bar staff were really helpful and friendly all evening actually.
After I won the game (!!), we just went back to the room and crashed again at around 11pm. The next morning was bit of a rinse and repeat. I dragged myself up at about 6.30am and trudged over to do a couple of hours work before joining everyone else for breakfast for an hour. We then planned to go to the beach, but I managed to fall asleep for half an hour. I think Rob sense my rising work stress levels and suggested I lie down for a second and that was all it took.
We then went to check out, labelled our bags for the right ferry home and went to the beach. Or so they did, I actually did another hour of work and then joined them. I felt much better having finished the project so it was worth it in the end. Just to clarify, I would probably plan ahead a little more in future. This was quite a last-minute trip and I didn’t have time to do something beforehand.
When I eventually did get there, Rob suggested we hire a kayak and go in search of puffins. They are known to spend May-July around the coast of Herm. He had seen a couple the day before on his work boat trip. So we headed back to the same spot. In my 3yrs of living in Guernsey, I had never seen any then I finally spotted four bobbing around in the water. I absolutely loved it! Spending time on the water is one of my favourite things to do here in Guernsey. It’s amazing to live here and have that opportunity on a daily basis.
After kayaking, we had an ice cream on the beach before packing up and heading back to the boat.
It was such a lovely way to spend a couple of days. We were all so relaxed and really felt like we were on holiday – but without the hassle of travelling. The thing about Herm is that it is a world away from home despite being so close. Even when we just go over for the day, I feel totally switched off. It’s only a 20 minute ferry after all. I can’t wait to go again and truly experience a digital detox with no impending work tasks popping up at the last minute!
I would wake up in the morning, find a coffee, do yoga on the lawn overlooking the bay, go for a hike, eat a leisurely breakfast, spend more time reading, have some blissful beach time – hire kayaks and paddle boards, and I’d end the day with a drink at sunset before a meal and some fun games. And chatter before an early night ready for another early rise.
As I was drafting this post, I was actually using paper and a pen from Herm that says “Life from a fresh perspective’ on it and I couldn’t agree with that sentiment more. We all came back feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and happy. It was such as stunning couple of days of true island life.
To find out more about staying on Herm Island, visit herm.com.