The jewel in the archipelago’s crown, tiny Jersey is a cosmopolitan hub compared to its little brothers and sisters. From black butter to lavender shortbread, the island is a foodie’s heaven. Follow our tour of the best places to eat seafood and the ultimate cream tea. Work off all those treats with an aquatic adrenaline rush – coasteering, stand-up paddleboarding, scubadiving and surfing are all on offer. Jersey has a fascinating history, too, spanning everything from a hoard of Iron Age coins to the fascinating stories from Nazi-occupied Jersey during most of WWII. Visit the Durell Wildlife Park.
Gorgeous Guernsey is a big favourite with visitors to the Channel Islands, and for good reason. The pretty main town of St Peter Port, guarded from on high by Castle Cornet, is a bustling place to spend the day watching the boats bobbing in the harbour with an icecream. Further afield are 27 perfect beaches to discover – this is a great island to explore by bike. Victor Hugo’s home, Hauteville House, is a must-visit – after exile from France in 1852 the writer wrote Les Miserables here.
The most northerly of the Channel Islands, Alderney makes for a wonderful escape from real life. Stay in a grassy campsite with views out over one of the isand’s stunning beaches, let little ones roam free and spot the wealth of wildlife resident here – Alderney is a wetland site of international importance and is home to puffins, storm petrels, rare blond hedgehogs and more rare critters.
White sand beaches, turquoise water, gently bobbing boats in the harbour – you’d be forgiven for thinking that tiny Herm was actually in the Caribbean. Just a mile and a half long and half a mile wide, this dinky island boasts a fantastic pub, the Mermaid Tavern, sandy Shell Beach and an 11th century chapel. Stay at the only hotel on the island, the White House, which allows no telephones, clocks or televisions.
600 people live on Sark but there isn’t a car between them. Have an emergency? You’ll have to call out the tractor-driven fire engine. Completely unspoilt, Sark was named the first dark sky island in the world due to the clarity of the night sky from the island. Take the ferry from St Peter Port on Guernsey to explore beautiful bays by day and stargaze by night.