Exploring the Bailiwick of Guernsey, Sark & Herm - 4th to 11th June 2016

Loop hole tower, Rousse Headland, Guernsey

Our adventure in the stunning Bailiwick of Guernsey starts in the beautiful harbour of St Peter Port, where we explore its historic cobbled streets and absorb the town’s fascinating history.

Then it’s time to explore the rural side of life on Guernsey as we journey along lesser known routes, coastal paths and tranquil green lanes, exploring Neolithic tombs, German bunkers, wild orchid meadows and sublime beaches.

A boat trip to Herm gives us chance to discover the beauty and fascinating history of this tiny magical island just a mile and a half long.

We’ll also journey to the neighbouring island of Sark – a traffic-free walkers’ paradise with stunning and dramatic coastal scenery. There are beaches, caves and historic gardens here for us to explore by foot, boat and bicycle.

Staying in fabulous boutique hotels and dining in style - the locally caught seafood is among the best in Britain – this holiday promises to leave you wanting to come back for more.

Highlights include:

  • Dramatic coastal scenery
  • Exploring St. Peter Port
  • Dining on local seafood
  • Enjoying the abundant spring flowers
  • Walking across Herm
  • Discovering Sark’s coastline by boat
  • Stunning beaches

From our fabulous hotel in the Fermain Valley, it’s a stunning walk along Guernsey’s coastal path to the beautiful harbour town of St. Peter Port, where we’ll spend our first afternoon in the Bailiwick exploring the town’s historic streets and discovering its hidden past. From the story of Castle Cornet to that of the exiled French writer Victor Hugo, St. Peter Port has a fascinating history.

Then it’s time to explore the rural side of life on Guernsey – we’ll journey up to the north of the island (the island is only 12 miles long so all our journeys will be quite short), to Rousse Headland with its loop hole tower and start our walk along the coast. Taking in some of the island’s most beautiful beaches and La Dehus Burial chamber, one of the island’s most important prehistoric sites with its Le Guardian du Tombeau carving.

Our next walk takes us through the heart of Guernsey as we walk from Vazon Bay in the west to Fermain Bay on the south coast. Walking along lesser-known routes, tranquil green lanes and past wild orchid meadows. We’ll pass the German Underground Hospital built during the island’s occupation, visit the Little Chapel and the 4,000-year-old statue-menhir at St. Martin’s Church before reaching Fermain Bay with its stunning views and excellent Beach Café, where you can choose to while away the rest of the day in this beautiful bay over lunch and a swim.

Then it’s off to the traffic free walkers’ paradise that is the Island of Sark, the world’s first Dark Sky Island. The pace of life on the island is a relaxed amble and a visit here is like stepping back a little in time - leaving you feeling refreshed and revitalised – as well as wanting to come back for more. It’s home to some of the most spectacular scenery in the Channel Islands and has an abundance of wild flowers, birds and marine life. The spring flowers should be at their very best in early June.

During our short time here we’ll explore La Coupée, the narrow isthmus connecting Sark and Little Sark, visit the RHS recommended La Seigneurie Gardens and peer through the Window in the rock. A trip aboard George Guille’s boat - the Non Pareil - not only provides us with a fascinating tour of the island’s coastline, hidden caves, beaches and birdlife but also a true insight into life on the island. He’s one of the few islanders whose family tree can be traced back to the island’s Elizabethan settlers.

After two days we bid Sark farewell and take the boat back to Guernsey for an afternoon exploring the rural western country parishes of St. Saviour and St. Sampson, passing Neolithic tombs, menhirs, WWII fortifications, all the while surrounded by the area’s beautiful scenery.

Another short boat trip takes us to the tiny magical island of Herm. Herm has a colourful history, having been home to Neolithic man, farmers, quarrymen and a Prussian Prince. Nobody is better placed to reveal its intriguing past and present as we walk than our guide, island resident Lesley Bailey.

After discovering our third island of the week it’s time to get the boat back to Guernsey for a final meal together before flying back to the UK the next morning.

Want to make the most of your trip? "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" is a great read and brings together the experiences of those stuck on Guernsey through the Occupation.

St. Peter Port, Guernsey

Day 1 - Saturday 4th June – Fly To Guernsey - Walking Tour of St. Peter Port (D)

Arrive at the airport under your own arrangements for the flight to Guernsey. Please check-in at least two hours before departure time, using your photo ID and e-ticket.

On arrival we transfer to The Fermain Valley Hotel. There is time to relax and grab a bite to eat before our afternoon walking tour to St. Peter Port. Starting at our hotel we follow the road down to one of the south coast’s finest bays - Fermain Bay. From here our path follows the coastal route to St. Peter Port, passing Clarence Battery, Fort George, the Victorian Bathing Pools and Castle Cornet. After a fascinating guided tour of the harbour town with its many cobbled streets and steep-stepped alleyways we’ll be treated to dinner in a harbour-side restaurant.

Tonight we dine in a local restaurant at the end of our walk.

Overnight Fermain Valley Hotel, Gold Room

Walking: moderate (some steep ascents and many steps) - distance: 4 miles, time: 3 hours

Day 2 - Sunday 5th June – Coastal Walk - Rousse Headland to Bordeaux Harbour (B)

After breakfast we board our bus for the short journey to Rousse headland on Guernsey’s west coast. Our coastal walk takes us along some of the islands most beautiful beaches. We’ll stop for an optional lunch by the white sands of L’Ancresse Bay – and maybe a quick dip - before making our way to Bordeaux Harbour on the northeast corner of the island.

Some of the highlights of today’s walk are the 18th Century loophole towers and fortresses, the WWII fortifications that dot the coastline, Le Dehus burial chamber – a prehistoric passage grave with ancient carvings, the picturesque harbour of Beaucette Marina and our final destination Vale Castle which commands spectacular views of the islands of Herm and Jethou. At the end of our walk a short coach transfer returns us to our hotel.

Optional lunch stop at L’Ancresse Bay

Tonight you are free to dine at a restaurant of your choice. We recommend you try The Rock Garden Steak House at the Fermain Valley Hotel.

Overnight Fermain Valley Hotel, Gold Room

Walking: moderate (fairly flat coastal path) - distance: 10-11 miles, time: 7 hours

South Coast Path, Guernsey

Day 3 - Monday 6th June – Country Walk - Vazon Bay to Fermain Bay (BD)

We start the day with a short coach journey to Vazon Bay for our country walk from the west coast to the south coast of the island. Some of the highlights of today’s walk are Vazon Bay, a visit to the Little Chapel, passing the German underground hospital, the statue menhir at St Martin's church and the beautiful Fermain Bay where we can stop for an optional lunch at the end of our walk.

In the afternoon there is some free time for you to enjoy. You may want to visit the German Occupation Museum or Candie Gardens, the Guernsey Tapestry or take a tour of Hauteville House.

Optional lunch stop at Fermain Bay

Tonight we dine in the 2 AA rosette Ocean Restaurant at the Fermain Valley Hotel.

Overnight Fermain Valley Hotel, Gold Room

Walking: moderate (some gradual ascents, a few steps) - distance: 6 miles, time: 3½ hours

Day 4 - Tuesday 7th June – Walking Tour of Sark (BD)

An early start to catch the 10 am boat to the beautiful island of Sark for a two-night stay. On arrival our luggage will be taken by the island’s tractor delivery service to our hotel while we enjoy a ride on the infamous ‘toast rack’ from the harbour to The Avenue where we will begin our guided walk of this magical traffic free island.

Optional lunch stop at La Seigneurie Gardens

Tonight we dine and overnight at Stocks Hotel

Walking: moderate - distance: 6 miles, time: 4 hours

La Coupee, Sark

Day 5 - Wednesday 8th June – Boat Tour of Sark’s Coastline and Caves – Free Afternoon (B)

After breakfast in our hotel we set off on foot to the harbour where we will join George Guille aboard the Non Pareil, for a fascinating tour of the island’s magical coastline with its hidden caves and abundant birdlife. If we are lucky we may even spot a few puffins and dolphins.

The afternoon is free for you to explore this delightful island by foot, bike, horse and carriage or sea kayak. Or you may wish to simply relax on one of the island’s many secluded beaches.

Tonight we have planned an optional meal at La Sablonnerie.

Overnight at the Stocks Hotel

Walking: easy - time: 40 mins (to and from harbour)

Day 6 - Thursday 9th June – Country Walk in the South West to L’Eree Bay (BD)

After breakfast we bid Sark farewell and board the boat back to Guernsey. Meeting our coach at the harbour (dropping our luggage at the hotel enroute) for a transfer to Bruce Russell’s silversmith workshop. There’s time for an optional lunch at the Mint Brasserie here and chance to explore the workshop and showroom as well as the award-winning gardens.

After lunch we begin our walk to L'Eree Bay for an afternoon in the western country parishes of St Saviour and St Pierre. Some of the highlights of today’s walks are the Neolithic graves and menhirs, WWII fortifications, St Saviour's reservoir and St Saviour's Church.

Optional lunch stop at Mint Brasserie

Tonight we dine in the 2 AA rosette Ocean Restaurant at the Fermain Valley Hotel.

Overnight at the Fermain Valley Hotel, Silver Room

Walking: moderate (some gradual ascents, a few steps) - distance: 4-5 miles, time: 3 hours

Shell Beach, Herm

Day 7 - Friday 10th June – Walking Tour of Herm (BD)

We catch the 10:30am ferry to the island of Herm to meet our walking guide Lesley Bailey, one of Herm’s 60 residents.

Just a mile and a half long and half a mile wide the tiny island of Herm is a traffic-free paradise with beautiful unspoilt beaches, rocky cliffs, tranquil woods and, a colourful history – the island has been home to Neolithic man, farmers, quarrymen and a Prussian Prince.

Our guided walk takes us along the island’s cliff path, to the beautiful beaches of Belvoir Bay and Shell Beach before crossing the dunes to reach Herm Common. As we walk we'll discover the island’s history; the Neolithic burial chambers of those resident on Herm 2,000-3,000 BC, the disused mine shaft of The Herm Mining Company (set up in the 1830s to look for lead, silver and copper), the Manor Village and the 11th century St. Tugual's Church. Then it’s back to the Harbour Village for some free time before getting the boat back to Guernsey.

Optional lunch stop at Shell Beach

Tonight we dine at The Restaurant, Beaucette Marina

Overnight at the Fermain Valley Hotel, Silver Room

Walking: moderate – distance: 5-6 miles, time: 4 hours

Day 8 - Saturday 11th June - Fly to UK (B)

After breakfast we transfer to Guernsey Airport for our return flights to the UK.

B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner

South Coast Cliff Flowers, Guernsey

Fermain Valley Hotel, Guernsey, 4*

Ideally located just outside St. Peter Port this luxurious 4* boutique hotel is one of the very best on the island. The rooms are beautifully appointed with everything you would expect and more in a hotel of this standard. It boasts two award-winning restaurants, one of which, Ocean, is 2 AA Rosette rated.

We spend our first three nights in Gold rooms boasting wonderful views over Fermain Valley from their balconies. After our return from Sark our final two nights are in Silver rooms, which offer views over the hotel’s immaculate gardens. Upgrades to Platinum and Gold are available should you wish.

Stocks Hotel, Sark 4*

A beautiful family-owned country house hotel set in the centre of Sark with all rooms finished to a beautiful standard. As well as a fine dining restaurant, the hotel boasts a solar heated outdoor pool and Jacuzzi – perfect for relaxing in after a days walking on the island. Stocks is the very best hotel on Sark.

Sark

Flight times are the latest known and subject to confirmation by the airlines.

Outbound - Saturday 4th June 2016
GR671 Depart Manchester
09:00
Arrive Guernsey
10:25
SI235 Depart Southampton
08:30
Arrive Guernsey
09:15
Return - Saturday 11th June 2016
GR678 Depart Guernsey
17:20
Arrive Manchester
18:45
SI252 Depart Guernsey
15:30
Arrive Southampton
16:15

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