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Channel Islands Holidays

A clutch of wonderful wild islands

There’s nowhere else like the Channel Islands. This archipelago in the English Channel is warmer and sunnier than Britain, with a distinct culture and history. Each of its seven inhabited islands is different, from the rugged coast and country lanes of Jersey to lost-in-time Sark. All the islands offer intriguing sights, appealing beaches and a laid-back atmosphere, making Channel Islands holidays a great way to leave the cares of the world behind.

Jersey, the biggest island, is home to a popular zoo, as well as lighthouses, a castle by the harbour and cliff-framed beaches. Guernsey is flatter and a little smaller, with Neolithic tombs, wonderful north-coast beaches and an impressive range of adventure sports to try.

Of the smaller islands, wild Alderney has a gloriously remote feel to it, car-free Sark has tide-filled pools and pretty beaches, while tiny Herm attracts both puffins and hikers. The towns of St Helier in Jersey and St Peter Port in Guernsey stand out for their particularly splendid and very contemporary places to eat and stay, with stylish coffee bars, sophisticated fusion restaurants and wonderful hotels. But holidays to the Channel Islands never take you far from history and nature, whether you’re exploring old military fortifications, crossing tidal islands, gorging on ice cream from local cows or unwinding on idyllic white sands.

All resorts in Channel Islands

Explore our map of Channel Islands

Your Channel Islands questions, answered

The islands are Crown Dependencies – self-governing territories that the UK is responsible for. They use the pound, and their own notes and coins are used alongside British currency.
English is spoken everywhere. Each of the main islands also has its own dialect of Norman, which is a variety of French, although few islanders speak it fluently.
The islands are about 100 miles south-east of Britain and, as they're quite sheltered, you'll get a slightly warmer climate. The hottest month is usually August, with temperatures reaching 22ºC, and July is typically the driest month. It'll rarely grow very cold, and it's more likely to be wet from November to January, but the weather is as unpredictable here as it is in the rest of the UK. It's always best to check the forecast first and come prepared for any eventuality with lots of layers. June to August are the best months to visit the beaches.
The islands are milder than Britain. It rarely dips below 5°C and the summer average is 21°C. The weather can be changeable, so ensure you pack a waterproof.
All the Channel Islands have great beaches, mostly sandy but some with rock pools. One of the most famous is St Brelade's Bay in Jersey, a south-facing sandy beach where you'll enjoy lots of sun. The northern Greve de Lecq is surrounded by lovely scenery and is fun for families. Surfers like St Ouen's Bay on Jersey's west coast or the big waves at Perelle Bay in Guernsey, while windsurfers often head for the flat sands of Guernsey's Vazon Bay. Quiet Alderney and Herm each have six sandy beaches, and on Herm you can benefit from a great coastal walk where you can often see puffins.
Jersey is the biggest island and has the most to offer in shops, restaurants, and nightlife. Its beaches are varied and there are lots to do and see, including castles, museums and galleries. You can try surfing at St Ouen's Bay or kayaking in St Brelade’s or drive around the island's clifftops to see the scenery. Heading inland, you can visit botanic gardens, the vineyard and distillery or a Neolithic tomb. If you're interested in military history, you might also want to see sites from the Napoleonic wars or WWII German occupation, such as the War Tunnels at St Lawrence.
Most flights from Britain to the Channel Islands go to Jersey, and it only takes an hour to fly direct from London, whereas the ferry can take seven hours to Guernsey and 10½ to Jersey, and you still have to get to the south coast to catch it. You can also travel between the islands on ferries and they do let you take a car, though this won't help you on traffic-free Sark.
The Channel Islands are great for families. They're so close that you won't have to spend a lot of time travelling, and you'll be spoilt for the choice of sandy beaches. You can take children kayaking around St Brelade’s Bay or cycle along the old railway track in Jersey. This has a playground and coffee shop along the way and ends at Corbiere lighthouse, which you reach by walking over a causeway at low tide – so check that it'll be out before you set off. You can also explore the old castles and take a boat trip to see wildlife on the Ecrehous reef.
They're famous for their 250,000-year history of occupation and their unique position between Britain and France. Both English and French are still spoken, alongside a local dialect. They're part of Britain for citizenship but not for administration, and were the only region occupied by the German forces during WWII. You'll find a warmer and milder climate there and world-class beaches. The Channel Islands are also known for their Guernsey and Jersey cows, and the dairy products made from their milk. Not least of their claims to fame are Jersey Royal potatoes and Black Butter chutney.