THE CHANNEL ISLANDS – WHY GO?
Closer to France than England, the Channel Islands are a mix of tax haven, surfing Mecca and sleepy UK outpost. Small though they may be, each of the five islands has its own distinct personality.
MUST SEE, MUST DO
Cosmopolitan Jersey has stacks to see and do. Walk across the sandy causeway at low tide to Elizabeth Castle, built by Sir Walter Raleigh, see the antics of gorillas and orang-utans at Gerald Durrell’s famous conservation zoo, surf at St Ouen’s Bay or learn about the island’s wartime history at the German Underground Hospital, built by occupying German forces during WWII.
Neighbouring Guernsey boasts 27 beaches for bronzing. Other attractions include tax-free shopping, the Norman Castle Cornet, and the house in which the exiled Victor Hugo wrote Les Miserables. Alderney has its beaches and shoreline walks, while tiny Herm – just a mile and a half long – has a resident population of just 40.
Europe's only remaining feudal state, tiny Sark has miles of spectacular shoreline perfect for walking and carpeted with flowers in spring. Be ready to hop on a bike here – no cars are allowed!
Just three miles from tip to tip, Sark begs exploration on foot. The island's natural seawater pools of Venus and Adonis – filled with water for around two hours at low tide – provide safe (if at times chilly!) bathing.
MAKE A DATE
Sark stages a Wild Flower fortnight to celebrate the profusion of spring flowers covering coastal paths and headlands.
Pig out on a platter of fruits de mer, local king prawns and lobster ravioli in Sark’s big Seafood Festival.
Slurp one of the island's best-known exports at the Jersey Oyster festival at Grouville.
Watch the daytime and moonlight parades at the Battle of Flowers, when it's a wall-to-wall carnival atmosphere.
CHANNEL ISLANDS ROMANCE
Walk to Sark’s Grande Grève sandy beach for a quiet seafood picnic at this uncrowded beauty spot.
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