The tiny English island of Guernsey located in the Channel Islands off the coast of Normandy is a hidden travel destination. Our fifty minute flight from London Gatwick found us on an island that not only has Guernsey cows, but beautiful flowers and a history tied to World War II as well. The Nazis occupied this tiny island for five years in hopes of gaining access to England. This piece of history has been made famous in the book and film, The Guernsey Literary Potato Pie Society. Three night stay is a perfect visit to Guernsey. The Best Western Moores Central Hotel is located in the capital city of St. Peter Port in the heart of shopping and restaurants and one block from the picturesque harbor. A walking tour is a must as we strolled the cobbled streets and viewed Castle Cornet, once a royal fortress. We stopped at Victor Hugo’s house, where he spent many years in exile and was inspired to write Les Miserables. Candie Gardens, once a private estate with public flower gardens offers the best view of St. Peter Port harbor.
On the half day island tour you may visit the Underground Military Museum, and view the spectacular coastlines of Guernsey. Not to be missed is The Little Chapel thought to be one of the smallest churches in the world. First built in 1904, it was created to be a miniature version of the basilica in Lourdes, France.
A short ferry from Guernsey is the island of Sark. Cars are not allowed as the island is only nine square miles. We toured this tiny island by horse and carriage. Another mode of transportation is bicycles and tractors. Sark is designated as a Dark Sky Community which houses an observatory restricting artificial light pollution and promoting astronomy.
English high tea is a must at the Old Government House which is currently a 5 star hotel. From 1940 to 1945, this hotel was the site of the German Staff Headquarters. Along with English tea, champagne and a fabulous selection of desserts is served.
If your stay is over a Friday night, you must visit The Cock and Bull Pub for the weekly meat draw. This tradition dates back to World War II where residents were so poor and hungry they pooled their meat allotment from the Germans so one family would have plenty to eat. To participate you pay 3 pounds for a ticket. If your number is drawn, you may pick from a variety of uncooked meat to take home with you. Our group purchased several tickets and won multiple times. We ended up giving our winnings to the locals.
Several casual restaurants can be found on the island of Guernsey. We dined at The Boathouse located on the harbor and Christies located directly across the street from the Best Western Moores Central Hotel. Both serve a variety of fresh seafood including oysters, crab, haddock, and sea bass.
If visiting England and looking for a few days of relaxation a visit to Guernsey is highly recommended.