Discover Channel Islands & Isle of Wight
Channel Island FAQs
Q. When is the best time of year to walk in the Channel Islands?
A. Being closer to France than they are to England, the Channel Islands experience more hours of sunshine than any other part of the UK and they tend to have warm summers and mild winters. Having said that, they are islands, so of course can be susceptible to changeable weather at times. From April through to October you can usually rely on mostly sunny days. July and August can be busy with other holiday-makers meaning the main towns will be much busier so if you do wish to travel at that time of year, we recommend getting booked up early!
Q. Are they part of the UK?
A. The islands are actually self-governed British Crown dependencies, grouped into the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey. This means they have their own local laws, customs and forms of administration.
Q. Which language is spoken?
A. In Jersey, there are two official languages - English and French. Around 94% of the population speak English but you will see road signs in French. A third language, Jerriais, also exists which is an old Norman language and was used during the Occupation. It is thought that around 15% of the Jersey population have some understanding of Jerriais. In Guernsey, English is the official language and the one used most often, but French is used for administration (and was the official language until 1948). Guernésiais is another variety of Norman and often used during the war again. Today unfortunately it is dying out and only about 2% of the population speak it.
Q. How long does it take to get there?
A. Despite their "exotic-ness", the Channel Islands are actually very easy to get to. There is an airport on each island and it is also well-connected by ferry services. It takes between 45 minutes to 1h 30 to fly from the UK to Jersey or Guernsey with airlines such as Loganair, BlueIslands, Easyjet and Aurigny. By sea, you can catch ferries from Poole or Portsmouth in the UK to Jersey which take between 4 to 10 hours, or also from St Malo in France which is just 1.5 hours. To get to Guernsey, there is a ferry from Poole which takes around 3 hours.
Eat your way around the Channel Islands!
From freshly caught seafood to an abundance of local produce, the Channel Islands have plenty to offer on the gastronomic front! With a number of michelin-starred restaurants in Jersey and several small artisan restaurants and cafes in Guernsey and neighbouring Sark, it offers lots of opportunities to any foody! Here are some of the tasty treats on offer around the islands;
Ormer Casserole - a tasty casserole dish made with ormers (a type of shellfish), pork belly, carrots, shallots and plenty of that famous Guernsey butter!
Guernsey Gâche - a sweet fruit loaf made with lashings of butter (can you see the theme?), raisins, sultanas and cherries. You will find this served in most cafes around the island of Guernsey.
Jersey Wonders - a sweet snack similar to a doughnut but without a filling, traditionally made by Jersey housewives as the tide went out.
Jersey Royal Potatoes - due to Jersey's favourable climate and rich soils, potatoes like this cannot be grown anywhere else. They are sweet and slightly nutty in taste.
Guernsey Ice Cream - the cattle in Guernsey produce some of the finest and tasty milk and this of course produces the most wonderful ice cream! Beware though, the milk is high in fat so whilst it may taste extremely good after a day's walking, it may do some damage to your waistline!
Freshly caught Lobster - La Sablonnerie Hotel is a delightful little French-style restaurant on the island of Sark where you can eat the most delicious lobster in their rose-filled garden. An experience definitely worth pencilling in some time for in your day!
Isle of Wight - UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
The Isle of Wight is unique; more than 50% of the island is protected as a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). This means that the landscape is of scientific and ecological importance, including its iconic cliffs, the long, secluded beaches, the quiet woodlands, and the rich flora in the grasslands.
As if that was not impressive enough, the United Nations declared the island and the waters around it as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2019. This means that the Isle of Wight can demonstrate that there is a balanced relationship between people and nature. This is quite special as it is only the 6th region in the United Kingdom to be given this award, making it a remarkable place to visit.