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Channel Islands

Four of us are hoping to travel to Brittany—France in May. Would like to take a ferry from St Malo to visit either Guernsey or Jersey for the day. If you have visited both, which one did you prefer? We won’t have transportation but understand you can rent bikes and see many sights that way, which sounds great to us. Would welcome your advice and recommendations! Thank you!

Posted by
735 posts

I am biased! But i must ask when are you plannjng this trip? Guernsey has a strict quarentine rules that have been in place since last arch and Jersey is in Covid mess.
Guernseys capital St Peter Port is alot prettier than Jerseys, especially when arriving by boat!

Posted by
27351 posts

I like the Channel Islands, but a day-trip by ferry wouldn't give you a lot of time at your destination. The round-trip to Jersey is about 5 hours, and you'd have to add the time required to get to the port in St.-Malo. Guernsey is even farther--about 6 hours round-trip. If you have just one day to spare, I'd suggest using it in Brittany. Dinard and Dinan are both nice, and they're very close to St. Malo. If you'll have a car and will be visiting Mont-St-Michel as well, making a detour to Fougeres would be another way of using your extra day.

I've had bad luck with the Channel ferries. Two of the five departures on which I was ticketed (all in the summer, two different years) were canceled. In 2017 there were three consecutive days of cancelations. Definitely have a back-up plan if you decide to try a day-trip by ferry.

Posted by
15545 posts

I agree with acraven.....one day is not enough. I flew to Jersey from London, took the ferry to Guernsey and then flew to Cardiff. On the day of my sea voyage, the weather was excellent. (I was lucky) Total time on the islands was five days. I'm going back to see things I missed including Sark and Alderney.

A bike trip to see the main sights on either island would take awhile. The islands are not as small as you think.

My suggestion is the same as above....spend the extra day in France.

Posted by
7061 posts

If you want to do a day trip to one of the Channel Islands, I would recommend you look for a budget airline flight rather than a ferry which would take up the better part of the day in transit. Better yet, plan a couple of days on one of the islands.

Posted by
998 posts

I have not been to Jersey but Spent a week on Guernsey in July of 2019. We managed to see the island of Sark but not Herm or Alderney. So I must return post covid. Guernsey is a place that you can't rush. It is a tranquil and peaceful location with friendly people and beautiful hidden bays and cliff walks. If you like WWII artifacts and German fortifications Guernsey has a lot. St. Peter Port is charming. We booked a couple of sightseeing and photography trips with locals and both were excellent. (I just hope these people are still in business after all this). I would suggest you spend the time in France and not bother with the islands if you don't have time to build in at least four days. We also flew from London to Gurnsey on Aurigny airlines. A jet one way and prop plane the other. (1 hour). Taking the ferry from the UK is long, a little shorter from France but you would have to check the timing.

Margaret

Posted by
735 posts

Glad to hear so any positive memories of Hst, thank you! And agree more time is better but peope do do day trips from France, Dielette and St Malo as well as Poole in Uk. Budget airlines made me giggle, Easy jet used to operate to Jsy, who knows now. Our Airline Aurigny is our life line and is owned by the island. In the past town could be ramed with cruise boat people, but not just May, all the way till the end of summer, but thiñk very unlikely to return to that after Covid.
Happy planning and DM me if you need any help

Posted by
61 posts

Love the thoughtful and informative answers! All of us have had the first vaccine dose and will receive second very soon. Also, we have as much time/days as we want—I just erroneously thought we could see one of the islands in a day. I think flying into Heathrow or Gatwick then flying onward to Guernsey is a really good plan. We can spend a night or two then take a ferry to St. Malo.
I am planning this trip/ itinerary “on paper” so that we can be prepared to go as soon as it’s safe to do so. Thanks very much!

Posted by
735 posts

Sounds a good plan, when all is back to normal its Gateick or Southampton to connect to Gsy, try and time it for when Victor Hugos house is open. It is where he wrote Les Mis and is behind bizare!

Posted by
61 posts

It’s very helpful to know that flights to Guernsey only originate in Gatwick. We don’t want to travel to Portsmouth. Thank you.

Posted by
7814 posts

We visited Guernsey while on a cruise and it was marvelous. Don't think that I would want to spend more than that on the island.

Posted by
735 posts

Strange most tourists i speak to on long week ends say they didnt have enough time! You need at least 4 days min in my opinion, two for Gsy, then two day trips over to Herm and Sark. But what would depend on you enjoying walking, history and eating🤗

Posted by
61 posts

Guernsey will be our first destination after leaving Seattle so a nice spot to start getting over jet lag. 2 nights ought to be fine. A couple of days in St Malo then a week-long bike ride around Brittany. Heading to the Dordogne region afterwards.

Posted by
3931 posts

We loved Guernsey. Only spent one day there but it was great. We toured Hauteville House where Victor Hugo wrote Les Miz. It is interesting and even a little bizarre but worth it. Book ahead cause they alternate French and English tours and only take a few people at a time. We also toured Castle Cornet and went to Mass at a lovely church, in French. Great fish-n-chips too. It’s a lovely island with lovely, friendly people. My husband skipped Church and waited for us at a pub. He made quick friends with a few of the locals.

Posted by
61 posts

Thanks for the info! Sounds like it was wonderful.

Posted by
169 posts

Since it appears you are a bit into biking... We did a "tour" of Sark on bikes (our port day on our first cruise to G). While neither of us had ridden in years - amazingly the top of the island is very flat and was fun to ride around. Since it's a rather small island - no fear of getting lost ;-) So you might want an extra day - the ferry to Sark was about 35 minutes from S. P.Pt.