It's August Bank Holiday weekend and that means it's time for another trip away We decided to do something a bit different for this bank holiday when Tim found relatively cheap flights from Birmingham to Guernsey a few months ago. We've never been to any of the Channel Islands before, so this felt like a good opportunity to explore somewhere new - and also to compare to the Isle of Man, which we visited for one of the May bank holidays earlier this year.
We flew with Aurigny, Guernsey's official airline, on Thursday evening. I was worried that Birmingham airport might be really busy so we were there over two hours ahead of our flight. That turned out to be unnecessary; we got through security in around 5 minutes and had plenty of time to get dinner in the airport while we waited for our flight.
And we turned out to have quite a wait! We arrived at the gate as boarding was starting and optimistically joined the queue, only to find ourselves standing at the bottom of a stairwell for around 40 minutes while we waited to be able to board the flight. It was absolutely boiling until an employee came along and opened the door to give everyone some air. Apparently the plane had been delayed by thunderstorms over southern England.
It was a fairly small plane when we eventually did board it, although a bit bigger than some of the ones we flew on in Greenland earlier this year. The flight to Guernsey was only a little over an hour, but the late departure meant that by the time we arrived it was absolutely pitch black. Our originally plan had been to walk from the airport to the Airbnb where we're staying, a distance of less than 3 miles. In the end we chickened out and ended up getting a taxi!
We didn't regret the taxi; it would have been a long walk on some pretty dark lanes. We found the Airbnb without too much difficulty and were able to get the key from a lockbox. It's just a room we're staying in rather than an apartment, but it's a big spacious one and we do at least have a kettle to be able to make coffee
When we woke up on Friday morning, we were able to see what a lovely house the room is in.
There's no breakfast included, so our first aim was to walk to a nearby cafe and find some. On the way we caught sight of a bright blue Guernsey postbox.
The cafe was opposite Fort Grey, a small fortress built here in 1804.
I ordered a sausage bap for breakfast and was slightly horrified to find it came with salad. Who eats salad for breakfast?!
It was warm enough to sit outside and eat though, which was nice. Once we'd finished we had a better look at the fort...
...and then set off on a walk around the nearby coast.
We're staying in the southwestern part of Guernsey and the coast is really pretty here; lots of sand and a bright blue sea.
The path which we were following took us around a small headland at the bottom of the island.
It was a really scenic route.
We passed another small fortress...
...came to a "fairy ring" (which was described as a major tourist attraction, but slightly underwhelming in reality!)...
...and had views out to sea towards a lighthouse.
By this point we were following part of a clifftop trail which goes along the southern coast of the island.
It was a bit rockier here, but still really beautiful
Towards the end of the trail we came across some large concrete buildings.
These are some of the fortifications which were built on Guernsey by the German army when they occupied the island during the Second World War.
The buildings themselves are not very attractive, although some of them are in stunning locations.
Once we'd completed a loop back to our Airbnb we'd done about 15 000 steps, so we went inside for a rest for a couple of hours. Around 3pm we set off again towards a bus stop near the coast.
We caught a bus across the island to the capital of Guernsey, St Peter Port. The buses in Guernsey are amazing value; it only cost £1.25 each for a single fare!
The bus dropped us off near the harbour area in St Peter Port, which is dominated by Castle Cornet.
There's been a castle here in various forms for over 800 years.
We didn't pay to go in, but continued strolling through the harbour and out onto the pier. From here we had a view not only of a large ferry arriving in Guernsey, but also of an even larger cruise ship out in the sea.
In the distance, behind the cruise ship, we could see the small island of Herm. Further behind it, on the horizon, we could also make out the island of Sark. It hasn't come out in the photo, but beyond Sark we could see an even fainter strip of land which we think must have been the coast of France.
We had a stroll around St Peter Port, which seemed like a pretty town with lots of flowers.
Not only do they have blue postboxes in Guernsey, they also have yellow phone boxes!
I'd booked us in for a meal in an Indian restaurant, which luckily turned out to be really nice. I don't normally ever book restaurants when we go on holiday, but there are limited restaurants in Guernsey - especially if you don't want to eat sea food - and I was worried we might otherwise struggle to get in anywhere on a bank holiday weekend.
Once we'd eaten we caught the bus back across the island, where we were just on time to catch sunset over the coast.
From there it was a short walk back to the Airbnb.
We've had a lovely first day on Guernsey today Tomorrow looks like it might not be 100% dry, but if all goes well we'll be making a day trip to the island of Sark.