Channel Island escorted tours for seniors
The opportunity to visit the United Kingdom‘s British crown dependency, the Channel island on a guided tour is high on their list of places to visit. The beautiful islands of the Channel Island are organised as two self-governing dependencies (or ‘bailiwicks’) of the British crown, Guernsey and Jersey, a 1204 charter guaranteeing their autonomy. They even issue their own notes–the Guernsey pound and the Jersey pound, at par with the UK pound. While Guernsey is rather British in culture, in Jersey, geographically closer to France, the locals speak Jerriais, a French derivative dating back to the Norman era.
Despite a turbulent history during German occupation of the islands in World War II, commemorated at the must-see German fortifications which are now the La Vallette Underground Military Museum, today the Channel Islands are all sleepy old-world villages, historic castles, and exquisite coastal beaches. St. Helier, capital of Jersey, and the Channel islands harbor has a four-star hotel, the famous historic Pomme D’Or, which was where the Union Jack was raised in 1945 when Jersey was freed from German occupation. There are Neolithic sites in the island of Herm, and art galleries to complement the Islands’ ancient history and beautiful scenery and panoramic views along a often rugged coastline.
With sunnier days and milder winter weather than the mainland UK, it’s hard to see why you shouldn’t come explore one of Europe’s charming hidden gems on a guided tours of channel islands.
Our 21 night program has daily itineraries with plenty of authentic experiences provided by passionate local guides in the key destinations in France, Channel Islands and England for this small group of like minded people. For Solo travellers minimal single supplement applies for this European tour.
Get ready to explore the Channel Islands Jersey, you say? Aren’t they the shirts footballers wear? Think again, traveller. Picture a smattering of tiny islands, a mere stone’s throw from England and France, peppered with…
Odyssey’s guided tour travels by coach and occasionally uses local transport, including trains and the ferry on these island. Specifics are always outlined in your tour itinerary. There is an extensive bus service on the Channel Island that will take you pretty much everywhere you want to visit. Bikes are a very common (and safe) mode of transport on either of the Channel Island – the maximum speed limit for cars is 35 miles per hour. A Ferry is the best way to get between islands – bring your sea legs!
On this guided tours of Channel islands Odyssey stays in centrally located 3-4 star hotels, with easy access to public transport or the group may walk. In smaller towns or rural areas, we usually stay in family-run hotels or guesthouses particularly on the guided walking tour.
Odyssey always engages local guides with regional knowledge to ensure an authentic experience during which you can learn as much as possible about the history and culture of places you visit. From the Jersey war tunnels or German fortifications to a guided tour of Mont Orgueil castle ideally getting of the beaten track to learn more about the place.
Geography environment & weather
The Channel Island are split into two ‘Bailiwicks’, Jersey and Guernsey. A bailiwick is a self-governing British Crown dependency with its own parliament, laws and government.
The Channel Island are – as the name suggests – situated in the English Channel, just off the coast of France. The two main islands of Jersey and Guernsey make up 92% of the landmass, and the smaller islands of Alderney and Sark make up most of the rest. There are many more smaller islets and plenty of rocks and reefs.
The Channel Island have a temperate maritime climate, and can be visited at any time of year. Extreme weather is very rare. This means warm (rather than hot) summers and cool to cold winters, perfect for a stroll outside. The weather can be unpredictable, however. It is possible to experience four seasons in one day – be sure to bring a waterproof coat just in case.
World Heritage Sites
While there is no UNESCO World Heritage site on the either of the Channel Island, there is certainly no shortage of historic sites – both man-made and natural. These include the sixteenth century Elizabeth Castle and the 800-year-old Mont Orgueil Castle and Neolithic sites on Herm, the smallest island as well as the Jersey war tunnels and German fortifications all of which are typically included in the itinerary of a guided tours of Channel islands.
Festivals & events
Both Jersey and Guernsey celebrate Tennerfest, a six week long food festival that takes place in autumn. Both also celebrate the Channel Island Heritage Festival, a five week focus on the history of the islands that marks the anniversary the end of the Nazi occupation during World War Two. Be sure not to miss Jersey’s ‘Battle of Flowers’, one of the biggest carnivals in Europe. Not to be outdone, Guernsey has a rival Floral Festival and a Nerine Festival which coincide with the best bloom times on the island.
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
- Island Madness by Tim Binding
- Island Gardens by Jackie Bennett and Richard Hanson
- Jersey: Witches, Ghosts and Traditions by Sonia Hillsdon
Eating & Drinking
The Channel Island have a strong tradition of fresh, locally produced cuisine. Given their maritime nature and the huge number of prized cows, the Island residents are particularly strong on fresh meat and seafood.
Fast food chains have yet to reach these shores. Instead, locals and visitors buy fresh food from ‘Hedge Veg’ stalls, miniature roadside fruit and vegetable stores that use an honesty system of payment.
Across each island, there are plenty of cosy pubs, beach cafes and al fresco dining – something for everyone. Enjoy French cuisine, English dishes and local fare.
Health & Safety
While the Channel Islands are usually very safe to travel around, it’s important to stay alert to anything unusual. As always, keep a close eye on your belongings at all times.
The Channel Islands has a single time zone (excluding its overseas territories), Greenwich mean time . The nation observes daylight saving time from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.
The Channel Island has a single time zone (excluding its overseas territories), Greenwich mean time . The nation observes daylight saving time from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.
If you’re on an Odyssey tour, we take care of tipping so you don’t need to give it a second thought. However, in your free time, or if travelling independently, it’s essential that you make sure you tip an appropriate amount for services, as is the case throughout much of Europe. It’s customary to tip 10-15% of the bill at restaurants, or 1 to 3 GBP at a more casual establishment. It’s polite to round a bill up to the nearest whole figure or leave the change when buying drinks.
Internet access is easily accessible, and most hotels and many cafes will be able to offer it.
Check with your cell phone provider to see whether you’re able to make calls and use data while in The Channel Islands. Many providers will offer a daily fee that allows you to make calls and check the internet while only being charged your regular rates. However, be certain to inform your provider that you’re heading overseas, because just like a bank they can turn off your service as a result of unusual activity.
The two major islands are Jersey and Guernsey. They make up 99% of the population and 92% of the area. Other habited Islands include Alderney, Sark, Herm, Jethou , Brecqhou. There are additional 13 uninhabited islets.
The Channel Islands are an archipelago in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two Crown dependencies: the Bailiwick of Jersey, which is the largest of the islands; and the Bailiwick of Guernsey, consisting of Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, Herm and some smaller islands. They are considered the remnants of the Duchy of Normandy and, although they are not part of the United Kingdom, the UK is responsible for the defence and international relations of the islands.
English is the official language. A dialect of Norman-French is still spoken by some people on Jersey. French is still used in courts.
Both Jersey ad Guernsey accepts British Pounds, however, they both have their own currency – Guernsey Pound and Jersey Pound.
There are three airports in the Channel Islands; Alderney Airport, Guernsey Airport and Jersey Airport, with daily flights from London and Paris. Ferry services operate between Jersey and Saint-Malo, France.
The Channel Islands have mild temperatures all year round, although with their location, the weather can be unpredictable. With a lot of green space, the wildflowers go crazy in spring, the sea starts warming up around May, while September and October quiet from tourists. Odyssey’s tours are in held mainly May, due to the blossoming flowers and spring like weather.
Jersey is known for beaches and cliff trails. Just outside the main town of St. Helier, the Jersey War Tunnels complex details the island’s WWII German occupation.
Guernsey is known for beach resorts like Cobo Bay and the scenery of its coastal cliffs. Castle Cornet, a 13th-century harbor fortification in the capital of St. Peter Port, now contains history and military museums. Hauteville House is the lavish former home of French writer, Victor Hugo.
Odyssey includes daily activities and visits, to make sure you leave the Channel Island as an expert of the islands.
These small group guided tours of Channel islands are for mature and senior travellers who enjoy learning and exploring. This may be a walk around the historic town along cobbled streets and old town squares to the main Channel islands harbor for a ferry to another island which is typically a short boat trip for the days walk to follow. Or a day trip of medieval to contemporary history exploring on a guided tour Mont Orgueil castle, the German fortications and Jersey war tunnels. There is a lot to learn about and Odyssey’s walking holiday that places you on a different island to walk as a day trip provides a terrific platform to visually see and learn. The guided Walking tour is not ardous and does take in some of the island rugged coast line and dramatic cliffs looking out over the sea as you walk before wandering along a sandy beach. If this guided walking tour of the channel island or our discovery tour of the island appeals then there are two scheduled departures each year.
Articles about the Channel Islands published by Odyssey Traveller.
- Channel Islands Wildflowers, potato peel pie and rebels.
- Understanding British Churches
- Icons of British villages
- Studying Gargoyles and grotesques
- Victorian Country life
- Britain’s neolithic past
- Lumps and bumps, how to read the British landscape
- English village history
- Britain’s National trust a history
External articles to assist you on your visit to the Channel Islands
- How come the Channel Islands, though so close to France, are part of the UK? (The Guardian)
- Seven amazing reasons to visit St Peter Port: the tiny capital that’s big on charm (The Telegraph)
- Eat Do Sleep Guernsey (The Luxury Editor)
Responsible travel tips for the Channel Islands
- Learn at least the local greetings to break the ice. Although many locals speak English, the more you know of the native language, the greater your experience of the country will be.
- Carry a business card in your wallet or purse from your local hotel, to assist you with the return journey if you do become lost.
- Always ensure that you are covered by travel insurance. If you need advice on this feel free to contact Odyssey and we’ll be able to help.
- When travelling independently, make sure you check the opening hours of shops and museums so that you don’t miss out! Museums and galleries are often closed on Mondays. Also be certain to check whether your trip coincides with any public holidays, so you can plan accordingly.
- Consider contacting your bank to inform them that you may be making purchases overseas. Otherwise, they may flag any activity on your account as suspicious. Also, check which ATMs and banks are compatible with your cards, to ensure you can withdraw cash with minimal fees.
- Before departing, make sure you have a number of pounds in a range of denominations. You don’t want to be carrying around enormous amounts of cash, but take enough to make it easy to pay in locations that might not accept credit card. It will also help you avoid card transaction fees, and it makes tipping a breeze.