Channel Islands tours for seniors.

The beautiful islands of the Channel Islands 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 La Vellette Underground Military Museum, today the Channel Islands are all sleepy old-world villages, historic castles, and exquisite coastal beaches. St. Helier, capital of Jersey, 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.

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.

The need to know

Touring the Channel Islands

Getting around

Odyssey travels by coach and occasionally uses local transport, including trains and ferries. Specifics are always outlined in your tour itinerary. There is an extensive bus service on the Channel Islands that will take you pretty much everywhere you want to visit. Bikes are a very common (and safe) mode of transport on the Channel Islands – the maximum speed limit for cars is 35 miles per hour. Ferries are the best way to get between islands – bring your sea legs!

Accommodation

In major cities, Odyssey stays in centrally located 3-4 star hotels, with easy access to public transport. In smaller towns or rural areas, we usually stay in family-run hotels or guesthouses. On our longstay tours, during which you spend the length of the tour in a single location, we use serviced apartments.

Tour Guides

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.

Geography environment & weather

The Channel Islands 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 Islands 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 Islands 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 Channel Islands, 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.

Festivals & events

Both Jersey and Guernsey celebrate Tennerfest, a six week long food festival that takes place in autumn. Both also celebrate the Channel Islands 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.

Reading list

  • 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 Islands have a strong tradition of fresh, locally produced cuisine. Given their maritime nature and the huge number of prized cows, the Islands 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 the islands, 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.

Electrical supply

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.

Crafted tours for mature world travellers

Channel Island Tours

Castle, Gorey - England, Jersey - England, France, Grouville
Guaranteed

This fully escorted, small group walking tour, takes the active senior on a journey of discovery through the fascinating small Channel Islands of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm.

18 days
British Isles
Level 3 - Moderate to Challenging
mount of Mont Saint Michel, France
Guaranteed

Our 21 night program explores the north-west corner of France before hopping across the English Channel to the tiny autonomous islands of Jersey, Guernsey and Sark as well as the historic Isle of Wight. The tour combines the dramatic scenery of Normandy and Brittany with the quirky history and natural beauty of the Channel Islands together with the natural and historic splendour of the Isle of Wight in the English Channel.

22 days
British Isles, Europe
Level 2 - Moderate

FAQs

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.

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.

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.

About Odyssey Traveller

We specialise in educational small group tours for seniors, typically groups between six to 12 people from Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada  and Britain. Our maximum number of people on a tour is 18 mature aged travellers.We have some 150 tours and offer 300 scheduled departures on offer each year. Odyssey has been offering this style of adventure and educational programs since 1983.

Odyssey Traveller is committed to charitable activities that support the environment and cultural development of Australian and New Zealand communities.

Odyssey Traveller scholarship for Australia & New Zealand University students.

We are also pleased to announce that since 2012, Odyssey has been awarding $10,000 Equity & Merit Cash Scholarships each year. We award scholarships on the basis of academic performance and demonstrated financial need. We award at least one scholarship per year. We’re supported through our educational travel programs, and your participation helps Odyssey achieve its goals. Students can apply for the scholarship by clicking on this link to find out more details. 

Join our loyalty program when you join an international small group tour.

Every International small group tour taken typically contributes to your membership level in our Loyalty Program for regular travellers. Membership of the alumni starts when you choose to take your first international small group tour with Odyssey Traveller, discounts in tour pricing for direct bookings accrue from your third tour with Odyssey Traveller. To see the discounts and benefits of being a Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Diamond alumni member with us, please see this page.

For more information on Odyssey Traveller and our educational small group tours, visit and explore our website., remember to visit these pages in particular

Alternatively, please call or send an email.

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