18 days
Duration
British Isles
Destination
Level 3 - Moderate to Challenging
Activity

Small Group Tours Channel Islands Europe: Walking Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark & Herm

This fully escorted, small group walking tour of the Channel Islands, takes the active senior on a walking holiday of discovery through the fascinating small Channel Islands of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm. This tour gives you the chance to walk the islands while learning about the history, unique culture, landscapes and wildlife of these destinations.

The walks on each of the Channel islands suit a range of abilities

Our guided walks have been organised so that they suit a number of different abilities. Although, on average, the group will be hiking for about 10km per day, it will be possible for participants to skip segments of the walks if they so desire.

On this small group tour to the Channel Islands, there will be a variety of activities included to supplement the walks ensuring a memorable holiday. The five islands that we visit have both a long and interesting history and beautiful coastal scenery. The Channel Islands teem with bird life, particularly on the smaller islands, with puffins in abundance on the sea cliffs during the breeding season as we walk along sections of the Jersey coastal path. Cumulatively this walking tour of the Channel islands provides breathtaking views of stunning medieval castles, military fortifications, stately homes, gardens with unique torrey pines and museums. There is even a well preserved Roman Fort! The pristine coastline with its sheltered coves reveals a national park and marine sanctuary of oyster beds, kelp forests and sea lions and to see dolphins as well as whale watching on occasion.

About the five Channel Islands: Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark & Herm

The Channel Islands are not part of the United Kingdom but are British Crown Dependencies with their own distinctive culture and history. They are situated only a few kilometres from the French coast, but were controlled from Britain for many years. As a result, the islands provide a delightful mix of English and French culture. Jersey and Guernsey boast charming historic ports and towns such as St Helier and St Peter Port. Tiny Sark is like a medieval hereditary time warp with its formal gardens of La Seigneurie and lack of motor vehicles.

The History of the Channel Islands: Cultural exchange between France and England

Their history and culture are influenced by their strategic location between the northern coast of France and the south coast of England. Formerly under the control of Brittany, invaded by Vikings, and annexed to the Duchy of Normandy, they emerged as miniature self-governing territories. The islands were transferred to the English crown when William the Conqueror annexed England in 1066. Although Britain lost Normandy in 1204, the islands remained a possession of the British crown.

The islands of Jersey & Guernsey have a seafaring tradition and their trade with the Newfoundland fisheries gave rise to the name New Jersey in the US. Trade further laid the foundations of these attractive islands' prosperity as well as agriculture (Jersey and Guernsey cows are recognisable the world over), milling, fishing, shipbuilding, and financial services.

During World War II they were the only part of Great Britain to be occupied by Nazi Germany. This caused considerable suffering to the locals. Some locals were deported as slave labourers. Jews were sent to concentration camps. Reprisals for partisan activities were harsh, and many islanders were reduced to near starvation by the end of the war. Accusations of collaboration and cover-ups poisoned relations between many islanders for decades. While on the islands it is possible to visit sites that commemorate this history, such as the War Tunnels on Jersey.

Highlights of our tour:

This eighteen day tour is based in just two locations for the duration of the program. The group spends seven nights in the same hotel in St Helier, Jersey and then we travel to Guernsey, where we spend ten nights in a hotel in St Peter Port. Each day on guided walks we learn about the history, the culture and the wildlife that is unique to the Islands. The hikes selected are reasonably easy. Each day the group walks between 4km to 11km on a variety of terrains. Our tour also includes full day trips to Alderney, Sark and Herm.

Jersey is the biggest of the islands, the closest to France, and the most French in culture - locals here continue to speak Jerrais, a derivative of Norman French. Highlights of our trip to Jersey include Elizabeth Castle, perched on a tidal island in St. Aubin's Bay. The castle was built during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I to defend the islands from potential attack. We also make an excursion to the Jersey War Tunnels, which tell the fascinating history of local resistance to the Nazis. We also take the time to explore the natural beauty of Jersey, with walks along the striking coastline, and inland valleys.

Guernsey Island, by contrast, is closer to England. Important sights here include Hauteville House, where Victor Hugo wrote Les Miserables while in exile, and La Vallette Underground Military Museum and the German Occupation Museum, both of which provide insight into the island's military history.

Frequently Asked Questions About Our Channel Islands Tour:

  • How many Channel Islands are there?

There are only eight inhabited Channel Islands, though there are many other small uninhabited islands - such as Lihou Island, a tidal island near Guernsey with a population of one. Our tour visits five of the inhabited islands - Jersey, Guernsey, Sark, Alderney and Herm.

  • How do you get to the Channel Islands?

While it's possible to fly from London to Guernsey and Jersey, most tourists choose to take the ferry. The ferry to Jersey leaves from Portsmouth (and takes about four hours) and St. Malo in France. Once on the islands, our tour takes ferry rides to get from island to island.

  • When is the best time to visit the Channel Islands?

The Channel Islands are said to have more sunshine year-round than any other part of the United Kingdom, so is a popular location for English visitors seeking out sun and beaches, particularly in the summer! While the weather is mild year round, the exposed islands do attract storms, fogs, and winds, particularly in winter.

Our tours leave in the 'shoulder season', May and September. At this time, the weather remains good, while the summer crowds are mostly gone, allowing for atmospheric walks along deserted beaches.

About this walking tour of the Channel Islands

Odyssey Traveller offers a range of walking tours each year. The collection of walks are for active mature and senior travellers, particularly those who seek out walking tours that are typically off the main circuit. Click through to see the complete list of small group walking tours offered.

Odyssey would suggest that you also read this article on footwear and walking shoes as well as this article on what to pack when travelling.

The day by day itinerary sets out the touring and learning activities for the group for the duration of the tour of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark & Herm.

For more details about the Channel Islands small group walking tour, click the 'Top 5' or 'Itinerary' buttons above! If you're keen to experience this tour offered by Odyssey Traveller New Zealand, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.


PDF of Tour PDF of Reading List

1
Walk the coastal route of Jersey, viewing secluded beaches, castles and much more along the way.
2
La Hogue Bie Museum – home to one of the world’s ten oldest buildings, even older than the Pyramids of Giza.
3
Visit the Hamptonne Country Life Museum, and get a better insight intro traditional rural life in Jersey
4
In Guernsey visit therecently restored Hauteville House (Victor Hugo’s house) and learn more about the island’s military history.
5
Enjoy full day excursions to Alderney, Sark & Herm.

Overview: You arrive at the hotel in St. Helier on Jersey by own arrangements, In the evening the group gets together for a welcome dinner and briefing of the tour.

The group is based for the first seven nights in St Helier.

Accommodation: Hotel de France, or similar

Overview: Today we have a full day of sightseeing in and around St. Helier. This will us to familiarise ourselves and learn more about the area before setting off to explore its perimeter in earnest on Day 3. Our sightseeing today includes entrance to the Maritime Museum and visitor center, and to the War Tunnels in nearby St. Lawrence.

Accommodation: Hotel de France, or similar.

Overview: Today we begin with a visit to the Elizabeth Castle, perched upon a tidal island in St. Aubin’s Bay accessible by a short ferry shuttle – if timing is right, we may be able to walk across instead.

We begin our guided tours with an easy-going day to warm up. We follow the curve of the bay round to St. Aubin’s Bay (3km), with some free time there to have lunch and to visit the Harbour Gallery.

Lunch is included at a local restaurant.

We then head south onto the peninsula of Noirmont Point, to visit, opening times permitting, the CIOS sites of Battery Lothringen and Marine Peilst and Tower (entrance included but usually only open on weekends), and continue around St. Brelade’s Bay(5km). There will be free time to explore the seafront town before returning to St. Helier.

Accommodation: Hotel de France, or similar.

Overview: Today we pick up where we left of the previous day. After breakfast as island packers we will be transferred to St. Brelade’s Bay and will then head west along the coast to the south-western corner of the island, Corbiere Lighthouse (6km). One of the most scenic and secluded beaches in all the Channel Islands can be found en route at Beauport.

After walking the causeway at Corbiere, we will transfer away from the coast to experience some of Jersey’s best inland walking, taking a walkalong the scenic Waterworks Valley and following the leafy woodland path along the Chemin des Moulins to the Hamptonne Country Life Museum, which provides insight intro traditional rural life in Jersey (3km). It is a short hike that reveals the islands natural beauty.

Dinner tonight is included and will be in a local restaurant.

Accommodation: Overnight, Hotel de France, or similar.

Overview: Today’s walking (13km) will take in the main features of the western and north-western coasts – beginning at St. Ouen’s Bay, a long sweeping sandy beach which stretches virtually the entire length of the west coast. After the beach, we climb up the Plemont headland, which is scattered with numerous military buildings and ruins and stark coastal features such as Le Pinacle outcrop, you have a chance to enjoy the breathtaking views. The undulating cliff path continues to Plemont Bay, where the group will then be shuttled to the sheltered cove of Greve de Lecq to have some lunch(own expense) and recharge.

This afternoon’s walking will include a visit to the collapsed caves of the Devil’s Hole and end at Sorrel Point.

Accommodation: Hotel de France, or similar

Overview: After breakfast, the group will head to Bonne Nuit Bay to continue walking the northern coastline today. The more rugged and severe north coast makes for some of the more challenging but of course also the most impressive Channel island hiking the group may enjoy. Walking on Jersey, with the coastal path to Bouley Bay snaking along the top of some of the island’s highest cliffs(10km).

Our coach will collect us at Bouley Bay and transfer us to Rozel.

The Hungry Man shack in Rozel is one of the island’s famed eating spots offering some of the freshest seafood on the island, with their signature crab sandwiches filled with crabs caught that very day so a light lunch here has been included.

En-route back to St. Helier from Rozel, we stop at La Hogue Bie Museum – home to one of the world’s ten oldest buildings (older than the Pyramids of Giza), one of Europe’s finest passage graves.

Accommodation: Overnight Hotel de France, or similar.

Overview: This morning, the we will transfer to Flicquet Bay at the island’s north-eastern corner to begin our final day of walking on Jersey, completing the coastal route. Today’s walkdown the east coast includes a stop at the scenic bay next to St. Catherine’s breakwater, and the imposing hilltop castle of Mont Orgueil at Gorey, whose scenic harbour offers a multitude of dining options for lunch(own expense).

The walk continues down Grouville Bay to the south-eastern corner of the island, at La Rocque harbour. Our coach will take us back toto St. Helier, or those who are keen can continue walking the extra 5km.

Dinner tonight will be in a local restaurant.

Accommodation: Hotel de France, or similar.

Overview: After breakfast we will be transferred to St. Helier harbour to catch the ferry to Guernsey.

Please note that ferry departures are subject to last-minute time changes or even cancellation due to weather, (so the itinerary may be subject to change).

On arrival in Guernsey we’ll be transferred to our hotel and the remainder of the day is at leisure.

We be based in the same hotel for the next 10 nights in St. Peter Port as the island is again so small, all the sights can be easily be explored on day excursions.

Dinner tonight will be in our hotel.

Accommodation: Duke of Richmond Hotel, or similar.

Overview: Today we have a full day of sightseeing in and around St. Peter Port to get to know the town and surrounding areas before we start our scheduled walks around Guernsey. During our sightseeing we will visit Castle Cornet, the recently restored Hauteville House (Victor Hugo’s house) and the James Dorey Centre.

Accommodation: Duke of Richmond Hotel, or similar

Overview: This morning we head south out of St Peter Port to Fort George, with a visit to La Vallette Underground Military Museum which provides good insight into the island’s military history.

From here we begin our anticlockwise perimeter walk of the island, heading towards Icart via Sausmarez Manor and Jerbourg Point (7km).

This south-east corner of the coast is a haven for seabirds and wildflowers, with rugged cliffs and great panoramic views out to sea. This hike is slightly more rigorous than most of our other walks is a little shorter in length.

Along the way we will stop and visit the Sausmarez Subtropical Gardens and for guided tour of Sausmarez Manor.

From Icart, we will return to St Peter Port by coach.

Accommodation: Duke of Richmond Hotel, or similar.

Overview: This morning we begin our day’s walking from the picturesque Petit Bot Bay, where we visit the German Occupation Museum which provides further insight into this turbulent period of the island’s history. The group can also get up close to one of the island’s 15 famed loophole towers, built during the 18th century to defend against potential French attacks.

This part of the south coast again offers more challenging but rewarding walking, as we follow the undulating cliffs along one of the least-walked parts of the coastal path. Our walk from Petit Bot Bay to Pleinmont (10km), will curve around the south-western peninsula of Pleinmont, where a well-preserved stone circle ‘Fairy Ring’ offers evidence of Guernsey’s superstitious history. We then have some free time to relax at Portelet Beach before returning to St. Peter Port.

Dinner tonight will be in a local restaurant.

Accommodation: Duke of Richmond Hotel, or similar.

Overview: After breakfast, our coach takes us to Rocquaine where we visit the Fort Grey Shipwreck Museum.

The reward for some more challenging walking over the preceding days is today’s easy walking (about 11 km) along the western seaboard, from Rocquaine right up to Rousse, where the island’s most picture-perfect white-sand beaches, such as Cobo, Vazon and Point Soif, line up one after another. Lihou Island is a tidal island, which the group will be able to walk across to, if the timing is right. There are also countless small nature reserves and conservation areas along the coast such as Shingle Bank and Colin Best Nature Reserves.

At the end of our day’s walk our coach will return us to St Peter Port.

Accommodation: Duke of Richmond Hotel, or similar.

Overview: Today we enjoy a full day excursion to Herm. It is the smallest of the main Channel Islands and the closest to Guernsey, taking just 15-20 minutes to reach by ferry. A guide will meet us upon arrival on Herm and lead an easy and leisurely half-day walking tour encircling this tiny island, whose northern half is entirely bordered by white sand.

We return by ferry to St Peter Port and transfer to our hotel.

Dinner tonight will be at a local restaurant.

Accommodation: Duke of Richmond Hotel, or similar.

Overview: Today’s day of walking will complete the group’s circling of Guernsey island, beginning from Mont Cuet and following the coastal route along the northern and eastern coasts all the way back to St. Peter Port, with highlights en route including the harbours of Beaucette, Bordeaux and St. Sampson’s and the fortifications of Fort Doyle and Vale Castle.

The first leg of the walk to St. Sampson is around 10km; if some of the group prefer not to walk the remaining 4km to St. Peter Port, they can transfer to the hotel on the coach. The north coast has long stretches of wild coastline but with gentle terrain, making for fairly easy walking.

Accommodation: Duke of Richmond Hotel, or similar.

Overview: Today we have a full day trio to Sark by ferry. Sark is within easy reach of Guernsey and is served by a regular ferry service.

Our local guide will meet us at the port in Sark and take us to explore the island on foot- no cars are permitted on Sark in any case. Sark is a rockier affair than some of its neighbouring islands, meaning fewer beaches but some impressive coastal scenery and cliffs. After a steep ascent from the harbour, the island is largely a raised plateau, so the walking should still be relatively easy-going.

We will head first to the southern edge of the island, crossing the ‘La Coupee’ isthmus to Little Sark, before returning to the main village for lunch. We will then head to La Seigneurie for a guided tour, and stop to view ‘The Window in The Rock’ on the western coast, before walking back to the ferry terminal and returning to Guernsey.

Accommodation: Duke of Richmond Hotel, or similar.

Overview: This morning, after breakfast, we transfer to the port and take the fast ferry to Alderney. This still takes 1.5 hours!

We will be met at the ferryport on Alderney, and embark immediately on a full day of exploring on foot. Alderney is very flat and makes for very easy walking – the first walk will take the group east of the Braye to Mannez Point, past the lighthouse and the island’s most scenic beaches, before returning for an included lunch in a local restaurant (8km).

For those in the group still with energy, there is the opportunity after lunch, to take a second walk(7km) heading west out of town, taking in the sights of Fort Clonque and Fort Toug is and spotting much of the seabird fauna for which Alderney is particularly famed.

Accommodation: Duke of Richmond Hotel, or similar.

Overview: This morning, after breakfast, our local coach will transfer us to Le Preel where we’ll begin our final walk  together.

Today will be a quieter and more restful day with just a short 2km strollfrom Le Preel to Les Vauxbelets. This will be a chance to explore the inland highlights of Guernsey, walking along the Talbot and Fauxquets valleys and stopping to visit the fascinating Little Chapel and German Military Underground Hospital in Les Vauxbelets area.

We will then return to St Peter Port and have the remainder of the day at leisure until we meet again for our farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodation: Duke of Richmond Hotel, or similar.

Overview: Our tour concludes after breakfast.

What’s included in our Tour

  • 17 nights of accommodation.
  • 17 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 7 dinners.
  • Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
  • Services of a Tour Leader for the duration of tour.
  • Gratuities and necessary tips.
  • Detailed tour information booklet.

What’s not included in our Tour

  • International flights and departure taxes.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Items of a personal nature such as telephone calls and laundry.

Jersey Guernsey

Castle, Gorey - England, Jersey - England, France, Grouville
Elizabeth Castle Jersey St. Helier
Plemont Beach, Jersey UK
St Peter Port, Jersey
Alderney Lighthouse - Quenard Point
Castle, Gorey - England, Jersey - England, France, Grouville
Sark, Channel Islands
Corbiere Lighthouse and Rocky Coast, Jersey
Archirondel tower, Jersey, U.K.
Guernsey village seaside
Le Pulec Wildflowers, Jersey, U.K.
Elizabeth Castle, Saint Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands, UK.
Jersey UK
Jersey country side
Jersey UK
Elizabeth Castle, Jersey - Channel Islands
Elizabeth Castle , Jersey
Jersey port channel islands
Channel Islands UK Jersey Sark
Saint Peter Port at sunrise, Guernsey
Sark Isthmus, Channel Islands UK
Saint Peter port, Guernsey
La Coupee on Sark

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