Sailing Dinghies, St Brelades Bay, Jersey
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Sailing Dinghies, St Brelades Bay, Jersey

© Jersey Tourist Board / Danny Evans

Channel Islands Travel Guide

Key Facts

As their name suggests, the Channel Islands are sprinkled across that narrow channel of sea that divides France and the UK. Made up of Alderney, Guernsey, Jersey, Sark and Herm, they are all actually much closer to France than England, but as any visitor will find, they are very British in character. There are also other, very small islands in the group, which are not normally open to visitors.

All the islands offer gorgeous, often dramatic coastlines, natural and historic harbours, a surprising range of birds and subtropical flora thanks to the warm Gulf of St Malo. You'll also find what may be the best seafood in the UK, and glimpses of a traditional British lifestyle that some say has faded from the mainland.

Most visitors land by ferry or plane at one of the biggest islands, Guernsey and Jersey, with good connections from both England and France. The passage over the channel from the UK is relatively calm and easy, while affording you a look at the white cliffs of Dover. There's also a fleet of ferries connecting the different islands, so you can easily take in all of them over a few days.

There's plenty of intriguing history surrounding the Channel Islands to boot, as you'll find on touring their museums. The Channel Islands were famously occupied in World War II, the only part of Great Britain to come under Nazi control during the conflict. You'll have the chance to explore old war tunnels and bunkers, while appreciating the bravery of the islanders in the face of a ruthless enemy.

Although people from the Channel Islands are proudly British, they are also fiercely independent – for the record, these are self-governing British Crown dependencies. People speak English, but the names of places are more French. All in all, they're a unique corner of Britain that visitors will agree are well worth a look.

Travel Advice

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.