Oh, hello there! Are you ready for our first official stop on our British Isles tour? Ok, then let’s get to it!
Guernsey! Dare I call you my favorite stop on this entire adventure? Uh, YEAH! I know, I almost can’t believe it either. It completely snuck up on me. I went into this trip with absolutely no expectations when it came to our Guernsey stop, and man-o-man was that dumb. From the second we got to port I was mystified. The view from the ship was breathtaking. Since Guernsey’s St. Peter Port can’t accommodate large cruise ships, we had to tender (ride in wee boats) to land giving us more time to enjoy the view from the water.
So much history on such a small island; 25 sq. miles to be exact. It’s hard not to fall in love immediately. From the second you hit land you can tell this place is something special. We started off our day by exploring the town center and High Street. This is what you would consider the heart of the island. Cobblestone lined streets, draped decorative pennants and beautifully restored buildings that exude so much character it’s almost a shame they can’t tell you the things they have seen and experienced.
As you approach the city center you come across the Town Church, as it’s so aptly called by locals. This church is actually in the Guinness Book of World Records for a church in closest proximity to a Public House (The Albion House). If you walk through the alley way between these two buildings you come upon High Street.
High Street is the happening spot. Shopping, restaurants & pubs, and locals walking their adorable dogs. The atmosphere is intoxicating. We ventured up high street and got pulled down the cutest side street full of little shoppes. Hotel Chocolat caught our eye first (can you blame us?), and there we sampled amazing sweets and stocked up on goodies and gifts to bring home.
Across the way was The Cork Screw. This is where we found postcards and the perfect stamps to send notes home. Every trip, I always try to send home postcards to family and at least one to myself as a keepsake. It has way more character than just bringing one home. Seeing as Guernsey is not a part of the U.K. you have to buy their stamps to post something. And to make it even more confusing for any Englishman who dares come ashore, the postboxes are blue not red.
Living up to its name, High Street winds up a hill and then back down. So we ventured to the top point and then worked our way back down towards Albert Pier. We found a hidden stairwell tucked between buildings. It was steep, but the best way to get back to the waterfront. So, we made our way down, carefully.
Once back at the waters edge, a.k.a. “Old Harbor”, we wandered back towards the Town Church to get a glance of the Prince Albert Statue. Unveiled in 1863, two years after his death, the statue recalled the visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to Guernsey in 1846.
We spent the rest of our time in Guernsey exploring the Island. We stopped at a Silversmith Shoppe, the “Tiny Chapel” covered in seashells (it really is tiny, like only a few people can go inside at a time), and a Goldsmith Shoppe. At the Goldsmith stop we got complimentary Guernsey tea, so of course I had to order some Victoria Sponge Cake to go with it! Sooooo good! Tea and cake… I’m already turning into a local!
As we drove back through the countryside, we spotted Guernsey Cows everywhere. They are very proud of their cows! But whatever you do don’t ask about Jersey cows. They are very persnickety about their Island neighbor Jersey. It’s like their version of a football rivalry, lol.
So, I think the best way to wrap up this post is with a list of Fun Guernsey Facts!
- Located in the English Channel between the U.K. and Normandy, France
- Guernsey is a self governing dependency of the British Crown. It is not part of the United Kingdom but it is part of the British Islands which the United Kingdom is also a member.
- 25 sq. miles small
- 10 Perishes total on the island. Only one doesn’t touch beach or coastline
- Post boxes are blue not red (like in the U.K.)
- Have to buy a special Guernsey stamp to send post
- All flowers in public spaces are maintained by retired locals
- At an auction the license plate number 007 sold for $250,000
And there you have it. Guernsey, baby! Now all I have to do is figure out how I’m gonna get my Guernsey Cow through customs…