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About Guernsey

The second largest of the Channel Islands, and the most Western (30 miles from France and 125 miles south of England), Guernsey is approximately nine miles by five miles wide in a triangular shape covering 24 square miles in area. Amazingly there are 1,971 roads. The population is around 62,000. The mild climate and around 2,000 hours of sunshine per annum, means the island is the perfect holiday resort. Latest weather forecast Jersey Meteorological Department. The summer of 2001 was the warmest since 1995 with the third highest average minimum temperature, a maximum temperature of 28.4C and sunshine hours slightly above the long term average. In December 2010 in common with many parts of the British Isles, Guernsey suffered its coldest December for 120 years, with the average at just 4 degrees centigrade. This was the fourth coldest in 170 years since records began. However in June 2011, the island had its warmest June day for 11 years, hitting 30C.

Although still famous for its tomatoes, Guernsey cows and Guernsey jumpers, the main industry in Guernsey is now the offshore finance industry. Tourism and horticulture come next followed by light industry. Hundreds of acres of glasshouses were dedicated to tomato growing in the 1970s when 9 million trays per annum were exported. Although the smaller plum tomatoes are still grown on a small-scale, most glasshouses are now used to grow flowers, mainly freesias roses and carnations. Acres under glass have fallen from 1000 back in 1981 to half that amount by 1998. The largest crop produced is Freesias under 98 acres of glass followed by Roses and Carnations. In 1998, 319,000 boxes of roses and 223,000 boxes of freesias were exported. Tomatoes now account for just 28 acres a far cry from the 1960s and early 1970s. However there are signs of recovery. In 2002 exports of plants are expected to hit a new record of £24.4m and overall horticultural exports reaching £45.53m, the highest since the early nineties. The only edible crops being gown in 2002 are a small number of specialist tomatoes and peppers but only account for £4m per annum. Postal flowers now bring in £6m having first been recorded at £0.5 back in 1976.

In 2005, around 55 per cent of the island's wealth was generated by the finance industry. The non-clearing banks started to settle in Guernsey in the 1960s but came in force in the early 1980s. In 2005, there were over 50 banks registered in Guernsey, most of these being subsidiaries of major international or UK banks and deposits in 2004 totalling £68.5billion and £69billion of Funds under administration. By the end of 2008 this had risen to a record high of £157bn of deposits and investment Funds also reaching a record high of £204bn.

St Peter Port Harbour

St Peter Port as seen from the harbour

The geography of the island is quite varied with long sandy beaches on the west coast rising to one hundred metre high cliffs along the south coast with a lot of small coves and fishing ports. The East coast is dominated by the capital town of St Peter Port which rises from the harbour and nestles on a steep cliff like many French towns. 

High Street

Pier Steps

Despite the predominance of international banks based in St Peter Port, the town has managed to retain its seventeenth-century charm and the High Street still has its original cobbles. The granite built buildings now occupied by shops were originally the homes of the wealthy. Check out the many VAT free shops. See Guided Walks around St Peter Port and Shopping .

High Street

Pier Steps


Like the other Channel Islands, Guernsey is self-governing and has been a Crown dependency since 1066. Whilst the island is British, it is not part of the United Kingdom and is the only and is only is only an associate of the EC 

In St Peter Port is the former home of Victor Hugo who once described the Channel Islands as "little pieces of France fallen into the sea and scooped up by Britain ". Describing St Peter Port, he also wrote ' A gothic church, streets ancient, narrow, uneven, odd amusing, intersected by steps, clambering up and tumbling down, the houses piled on top of one another so that they all have a view of the sea. And a little harbour where the vessels are stacked together, where the yard-arms of the schooners ever risk smashing into the windows that overlook the quay.'

Hugo lived in Guernsey between 1855 and 1870 and dedicated Les Miserables and Les Travailleurs de la Mer to the island of Guernsey.

Enjoy sixteen miles of uninterrupted cliff walks from St Peter Port starting at La Valette, along the south coast to Pleinmont point on the south west tip, away from the hustle and bustle of every day life. Experience peace broken only by the sound of sea birds or the waves hitting the base of the cliffs. The island is a paradise for walkers, cyclists and sports of all varieties. Sample the wonderful restaurants (many alfresco), see the stunning beaches and visit the many forts and ancient castles.

St Peter Port has been a popular port for visiting liners for many years and can handle at least two large cruise liners at any one time. In 2000, 60 liners brought more than 20,000 passengers ashore to shop in the Town and take conducted tours around the island, on Island Coachways coaches. In 2001, 68 liners made bookings bringing with them almost 30,000 passengers. Post 11th September, numbers dropped off but in May 2005 13 liners visited the island and in June 2005, Guernsey was hailed as being the number one cruise ship destination in the British Isles


destination in the British Isles with 15 scheduled visits, many being the most prestigious ships. 2008 beat all records with 94 cruise ships booked to visit.  A bumper year is expected again in 2014 with 130 ships expected to make Guernsey a port of call and an estimated 100,000 passengers coming ashore. In December 2011, the island authorities announced that they would like to investigate the buidling of a deep water pier to handle large cruise ships. This could potentially quadruple the annual revenue with more ships calling and less cancellations due to choppy seas.

View from Blue Mountains

View from Belvedere


Castle Cornet from Blue Mountains

St Peter Port from Belvedere

English has only been the spoken language since the 1920s since prior to this, the local language was Guernesaise. Its use however diminished quite quickly as a result of the German occupation of 1940 to 1945 . The dialect even varied between the various parishes as there appeared to be very little mixing between folk of the parishes in centuries gone by.

Lihou Island

Lihou Island

Lihou island is off the west coast at L'Eree and is worth a visit. Covering just 18 acres,it is a pleasant tranquil place to walk and view the many species of sea birds. There you will also find the remains of the 12th century Priory of St Mary's and a watch tower used in past centuries by the Guernsey Militia.

The island is now owned by Guernsey and is restricted only by the tides. The causeway to the island uncovers before and after low tide and so keep an eye on the rising tide. Access times are announced daily on local radio.

Lihou Island - in April

From here select any of the links on the left relating specifically to Guernsey. To return to the other islands, select Home

Useful Links

Guernsey Tourism website Lihou Island Causeway times

States of Guernsey Website Town Centre Partnership

Facts & Figures from the States of Guernsey

Map of Guernsey




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