Coach holidays to the Channel Islands
Currency: Pound Sterling
Time Zone: GMT
Tipping: 10 to 12% is usual for hotels with 10 to 15% being usual for restaurants. In each case, it is not necessarily added to the bill. If a service charge has already been added, no further tip is required.
Channel Islands - an Introduction
Literally just a stone's throw away (14 miles) from the shores of Normandy and only 100 miles from the UK mainland, you will come across the beautiful Channel Islands, where French and British cultures combine creating wonderful holiday experiences for all who visit.
You will discover on coach holidays to the Channel Islands that they are made up of five separate isles varying in size and popularity. Jersey and Guernsey are the largest followed by the smaller isles of Alderney, Sark and Herm – each providing a unique holiday experience for the discerning traveller.
The most popular holiday destination when considering tours to the Channel Islands is of course Jersey with its magnificent coastline stretching for an eye watering 48 miles that's ideal for an abundance of activities from walking to cycling. The history of Jersey is fascinating, stretching back over thousands of years and represented via the Norman style farmhouses, narrow country lanes and French street names that you'll come across though your tour of discovery here. Jersey covers an area of only 45 square miles but this just adds to the appeal of the island from the grandeur of La Corbière to St Aubin's Bay, lush valleys, unspoilt coastline and the stunning Elizabeth Castle – there's plenty to keep everyone entertained on coach breaks to the Channel Islands.
Another popular choice when considering coach tours of the Channel Islands is Guernsey, located in the Bay of St Malo just 30 miles off the French Coast. Guernsey is popular for its stunning scenery which is partly due to the fact that the Channel Islands receive more hours of sunshine than the UK meaning that a variety of plants and flowers thrive on the island that would otherwise perish in the harsh winters of the UK. This milder climate means that outdoor activities become a way of life for both islanders and tourists with stunning walking trails that encompass the magnificent coastline and where dining al fresco is the norm. St Peters Port is a mecca for visitors on coach holidays to Guernsey as it is considered by many to be one of the prettiest harbour towns in Europe, but you'll need comfy footwear to negotiate the cobbled streets before exploring the picturesque marina.
The islands of Alderney, Herm and Sark are much smaller in size but are definitely worth visiting during your tour of the Channel Islands. Alderney is the perfect destination for a peaceful retreat from the rush of daily life as there are plenty of wide open spaces to truly escape and get back to nature. The mild climate provides fabulous opportunities to see a variety of wildflower as well as engaging in a spot of bird-watching. Whatever activity you wish to do, you won't have to travel far to achieve it! Herm is only 3 miles from the coast of Guernsey where you can really get away from it all as there are no cars and no crowds. Uncover unspoilt beaches, walk the coastal path and spot a variety of migratory birds that flock to the island. The last of the small islands is Sark where life is leisurely and no vehicles are allowed except tractors. Enjoy magnificent views from the headlands, dive in the tranquil clear waters and see what wildlife you can spot during your travels. Please note that Sark is closed to day-trippers on Sundays.
You will find that the majority of escorted tours to the Channel Islands will include travel by air or ferry and upon arrival you will be met by the coach that will take you to your hotel and will be used for the various excursions (if your tour includes these). The board basis is usually dinner, bed and breakfast. Just remember that although the islands will accept Pounds Sterling in payment, you will not be able to use Guernsey Pounds in the UK!
Things to do
There's plenty of things to do and see whilst in the Channel Islands, here are just a few examples:
The Guernsey Tapestry
Many consider this tapestry, that depicts over 1000 years of history as exquisite, and provides a fabulous insight to what life was once like on the island. The tapestry is made up of 10 embroidered panels and visitors will find out more via the audio guide as they wander around this purpose-built gallery.
Hauteville House, Guernsey
This is where the famous French writer, Victor Hugo, spent 14 years in exile. He personally decorated the property in between writing his literary masterpieces. You can have a guided tour of the house (in French or English) but these are by appointment only and will generally last one hour.
La Corbière, Jersey
Due to the rugged coastline, it was deemed too dangerous for shipping, so in 1874 the Corbière Lighthouse was first lit. This is a popular spot for both tourists and visitors alike as it provides excellent views and the sunsets here are stunning.
Noirmont Point, Jersey
A permanent war memorial on the headland near to Portelet Bay where the bunkers and emplacements have been maintained by the Channel Islands Occupation Society since 1977 making it a safe place for the public to visit. Please note that L 'Ouaisnè, which surrounds Noirmont Point, is a protected area so you must keep to the pathways.
Tips & Advice
To help you have an enjoyable holiday on the Channel Islands, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
British Citizens are advised by some of our tour operators to have travel insurance before going on a tour or holiday, even if it happens to be in your country of residence. As a British citizen you will be entitled to free emergency health care on the NHS.
If you are visiting England from outside the United Kingdom and fall ill or are involved in an accident and are from any member of the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you can obtain free or reduced cost treatment with The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Comprehensive travel insurance is advised for all other nationals planning on visiting the England.
If you need to contact the emergency services whilst in England simply dial 999 or 112 to ask for an ambulance.
Most destinations are generally trouble-free, however as with all places that you are not familiar with, keep an eye on your belongings and if necessary lock them away somewhere safe back at your hotel if possible. Keep an eye on everyone in your party and do not go off with people you do not know. Buy your own drinks and keep sight of them at all times. Be aware of your surroundings and don’t venture off on your own.
Local Laws and Customs
Queuing is a British Institution - jump a queue at your own risk!
Drug offences will carry penalties in the UK, so avoid getting involved with anything whilst in England. Please note the narcotic plant Khat/Qat is legal in the UK, but is not in a majority of other countries so never try to export this when leaving the UK.
If you are visiting England from outside of the United Kingdom it is wise to check customs requirements before you travel. If you are planning to bring alcohol, tobacco or souvenirs into the country, you need to be familiar with England's custom laws. For those people coming to England from the EU, you are allowed to bring an unlimited amount of most goods for your own use without paying tax or duty.
This website will be useful before you travel: hmrc.gov.uk/customs/arriving/arrivingeu.htm
However, if you are travelling to England from outside of the EU, you are given an allowance of how much alcohol, tobacco, perfume, souvenirs and other goods. If you go above this allowance you may have to pay tax or duty. It is worth checking the HM Revenues and Customs websites before you travel for full details: hmrc.gov.uk/customs/arriving/arrivingnoneu.htm
When travelling between the UK, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man in most cases an official form of identification such as a Driver's License will be ok. However, some airlines will insist you show a passport so check before you travel.
If you are travelling to England from Australia, Canada or the USA, you must have a valid passport for at least three months beyond the length of your stay. EU nationals need to have either a valid passport or identity card.
Visas for the UK are not required by those travelling from Australia, Canada, USA or EU for stays of up to six months.
Any other nationality looking to visit the UK must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
For further information on the Channel Islands please go to the Official Tourism Website: visitchannelislands.com/