Guernsey Tourist Board, PO Box 23,
North Plantation, St Peter Port,
Guernsey GY 1 3 AN
Phone: (01481) 726611.
Fax: (01481) 721246

Physical geography

Collectively known as the 'Bailiwick of Guernsey' - their civic head's title is Bailiff - Guernsey and its dependent islands of Alderney, Sark and Herm are situated in the Golf of St Malo, near the coast of Normandy.

Guernsey is the second largest of the Channel Islands, lying approximately 80 miles (128km) from the south coast of England and 20 miles (32km) from the Cherbourg Peninsula. Guernsey covers 24.3 square miles (63.1 sq. km) in surface area, and nowhere is more than five minutes' drive away from the coast. Whether you like vast expanses of clean white sand, quiet sheltered coves with mysterious rock pools or spectacular cliff walks, Guernsey's varied coastline can supply your needs. Meanwhile, inland there are quiet country lanes with flower-filled verges and charming granite cottages and farmhouses to explore.


Guernsey enjoys a temperate climate, and has over 2,000 hours of sunshine per annum.

Economic geography

Finance is Guernsey's primary industry, with the financial services sector accounting for over 50 per cent of the total gross domestic product. Other industries include tourism; manufacturing and horticulture.

Over 300,000 visitors come to the island each year, the majority from the UK and Europe. Guernsey has close historical ties with the USA, Canada and Australia.

Gross National Product - £887 million (1993 provisional estimate).

Total number of Hotel/Guest House/Self-Catering Accommodation establishments: 642.

Motor vehicles and motorcycles: 42,000 approx.


The capital of Guernsey is St Peter Port, which is renowned as being one of the most picturesque harbour capitals in the world.

Population (as at 1991 census): Guernsey = 58,867; St. Peter Port = 16,648.

A brief history

Guernsey has a rich and varied history which dates back as far as neolithic times. Archaeological evidence of this past is everywhere for all to see, from ancient dolmens and menhirs and the Gallo-Roman wreck codenamed 'Asterix', to the impressive Norman and German fortifications along the island's coastline.

The historical position of the Channel Islands dates back to the integration of the islands into the Duchy of Normandy in 933 AD and the relationship between the Duchy and the United Kingdom that was created with the Norman Conquest in 1066. When continental Normandy was taken over by the King of France in 1204 AD the Channel Islands remained loyal to the English Crown. Constitutions were granted by King John, which have been ratified by successive Royal Charters, and they remain to this day.

In l338 Admiral Bauchet captured Guernsey for the French, but the French were driven out two years later, although they still held on to Castle Cornet. In 1346 the capture of six English ships and the death of their crews at the hands of Maron Le Maronier resulted in the recapture of Castle Cornet by Geoffery de Harcourt. Over the centuries this castle (built in 1204) was the scene of much bitter fighting, and was the last Royalist stronghold in the British Isles during the English Civil War. The castle finally surrendered to the Parliamentarians on 19 December, 1651. The Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 brought with it the restoration of Guernsey's Rights and Privileges, the fate of which had been held in the balance.

The Island's rich maritime and military history is also reflected the distinguished careers of many famous Guernseymen, including James de Saumarez (b. 1757) who entered the British Navy and rose to become Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth. Other famous Guernseymen include Major-General John Gaspard Le Marchant, founder of Sandhurst Military College; Major-General Isaac Brock, who was killed whilst fighting the French at the Battle of Queenstown Heights, Canada, in 1812; and Thomas De La Rue, the printer.

1855 marked the arrival of the famous French novelist and poet Victor Hugo, who lived in Guernsey in exile from his native France for 15 years. His house at Hauteville can still be visited today, and remains preserved exactly as he planned it.

More recently, during the Second World War, the Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by the German forces. Most of the population was evacuated before the German invasion, which occurred in July l940. In l944, after four long hard years of occupation, the island was near to starvation. However the population was saved from this fate on 27 December 1944 by the arrival of the Red Cross supply ship 'Vega' from Portugal. Finally, on 9 May 1945, Vice-Admiral Huffmeier, the German Commander-in-Chief, surrendered to the British, and the islands were liberated.

Constitution The Bailiwick of Guernsey is not represented in Parliament at Westminster. All intemal affairs are managed by the island's own parliament, the States of Deliberation, whilst defence and international matters are administered by the Home Office in London.

HM the Queen's official representative is the Lieutenant Governor. The Crown also appoints HM Procureur (HM Attorney General) and HM Comptroller (HM Solicitor General). The States are presided over by the Bailiff who is appointed by the Crown, and who is also head of the Royal Court. All States members are elected for a period of between three and six years by universal suffrage. There are 12 conseillers, three peoples' deputies, ten douzaine representatives, and two Alderney representatives. HM Procureur and HM Comptroller also sit in the States, and are able to speak on certain matters, but have no vote.


Each of Guernsey's ten parishes has its own Church of England parish church. All but one of these churches dates from the 11th and 12th centuries. There are also Roman Catholic, Methodist and non-conformist churches in most parishes.

Languages spoken by nationals

English is Guernsey's official language although, due to the island's close links with France, Guernsey patois (a Norman/French dialect) is still spoken by some locals.


The time is GMT, but from the end of March to the end of September one hour is added for British Summer Time (BST).


The currency is sterling, and Guernsey produces its own money which circulates alongside UK notes. Guernsey money is not accepted outside the island, but may be exchanged at banks. Foreign currencies are readily exchanged.

Official holidays

Offices and shops are closed on New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day Holiday, Liberation Day (9th May), Spring Bank Holiday, Summer Bank Holiday, Chrlstmas Day and Boxing Day. The official holidays are exactly the same as England, with the exception of Liberation Day.

What one should not fail to see

Guernsey has a host of attractions to offer the visitor, including the Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery, which traces the history of the Island from neolithic times to the present day; the Maritime Museum at Castle Cornet and the Shipwreck Museum at Fort Grey.

There are also a number of coach operators which offer island tours and visits to places of interest such as potteries, woodcrafts, gold and silversmiths, etc. A visit to Victor Hugo's house is also a must!

Excursions are also available to the other islands and to France. Trips to the traffic-free islands of Sark and Herm take approximately 40 minutes and 15 minutes by ferry respectively, whilst Alderney and Jersey can be reached by air in under 20 minutes.

Most favourable seasons for sojourns and touring

The most popular holiday season is from May to the end of September. Low season holidays are available during other months of the year at reduced rates.

Main holiday resorts

The island as a whole, like Jersey, is a resort, and has many attractive bays and beaches to choose from, including Grandes Rocques, Cobo, Ladies Bay, L'Ancresse, Pembroke and Vazon.

Main holiday sports

There are facilities for most sports, whether indoor or outdoor. As you would expect, those connected with the sea such as surfing, windsurfing, waterskiing, sailing, and sub-aqua are especially popular, together with fishing, golf and horse-riding.

What to eat and drink

Dining out is one of the great delights of a holiday in Guernsey. Whether you are looking for sophisticated gourmet fare or simple home cooking, the island's vast range of restaurants and cafes will satisfy your appetite as well as your pocket. Seafood is a local speciality, and is very popular among visitors and locals alike.

What to buy

There are low rates of duty on the island, and a shopping trip to St. Peter Port with its attractive cobbled high street and historical buildings is a must. There is a wide range of boutiques and shops to choose from, and luxury goods such as spirits, tobacco, jewellery and perfumes are popular buys. Local products such as knitwear, pottery, woodcrafts and flowers are also good buys.

Frontier formalities


are required except for visitors from the UK and other Channel Islands.


There is a total ban on the importation of animals other than from the UK or from other Channel Islands.

Main travel routes

There are good air routes to and from the United Kingdom. Visitors can fly from most UK cities and regional airports. There is also a high-speed car ferry sea route from Weymouth, operated by wave-piercing catamaran.

There are also scheduled flights from key Continental gateways, and ferry services from the French coast.

Internal Transport

A public bus service is available to most parts of the island and there are numerous coach tours. Taxis are available throughout the island.

Cars, mini-buses, motorcycles, scooters and bicycles are readily available to hire, as are prams and pushchairs.


Electricity: 240 volts A.C.

Tipping: if no percentage charge is shown,then tipping is at the customers' discretion.

Representatives abroad

All BTA Offices (as for Great Britain).

We have been able to publish the present tourist information on Guernsey thanks to the co-operation and the participation of the National Tourist Office in Guernsey.