Glorious Guernsey – beaches and bluebells

Update 3 May 2011:  This post has been chosen by WordPress for their Freshly Pressed selection. Thank you to FP and all of you who have stopped by to read it and leave such kind comments.

I have just had 5 glorious sunny days in The Channel Islands, with my long-term best buddy MB.  We arrived in Guernsey on Monday to weather warmer than the Mediterranean.  The Good Weather Fairy looked upon us kindly throughout our stay.

Monday: We arrived at lunchtime and wandered down into St Peter Port for lunch and a general mooch about looking at the shops.  MB, being a jeweller, was interested in all the jewellery shops in the town, and there were many!

Tuesday:  We caught the 10:35 ferry for a 20 minute trip to Herm Island.

Leaving St Peter Port on the ferry for Herm

Herm Island is 3 miles from Guernsey, a mile and a half long and half a mile wide.  There are no cars  on Herm and it was tranquil and calm.  We followed the designated path around the island and took in some fantastic views.

The ferry leaving us on Herm

The first thing that struck me was how advanced the flora and fauna was.  There were many fuchsia bushes in flower.

Fuchsia out on Herm - April 2011

Then, we came across several beautiful and deserted beaches.

fisherman's Beach - Herm Island
Shell Beach - Herm Island
Clear blue sea - Herm Island

We missed the regular Tuesday Herm Island Garden Walks, so looked out for what we hoped would be pretty gardens but to no avail and came to conclusion that they must be well tucked away.  However, the island was an abundance of Rock Asters, Osteospermum and Mesembryanthemums, so there were plenty of flowers to photograph.


We headed back to the landing steps for the 3.35 p.m. sailing back to St Peter Port.

The landing steps at Herm, waiting for the ferry back to St Peter Port, Guernsey

Wednesday:  After much deliberation, rejecting the idea of hiring a car and   opting for the bus, we went to the west side of Guernsey Island.   Again the day was hot, the sea was like a mill pond and the haze denied us clear photos.

Boats in tranquil Portelet Bay

We walked the length of the west coast, with the intention of getting around to the sandy bay at the top of Island, but heat and hunger got the better of us.  We flagged down a bus to the Guernsey Freesia Centre.   Why do advertising leaflets make places sound as though you could spend some time there?  It was empty, apart from 3  ladies packing freesias who didn’t speak English so we couldn’t ask any questions; we wandered around the greenhouses instead.   The perfume was well worth the brief visit.

One of six Freesia greenhouses - Guernsey Freesias

Thursday:  Another  bus ride.  This time, to Fermain Bay, which was an incredibly steep walk down to the bay, but well worth it.   The shady banks on the way down were full of bluebells and wild garlic.  It is called “Stinking Garlic” on Guernsey and it was certainly that!   Seen as more invasive than the Spanish Bluebell on the Island, a large number of plants are removed each year to keep it under control.  It was, however, everywhere.

It may be 'wild' and 'stinky' but is a very pretty flower

We sat on the beach until the heat got too much for us and then headed to the cliff path for the walk back to St Peter Port.

Fermain Bay - Guernsey Island

As you can see from the photo looking down from the cliff, the ascent up the path was very very steep, but like the walk down, was well worth the climb.

The view of Fermain Bay, from the cliff walk

The two hour walk along the cliff path was magical.

Bluebell (and garlic) cliff path

The higher we got the better the surprises.  To our left was a glorious, breathtaking bluebell wood and …

Bluebell wood - April 2011

…to the right was the view over to Herm Island.

View from cliff walk - Fermain to St Peter Port

Then we reached the pièce de résistance….

A carpet of bluebells every where you looked

It was breathtaking, and I must have counted at least 6 artists perched on their little stools with their watercolours – heavenly!

Friday: It rained for about 2 minutes this morning, the first and last rain of the day.   We walked just a few minutes up the hill from the hotel to the Guernsey Museum and Candie Gardens.  These gardens are a rare example of a late 19th century public flower garden with the oldest known heated glass-houses in the British Isles, which date back to the late eighteenth century.

Victorian Greenhouse Candie Gardens
Azalea in Candie Gardens
Babiana - a lovely flower from South Africa
I am assuming these are Sedum there was a carpet of them
If these are not Sedum please tell me. They look like something from outer space.

… and then we had to go the airport to return back home.  It was a great holiday and I love Guernsey.


  1. This was really cool to see your photos. I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society early this year and these photos make me really want to go there now! So beautiful! Thanks for sharing!


  2. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! I loved the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society book, so when I saw your post, I had to read it. And I’m glad I did! I love the look and feel of your blog, and I plan on reading more of your posts in the future (if you don’t mind!)


  3. Looks beautiful, I really take for granted places that are so near to home but looks a world away, I’ll forward the link to my parents, my mum has been harrassing my dad for years to take her to the Channel SIlands, this may sway him.


  4. Just beautiful. I felt like I was there for a few minutes. Your pics and narrative transported me. Hope I will get there someday.


  5. Absolutely beautiful pictures! I have now added The Channel Islands to my list of places I want to visit! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!


  6. Gorgeous pictures. I would love to visit the Channel Islands – not only for the obvious beauty, but for the history and quirky language ties to France.

    Lovely post.


  7. I love the blue waters and the fuschia flowers. Two of my favorite colors. The pic at the end makes me think of pink flamingoes in light green tutus!!

    Looks like you had a wonderful time. Thanks for sharing your pics.


  8. Never to late (I hope) to show appreciation:

    Thank you for the warming journal of your journey to the Channel Islands. It was a pleasure to spend time imagining being in one of these marvelous compositions portraied in the photos taken.


    • That’s so kind of you, it makes me very happy to see how many people have enjoyed my post and the wonderful comments about my photos. Its all worthwhile then.


  9. Good Morning! I finished reading Potato peel society last week, and was so very surprised to find your blog this morning! Congrats on being “freshly pressed” and keep up the photography! It’s a gorgeous picture story of the islands.


    • Thank you for reading my post about Guernsey. It is a gorgeous place, made all the better for brilliant unseasonable weather. It was hotter than the Med and as you say the waters look like the Med.


  10. Hello Jan. We must have been there roughly the same time. It was glorious weather wasn’t it? I took so many photos it was difficult to decide which ones to use. I have been to Le Friquet Garden Centre before, the plants are great aren’t they! Thank you for your comments.


  11. I have just been to Guernsey two weeks ago. We had lovely weather and I agree that it’s a lovely place. We also went to Herm, Sark and Lihou and I took loads of photos. The plants that grow there are amazing! Also went to Le Friquet Garden Centre – wow!


  12. Looks a glorious part of the world Ronnie which we must visit one day if the chance arises. It’s not for want of trying. We went on a short cruise a couple of years ago from Liverpool to France and then back via the Channel Islands but sadly the weather was too rough to disembark 😦 Sounds as if you had a great time.


    • My father lives in Guernsey and although I visit him frequently I never get to actually visit the Island. He is away at the moment so I took the opportunity to go as a “visitor” to the island. The weather was an added wonderful bonus.


  13. Hi Janet. Thank you for reading my post and leaving a comment. I agree, the different garlic flower is strange but they definately are garlic – the air was pungent to say the least. Apparently to those who don’t know, they are confused with white bluebells, they certainly look the same. Glad you like the new look blog – thought it had a coolness about it – that is cool heat and not “cool”.


  14. Amazing to see Osteospermum flowering in the “wild” like that – and how can you beat bluebells and sea?! Looks like a wonderful week. Strange flowers on that garlic, doesn’t look like our native wild garlic, the leaves are more strap-like. Unless they are just young. I’ve just been wandering around our local woods drinking in the sight and smell of both bluebells and wild garlic, so this was an interesting contrast! Like the new look blog.


  15. It all looks so peaceful and beautiful. I love the emphasis on “blue” – from the sea and the sky, to the lovely bluebell woods.


  16. hello Ronnie thanks for sharing your lovely photos, I’ve never visited the Channel isles though would like too but perhaps at a time when the weather is cooler as I don’t do hot, the views look wonderful and the lovely bluebell woods, Frances


  17. When I was eleven we had a holiday on Sark that was just magical. I have never been back to the Channel Islands but I must. Wonderful photos and such a strong sense of the difference of the place. Thank you.


    • There is still a very strong French element to the Island so you really do feel that you have left the UK for a holiday. Sark is the one island I am yet to visit – next time hopefully.


  18. Deep purple – Dimorphotheca jucunda (used to be Osteospermum) with sky blue Felicia – kingfisher daisy. And the bulbs in orange with yellow hearts are Sparaxis. Babiana does the purple pink white range, and a rare red. All South Africans ;~))


    • Hi there! Thanks for your comment. I have corrected the photo to show Osteospermum – I got them confused with the mesembryanthemums there are a lot of them on the Channel Islands too, but the pics I took were not good. The label next to the orange flowers said Babiana and as I had not seen that flower before, I assumed that is what they were. The were all in a bed called “South African flowers”. I will see if I can locate some in the UK, they looked so pretty.


      • Ronnie you can get Sparaxis over here I had some in my garden but they only lasted a few years, this may be due to not having the hot summers up here as they are from SA they might enjoy a summer baking ;o) I got them from Blooms bulbs mail order, Frances


  19. Absolutely stunning photos Ronnie!
    What a glorious place to go in the sunshine and I very glad MB went with you. Hope MB is well and we wish that person all the very best – my son still has the bear with the same name!


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