Day trips from Jersey and Guernsey

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  • rib ride Les Minquiers
  • Lithou Island
  • Sark Coupee
  • Les Minquiers from air

Day Trips from Jersey and Guernsey

Island hop to a secret sanctuary

How many of us dream of our own space, a little enclave of peace and quiet in our busy worlds? Well, visit the Channel Islands and opt to do some island hopping and you might just be able to glimpse some truly secluded sanctuaries.

Lesser known islands

When you think of the Channel Islands, you may think of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and perhaps Sark and Herm but did you know there are other hidden gems nestling out there ready to be explored? Have you heard of Les Minquiers or Les Écréhous? What about the tiny island of Crevichon, reputedly the place where they hung pirates!? Or the deserted uninhabitable Pierres de Lecq, known as The Paternosters due to the prayers sailors said to drown the legendary haunted cries they would hear in the wind from women and children once shipwrecked there. There’s also a chance to see what others have done when they’ve bought an island when visiting Brecqhou or Chausey.

Depending on the island you’re staying on, there are day trips available either by ferry, RIB ride, kayak or jet ski in order to discover some of the Channel Islands hidden gullies, reefs and islets. Here we take a look at a few of the day trips from Jersey and Guernsey:

Les Minquiers

Nicknamed ‘The Minkies’ and nine miles south of Jersey, the entire submerged area has a more extensive mass than Jersey. However of the five islands above sea level, the largest area is just 50 meters by 20 meters and is known as Maîtresse on which there are around 10 dilapidated stone cottages. The sandstone shelf approaching the islands can be quite a hazard at low tide but the crystal clear waters and reef life have made it a specialist marine site. A visit here makes for a fantastic escapade reminiscent of the famous five and if you use the public loo you can claim to having used the most southerly one in the British Isles!

Les Écréhous & Les Dirouilles

Six miles to the north east of Jersey this combination of rocks and islets mainly lie submerged at high tide save for three of them. Maîtr’Île, La Marmotchiéthe and Lé Bliantch’Île have been inhabited sporadically with holiday and fishermen’s huts on Maîtr’Île and a customs house on La Marmotchiéthe. There are two reefs on the site and a lagoon shallow enough for children to play in. This can get crowded with little boats in the summer months. The warm waters support a wide range of wildlife and form a protected bird wildlife zone. Fishing around both Les Écréhous and Les Dirouilles is of cultural importance to Jersey and bass fishing is particularly good as demonstrated by celebrity chef Rick Stein. To make the most of the area it is best to seek out an experienced guide, especially as the rocks can be deceptive. Look out for a variety of dolphins, basking sharks, pilot whales, porpoises and grey seals on your way.

Les Pierres de Lecq (or Paternosters)

Viewed from the north of Jersey looking towards Sark, the Paternosters gained their nickname when Elizabeth I gave the island of Sark to Helier de Carteret on the understanding he would defend Sark with 40 men and pay her 50 shillings a year. On setting sail from Jersey with the intended families, their ship ran into Les Pierres de Lecq and was wrecked. It is rumoured on a stormy night you can hear the cries of the women and children and so sailors would say a prayer, ‘Our Father’ (Pater Noster), when passing.

Lithou

Traditionally harvested for seaweed, the island nature reserve of Lithou is attached to Guernsey’s L’Erée headland at low tide by a 400 meter causeway and can be walked across.

Herm

To quote Visit Guernsey, “Herm island is a haven of calm in an increasingly frenetic world.” Car and bike free, explore the white sandy beaches and flower strewn landscape. On a hot day you’d be forgiven for mistaking this for a tropical island!

Sark

Sark is also blissfully car free, really escape and enjoy the tranquility of this island with its fascinating landscape. Kayak through the caves or arrange a visit to Brecqhou.

Brecqhou

Close to Sark, the island is privately owned having been bought by The Barclay brothers in 1995. Visitors to Sark can arrange to take a look at the gardens, vineyards, orchards, chapel, village and pub.

Alderney

The third largest Channel Island is now a haven for birds and wildlife but was also the most affected by the Occupation, leaving a beautiful rural landscape scattered with contrasting fortifications.The sandstone ridge of Les Casquets to the west of Alderney has rocky islets such as the bird sanctuaries of Burhou, Ortac and Les Etacs.

Look out for:

Jethou

South of Herm and leased therefore not open to the public. Along with the islet of Crevichon to the north, pirates were supposedly hung on it with chains. Stone from Crevichon was reputedly used to build Castle Coronet on Guernsey and possibly St Paul’s Cathedral. The islet of Fauconniere lies to the south.

Les Ecrehous
West Coast of Herm
Jethou from Herm

What about France?

If you’ve explored the British Channel Islands you may want to head further afield but don’t forget you will need your passport!

Isles Chausey

Part of the French Channel Islands, Grand Île on Chausey has a population of around 30 fishermen in its tiny mile by half mile land mass. A popular bygone smuggling haunt, the island was remodelled by Louis Renault (of Renault cars) in the 1920’s. Complete with a castle, shop, café and beaches there is also a great restaurant for meals.

The Contentin Peninsula

With Cherbourg on its north coast and Diélette and Granville to the south, enjoy some traditional moules and frites for lunch in France. In Cherbourg, catch the Thursday market or pop a bit further eastwards and take a trip to see the Bayeaux tapestry. Diélette is a quiet port with some good eateries such as L’Escale on the pier. Alternatively, work up an appetite and take a 10 minute walk to Le Bouche a Oreille for some log fire cooked delicacies. Granville was the childhood home of Christian Dior and a museum remains in his former residency.

St Malo

Further south, in Brittany, lie the cobbled streets of St Malo and pretty towns such as Dinan with its tudor buildings and Dinard with its large golden beaches. Wind up the narrow streets of Mont St Michel and reward yourself with crêpes at the end!

rib ride
Seals at Les Ecrehous
Channel Islands isles

Travelling to the islands by boat

Regular ferry services run between Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney and to St Malo, France. Smaller ferries and charter yachts also run between Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm whilst a visit to Brecqhou can be arranged from Sark. Smaller boat services run from Guernsey and Alderney to the ports at Cherbourg, Granville and Diélette. Specialist services such as Bumblebee Boat Cruises and Jersey Seafaris offer packages incorporating visits around the islands and for dinner in France but to visit some of the smaller islands such as Les Minquiers and Isles Chausey, an alternative may be best…

Kayak, jet ski or RIB ride

Other specialist companies such as Jersey Seafaris offer an exciting alternative to getting up close to the uninhabited islands and reefs. Kayak through the caves in Sark or take a RIB ride to Les Minquiers and swim in the sparkling waters there. Hop onboard a rib ride to Chausey which takes just 45 minutes or cruise your way around the islands or to France complete with a 3 course dinner and sunset views.

If island hopping sounds good

If you would like us to arrange a specialist island hopping package, then let us know your requirements and we’ll happily put together a tailor made itinerary. 

Providers of travel in and around the islands:

Jersey Seafaris – RIB trips and charter around Jersey and its surrounding waters. Fast and exhilarating with beautiful scenery and wildlife; including seals and dolphins and the amazing offshore islands of Les Ecrehous and Les Minquiers. The Number 1 activity in Jersey – Trip Advisor!

South Coast Cruises – Cruising the south coast of Jersey daily April – October. 

Jersey Kayak Adventures – Never stop exploring. Discover sea kayaking – and Jersey’s beautiful coastline with the island’s only specialist kayak company. A British Canoe Union approved centre and Jersey Enterprise Environment Award winner. Choice of venues island wide. Suitable for all ages and novices. All equipment supplied. Paddle user friendly sit-on-top sea kayaks. Kayak with local residents who are passionate about kayaking, Jersey and its nature.

Outdoor Guernsey – Providing adventure activities for individuals or groups on Guernsey, Herm and Sark.

Guernsey Sailing Trust – A Royal Yachting Association Recognised Training Centre.