Honeymoons don’t have to involve going abroad to be exciting and for you to feel like you’re having an adventure, and it’s easy to forget just how many beautiful places we have on our doorstep here in the UK. I’ve never been to Guernsey, but after reading about Debbie’s honeymoon and seeing the photos, I can’t wait to get over there. Debbie runs Bridget Scones, making cupcakes, sponge cakes and scones for all occasions – so do head over to her site if you’re looking for a great cake maker, or just want to tease yourself with lovely pictures of cake.
There had never been in any doubt about where we would go on honeymoon. We had been to Guernsey in October 2007 for the first time, but I was five months pregnant and unable to do a lot of walking so we had said at that point that we would go back to walk the coastal paths, and our honeymoon seemed the perfect time to do so.
There had also been no doubt about where we would stay. We returned to Wisteria Cottages, a small courtyard of just six beautiful 4-star barn conversions, which had been lovingly restored and opulently but comfortably decorated and furnished, situated in a quiet lane in Castel. We stayed in La Colombier as we had done during our previous visit to the island, a two-bedroom “upside down” barn with two bedrooms and a generous bathroom with a bath downstairs, and a stunning gallery/mezzanine living and dining area upstairs with everything you need for a luxurious, relaxed self-catering holiday. Linda, who owns Wisteria, lives within the grounds and is always friendly and welcoming, with nothing too much trouble.
Also, having a two-year-old daughter who would be staying at home with my mother in Somerset for the four days, it was important to us that we could go away without being too far away, just in case we needed to come home; the beauty of the Channel Islands is that you really do feel like you are going abroad, even though the flight only took just over twenty minutes. Flights to Guernsey from the UK are so frequent, and airlines like Aurigny are great because not only are they low cost but also because there are no extra charges for hold baggage – each passenger gets a 20kg allowance as well as hand luggage.
We arrived mid-morning and on Linda’s recommendation we went to Le Friquet Garden Centre, a new addition to the island since our previous visit, and much more than a garden centre! It sold a variety of gifts, homewares, crafts and outdoor furniture…. all sorts of pretty things to look at, as well as all the fragrant plants. Their restaurants are fantastic! We had lunch there that day, outside in the April sunshine, and returned there to eat on two other occasions during our four day stay.
The food on Guernsey is fantastic. Whether you go to a café or a five-star restaurant on the island, you will not be disappointed! The standard and quality of both the premises and the food served is second to none, and whatever food suits your palette, you will find – Continental, a la carte, world food and the type of plain, simple dishes that I enjoy, all freshly prepared, cooked to order and served to perfection. Da Nello’s in St Peter Port is a must (it was the best meal I have ever had) – though you do need to book ahead.
On our second day, we took the boat from St Peter Port to Herm Island, somewhere neither of us had ever been. It was a glorious sunny day and the trip took about twenty minutes, offering some beautiful views of the other islands en route. Stepping onto the island was like stepping onto a little tiny piece of paradise! I am not a very seasoned traveller – for many reasons due to ill health and a delicate constitution, I like to be close to home and somewhere I can eat the food and drink the water, but my husband is well-travelled and even he agreed that this was, indeed, the most beautiful place he had ever seen. It really was idyllic – unspoilt and peaceful, with no traffic, and abundant with flora and fauna. I couldn’t actually believe that this gem of an island was less than an hour away from the UK mainland.
We had an early lunch on the island in the amazing Ship Inn & Brasserie at the White House Hotel and then walked around the whole island. This took a good few hours and was steep is some places (there is another circular walk that takes you slightly more inland, but we were delighted we didn’t do this as we would have missed a lot of the beautiful scenery). We discovered empty beaches, rocky coves and exhilarating views. It really did feel like we were thousands of miles away and we cannot recommend Herm highly enough for a day trip or indeed a honeymoon.
On our third morning on Guernsey we went to The Little Chapel, a gorgeous chapel made entirely of shells and broken artefacts. It was very quaint, but well worth a visit, and we spent ages just looking at all the different pieces on the walls and spotting china that we recognised such as Royal Doulton, Johnson’s Indian Tree, a tea set I remember my Grandmother owning, and even a souvenir plate from Cornwall, our home county at that time.
Our last two days were spent walking the island’s coastal paths. There are many green lanes and paths in Guernsey, all at different levels, but you can follow a great guide which we found really useful. Some of the paths we took were very steep and uneven, but the views and experience was not to be missed. We walked to the northeast and northwest of the Island from Bordeaux Harbour around to Portinfor, and the south/southeast stretch from Soldiers Bay to Saints Bay. Breathtaking!
We were blessed with great weather every day and had a truly unforgettable honeymoon. If, like us, you like to relax, enjoy the outdoors and eat good food, then please don’t rule out the Channel Islands for your own honeymoon – they may be close to home but you will feel like you have been transported a million miles away! We can’t wait to go back at the end of this year.
Photographs © Debbie Matthews