Mar 26th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Travel

Guernsey and Jersey, Stepping Stone Gems of the Channel

Jersey? Isn’t that a breed of a cow? It sure is, and it is also a channel island. And Guernsey? That’s another island. Both islands are often referred to as “stepping stones” as senior visitors make their way to Europe.

The island of Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands, and its rivals would say brashest, of the Channel Islands, as nearby Guernsey is its mate. Its capital, St Helier, does have more than a whiff of the offshore finance center it is – think shimmering steel and glass, and pinstripe suits. But the island is also much more; its coast alone is 48 miles long. Exquisite sandy beaches fringe the south, east and west sides, rugged cliffs – good for walking and cycling.

Here’s how you get there. Jersey has English and French as its official languages, and some of its laws are still written in Jersey legal French. Rental cars are available at the airport and in the capital and distances on the island’s well maintained roads are small. Traffic drives on the left and you need a national driver’s license or international driving permit available at AAA.

The Channel Islands

Although the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey are often referred to collectively as ‘the Channel Islands’, they are not a constitutional or political unit. Jersey history is influenced by its strategic location between the northern coast of France and the southern coast of England.  The island’s recorded history extends over a thousand years. Tourism supports not only hotels, but also retail and services: in 2009 there were 685,200 visitors.

Its richly textured history is brought to life by a clutch of excellent museums. And those beautiful small brown cows that give a rich and pleasant milk.  Each island stringently protects the purity of each breed. The pastoral appearance of each island, dotted by those sweet-looking bovines, adds to the island’s romance. The islands were the only British soil occupied by German troops during World War II.

You will find plenty to do and to see in Jersey as senior visitors enjoy exploring the magnificent castles, fascinating wildlife, museums and even beautiful private gardens. With its unspoiled landscape and unique blend of British and French influences, Jersey really is a place where you can get away from it all. Seniors can relax and enjoy the famed hospitality of its people, and get lost in the Island’s winding lanes or on its breathtaking coast. A few personal blogs are always helpful for seniors who are a bit hesitant for a stopover on the islands.

Guernsey is known worldwide for locally grown flowers and for their prized purebred Guernsey cows.This tiny island off the coast of France, is the birthplace of the famed cow. Part of the southernmost archipelago in the British Isles sitting in the Bay of St Malo, Guernsey is a little less than 30 miles from Normandy.  A tour of Guernsey, from St. Peter’s Port, through Hugo’s House, to Lihou Island. And of course plenty of sea-scapes and beautiful coast takes. Did you know that Victor Hugo was exiled from France in 1851 after Napoleon III’s coup, living on Guernsey from 1856-70. His home Hauteville House, where he wrote Les Misérables, has been preserved as it was.

Oh That Climate…Enticing to Seniors

As a result of Guernsey’s location visitors will discover a milder climate then the UK and will enjoy more sunshine hours each year. This allows for an outdoor-based lifestyle that makes maximum use of the natural surroundings. It also means that a number of plants and flowers, that couldn’t survive in Britain, are able to thrive in Guernsey. The island rarely sees frost and snow is somewhat of a rarity. Guernsey is the perfect senior destination for inspiring walks along the cliff paths, rambles through the rural interior or lazy days on the island’s beautiful beaches.

St Peter Port, the island’s capital, is a bustling harbor town, a tapestry of architectural styles that tell the story of the region’s changing fortunes. Here bistros, restaurants and boutiques jostle for your attention, while in the harbor ferries are readied to take you to the sister islands.

Ask anyone who’s been there. Guernsey and Jersey are both special places, and each has a thriving community that welcomes senior visitors with open arms and leaves a lasting impression on all who set foot on her soil. Enjoy. jeb

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