From the twinkling Christmas lights of St Peter Port and wild winter walks along rugged coastline, to carol singing on the romantic island of Sark and riding in a horse-drawn carriage, the Channel Islands have all the ingredients to make this Christmas your very best yet. Here’s how to have a sparkling Christmas in the Channel Islands while staying at one of our luxurious Guernsey hotels.
Guernsey is undeniably enchanting during the winter months, and never more so than in December, when St Peter Port is lit with twinkling Christmas lights, carol singers can be heard throughout the old town, and the warm, spicy aroma of mulled wine lingers at jovial Christmas markets. The Old Government House Hotel & Spa is pushing out all the stops this year with a Christmas offer that encompasses all the festive dining you could hope for with fun activities you can only do at this special time of year. The Duke of Richmond, meanwhile, is equally as enticing; mulled wine and mince pies and the delivery of a Christmas stocking to your room are just some of the gifts laid on at this time of year.
A Wild Winter Setting
Take an invigorating walk across the rugged landscape and along windswept cliff paths to hidden coves and secluded bays, and stop by the ancient forts dotted along the coastline.
An island tradition that’s worth watching – if you (understandably) don’t want to join in – is The Christmas Day Polar Swim at the outdoor tidal pools of La Vallette, which takes place on Christmas Day morning.
Now in its 16th year is the annual Guernsey Boxing Day Dip at Cobo Bay. Each year, hundreds of swimmers take to the Channel’s icy waters to raise funds for charity, before returning to the warmth of the fireside indoors for their helping of mince pies and mulled wine. To make the event even more entertaining, many people come in fancy dress.
As the Christmas lights twinkle throughout December, step out into the streets of St Peter Port. Each Thursday evening make the most of the town’s late night Christmas shopping, where you may be tempted to stop for mulled wine while you listen to the carol singers.
On the Saturday before Christmas, stop by Market Square during the afternoon to catch more of the town’s carol singing, or on the Thursday evening before, catch Festiva Choir in the annual Guernsey Sings Carols event.
For fresh local produce, wander through Guernsey’s longest running market, the Farmer and Fisherman’s Market in the southeast parish of St Martin. Alongside the island’s meat, seafood, fruit and vegetables, you’ll find homemade jams and chutneys, cakes, pies and pastries, which are all perfect for a festive feast. Then, each Thursday and Saturday, Market Place in St Peter Port plays host to its own Christmas market. There’s also an additional craft market on Saturdays, ideal for last minute gifts and handmade souvenirs.
Festive Island Exploration
By taking a ferry from Guernsey to the tiny island of Sark, you can explore its rugged interior and secluded coastline, either on foot, by bicycle or in a horse-drawn carriage with a guide. The reason many people come to Sark at Christmas though is for the annual carol singing events, which take place in the days leading up to Christmas. Herm Island is also within easy reach, just a 20-minute journey from Guernsey by boat, and each year at Christmas a free ferry service is put on for visitors to do their Christmas shopping in the gift shops of idyllic Herm Village.
Top Off Your Stay
Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a trip to the theatre, so why not head over to The Most Wonderful Time Christmas show at St James Concert Hall – situated just a minute’s walk from The Old Government House Hotel – showing for one night only on 16th December. The evening will include songs, a children’s choir, poetry and stories, with mince pies off offer too.
To round off your time in Guernsey, celebrate your Christmas party and treat yourself to a festive afternoon tea at The Old Government House Hotel & Spa and The Duke of Richmond. With each hotel’s attention to detail in making the spirit of Christmas truly special, your stay will undoubtedly make you want to come back to the Channel Islands year after year.
Header image: Soak up the Christmas spirit while out shopping in St Peter Port © Visit Guernsey