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Channel Islands (Guernsey & Jersey)

England, United Kingdom
With a blend of cultures and an enviably mild climate, the Channel Islands have long been a favourite destination for both the British and the French.
Although they lie just 14 miles off the French coast, the islands are British, having been connected to the British Crown for over a thousand years. These self-governing islands maintain their own individual culture. The food and wine are French, but habits and manners are English.

We enjoy 9 nights on the island of Jersey, the largest of the islands. It is known for its glorious woodland walks, lovely rolling countryside, historic castles, Victorian markets, and interesting sightseeing. The capital, St. Helier, is built around a harbour, and the town itself is a maze of narrow streets, many of which are banned to traffic, and is situated on one of Jersey's best beaches.  

The other 4 nights will be on Guernsey, an island full of local charm and stunning beaches and seascapes. The wealth of history here includes Neolithic settlements, pirate adventures, and the German Occupation during WWII. St. Peter Port is the lively, compact capital, with cobbled streets and a picturesque marina. It is considered to be one of England’s prettiest harbour towns. 

Tour Highlights:
   • Guernsey Island tour, including the Little Chapel
   • Tour of Sausmarez Manor 
   • Walking tour of Saint Helier
   • Jersey War Tunnels
   • Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
   • Eric Young Orchid Foundation
   • La Mare Vineyard
   • Excursion to Herm

* Those joining any of our tours to Europe must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.

Itinerary / Excursions

We depart for Jersey, via London.
We arrive on the island of Jersey and transfer to our hotel, conveniently located on the outskirts of St. Helier. Tonight is our Welcome Dinner.
We enjoy a guided walk through town, visiting Royal Square, wonderful Victorian Markets and Liberation Square. We end at the Jersey Museum and Art Gallery with a viewing of the 'Story of Jersey' film. The afternoon is free to perhaps explore the town or stroll in the lovely park near our hotel.
Mont Orgueil Castle has cast its imposing shadow over the beautiful fishing port of Gorey for more than 800 years, and is one of the world’s most well-preserved medieval fortresses. Take in the breathtaking views of the French coast as our guide takes us through the network of staircases, towers, secret rooms and hidden treasures. Later we enjoy a vineyard tour and wine tasting at La Mare Vineyards. They also make their own chocolate (which we will sample) and many types of preserves, all available in the winery shop.
We transfer to the ferry port for our one-hour crossing to Guernsey. Our hotel for the next 4 nights is located just ouside the capital of St. Peter Port.
We follow the beautiful Guernsey coastline past picturesque beaches, through Val de Terre and the former garrison of Fort George. The Germans occupied the Channel Islands during WW2, so we’ll see fortifications and other reminders of the occupation. We’ll have a tour of Sausmarez Manor - a stately home built in the 13th century which serves as a time capsule of the many generations of the family that has lived here for 700 years. The house is believed to be haunted and you may return here on our free day for the “Ghost Tour”. We also visit the Little Chapel, beautifully decorated with seashells, pebbles and broken china. It is thought to be the smallest chapel in the world.
We stroll through St. Peter Port and learn about its history dating back to Norman times. The town consists of lovely cobbled streets and narrow lanes lined by old shop fronts and impressive houses. Later we’ll take the short ferry ride to the idyllic island of Herm, which is steeped in history and mystery. It has been home to Neolithic man, monks, quarrymen, farmers, writers, artists and entrepreneurs.
A day at leisure to explore on our own. You may want to take an excursion to the quaint island of Sark.
We take the one-hour ferry crossing to Jersey, and back to the Merton Hotel for our remaining 6 nights.
The Channel Islands are known for their beautiful orchids, so this morning we visit the world famous Eric Young Orchid Foundation. In the afternoon we visit Woodland Farm to meet the Boutillier family, who have been raising Jersey cows for 5 generations. Included is a a scrumptious traditional Cream Tea.
We tour this underground complex, Jersey's most evocative museum of the five years of enemy occupation during World War II. The video presentation and collection of memorabilia bring the island’s wartime experience to life; a poignant and unforgettable experience. After our visit we will enjoy a traditional pub lunch.
A day at leisure. There is so much to do and see on the island (your Tour Manager will assist). You may want to discover the Maritime Museum and Occupation Tapestry Gallery in St. Helier, maybe Elizabeth Castle (dependent on the tides) or simply take advantage of the hotel’s leisure facilities.
The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by German forces in WW2. The five-year occupation came to an end on May 9th, 1945 - Liberation Day, considered Jersey's national day which is celebrated annually on this date. The streets of St. Helier come alive with patriotic pride and bands, parades, street entertainment, street markets, food stalls and more!
We visit the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Founded by the celebrity naturalist Gerald Durrell, this wildlife zoo is dedicated to saving threatened wildlife species from extinction. We will have an orientation of the zoo, followed by some free time to explore on your own. This evening is our Farewell Dinner.
We fly home via London.
Excursions that involve a ferry trip are subject to weather conditions. In the event that a sailing is cancelled by the ferry company, a suitable alternative will be provided.
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