Guernsey, Sark and Jersey: A Heritage Tour in The Channel Islands (FULL)

27 Apr - 5 May 2023
  • Cultural Tours

About the tour

Just off the coast of France, the beautiful isles of Jersey, Guernsey, Sark, Herm and Alderney stud the warm waters of the Gulf of St Malo. Not quite English and not quite French, these independent self-governing islands have their own character and culture. Their distinctive histories date back 250,000 years and include a period of Nazi occupation during WWII, which left a poignant legacy of war tunnels, bunkers and coastal fortifications.

This tour will explore the history and landscapes of Guernsey and Jersey with guided visits and meetings with local experts, who will provide fascinating personal insights into the islands, their history and culture. The tour is based in two independent boutique hotels, with time to relax and explore at leisure.

The warmer microclimate produces subtropical plants and many species of birds and the Channel Islands enjoy sunnier days and milder winters than the UK. Late April is a particularly lovely time to explore, with wildflowers covering clifftops, woods and verges. Combined with stunning scenery, charming old-world towns and superb local food, these islands are a literal breath of fresh air.

Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, John and Susi Richardson

John and Susi Richardson

Dr John Richardson is an Emeritus Professor of Primary Care and General Practice. He has led study tours worldwide and was a medical escort to parties of war widows and veterans on journeys of remembrance for the Royal British Legion. He has also run many history of medicine battlefield tours. He has visited more than 80 countries and worked in 41 of them as a doctor. John has previously led tours for Jon Baines to China, Central Asia, India, Turkey, Central America, Ecuador and the Galapagos, Namibia, Ethiopia, Indo-China and Burma. He has also given lectures on cruises. John has also acted as doctor to six sailing expeditions with service personnel and students in the Caribbean.

Susi Richardson has travelled widely across the world with John either as an expedition nurse, or as a nurse on war grave pilgrimages for the Royal British Legion, or as co-tour leader for Jon Baines Tours, or accompanying her husband on his British Army medical officer postings.

John and Susi Richardson were the doctor and nurse respectively on The British Trans Americas Expedition 1971-2; the first ever drive from Alaska to Cape Horn and the first crossing of the Darian Gap in Panama. Together, they have co-led Jon Baines Tours tours to Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, to India, to Vietnam, to Malaysia and on cruises.

Need more information?

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Itinerary at a glance

  • Day 1: Guernsey (Thurs, 27 April) Arrive in Guernsey. At leisure at Hotel de Havelet to enjoy the gardens or walk down to explore St Peter Port. The hotel normally has a free minibus tour of the island which is excellent for orientation. Welcome dinner at the Copenhagen Restaurant at the hotel.
  • Day 2: Guernsey (Fri, 28 April) Take part in a walking tour of St Peter Port, starting with a visit to Hauteville House and gardens, the home in exile of the writer Victor Hugo. Continue on to see Guernsey Tapestry Gallery, the Priaulx Library, St James Concert Hall and wander through the beautiful Candie Gardens. Friday is market day and there will be time to explore the small weekly market in the square. Dinner at a local restaurant.
  • Day 3: Guernsey (Sat, 29 April) Visit the Occupation Museum with time to explore. Continue on to the Little Chapel followed by lunch at an awardwinning garden with a craft workshop. Explore the island, driving along the coast and visit the bays, Neolithic graves and standing stones, the 19th century fortifications built to defend against the French, and the 20th century fortifications built by the Germans. Continue to Sausmarez Manor and take part in a tour. Learn about the Potato Peel Pie Literary Society, the Sausmarez family and the history of the house, including the experiences of the great aunts of Peter de Sausmarez, the current Seigneur, described in the book The Second World War Diaries of Violet Carey. Enjoy a Potato Peel Pie with a glass of wine.
  • Day 4: Guernsey (Sun, 30 April) Day at leisure or optional tour of Sark. Take the short ferry ride to the isle of Sark and take an exclusive guided horse and carriage tour of the island. At leisure for lunch followed by time to explore or take a or take a walking tour with the guide, Elizabeth Gardener-Wheeler. Learn about the life and legacy of the Dame of Sark, Dame Sibyl Hathaway DBE. Return by ferry to St Peter Port later in the afternoon. Dinner at the hotel.
  • Day 5: Guernsey / Jersey (Mon, 1 May) At leisure or take an optional harbourside walk and visit Castle Cornet. Fly to St Helier, Jersey. Upon arrival transfer to Pomme d’Or Hotel and learn about the fascinating history of the hotel. Visit Jersey Museum and see a free 20 min film introducing 100,000 years history of Jersey followed by a short orienatation tour through the historic centre of St Helier.
  • Day 6: Jersey (Tues, 2 May) Drive to La Hougue Bie and meet with specialist guide Nicky Mansell to learn about this Neolithic site. Enter the tomb, visit the longhouse, a medieval chapel and the WWII bunker, all on the same site. The La Hougue Bie Museum contains an exhibition on the largest Celtic coin hoard ever found, with gold jewellery and thousands of coins. Continue to Samares Manor and learn of its history. Option for lunch at CocoRico, a French creperie. Wander around the beautifully landscaped gardens, developed in the 1920s by Sir John Knott. The diverse gardens include a renowned herb garden and Japanese garden. Drive to the east of the island and visit imposing Mont Orgueil (Gorey) Castle, a magnificent medieval fortress overlooking the harbour. The castle was built in the 13th century to protect the island against the French, just 12 miles away. Time at leisure in Gorey before returning to St Helier. Dinner in a local restaurant.
  • Day 7: Jersey (Wed, 3 May) See St Matthew's (Glass) Church and view the unique glass work of Rene Lalique in the church. Continue to the Village of St Aubin for a walk along the waterfront and hear of its many visitors, including Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Drive to Noirmont Point, a commanding headland where imposing Nazi bunkers, gun emplacements and observation towers stretch along the coast. Lunch at St Brelade's Bay overlooking the sea. Visit the archaeological site of La Cotte, the Parish Church of St Brelade and the fisherman's chapel. Drive along the coast to La Corbière, the most southerly lighthouse in the British Isles. Continue along the coast and see the golden sands of St Ouen's Bay. The dunes provide a safe haven to threatened species of plant, wildlife and birdlife. Drive through green leafy lanes, and across the dramatic the North coast to visit some of the bays and fishing harbours nestled into the cliffs on the North coast. Arrive at the "harbour that failed" at St Catherine. Option for a cup of tea and a slice of cake at the café, or one of Jersey's wonderful ice creams. Return to St Helier via the historic harbours of La Rocque and Le Hocq.
  • Day 8: Jersey (Thurs, 4 May) Stroll through Liberation Square into Royal Square and onto the Victoria Markets. Visit the harbour with Captain Brian Nibbs, Master Mariner and a past Harbour Master of Jersey, and learn the maritime history of the isle. Afternoon at leisure with option to visit Castle Elizabeth. Farewell dinner in the evening.
  • Day 9: Jersey (Fri, 5 May) Depart the hotel or extend.

Tour cost

From $2,772 per person sharing, or $3,108 per person solo occupancy