Venturing further afield – the best places to visit on a sailing holiday to the Channel Islands

St Hellier Harbour, Jersey

Avid sailors in the UK have an abundance of choice when it comes to beautiful places to visit on the south coast of England. From our base in Port Hamble Marina, it is easy to charter one of our fleet of over 40 yachts and set sail from the River Hamble to the Solent, visiting some of the most iconic sights along the way, a great voyage for shorter charters of up to a week. But if time’s not an issue and you’re looking to venture a little further afield, you have the most wonderful little group of islands not to far across the English Channel – the Channel Islands.

Related article: The top places to visit on a yacht charter from the Solent

At just 80nm from our base in Port Hamble, discovering the Channel Islands can make an ideal bareboat sailing holiday for those looking for charters of seven or more days and who are experienced sailors. With beautiful beaches, fascinating history and wonderfully friendly people, each of the Channel Islands has something special to offer. Here, we take a look at our favourite islands to help you plan the perfect itinerary for a yacht charter to the Channel Islands.

Alderney

Alderney is the northernmost of the Channel Islands and the third largest of the island group. The beaches are lined with golden sand and the sparkling azure seas that lap the shoreline make for the perfect place to drop anchor and enjoy a day of swimming and sunbathing. Braye Harbour acts as an ideal mooring point to go ashore and is safe to access in all weathers except strong north-easterly winds and where crowds and queues are minimal, and the friendly locals are on hand to help you make the most of your time there.

History buffs will be in their element, with a range of both maritime and land history to discover and due to the island’s small size, all visitor attractions are easily accessible either by foot or by cab. Half a mile to the north of the island you’ll find the Alderney Elizabethan Wreck, although the challenging currents make visiting the site almost impossible. However, artefacts from the wreck are on display at the Alderney Maritime Museum and include one of the ships canons.

On the west coast, head to Fort Clonque, a 19th century fortress with breath-taking views out to sea and on the north east coast, marvel at the magnificent red and white striped Mannez Lighthouse, constructed in 1912 to protect the many vessels approaching the island from the rugged coastline. For a wonderful evening meal ashore, take a taxi from Braye Harbour to Le Pesked Restaurant, a quaint French eatery serving delicious, freshly caught seafood and fish.

Guernsey

The second largest of the Channel Islands, Guernsey attracts thousands of tourists throughout the year, in particular the summer months, who visit the island for its beautiful beaches, warm weather, fascinating history and nautical appeal. Approaching from the north, sail west from Alderney, rounding the Casquets lighthouse and approach the island from the outside, entering St. Peter Port from the south where you’ll avoid the many hazardous rock formations that line the channel between the east coast of Guernsey and Sark. Mooring is available to a buoy or on the pontoon or you can berth at the Victoria Marina. On approach, the local harbour patrol are likely to advise you where to go.

Once settled, head ashore and visit some of the island’s most compelling sights. Castle Cornet offers visitors a chance to discover some of the island’s oldest history, with five museums and pretty period gardens to explore. La Valette underground military museum offers visitors a chance to see some of most significant collections and structures from the island’s occupation by the German Army during WWII, all situated in a formation of secret tunnels.

Slightly further inland, pay a visit to the Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery, where you can see a whole host of artefacts celebrating the island’s heritage and some wonderful archaeological finds. For a real culinary treat, we recommend a meal at La Nautique Seafood Restaurant which serves delicious ‘fruits de mer’ and local meats in a pretty setting overlooking the marina. Our favourites are the beef and monkfish medallions or the hand dived scallops!

Jersey

The largest of the Channel Islands, Jersey is an island full of British charm overlaid by French influence and its beautiful harbour makes the perfect base to discover all that the island has to offer. Although the island is home to only c.100,000 inhabitants, tourists to the island can almost triple that number during the summer months, meaning the locals are fully prepared to welcome you. Approaching from the north and sailing around the outside of the island, you’ll round Point Corbiere lighthouse and sail east to St. Hellier Harbour where you have two choices for mooring – La Collette Yacht Basin or St Hellier Marina.

Once moored, take a walk along the harbour and visit the Maritime Museum where the island’s nautical history and naval importance are highlighted. A boat trip across to Elizabeth Castle is highly recommended, where you can explore the 17th century fort, built to protect Jersey from its magnificent home in St. Aubin’s Bay and where all the family can enjoy historical gun displays and visit the lush gardens that surround the castle. For a delicious meal, we recommend booking a table at the Michelin Star Bohemia Restaurant, where culinary delights include line caught John Dory, Cumbrian Lamb and roasted venison.

Find out more

For more information about chartering a yacht from our base in Port Hamble Marina, call 02380 457023 or email info@fairviewsailing.co.uk. Can’t sail? Don’t worry! We can also provide you with a qualified skipper, so you can enjoy sitting back and relaxing onboard as you sail wherever you want to go. Ask us today for more details.

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