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Complete guide to Guernsey cruises - where to go, what to see & what to eat

Author: Harriet Mallinson

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Updated on:

Guernsey cruises are resuming this month after a Covid-enforced hiatus and there's plenty to get excited about sailing to the island - this is your complete travel guide.

Cruise to Guernsey this summer to discover an idyllic British Isles destination with French influences, think gorgeous beaches, pretty towns and some of the best butter you'll ever eat.

As Guernsey - the second largest of the Channel Islands - prepares to open back up to cruise passengers on April 15, World of Cruising teamed up with Wendy Pedder from tourist board VisitGuernsey, to discover what to do on the island, where to go, when to go, what to eat and what to pack.

In short, this is your complete cruise guide to Guernsey, get ready to be inspired!

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What cruise lines sail to Guernsey?

Among those ships destined for St Peter Port this season are MSC Cruises’ Virtuosa, Cunard’s Queen Victoria and brand-new Ambience of Ambassador Cruise Line.

Guernsey will see its first call taking place on April 15th with the arrival of Hapag-Llyoyd’s Hanseatic Spirit followed by Saga, Holland America Line and MSC Cruises in the same month.

- READ MORE: Find your dream cruise with our handy holiday finder -

Princess Cruises, Ambassador and Silversea are among the major lines sailing to the island from May, with Cunard, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Azamara, Celebrity Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and P&O Cruises cruising Guernsey from June.

Guernsey's cruise ship season will run until October with the last call to St Peter Port scheduled on October 25 by NCL's Norwegian Star.

Guernsey cruise: Among those ships destined for St Peter Port this season is MSC Virtuosa. Credit: MSC Cruises

Why should you cruise to Guernsey?

Guernsey actually fits well in many cruise itineraries. You might wonder, where do cruise ships dock in Guernsey?

The Guernsey cruise terminal can be found at St Peter Port - and it's one of the prettiest towns in the British isles with fine Georgian and Regency houses, tumbling terraced gardens, winding streets and hidden leafy alleyways.

- READ MORE: Find out all about cruising the UK and Ireland -

Holidaymakers can cruise Southampton to Guernsey, with most major cruise lines scheduled to stop in Guernsey harbour including Fred. Olsen, Princess Cruises, Cunard and Ambassador Cruise Line.

A welcome team is in position at the Guernsey harbour ready to greet cruisers and assist with any questions they may have upon disembarking on the island.

The Guernsey cruise terminal can be found at St Peter Port. Credit: Shutterstock

When should you cruise to Guernsey?

St Peter Port Guernsey cruises usually visit between April and October. Summer temperatures are mild, with the hottest months August, July and then September.

- READ MORE: What to pack for your cruise holiday -

It's well worth visiting on a day when Seafront Sundays are taking place which always guarantee good atmosphere.

These offer the chance to stroll along the seafront with each having a different theme including Arts, Motorsport, Wildlife Care and EDABL – also known as Eat Drink and Be Local - a celebration of local food and drink on the Island.

Guernsey cruise: It's well worth visiting on a day when Seafront Sundays are taking place. Credit: Shutterstock

Where to go on a Guernsey cruise

Hauteville House

Guernsey was home to Victor Hugo, author of Les Miserables, for 15 years and Hauteville House is the eccentric house in St Peter Port where he lived and one of our most popular visitor sites.

The three-storey house is full of secret doors and bold interiors, with furniture designed to challenge visitors – hidden cupboards, secret stairways. Much of the furniture in the house was made by Hugo or to his design and the house is truly a unique experience in itself!

Look out for your line's Guernsey cruise excursions as Hauteville House is usually available on a shore excursion and can be visited as part of a guided tour. It is located about 10 minutes from the Guernsey cruise terminal which is also ideal.

- READ MORE: Find your ideal cruise style with our easy guide -

Little Chapel

Little Chapel is possibly the smallest chapel in the world and Guernsey’s most-loved visitor attraction. At just five metres in length, it can accommodate about 12 people.

It was built by Brother Déodat who started work in March 1914. His plan was to create a miniature version of the famous grotto and basilica at Lourdes in France. The whole chapel is encrusted in shells, coloured pebbles and china fragments and is free to visit.

The Petit Train

This delightful sightseeing trip aboard a motorised car train offers a picturesque tour around the capital of St Peter Port and is specially designed for those cruise passengers with limited time.

Guernsey cruise: Hauteville House is the eccentric house in St Peter Port where Victor Hugo lived. Credit: Shutterstock

The Occupation Museum

The German Occupation Museum on the island provides a unique insight into life in Guernsey during World War Two when it was occupied by German forces. It was created and run by islander, Richard Heaume, as a schoolboy, who found bullets in the local field after the plough went by and began collecting them.

In 1966, he began displaying his collection in the cottage opposite his parents' house, and since then his display has expanded exponentially. The museum is now a fascinating and extensive collection of original Occupation items and documents including many extremely rare pieces.

- READ MORE: How to choose your ideal cruise holiday -

Castle Cornet

Guarding St Peter Port Harbour, Castle Cornet is a majestic island castle dating back to 1206. It was originally built to protect the settlement and was formerly isolated on a rocky islet and accessible only by boat.

A breakwater and bridge were built in the 19th century and today visitors heading out on Guernsey cruise excursions can explore the battlements and enjoy views from the top of the castle across the Herm and Sark.

Candie Gardens

This beautifully maintained public garden boasts glorious views over St Peter Port harbour, as well as the sister islands Herm, Sark and Alderney.

Within the gardens, you’ll find the oldest known heated glasshouses in the British Isles, each filled with wonderful flowers and herbs as well as ponds, lawns, and an impressive array of flowers. It is also home to the new Victor Hugo Garden which opened in 2021.

Guernsey cruise: Castle Cornet is a majestic island castle dating back to 1206. Credit: Shutterstock

What to do in Guernsey

Renoir Art Walk

Renoir spent just over a month in Guernsey in 1883 and worked on 15 paintings during his stay, all depicting views of Moulin Huet, on the south coast of the island.

Art enthusiasts will delight in a Renoir Walk, following in the artist’s footsteps and seeing the part of the island he most loved from his perspective. Five specially crafted frames along the route will allow you to stand in the exact spots where Renoir worked on his paintings, so you can see Moulin Huet bay just as he did!

- READ MORE: How to book your first cruise holiday -

Outdoor adventure

Guernsey cruise holidays come with an array of diverse activities across the coast and inland.

Visitors should make use of tour provider Outdoor Guernsey for an abundance of activities such as archery, bush craft, cycling and climbing. Alternatively, at sea, you can get involved with coasteering, paddleboarding, kayaking and even puffin patrolling on the island’s coastal cliffs.

Candle making

At Guernsey Candles in Les Petites Capelles, you can watch the experts make each unique candle in their specialised workshop. You can follow the entire candle-making process all the way to the finished product. It’s a unique insight into a special art form!

Candie Gardens are beautifully maintained public garden boasting a glorious view. Credit: Shutterstock

What to eat and drink in Guernsey

Guernsey itself is known for producing incredible dairy products. The Guernsey cow breed, known as 'Guernseys' or the 'Golden Guernsey' is famous within the world dairy farming industry. They're known for their friendly, docile nature and for producing some of the best milk in the world - golden in colour, rich in flavour and with a high nutritional value.

Alongside luscious milk, cream, butter and ice cream, the Bailiwick’s award-winning artisan cheese is also made from Guernsey milk and is sold throughout the Island’s shops and local markets and is a must-try when on the islands.

- READ MORE: Find out more about food, drink and cruising -

Guernsey also boast some excellent Gin distilleries that stock the many bars and restaurants on the islands.

These include the family-run Wheadon’s Gin which takes inspiration and tastes from the local environment and the award-winning Blue Bottle Gin – noted for its tropical (almost coconut) scent of the local gorse flower.

Guernsey cruise: Guernsey cows are famous within the world dairy farming industry. Credit: Shutterstock

What to pack for a Guernsey cruise

Number one thing to pack for your cruise to Guernsey is a pair of walking boots. With so much to see and do, the best thing to do is get out and explore.

Don’t forget sun cream either – even though the island is still part of the British Isles, it's closer to France and summer comes earlier than in the UK.

- READ MORE: Jane McDonald shares her top packing tips -

If heading to the neighbouring island of Herm, beware of the ‘Herm Burn’ – because of the lack of pollution (and shade) the sun can be particularly strong.

Other essentials will include extra layers for when the weather gets cooler in the evening, a rain jacket, swimwear, beach towels, sunglasses, evening wear, a change of shoes, toiletries and other essentials you'd take on a UK holiday.

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