Channel Islands

Travel Guide Europe Channel Islands



The Channel Islands are an archipelago of British Crown Dependencies in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two separate bailiwicks: the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey. They are considered the remnants of the Duchy of Normandy, and are not part of the United Kingdom. They have a total population of about 168,000 and their respective capitals, Saint Helier and St. Peter Port, have populations of 33,500 and 16,488, respectively. The total area of the islands is 194 km2.

Both Bailiwicks have been administered separately since the late 13th century; each has its own independent laws, elections, and representative bodies (although in modern times, politicians from the islands' legislatures are in regular contact). Any institution common to both is the exception rather than the rule.



Brief History

The Channel Islands have been inhabited for over 5,000 years and have a long and colourful history. During World War II they were occupied by Nazi Germany. They have many military structures, from this period and from the time of the Napoleonic Wars.

They count their independence of any ties to France from the year 1204.

Today, the islands' Head of State is the Queen of United Kingdom, who is represented in the islands by her Lieutenant-Governors. The Queen's role derives from her status as the successor to the now-defunct Duchy of Normandy, and the Islanders' version of the Loyal Toast is to "The Queen, our Duke". The islands' laws are a mixture of local legislation, customary law (heavily influenced by the English Common Law), Acts of the UK Parliament which have been extended to the islands and some European Union law. The islands have their own tax systems, currencies which are tied to pound sterling, banknotes, and individual parliaments. The relationship with the EU is little understood. They are in the European Customs Union allowing the free movement of people and of goods, but outside the ambit of fiscal and social legislation. The UK exited the EU in early 2020 and the transition period will end on 31 Dec 2020. It is not clear how this will affect the Channel Islands.




The permanently inhabited islands of the Channel Islands are:

All of these except Jersey are in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

The Chausey Islands south of Jersey are not generally included in the geographical definition of the Channel Islands but are occasionally described in English as 'French Channel Islands' in view of their French jurisdiction. They were historically linked to the Duchy of Normandy, but they are part of the French territory along with continental Normandy, and not part of the British Isles or of the Channel Islands in a political sense. They are an incorporated part of the commune of Granville (Manche). While they are popular with visitors from France, Channel Islanders rarely visit them as there are no direct transport links from the other islands.






Sights and Activities

Castle Cornet

Castle Cornet is a big castle that is a former tidal island, which is now on the breakwater for the capital's harbour. The tidal island was originally fortified between 1206 and 1256 with a castle. With the invention of gunpowder and cannons the castle was upgraded between 1545 and 1548. The castle was the official residence of the governor until 1672 when a disaster happened. A lightening bolt struck the magazine storage area causing an explosion that killed the governor, his mother, wife and a large number of staff. Today the castle incorporates several museums.

Casquets Lighthouses

The Casquets Lighthouses has been lighting the way fro sailors since 1724. The three stone lighthouses were built to give a distinctive light so they would not be confused with French lighthouses. The lighthouses have gone there several incarnations and at present have been converted to electric lights instead of the original coal and natural gas. Today the highest lighthouse is 37 m above average sea level and flashes five times every 30 seconds. The light house can be seen from 24 nautical miles (22 km) away in clear weather!

Elizabeth Castle

Elizabeth Castle was built off the coast of Saint Helier in the late 16th century. It was built because the power of cannons made the old castle of Mont Orgueil useless. Eventually the Governors of Jersey moved their official residence to the castle for more protection. The castle was site of many bloody battles during the English Civil War during the mid 17th century. In 1923 the British government gave the castle to the States of Jersey and the castle was opened to the public as a museum. The castle has remained a museum except during a brief period when the German occupied the castle and installed guns, bunkers and other battlements. For the offcial website click here.

La Hougue Bie

La Hougue Bie is a dolmen and mound that covers an ancient tomb, which is 2,000 years older than the Pyramids of Giza. The site has not remained static since 3,000 BC. In the 6th century local Christians tried to remove the pagan influences around the mound and later a medieval chapel was built on top of the mound. The nearby Archaeology and Geology Museum is also an excellent place to visit.




The Channel Islands have a typical maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. Temperatures in summer average around 20 °C during the day or a bit less. Winters are generally above zero with a few degrees below zero sometimes at night. Variations in temperatures, both between summer and winter as well as between days in the seasons, are low. Rain is possible year round, though autumn and winter is a bit wetter compared to the late spring and summer season.



Getting There

By Plane

Jersey Airport (JER) is where air travellers arrive. Blue Islands is based here and has flights to Paris, Dublin, Geneva, Zurich, Bournemouth, Southampton, Guernsey and Alderney. Aer Arann has flights between Jersey and Cork while BMI flies to and from London and Thomsonfly has flights to Coventry.

Guernsey Airport (GCI) is the only airport in Guernsey. Aurigny Air Services, a state airline, is based here and has flights to and from Alderney, Bristol, Dinard, Jersey, London and Manchester. Blue Islands flies to Alderney, Bournemouth, Geneva, Isle of Man, Jersey, Paris, Southampton and Zurich. Flybe has flights to Birmingham, Exeter, London, Manchester, Norwich and Southampton. Seasonal flights from the Netherlands are also available with Lufthansa and VLM Airlines.

By Boat

Condor Ferries has boats to and from Guernsey, Jersey, and St Malo in France. They also travel further on to Poole and Weymouth in the UK.



Red Tape

Although technically not part of the UK (nor EU), the entry requirements are the same.

Passport holders of members countries of the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland have the right of free movement and residence in the UK.[1]

European Economic Area: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Irish Republic, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom. Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are not members of the European Union (EU) but citizens of these countries have the same rights to enter, live in and work in the United Kingdom as EU citizens.[2]

For all other nationals, entry clearance (visa) may or may not be required for visiting the UK.

Nationals from the following countries do not require entry clearance (visa) for a stay of three or six months:
Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Canada, Caymen Islands, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominica, East Timor, El Salvador, Falkland Islands, Faroes, Gibraltar, Greenland, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong (SAR), Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Korea (South), Macau (SAR), Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Montserrat, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Samoa, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, South Georgia and Sandwich Islands, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tristan da Cunha, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican City.[3]

Visa nationals are required to apply for entry clearance before entering the UK.

For the latest visa requirements, visa application guides and other immigration matters, refer to the UK Border Agency Visa Services.




See also Money Matters

The currency of the Channel Islands is the pound sterling with the international currency code GBP (Great Britain Pound). The currency sign for pound is £ (the symbol is derived from the letter L). It is also known to the locals as quid (both singular and plural), which a slang term, so you might hear people say "two quid" instead of two pounds. One pound is divided into 100 pence (singular: penny).




See also Travel Health




See also Travel Safety



Keep Connected


See also International Telephone Calls


Since 1969, Jersey and Guernsey have operated postal administrations independently of the UK's Royal Mail, with their own postage stamps, which can be used for postage only in their respective Bailiwicks. UK stamps are no longer valid, but mail to the islands, and to the Isle of Man, is charged at UK inland rates. It was not until the early 1990s that the islands joined the UK's postcode system, Jersey postcodes using the initials JE and Guernsey GY.



  1. 1 European Citizens. UK Border Agency. Retrieved on 2008–08–17
  2. 2 Glossary. UK Border Agency. Retrieved 2009–02–18.
  3. 3 UK Border Agency Visa Services. Retrieved on 2009–02–18.

Channel Islands Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Channel Islands

This is version 7. Last edited at 11:26 on Dec 23, 20 by Utrecht. 12 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License