Adventurous Solo Traveling to the English Channel Islands

If you are looking forward to traveling by yourself on a remote island, then you might consider seeing the Channel Islands, near England. These islands are the ideal place for a solo traveller looking to vacation somewhere unconventional.

Where and what are the Channel Islands?

The Channel Islands are located in the Atlantic Ocean between England and France. The British Royal Navy named these islands after the English Channel, where they lie. People on these islands speak English, but aren’t British citizens.

Wait, are the Channel Islands separate countries?

It’s complicated. These islands both are and aren’t a ‘country.’ They aren’t the United Kingdom, they’re self-governing. Similarly, each of the Channel Islands operates as if they were tiny, separate countries. They are grouped as the ‘Channel Islands’ because of their geographical proximity, not because of a shared government. For instance, Sark is part of the Guernsey Bailiwick but uses Norman laws and has a separate parliament. If you’re looking to add a new country to your list, you may be able to count one or more of these islands.

How safe are the Channel Islands?

The Channel Islands experience little to no crime. Island residents reportedly leave their doors unlocked. For solo travellers, these islands are more secure than remote destinations and I have to say I always feel very safe here.

How do you travel to the Channel Islands?

If you are traveling in London, England, or Paris, France, you can visit the Channel Islands in a few hours (London has more direct travel). You can leave in the morning and have lunch by the seaside. If you have limited time and plan to visit only one island, the most convenient one to travel to is Jersey.

To Jersey

From London: 

9 ways, including:

  • 1-hour flight
  • 5- to 9-hour trip with bus, train, or car, and a ferry

From Paris:

6 ways, including:

  • 3-hour flight
  • 6- to 10-hour trip with bus, train, or car, and a ferry

To Guernsey

From London:

5 ways, including:

  • 1- to 3-hour flight
  • 8- to 11-hour trip with bus, train, or car, and a ferry

From Paris:

5 ways, including:

  • 6- to 11-hour trip with bus, train, or car, and a ferry

To Alderney

From London:

2 ways, including:

  • 1- to 3-hour flight

From Paris:

2 ways, including:

  • 5-hour flight

To Herm

From London:

5 ways, including:

  • 1- to 3-hour flight to Jersey or Guernsey, then one or two ferries up to 2 hours

From Paris:

5 ways, including:

  • 3-hour flight to Jersey, then two ferries
  • 7- to 12-hour trip with bus, train, or car, and one or two ferries

To Sark

From London:

7 ways, including:

  • 1- to 3-hour flight to Jersey or Guernsey, then a 1 to 2-hour ferry
  • 10- to 13-hour trip with bus or car, and a ferry

From Paris:

6 ways, including:

  • 3-hour flight to Jersey, then a 3-hour ferry
  • 8- to 13-hour trip with bus, train, or car, and a ferry
Alderney Airport, Channel Islands

Alderney Airport

Weather on the islands

The weather on the Channel Islands is noticeably milder than in England or France, and summer months June through September are the warmest, averaging 15° Celsius (60° Fahrenheit). However, you may experience strong winds, fog, and the occasional day of rain even in the summer (up to one inch of rain per month). Jersey has the warmest, driest summers of the five Channel Islands. The Channel Islands have chilly winter months.

Clothing for the Islands

Due to the chance of rain and fog, you should wear layers and waterproof clothing, even in the summer. Expect to explore ocean sports like kayaking will need waterproof jackets and pants. In addition, due to the occasionally rugged terrain, a sturdy pair of hiking boots or a pair of walking shoes with good tread is essential.

What Type of Traveller Enjoys the Channel Islands?

Here are some characters who will enjoy the Channel Islands:

  • The Outdoorsy Woman: If you’re the type of woman who has a well-used bicycle or worn-down hiking boots, these are your islands. In addition to ocean-related activities – sea kayaking, sea caving, surfing, jet-skiing, fishing – you can also spend days just hiking and walking the islands.
  • The History Geek: If history is your thing, you’ll love every one of the Channel Islands, which share historical records and culture for thousands of years. They have been occupied as far back as 250,000 years ago. The Channel Islands experienced many peoples, including Nazi Germans, and their castles, forts, and churches reflect this historical depth. There is even a Tibetan Buddhist carving on Sark.
  • The Animal Lover: If you love animals, these are your islands. Say ‘hello‘ to Jersey Cows, visit the zoo, see puffins on Herm, swim with seals, take horse-drawn carriage rides on Sark, kayak with dolphins, and picnic with donkeys in Alderney.

Regardless of the type of traveller you are, you’re likely to find something to do on these islands.

Channel Island Activities

If you want to stay up after midnight, partying, these aren’t your islands. The islands are small! For instance, Jersey, the largest of the islands, has one town, St. Helier. Two islands – Sark and Herm – do not allow cars. Here are a few of the things you can do on each island:

  • Go kayaking
  • Rent a jet ski
  • Explore the Plemont Rock Pools during low tide
  • Spend a beach day at Plemont Bay or St. Brelade’s Beach
  • Board a ferry to the Elizabeth Castle
  • Take a Seafari to view rare birds and sea life
  • Glamp at the Durrell Wildlife Camp, sleeping beside rare animals at the Jersey Zoo
  • Take a surfing or windsurfing lesson
  • Go on a coastal small group tour
  • Dive or snorkel with wild seals
  • Join a guided walk of St. Peter Port
  • Hike one of these 32 island trails
  • Visit Castle Cornet
  • Attend a live concert at St James Guernsey
Castle Cornet on the island of Guernsey

Castle Cornet

  • Hike the scenic Coastal Path (10 miles; 16 kilometers)
  • Take a sailing lesson at the sailing club
  • Tour Anne’s, the ‘Cathedral of the Channel Islands’
  • Visit one of the island’s 13 military forts
  • Take a train ride to the Quesnard Lighthouse
Welcome sign Aldernsey, Channel Islands

Welcome sign in Alderney

  • Hike the perimeter of the island (4 miles; 6 kilometres)
  • Take a ‘puffin patrol’ tour on a kayak
  • Enjoy glamping at the fully-equipped Seagull Campground
  • Buy an ice cream and enjoy an afternoon at Shell Beach
  • Have a pint of beer at the Mermaid Tavern
Atlantic Puffins

Atlantic Puffins

  • Explore sea caves under Sark
  • Take a horse-drawn carriage into town
  • Picnic and take a guided walk with a donkey at La Seigneurie Gardens
  • Stargaze and see why Sark is the world’s first ‘Dark Sky Island’
  • Walk across La Coupée, the footbridge between Sark and Little Sark
  • See Sarkhenge, a smaller version of Stonehenge
Centre of Sark, Channel Islands

Centre of Sark

Finally, if you’re a woman looking for a safe, remote location, these are your islands. The Channel Islands are a great visit from Europe and are rewarding destinations for the adventurous solo traveller.

Do you like running? Then you should not miss our guide: Winter Running In The Channel Islands: A Guide For Cold Weather Runners