Jethou is a small island located about 5 km off the eastern coast of Guernsey, just to the south of Herm. It was once connected to Herm by a short stretch of land, however it is thought that this land bridge was washed away in the year 708 by a particularly fierce storm.
Jethou is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey and can be easily seen from Guernsey’s eastern coastline.
The island has been leased to a variety of tenants over the years and its current owners have closed it to the public. Unfortunately, this means Jethou cannot currently be visited, meaning the only way to experience it is by viewing it either by boat or from the coastlines of Herm and Guernsey.
Jethou is rounded in shape and has a tall summit, overlooking several smaller islands in its beautiful surroundings. The summit was once home to a gallows, where pirates would be hanged. A small group of buildings can be seen on the north-east shore, including a manor house, a pub and a prison.
Jethou on horizon
Boats off the coast of Jethou from Herm
Accommodation – It is not possible to stay on Jethou. If you wish to see the island via a boat trip, the best options for accommodation can be found on nearby Guernsey. 3-star hotels on Guernsey vary in price from around £90 – £130, depending on the season. Hostels and BnBs are often better priced, with rooms available for around £50 per night.
Food – Guernsey is also your best bet for food, especially as the culinary offerings on the island are some of the best in the British Isles. A typical restaurant meal for one in Guernsey usually comes to around £15, although cheaper options such as cafes and fast-food outlets are also available. It is important to note that the cost of living in Guernsey is around 30% higher than in the UK, so you may find you have to pay a little extra for groceries.
Transportation – It is currently not possible to visit Jethou, as the island is under private ownership. However, various companies operating from Guernsey offer boat trips which can pass by Jethou, providing you with a chance to see its sights from the water. One of the best options is with Island Rib Voyages, who offer a 1 hour trip to Herm, passing Jethou along the way. This trip costs £29.50 for adults or £19.50 for children.
Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a hostel, eating out a little, cooking most of your meals, and using local transportation. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more often, expect this to be higher!
The eastern side of Jethou is an excellent place to spot wildlife such as seals and dolphins. During the summer months, you can often see puffins floating close to shore. The island has a rather dark past. Not only was it associated with pirates and smugglers, it is also said that Guernsey used Jethou to burn witches during the time of witch trials.
The name of the island is thought to stem from the Viking word ‘keithou’, meaning a place of roaring. This may be a reference to an unusual feature on the island known as the Creux du Diable, or Devil’s hole. This is a funnel-like hole in an area of rock on the south-eastern shore. As the waves crash beneath the hole, air is forced through it, producing a loud rushing sound.