When you think of a traditional island village, you might picture narrow country lanes fringed with hedgerows, a line of cosy, rustic houses and a peaceful atmosphere that gently nourishes the soul. A village that matches this idyllic scene almost perfectly is the small settlement at the centre of Sark.
As one of the lesser known Channel Islands, Sark covers just over two square miles and is home to around 500 people. It is notable for being one of the few places in the world where cars are banned from the roads, meaning air pollution and engine noise are kept to the bare minimum.
As a result, Sark is quite possibly one of the best places in the Channel Islands – even in the world – to relax and recuperate. Although the main village may be small, there is a strong community feel to it and a wide range of amenities are packed in. A great selection of accommodation is available if you’re planning to stay on the island, including local B&B’s, quality hotels and numerous self-catering apartments and campsites.
Unique Public Transport
The majority of the village’s offerings can be found along the Avenue – the main street on Sark. The Avenue is packed with small shops and restaurants, making it a great place for a stroll. It is a peaceful spot, despite being the island’s main hub, although you are likely to see activity of some form.
If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of one of Sark’s horse-drawn carts here – a sight which transports you back in time and is sure to put a smile on your face. If you want the full experience, you can even book horse-drawn tours of the island, where you can admire the local scenery from a position of comfort and style.
A good stop to make on the Avenue is at Sark Visitor Centre. In my opinion, this is the best place to learn about local events, attractions or accommodation. You are also free to pick up maps of the island or information leaflets, or just have a chat with the friendly staff. From here, you can walk east, stopping by the local post office to send a postcard, or visiting Lorraine’s Pottery & Silverware. This studio is a great place to find hand-made gifts, with a wonderful selection of pots, plates and jewellery to choose from. You can even make your own requests for an extra touch of personalisation.
If you fancy a bite to eat while you’re out and about on Sark’s main street, you will certainly not be short of options. Several charming cafes, restaurants and pubs are located in the vicinity, including the very popular Bel Air Inn. If the weather is good, you can enjoy a few drinks here in their wonderful outdoor seating area. The Avenue is also the best place on the island to hire bicycles, with several shops providing this service. Aside from horse-drawn carts, this is the best way to get around the island.
A Window To The Past
Towards the northern end of Sark village, there is the island’s museum. Although small on the outside, there is a lot to see within, with the museum housing a diverse collection of photos, memorabilia and exhibits. A visit is sure to give you a unique insight into Sark’s rich heritage, with stories detailing the tumultuous war-time period the island experienced, as well as the centuries prior. It is an especially good thing to do when the weather is a little dreary, and offers excellent value for money.
To continue satisfying your taste for culture, why not make a visit to the local church. St. Peter’s Church was built in 1821, with a chancel and bell tower being added later on. The church maintains a strong presence within the community but is also very welcoming to visitors. While the interior of the building is intriguing to view, the grounds are just as scenic and can be a charming place for a walk.
From the church, it’s just a short distance to the Sark Island Hall & Community Centre. Not only is this the hub for many of the island’s community events – such as jumble sales and club meetings – it also has a very popular bar and café where you can enjoy a few drinks, as well as good food.
The village of Sark is certainly the most peaceful in the Channel Islands, but it does not disappoint in terms of visitor attractions or activities. It’s an excellent place to stay, as well as being the gateway to exploring the wider parts of the island and its fantastic scenery.
Although a small island, Sark has a lot to offer. Find out more in the following article: Adventures On The Island Of Sark