We went on our first family holiday this September, to Guernsey which is one of the Channel Islands. We had a wonderful time even though
Ozzy had the sniffles and didn't want to go to bed!
I used to spend every summer in Guernsey growing up. My family had a yacht, so we used to sail over (despite my horrendous sea sickness each time) and spend the sunny weeks of the summer there. I loved it once I had recovered from the Channel crossing and all the puking, and there was always so much to do.
I couldn't wait to introduce Tom and Ozzy to it, and here is what we got up to:
We bought Ozzy his very own Guernsey Bear
The Guernsey Bear is an Icon. Him and his bear friends and family are on the postcards, photographed all over the island. There are differet varieties for sale with different jumpers but the best part is that
you can get the back of them personalised (and apparently you can find adult sized ones too,). So here is Ozzy with his Ozzy bear, and this was clearly the highlight of the trip for me! We were also given a baby Mason one as a gift when Ozzy was born from my lovely friend Vikki, and these 2 are now proudly snuggled up in his cot.
We visited museums and the Castle Cornet
We aren't usually cultured enough to do this, but we used to visit these places every summer and I wanted to return. They had hardly changed and it was lovely to wander round and show Tom and Ozzy all the information about Guernsey's history. In August these are filled with tourists and children running around, but we went in early September and they were almost creepily quiet. It was great though, Ozzy loved it and we were even there for the 'Noon Day Gun', a mock firing of the Canon from the Castle Cornet at 12 every day.
We wandered around St Peter Port, where we were staying, in a beautiful hotel called the Duke of Normandie which was wonderful, right in the centre of it all but quiet and really baby friendly. Also the breakfast was fantastic. On the first day I told Tom my favourite part of the day had been breakfast. Here is Ozzy tucking in. Breakfast was included in the price, but it was cooked to order whatever you wanted, or buffet Continental. We did have a high chair for Ozzy but he wanted to sit on the bench with me. He tucked into fruit, eggs and sausages. It was probably the highlight of the holiday for him.
St Peter Port
This, to me is the 'main' part of the island and is where the harbour is that we would always be in on the boat. In the evenings we would pick up fish and chips or a pizza, and go an sit somewhere on the seafront while we ate. There were old battlements to explore, outdoor Victorian bathing pools (we saw a swimmer in one at 7pm, it must have been freezing!). The high street had a cute village feel and there was bunting everywhere, but there was a great selection of shops and a huge M&S foodhall.
Fermain Bay and Coastal Walk
We got the bus to my favourite beach on the island, Fermain Bay. (The bus was £1 each, and in Guernsey they have £1 notes!). I love this beach. We used to go there for the rockpooling really, as it's a stony uncomfortable beach (there are better ones for relaxing on beautiful sand and dipping in the pool, nice flat wide ones like Vazon Bay). We sat and watched the tide come in while Ozzy tried to eat pebbles, and we failed at skimming some stones.
When the tide was in far enough that we were worried about getting wet, we got Ice Creams from the beach cafe and set out on the coastal walk. I've done this countless times but not for about 15 years. But you know what, it just hadn't changed a bit. It was every bit as beautiful as I had been remembering, even more so, perhaps because I'm now 24 and not a grumpy child who's feet hurt and who wanted to go home and play on their Gameboy (side note, I do own a Gameboy but I'm much less attached to it, and my feet did hurt but I packed plasters).
We followed the arrows carved into stones and looked down over the bay. We climbed up steps and clambered over logs and lusted after some of the beautiful big houses with gorgeous sea views. Ozzy fell asleep in the carrier and we got so lost in conversation and looking at the sea that I forgot to take any photos of the walk. We came out in St Peter Port by the Victorian pools and wandered back to the hotel.
The Terrace Cafe and the Leisure Centre
We had lunch in the Terrace Cafe which looks out over the bay. It was exactly like I remembered, and Ozzy slept in his pushchair while we ate and had a sneaky beer or two. It was lovely and quiet, and although we weren't able to go in the evening for their spectacular thai curry, the lunch was pretty good too.
We walked through the Candie Gardens to the Leisure Centre, and took Ozzy swimming there. I was so excited to go on the big slides like we used to, and was a bit gutted to see that they had removed them, but the pool was still great and Ozzy did lots of swimming, giggling and splashing.
We were quite nervous about Ozzy going on a plane for the first time, even though it was only a 90 minute flight. I wasn't concerned about his ears hurting or him crying, more that he won't physically sit still for 5 minutes let alone 90. But you know what? There and back were both FINE. We kept him up all morning (they were both lunchtime flights) and for both journeys he just nodded off on my lap as we were preparing for take off. He would wake up during the descent and happily play with his toys until we landed, only getting cranky as we were about to leave the plane anyway.
He needs to crawl and cruise and roll and generally throw himself around to get rid of his energy, so being cooped up was always going to be tricky but we made it. Not sure how parents who go on long haul flights cope with the stress of it!
It was the perfect holiday. Not too exotic or too far to fly, but it was a little different from our usual long weekends in England.
If you're considering Guernsey as a holiday destination (whether with kids or without) please let me know if you have any questions!
Have you ever visitied? what is your favourite part?
Ellie :) x