For a holiday that was almost two years in the making, it was amazing that Guernsey lived up to all our expectations... which it did and more.
We were taken by the place (from afar) as our ferry docked en route to Jersey on our last Channel Island adventure in 2017 and were determined to find out more.
So, when Condor Ferries came knocking, we were only too happy to answer. And the trouble-free, three-hour sail from Poole to Guernsey was one of anticipation
That first impression, as we approached the harbour at St Peter Port, was just as good second time around... even more so as we drove off and got a close up look of the harbour front in all its glory, the pretty boat-filled marina, the statues, the unspoiled shopping streets - which we later explored on foot and heard all about on a land train trip from the Albert Pier.
Our hotel Les Rocquetes was just a few minutes drive (actually, everywhere on the island is a few minutes away even with a maximum speed limit of 35mph) and looked every inch the 18th century country home it once was.
It became a hotel in the 1940s and retains much of its original grandeur, but was taken over by Sarnia Hotels - a family owned hotel group and in the last few years has been substantially enlarged with additional accommodation, multi-purpose function room and a health suite with indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room and spa pool (and a great little children’s pool our girls loved) plus a gymnasium.
Our family room was more than big enough for a large double bed and bunks, with a balcony overlooking the serene and well kept gardens, accessible from the bar, where the meals were to all of our liking. I can still taste the fish and chips now!
The 15 minute walk, admittedly downhill, to the waterfront was one our four and six year-olds could manage -although in the name of research we did get a bus back - and it only cost £1.
There’s hardly a hustle and bustle about the capital, but plenty to discover, not least the bars, restaurants, cafes and shops.
Then there is the stunning Castle Cornet which greets you to the harbour and dates back to medieval times - now home to a couple of great museums - and the Victorian promenade which boasts the three tidal La Vallette Bathing Pools, built into the sea at Havelet Bay, and a tunnel through the cliff used by the Germans in WW2 for storage - now a quirky aquarium. Having just listened to Grandpa’s Greatest Escape, our girls loved the wartime memorabilia almost as much as the sea creatures.
Another wartime remnant, the German underground hospital and munitions store at St Andrew is just incredible and had to be seen to be believed. The stories it could tell...
Blessed with some good weather, we enjoyed two of the island’s perfect sandy beaches on the west coast - Cobo and Vazon, where to varying degrees of success we tried stand-up paddleboarding. Great fun.
The beautiful Sausmarez Park also left a lasting impression; a nice walk, plenty of shelter for picnicking and a simply awesome adventure playground for the kids.
Brad and family travelled from Poole with Condor Ferries (www.condorferries.co.uk) and stayed at Les Rocquettes Hotel (www.lesrocquettesguernsey.com)