St Peter Port, Guernsey
Local Sightseeing, All
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Approximately 5¼ Hours
The jewel in the Channel Islands' crown, tiny Herm Island lies just off the coast of Guernsey. Herm has enjoyed a colorful history and many vestiges of the past can still be seen here. The island has been home to Neolithic man, monks, quarrymen, farmers, writers, artists and wealthy entrepreneurs. Settlers arrived in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages and the revealing remains of their tombs can still be seen. In medieval times, the position and solitude of Herm held great spiritual appeal for those seeking the monastic life. Today however, with its traffic- and pollution-free environment, it is described as a paradise of natural beauty and tranquility.
Coming ashore by ship's tender at St Peter Port; then, walk the short distance to the ferry embarkation point and a 20-minute ride takes you to Herm -- just 1½ miles long and only a half-mile wide. Although small, the island boasts scenery and natural beauty that are wide-ranging -- from woodland to open fields and gentle hills to golden beaches.
Your walk around the island will take you at a leisurely pace uphill past the shops and tavern, with views across the fields and to the beach below. Natural beauty is interspersed by ancient burial chambers -- evidence of some of the first occupants who colonized Herm between 3000 - 2000 BC.
At the center of the island lies the Manor Village area and a cluster of islanders' homes. Here you also find Herm School and St Tugul's Chapel, with its stunning stained-glass windows. Circle the Manor village and walk down the hill, where wildflowers and cultivated plants add color all year round.
Returning to Harbour Village, you will find Herm's gift shops, which have a reputation for providing interesting and good value items. The shops are set in a Mediterannean-style piazza, adding great character to the harborfront, lined with whitewashed and pastel-colored cottages. The small post office sells fascinating stamps, which have become collectors' items all over the world.
If you wish, you can sample local beer (at your own expense) from one of the Channel Island breweries. A short stroll brings you back to the ferry embarkation point and return crossing to St Peter Port.
Tour involves a leisurely two-hour walk over mostly-flat paths and a slight incline. Restroom facilities are not available at the beaches. Wear comfortable walking shoes.