Alderney is the third largest of the Channel Islands and is one of the few unspoiled, peaceful and natural British Isles. The island is only one and a half miles wide and three and a half miles long. It is situated at the mouth of the Channel, nine miles due West of Cap de la Hague in Normandy. It has about two thousand inhabitants. Like its neighboring islands Guernsey and Jersey, the island enjoys a mild climate and is independent with its own government and an offshore finance and E-commerce sector.
Despite its close proximity to mainland France, Alderney has managed to avoid mainstream tourism. Although remote, it is well connected with direct scheduled air links from the United Kingdom. It has its own airport and harbor.
Alderney is an island with an ancient and varied history, a wide assortment of flora, fauna and beautiful beaches and a unique contagious phenomenon known as “the Alderney Feeling.”
Alderney has high cliffs along its southern coastlines, the eastern end contains older harder rocks overlaid with sandstone, it is the only Channel Island to contain this rock. The first harbor was built at Braye in the mid 18th century. Most of the population in Alderney was developed from the original ‘nucleated village’ settlement around the Bourgage and the old church.
The island is renowned for its severe tides and rugged dangerous coastline. It has proven to be the undoing of many ships over the centuries. Even today visitors to Alderney can view ship wrecks of ancient days. One such shipwreck, which has provoked worldwide interest, is a vessel, which came to grief towards the end of the sixteenth century. It is also the only known wreck on an English warship of the Elizabethan age. Known as the “Elizabethan Wreck” it is believed this was one of the ships which fought against the Spanish Armada.
How to Get There
There are many ways to get to Alderney; you may travel by air or sea by using any of the many scheduled services available or you may opt for private travels and take a day trip to visit the island.
Where to Stay
Once you get there Alderney has many choices for accommodations. There are privately owned hotels, guest houses with friendly staff and a wide variety of holiday flats or houses for every taste and budget. It is recommended that you pre book your accommodations before you travel to Alderney particularly if you plan to travel during the high season (July-September).
For the more adventurous, you can camp at Saye Campsite, which is positioned adjacent to several of Alderney’s finest beaches.
Once you get to Alderney you can join one of the many interesting guided walks, whether it is a historical walking tour or bird watching and nocturnal bat walk. There are also cycles for hire and also cars and taxis that will get you around the island. There are even Alderney’s famous trains to get you to and from the various sites.
Photo: Flickr / VisitAlderney