The Channel Islands are a small archipelago off the coast of Normandy, France, in the English Channel between England and France. They are English Crown dependencies but they are a) not part of the Commonwealth, b) not part of the European Union, and c) also not considered part of the United Kingdom. There are only seven inhabited islands, of the 20 or so islands that make up the island chain.
The Channel Islands represent the last of the Duchy of Normandy, which was disbanded in 1204. Prehistory is rampant on the islands; there have been important archaeological finds such as hoards of both Bronze and Iron Age coins. There is also evidence of human activity as early as 250,000 years ago in the caves at La Cotte de St Bredate; in addition, cave paintings from 12,000 years ago have been uncovered. From the Neolithic Era, there are dolmens, which indicate burial sites. There are enough of these to suggest that there was a wide community on the islands, or possibly several communities, and that there was also interaction between the islands and the coasts of both Brittany and England. The islands changed hands during much of the York/Lancaster and early Tudor rule in England (1400-1600s, approximately). In WWII, the Islands reached claim to fame by being the only place in the British Isles to be occupied by the Germans.
The large tidal variation around the islands provides a rich intertidal zone and several of the coasts have been designated as wetlands of international importance. With that in mind, the Channel Islands are an excellent place to sea kayak, scuba dive, and snorkel. Other activities on the islands include skydiving, cycling, and hiking. The roads are generally quiet for bicycles and there are plenty of trails to explore on foot.
Travellers looking for hostel accommodation in the Channel Islands should look for hostels in the main town of St. Heliers on Jersey, as there are very few. Other accommodation on the islands is in the form of boutique hotels, b&bs, and guesthouses. Budget accommodation can be found in self-catered apartments or holiday homes, of which there are plenty of on the main islands.
Once you have your hostel accommodation sorted, go out to explore. In the summer, the islands are awash with golden sand beaches and rocky coastlines. Explore the underwater terrain or set sail on the clear blue water. Whatever you do in the Channel Islands, you will enjoy it!
Hi, I'm Jakob Lombardi,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Channel Islands hostels. Welcome.
Jersey is not part of England, or the UK for that matter but independent and is actually an Island in the British Isles. Fantastic place for families, mature people, food lovers, plenty of cliff walks etc. One thing it doesn't have is really a proper club scene.