A well-kept secret by those in the know, the charming island of Alderney is an ideal hideaway for anyone who enjoys a slower pace and simple pleasures. One of the lesser-known islands on the British archipelago, Alderney is the northernmost of the inhabited Channel Islands and sits just 12 miles away from its French neighbour, Normandy. Only three miles long and one and a half wide, Alderney is easily explored by bicycle or on foot. Cycle along glorious stretches of white gold beaches, hop in a sea kayak to discover the surrounding waters, then enjoy a seafood barbecue at one of the many historical forts that through time have become an integral part of the landscape. This travel guide to Alderney introduces you to the best places to stay, dine and explore during your visit to this special island.
Nestled in cobblestone streets of St Anne – the main town also known as ‘La Ville’ by the island locals – you will find The Blonde Hedgehog. Named after the distinctive hedgehog species found on the island (rumoured to have been introduced to the wildlife here by a traveller carrying a couple in a Harrods shopping bag), this boutique hotel is a gorgeous little bolthole and perfect base from which to enjoy all that the island has to offer. Made up of three lovingly restored buildings, the hotel also offers a luxury three-bedroom cottage ideal for families or larger groups of friends. The team here are all about bespoke, hands-on service. Whatever you want to do on the island, they can arrange it. From bringing you a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and organising a private barbecue on the beach, to booking a tug-boat journey to nearby Normandy or a walking tour of the historical forts, they are at your service.
Within this charming family-run guest house, you will find a restaurant where you can order the most delicious fresh crab sandwich you’ve ever tasted. With a mission to use local produce whenever possible, the restaurant strives to support the nearby community and champion flavours inspired by Alderney. Expect a frequently changing menu of contemporary seasonal dishes that combine traditional British gastro-pub cuisine with European influences. For warm afternoons and evenings, enjoy dining in the garden or airy orangery.
The Old Barn: Located a two-minute walk from Longis Beach, here you can tuck into a lunch of fresh seafood on the open terrace, or in the chillier months, head indoors for afternoon tea by the open fire.
The Moorings: A beach bar and café on Braye Beach, this is a popular hotspot for visitors and locals seeking a tasty meal and drinks with some live music in a vibrant atmosphere. Come for sundowners with amazing sunset views before your meal.
The Blonde Hedgehog: With a focus on provenance and seasonality, The Blonde Hedgehog restaurant serves hearty comfort cuisine with some ingredients sourced right from their own kitchen garden. With an open terrace, this is the perfect spot for a long, lazy lunch and drinks.
Le Pesked: A rustic restaurant serving authentic French dishes in a cosy, romantic setting – perfect for an intimate date night.
Cantina No.6: A laid-back eatery serving delicious cocktails and great tapas-style sharing dishes as well as big plates. This is the place to come for pizzas.
One of the most fortified places on earth, Alderney is home to more than a dozen forts, all dotted across the island. Steeped in remarkable history, the Victorian-era forts were also used during World War II when Germany occupied the island. Spend an afternoon on a guided tour discovering the hidden passages and tunnels that sprawl across Alderney before heading up to the most famous of the forts, Fort Tourgis. Here you can organise a session of clay pigeon shooting against a backdrop of the sunset dipping behind the foamy waves crashing against the rocks below.
Sea Kayaking: Get a different perspective on the island by embarking on one of the sea kayak tours to explore the nearby shores. If the weather permits, paddle to Les Etacs where you will witness thousands of gannets nesting in the rocks.
Mannez Lighthouse: Hop on the train from Braye Beach which will take you up to Mannez Lighthouse. Here you can wander inside, then enjoy a picnic looking down on spectacular views of the cliffs beneath you.
Alderney Golf Club: Enjoy a game of golf on one of the most scenic courses in the Channel Islands. The nine-hole course (which features alternate tees to make for an 18-hole course) offers breathtaking panoramic views of the island’s beaches and forts.