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Guernsey vs Jersey: Which Channel Island getaway is right for you?

Only a hop away from the UK, Guernsey and Jersey both offer the perfect weekend break– without the long-haul flights. But will it be Guernsey's cultural connections, or Jersey's wildlife that tempts you?

St Peter Port, Guernsey (Shutterstock)

Guernsey

(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

Population: 67,052

Total area: 78 sq km

Capital: St Peter Port

Famous for: Its charming port and famous residents, including Renoir and Victor Hugo

Jersey

(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

Population: 106,800

Total area: 119.5 sq km

Capital: St Helier

Famous for: Its beaches and world-famous zoo – and being the largest Channel Island

Guernsey vs Jersey on... history

Mont Orgueil, Jersey (Shutterstock)

Mont Orgueil, Jersey (Shutterstock)

Guernsey's ruins go back to Neolithic times, but it's infamous for its Nazi occupation during WWII.

Visit an underground hospital on the 35km Island Occupation Trail, spy the concrete forts that blot the coastlines, or celebrate the annual Liberation Day (9 May) with the locals. 

Trace the island's wartime past at the Jersey War Tunnels and at their own Liberation Day event, marking 75 years since Nazi defeat.

Or travel back to medieval times at Mont Orgueil fortress in Gorey, which eclipses the fishing village -look out for hidden art that reveals the castle's 800-year-old history. 

Top tip: Both islands go back thousands of years, so to soak up both their histories, ferry on over to be on the next island in around an hour. Then carry on island hopping with visits to Herm, Sark and Alderney

Guernsey vs Jersey on... culture

Moulin Huet Bay, Guernsey (Shutterstock)

Moulin Huet Bay, Guernsey (Shutterstock)

Impressionist artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir and exiled Les Miserables writer Victor Hugo are among Guernsey's more iconic residents – and their presence lingers still.

Admire the design of Hugo's Hauteville House in St Peter Port, or stroll along the Renoir Route in Moulin Huet to pass through the landscapes he painted. 

Superstar socialite and actress Lillie Langtry – 'The Jersey Lily' – takes centre stage at St Helier's Jersey Museum and Art Gallery.

Here, you'll find a Millais painting that the famous artist fixed upon her glittering debut in 19th-century London society. Other personal effects on display include a brooch given to her by Edward VII.

Guernsey vs Jersey on... wildlife

Puffins visit Guernsey during spring and summer (Shutterstock)

Puffins visit Guernsey during spring and summer (Shutterstock)

Black and white feathers, orange legs and bright beaks – we can only be talking about puffins.

From mid-March to July, the birds crowd Guernsey, and you can spy them dipping in and out of the waters around Herm and Jethou on a sailing trip. For a more daring way to spot them, hire a kayak from Herm Shell Beach.

(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

Lowland gorillas and orangutans are closer to home than you think; they are, after all, the current occupants of naturalist Gerald Durrell's Jersey Zoo.

Bottlenose dolphins can also be seen on the coast, while green lizards inhabit Jersey NP-the only place in Britain to spot them in the wild and the perfect place to take time out. 

Guernsey vs Jersey on... bays

The ever-popular St Brelade's Bay, Jersey (Shutterstock)

The ever-popular St Brelade's Bay, Jersey (Shutterstock)

Cool Atlantic waters and cliff walks await at Moulin Huet Bay, a tucked-away treasure nicknamed 'Renoir's Bay' after the artist's famously productive visit.

He was inspired by the view and racked up 15 paintings here, but it's OK if you just want to take a dip, then climb up to Moulin Huet's tea rooms to munch on local crab sandwiches.

St Brelade's Bay is glorious, but everyone knows it. For a secret hideaway, instead try sunny Portelet, where you can climb down steps to find a relaxing beach paradise.

At low tide, walk over to an islet known as Janvrin's Tomb, the resting place of a plagued sea captain, but make sure you don't get cut off by the incoming waters. 

Verdict

With a shared wartime past and secret beach paradises, these islands offer a lot of bang for your buck. Jersey arguably has more attractions while Guernsey has more diverse landscapes. Luckily, they're so close (an hour's ferry apart), you can visit both! 

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