DISCOVER MORE ABOUT ALDERNEY
To enrich your appreciation of your holiday, we have provided you with some general information on Alderney and the places and attractions you can visit while on the Island.
Places and Attractions
Alderney has the only working railway in the Channel Islands. It was built by the British Government in the 1840’s and officially opened in 1847 by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert who rode on the railway in a horse drawn tender. Its original purpose was to carry stone from the eastern end of the island to build the breakwater and the Victorian forts.
Nowadays, the old train wagons which have been replaced by two London Underground carriages and a diesel engine carry visitors from Braye Road Station to Mannez Station near the Lighthouse. From train enthusiasts to families, this historic railway provides lots of interest and entertainment and a trip can be booked as part of your stay.
The Alderney Bird Observatory
The island sits under one of Europe’s great bird migration highways and each rear tens of thousands of trans-Saharan migrant birds stop off at the island annually to rest and refuel during their long journeys. Resident breeding birds include Dartford Warbler and Peregrine Falcon and The British Isles only breeding pairs of Fan-tailed Warblers.
Built in 1790, this beautiful old building, once the island’s school, is packed with local history and charm. The award winning museum provides history of the island from the pre-historic period to the present day and there are many fascinating displays including an extensive display of Alderney’s Elizabethan wreck and recent discovery of Roman remains.
This is the smallest of Alderney’s beaches, sheltered, secluded and calm and where you can enjoy spectacular views of two Victorian fortresses, Château â L’Etoc to your left and Fort Corblets to your right as well as the magnificent Mannez lighthouse.
Boat Trip around Alderney
In the safe hands of experienced local boat skipper Dave Venn aboard ‘Avante’ which can take up to 12 passengers, over two and a half hours you will experience the best views of ‘fortress Alderney’ from the sea and explore its magnificent offshore islet seabird colonies.
Only a few minutes from the town and harbour it is one of the island’s most popular beaches. Its beautiful white sands clear calm waters make it an idyllic place to relax and there are also a hand full restaurants on Braye Road accessible from the beach side just over the sand dunes.
This uninhabited island which lies two miles north west of Alderney is a bird sanctuary which is home to 11 species of breeding birds including the protected Puffin colony, one of the most iconic residents of Alderney. You will enjoy the best views of the island from a boat tour.
There are numerous surviving reminders of the military emplacements that were constructed during the German Occupation. These included artillery and anti aircraft batteries, an anti tank wall at Longis Bay all connected by miles of tunnels that acted as shelters and ammunition stores.
German Kubelwagen Jeep
Part of the WWII heritage here is the chance to get up close and personal with a real movie star! This fully restored workhorse of the Occupying forces has been lovingly restored with almost entirely original features and fittings and was used extensively in the hit movie ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’.
German Labour Camps
Thousands of slave workers, housed in four camps: Lagers Helgoland, Norderney, Borkum and Sylt from countries like Russia, Spain, France, Poland, and Algeria built hundreds of bunkers, anti-tank walls, as well as many tunnel complexes. One of these stark reminders of the Occupation is Norderney which is overlooked by Chateau l’Etoc, a Victorian Fort that housed Jews fleeing the German advance ahead of the German invasion and is now a private residence.
Hammond War Memorial
This poignant reminder of Alderney’s recent past. With five main plaques in Russian, Hebrew, Polish, French and Spanish, this memorial was built by local residents on their return to the island to commemorate the slaves and forced labourers, brought to Alderney by the Nazis during WWII, who subsequently died on the island from maltreatment.
The longest stretch of sand in Alderney, the bay has a gentle slope and is protected from winds by a German ‘anti-tank wall’ built during the WWII Occupation.
Longis Nature Reserve
Longis Nature Reserve is the largest reserve in Alderney, covering over 10 percent of the island. It contains thirteen distinctly different habitats including marine, intertidal, coastal heathland, grassland, scrub woodland and freshwater ponds, both natural and man-made. The new Naturetrek hide is the perfect place to view various breeding birds amongst its reed-bed and it is also a regular haunt for colourful dragonflies and damselflies.
This stone built lighthouse has a tower that stands 32m high and was painted white with a black band to make it more visible to shipping during the hours of daylight. The lamps are is remotely controlled from Trinity House in Harwich and it boasts two of the largest foghorns in the world!
A Roman signal fort which today is home of Britain’s most southerly bird observatory studying the science of bird migration. Immerse yourself in history dating back to the 4th century, this impressive structure tells the story of layers of military occupation from the Roman exterior walls through to the Nazi bunkers. From well preserved examples of herring bone Roman wall design to the WW11 German bunkers which are much as they were left by the occupying army. By torch light you can explore the pitch-black underground tunnels now considered to have been a Nazi chemical weapons store. Your visit ends with a look inside The Nunnery itself to learn about the research undertaken by the observatory.
This massive five-story naval range finding tower is a fine example of the Islands many concrete bunkers built by the Germans. Although you can no longer go inside, it is well worth the walk as you can enjoy spectacular views across the island to France.
St Annes Church
The church of St Anne, consecrated in 1850 and built to the design of Sir George Gilbert Scott, is acknowledged to be one of the finest Victorian buildings in the Channel Islands. Situated in beautiful surroundings and easily accessible from Victoria Street, this stunning church, home of a full peal of 12 bells, is well worth a visit.
The beautiful curve of white sand, which is sheltered by rocky headlands either side, leads gently down to crystal clear blue waters and in the height of the summer you can often discover an entire beach all to yourself, or share it with a couple of oyster catchers or the resident grey seal.
Alderney’s coastline is dotted with many impressive forts, confirming its military importance over the centuries. One example is Fort Albert, which was originally named Fort Touraille, but later re-named following the death of the Prince Albert in in 1861. This fort was one of the last of the forts to be built and was intended to be not only the strongest coastal defence work, but also to act as the main citadel should the island be overrun by enemy forces. Nowadays it offers arguably the best viewpoint on the island and provides another great opportunity to take some impressive photos. Other notable forts are Fort Clonque, Fort Tourgis, Fort Grosnez and Fort Chateau a L’Etoc.
Restaurants & Places to Stay
The Blonde Hedgehog Hotel – St Anne
Alderney’s first boutique hotel, it sits nestled among the cobblestone streets of St Anne. It is formed from a collection of restored 18th Century buildings to provide nine beautifully appointed rooms and suites with a further three bedrooms available in the separate Corner House cottage opposite. The Restaurant is the heart of the hotel and focuses on providing simple dishes bursting with delicious and exciting flavours
Braye Beach Hotel – Braye
Overlooking the yellow sandy Braye beach, this award winning hotel offers a choice warmly decorated and well-equipped bedrooms, some with stunning sea views, a relaxed bar with terrace, a brasserie, an A La carte restaurant serving dishes from delicious local produce and a steak house and cocktail bar situated in the old wine cellar. There’s even a cinema if the weather gets too rough!
The Georgian House – St Anne
Situated in St. Anne, this public house & restaurant has a menu that is a contemporary mix of ‘traditional British pub’ and European style with a seafood influence. It is often fully booked in anticipation of its fresh crab sandwiches! An excellent and quality menu awaits
La Ville Hotel – St Anne
Located on the beautiful cobbled Victoria Street, at the heart of the vibrant Alderney community of St Anne with Alderney Wildlife centre, Alderney Museum, shops and restaurants all within a few minutes walking distance. The hotel comprises of 20 spacious ensuite rooms that are comfortably appointed, there’s a large restaurant offering simple, traditional fare for those exploring the Island and a cosy bar with an excellent selection of drinks.
The Old Barn – Longis Beach
In a delightful location just a short walk from Longis Beach, this hidden gem offering a good quality lunch menu from a variety of baguettes and sandwiches to more substantial hot food dishes.
At just one and a half miles wide and three and a half miles long, you are never far from the charming town centre of St. Anne or the beautiful coastline. With no crowds, no queues and no traffic jams, this unique small island is often described as the ‘hidden gem of the Channel Islands’ and offers a warm, peaceful and relaxing escape for you to enjoy.
You can walk the stunning cliff paths, enjoy quiet, uncrowded sandy beaches or why not try your hand at bird-watching or rock pooling and you don’t have to travel far to find the past. From World War II bunkers to ancient burial grounds, forts, and an Iron Age pottery – all waiting to be discovered.
From high quality restaurants to laid back lunches with a view of the sea, afternoon tea in a sunny garden or fish and chips by the harbour, every dining experience offers the freshest ingredients and tantalising choice. Just bring a healthy appetite! To round off the day, enjoy a night of star-gazing under truly dark skies.
Alderney Blonde Hedgehog
This rare mammal is one of Alderney’s iconic residents, making up nearly half of the hedgehog population. Its distinctive pale colour makes it quite easy to spot and they can be found foraging all around the island soon after sunset from spring to autumn.
Butterflies & Moths
The Island is blessed with double figures of butterfly species on any given day during the summer months incluiding the beautiful Glanville Fritillary, which, whilst rare in the UK is quite common in Alderney. The orange and brown chequered butterfly can be seen all over the island especially on the South Cliffs, as well at Longis Reserve and along the railway track. Alderney has recorded over 1000 different species of moths, and at the Alderney Bird Observatory moth trap there is an opportunity to observe and learn about moth research, these ‘night flying butterflies’ are a strong indicator of a flourishing ecosystem.
Alderney is one of the best places in Europe to observe the night sky and often the stars in the sky are something to behold, which was the very reason Sir Patrick Moore had a residence here.
This majestic bird which has the biggest wingspan of any European seabird comes to breed on two of Alderney’s rocky outcrops: Les Etacs with nearly 6,000 pairs and Ortac with another 2,700 pairs, which is 1% of the world’s northern gannet population which are best seen from a boat trip.
These can often be spotted from the coastal paths, particularly those in the north east of the Island that overlook the French coast.
The quaint cobbled Victoria Street in St Anne has a traditional high street feel with a post office, newsagent, butcher, hardware store and a deli, as well as boutiques and charming souvenir shops. With colourful bunting threaded from side to side across the street, it offers a unique shopping experience to enjoy. Elsewhere on the island you’ll find ‘honesty boxes’ on people’s doorsteps, selling everything from fruit and vegetables to flowers and eggs, to home made jams and chutneys.
Depending on the time of year that you visit ,the island can be awash with wildflowers with over 1200 species recorded, The flora includes beautiful, rare wild orchids and the Alderney Sea Lavender is amongst several exceedingly rare coastal dwelling flowers hard to find elsewhere in the British Isles.
Wining & Dining
From high quality restaurants to laid back lunches with a view of the sea, afternoon tea in a sunny garden or fish and chips by the harbour, every dining experience offers the freshest ingredients and tantalising choice.
For more information about your booking, to notify us of any dietary requirement, personal needs or simply to enquire about a revised itinerary call us on 020 7118 2110.