Places & Attractions
Your Luxury Island Experience is packed with amazing sights with a full island tour in the company of local wildlife expert and warden of the British Isles’ newest bird observatory, John Horton. Here are some of the highlights.
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.
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.
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. On your journey you may be lucky and sea the Atlantic Grey Seals and Bottlenose Dolphins that regularly put in appearance so make sure you take a camera along!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, inter-tidal, 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!
This is a fantastic opportunity to discover some of the Island’s nocturnal residents under the famed dark skies without the usual light pollution. At the Bird Observatory Moth Trap there is an opportunity to observe and learn about moth research and you get to visit several well known locations to see bats in their natural habitat.
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. and you get a close up view from the Boat Trip. Although you can no longer go inside, it is well worth the walk as you can enjoy spectacular views across the island to France.
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.
St Anne’s 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.