The first thing that you need to know about doing a Guernsey day trip is that you need to be up early. Really early! But that all adds to the excitement (the kids were even up before us!) Getting to the port in Poole was easy and parking was across the road from the departure lounge, no complicated shuttle buses and off site parking required. We grabbed a coffee and some much needed pastries while we waited for friends to join us and then we checked in, which took about 5 minutes for the six of us. With very little stress and quite a lot of excitement we boarded and we were off just as the sun started to come up over Dorset.
Our seats were pre-booked on this ferry so we found them and settled in (for about 5 minutes). Everyone wanted to get up on deck and watch our dramatic exit from Poole harbour. The kids asked if we were allowed to go outside. We thought it should be compulsory!
For those of you who have never departed or arrived into Poole harbour will know what an incredible experience it is. As you make the turn around the National Trust’s spectacular Brownsea Island you see a gap that doesn’t look big enough for a ferry of this size to pass through! The gap separates the exclusive enclave of Sanbanks from the wilderness of Studland beach and the Purbeck hills beyond and we manage to squeeze through and head out into the English channel.
As the Dorset coast slipped away behind us, we returned below deck and thoughts turned to breakfast. A healthy breakfast of sausage sandwiches, bacon butties and coffee (OJ for the kids) was consumed in no time at all and the exploring continued. The kids informed us that there was a mini-cinema with giant bean bags where they could crash out and watch cartoons. They wouldn’t be back for a while. The four remaining grown up travellers planned what we were going to do when we arrived at St Peter’s Port in just about 2 hours time. That proved to be just enough time to browse the on board shop that offered big savings on drinks and gadgets and to play an over energetic game of tag with the kids on the top deck. I’ve travelled with them on planes and it wasn’t this much fun, trust me!
Before we knew it, islands appeared on the horizon and we started our approach to Guernsey. Let the Guernsey day trip begin! There’s something special about standing on deck with most of the other passengers as your ship enters a port you have never visited before. We were all amazed by how many islands we were navigating through and each one looked stunning. Vows were made to return for a week and explore them all via the network of local ferries.
A few minutes later and we were docking at St Peter’s Port. The whole process took less than 30 mins and we were all standing on the quayside in no time. Out came the map, and off we headed into town. It was a brilliant feeling to step off the ferry and start exploring. No waiting for bags, no transfers, no huge queues, just on with the fun.
We didn’t get very far but had a fantastic time exploring the town, eating lunch and soaking up the atmosphere of somewhere that looked very familiar but also felt very different. After checking out Victor Hugo’s house and making sure that we had taken photos next to the famous blue postboxes, it was time to head back to the ferry. Again, embarking couldn’t have been easier and we were off. Everyone was back up on deck to savour our passage back into the channel.
The kids were tired so hit the beanbags while we hit the shop. With our purchases safely made, we relaxed for the remainder of the journey, only emerging onto the top deck for a close up view of the stunning Old Harry’s rocks and the gorgeous sands of Studland beach. Once again we squeezed back into Poole harbour, checking out the amazing houses on Sandbanks as we did. From there we arrived back at the dock and disembarked with minimum fuss and maximum efficiency. We were bussed back to the departure lounge, crossed the road and were back in our cars for our journey home.
Our Guernsey day trip was an adventure where the journey was every bit as special as the destination. Photos were shared on social media and friends quizzed us about the trip (we should have been on commission!) Would we do it again….you bet we would. Would we recommend ta Guernsey day trip… absolutely! See you next time!
Guernsey day trip details: We travelled on the Condor Liberation from Poole to St Peter’s Port in Guernsey.