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Channel Islands Travel Guide

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Alderney ©

These islands have been a dependency of the United Kingdom since the Norman Conquest in 1066, and English is the official language, but there is no doubting that the character-filled Channel Islands are also flamboyantly French. This is hardly surprising since they are situated just off the northwest coast of France, about 90 miles (145km) south of England.

The clutch of five islands is very small, their total area adding up to less than 80 square miles (207 sq km). The largest, and most visited are Jersey and Guernsey. The other three are Herm, Sark and Alderney.

The laid back beach and country lifestyle of the island group reflects the French factor in this unusual Anglo-French fusion, most of all in the cuisine, particularly the seafood dishes, and jolly festivals such as Jersey's annual 'Battle of the Flowers'.

For British holidaymakers, in particular, the islands provide a comfortable 'home from home' vacation station in the sunniest and warmest corner of the British Isles. Apart from lovely, scenic beaches where abundant watersports are on offer, there is plenty of history and heritage to explore and discover in the main towns of St Helier (Jersey) and St Peter Port (Guernsey). Museums, historic buildings and traditional events map out the islands' colourful past, including its more recent military and maritime history as the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by the Germans during World War II.

Hiking, cycling and golf are also enjoyable leisure pursuits well catered for on the islands, adding to the well-deserved reputation of this twin-cultured destination as an ideal choice for a quiet outdoor-oriented holiday.

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