The Best Way To Get To The Channel Islands: Jersey & Guernsey


When you travel to the Channel Islands, whether your final destination is Guernsey, Jersey or Alderney, the main modes of transport to get from London and the UK mainland to the Channel Islands are by the speedy Condor Catamaran, the Condor Ferry boat or to fly.

For me, the Condor wins hands down. There is no better way to arrive into Guernsey in particular, than pulling up into the picturesque St Peter Port, with the wind in your hair and watching the boat navigate between the narrow harbour walls. You dock up, right in the centre of one of the prettiest of towns in Europe and within minutes of disembarkation, can be walking up the main street in St Peter Port.

Last time we arrived this way into Guernsey, Dolphins greeted us, jumping out of the water alongside the boat. They were so close that you could see the water on their grey skin glittering in the sunshine. I can’t think of a better way to arrive than that!

1. Condor Ferries Liberation To Guernsey

IMHO, the Condor Ferries Liberation To Guernsey & Jersey is the best way to travel to the Channel Islands.

Whether you are travelling by foot or by car in the summer, the Condor Catamaran named Liberation is such a great to travel to the channel islands. If you have loaded up your car you can take an almost unlimited supply of whatever you want to take with you. You simply can’t do this on the plane as your luggage is so limited.

The speedy Condor Catamaran has space for up to 880 passengers and 245 cars and takes around 3 hours (specific timings are dependant on the tides, which dictate when the Condor can get in and out of St Peter Port harbour) and when the weather is good, it is a smooth and quick way to get to the islands of Guernsey and Jersey.

Onboard the Condor itself you have a choice of three classes of travel. Ocean Traveller is the standard class with bright blue airline-style seating dotted around the boat. In this class, you have access to a cafeteria and some snack bars, as well as the duty-free shop that is extremely good value for spirits, cigarettes and perfume.

Ocean Plus takes up at the entire front section of the boat and is named the “Horizon Lounge”. It is arguably the best choice if you are budget conscious but still want a good level of comfort and luxury. This lounge has the best views, spanning the front of the boat and all the way across the horizon.

Finally, Ocean Club is a private lounge to the right side of the boat when facing forward, with enhanced reclining leather seating, table service and complimentary newspapers and hot drinks. I particularly like that they now offer bottled water (unlimited) in this lounge and a variety of complimentary snacks throughout the day. For our outward morning trip we had a pastry each. For our return late-night trip, we had a packet of crisps each plus an airline-style amenity kit with a blow-up neck cushion, eye mask, hand cream, tissues and ear plugs. All very useful.

The Ocean Club also has its own (payable) food menu which is served to your table and is very good with a variety of light bites like sandwiches and hot and cold wraps as well as things like a full English breakfast, egg and chips and anything else you fancy from the cafeteria. While the food is not fine dining, it is delivered with a smile and is very solid and of decent quality.

All the seats in the Ocean Club lounge have their own table and power supply and it is nice to have table service and meals served to you on proper plates. I have reviewed the three classes of travel in more detail in my article reviewing Condor Ferries Poole To Guernsey.

Is it worth upgrading to Ocean Plus and Ocean Club on Condor?

The price of a one-way upgrade to Ocean Plus seat from UK to the Channel Islands is currently £9.95 GBP one way. The cost of upgrading to Ocean Club is £29.95 GBP. Without hesitation, I would recommend upgrading to Ocean Plus. Last summer I wrote a more detailed review of the Ocean Club on Condor Liberation if you would like to read a more detailed review about this boat which travels between Poole and the Channel Islands.

Whether it is worth upgrading to Ocean Club is a more difficult question. Ocean Club is arguably the most luxurious way to get to the channel islands. Better than flying and better than the ferry. The seats are large and comfortable, you get free unlimited drinks and some snacks. The power sockets and tables mean you can work throughout and the ambience is quieter than the other lounges, making it more conducive to working or sleeping. So yes, I think it is worth the upgrade too, budgets allowing.

2. Condor Ferries Clipper

The Condor Clipper is a conventional ferry which means it travels across to Guernsey whatever the weather (unlike the Condor Liberation which is faster but does not run in high winds). This well-equipped ship operates daily between Portsmouth and the Islands and has space for 300 passengers and over 100 cars.

You can book reclining seats or even a cabin as the Clipper takes around 7 hours to travel between Portsmouth and St Peter Port, making it a less appealing choice than the Condor Liberation which travels from Poole and does the trip in 3 hours. It is, however, a good option if you are travelling with a caravan, car or transporting larger items.

3. Flying

Flybe, Easyjet and British Airways all fly directly into Jersey making it easier and cheaper to visit than Guernsey, which is mainly serviced by Flybe and Aurigny.

Getting to the Channel Islands from London is very easy, taking just over an hour from Heathrow and Gatwick, but do remember, you have to get to the airport significantly before your flight leaves, adding to the overall travel times and luggage can be a pricy add-on when flying too.

You should also consider taking the train from Waterloo to Poole and then taking a short bus ride to the Condor. The amount of luggage you can take plus the convenience of your arrival into St Peter Port makes the Condor a viable alternative.

Loganair flies out of Bournemouth to Guernsey and Southampton Airport is also a major hub for getting to the channel islands.

While flying is arguably the fastest way to travel to the Channel Islands, it is not without its faults. On a number of occasions, I have flown from Southampton to Guernsey only to find myself back in Southampton. The same has happened to both my husband and I, flying over from Gatwick too and then back into Gatwick, having been turned away from Guernsey.

You see, when the fog closes in, the runway at Guernsey airport closes, so flying can be unreliable if the weather is looking prone to fog. If it’s foggy the islands, Guernsey airport will turn your flight away, as they cannot land, so you risk flying back to the UK without even landing in Guernsey! That said, flying can be convenient, if you are travelling from London without much luggage, as long as it is not foggy.

The Condor laughs in the face of fog and I have happily arrived into St Peter Port on foggy days without a problem. The pretty harbour suddenly looms out of the mists and even in fog, the Condor is not usually delayed.

Condor Ferries offer such a wonderful way to travel, particularly in the summer when the seas are calm. If it’s foggy, the Condor Liberation & Ferry are the only ways to arrive. Let’s not forget the amount of luggage you can take and also the fact that you don’t have to sit around in an airport for hours, making the Condor a gloriously stress-free way to travel to the Channel Islands.

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