The Crown Dependencies include the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea and the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey in the English Channel. The islands feature delightful towns, charming villages, serene countryside and enchanting coastlines. Getting to the islands is by either flight or ferry and accommodation is readily available.
The Crown Dependencies are not part of the United Kingdom nor are they sovereign states but associated with the UK. Each of the island group is a self-governing territory with its own legislative assembly, laws, taxation and a government led by a Chief Minister. However, matters of foreign affairs and defence are the responsibility of the UK government. The Crown Dependencies are also not part of the European Union (EU) but have a special relationship with the EU.
Steam Packet ferry to the Isle of Man by Roger Davies
Isle of Man
The Isle of Man is a small island of 85,000 people situated in the Irish Sea between England and Northern Ireland. Douglas is the capital and home to a quarter of the island’s population. It is also the island’s commercial centre and location of the ferry port connecting with the UK mainland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. There are also flights to the Isle of Man Airport (near Douglas) from several cities across the UK mainland and Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. Visitors to the island can purchase the Go Explore smartcard offering unlimited travel on the local buses, trains and horse trams valid from one to seven days.
Promenade in Douglas by Finn Bjørklid
Douglas is a seaside town with a Victorian setting and life here moves at an easy pace. Most of the accommodations and shopping on the island are in Douglas. You can get most of your way around town by walking but there is a local bus service and a horse drawn tram service travelling along the promenade (summer only). Peel is a smaller town on the west coast and its main attractions are the medieval Peel Castle and the House of Manannan that tells about the history of the island. Beyond the city, the Isle of Man is popular for its many hiking trails passing through spectacular sceneries.
Bailiwick of Jersey
The Bailiwick of Jersey is a group of islands in the English Channel situated off the northern coast of France. The bailiwick comprises of the main island of Jersey and nearby smaller uninhabited islands and rocks. St Helier is the capital and home to a third of the island’s population of about 100,000. There are regular ferry services connecting Jersey with Guernsey and ports in southern England and northern France. The island’s airport is Jersey Airport and connects with London, Southampton, Liverpool, Guernsey and several cities in Europe. Taxis are available and local buses travel across the island.
St Helier is charming, compact and thriving with a mix of English and French influence. It’s the island’s epicentre where most of the accommodations, shops, restaurants, entertainment, nightlife and businesses are located. Don’t miss the Maritime Museum, Occupation Museum and Jersey Museum in St Helier for interesting insights about Jersey. Travel beyond and you’ll discover scenic countryside, quaint fishing villages, historical sites and beautiful sandy beaches. Other popular attractions include the Jersey Zoo (formerly Durrell Wildlife Park) and the Jersey War Tunnels built during the Second World War.
Bailiwick of Guernsey
The Bailiwick of Guernsey is another group of islands in the English Channel. Guernsey is the largest island followed by Alderney, Sark and a few smaller islands. The bailiwick has a population of 65,000 with 63,000 living in Guernsey, where the capital of St Peter Port is located. Regular ferry services connect St Peter Port with other islands in the bailiwick, Jersey and ports in southern England and northern France. Guernsey Airport (near St Peter Port) connects with Alderney, Jersey and several cities on the UK mainland and northern France. Car hire, taxis, buses and even bicycles are available for travelling around Guernsey.
St Peter Port in Guernsey by Steve Johnson
St Peter Port is a small picturesque harbour town that you can easily explore by walking. Shopping is popular here and there’s a wealth of retailers. The heart of the town is the old quarter featuring cobbled streets, narrow passageways and the 15th century Town Church. A Discovery Pass allows an adult and an accompanying child under 18 to visit many of the attractions in Guernsey. Alderney is a much smaller island with a population of just 2,000 and the perfect place for a quiet vacation. The island offers visitors sandy beaches, tranquil countryside, scenic trails, fantastic seafood and town of St Anne with its old world charm.
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