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Christmas shopping in Guernsey
I LOVE Christmas but hate Christmas shopping. Battling through packed high streets and out of town shopping centres trying to find the perfect pressies is just not my idea of fun.
But look a little further afield and there’s a Christmas shopping destination packed with enough charm and festive feel to cheer up the Scroogiest of shoppers.
Guernsey is just 82 miles from Poole, a three hour trip on a Condor fery.
And if you haven’t been there before, there’s no better time to discover it.
We enjoyed a nice calm crossing from Poole, with nothing to do on the ferry but relax. We were in Condor’s Club Class area, which meant we had complimentary newspapers, coffee and cakes as we gently cruised across the Channel.
It was a far cry from being stuck in traffic or searching for a car parking space.
Three hours later, we were disembarking at St Peter Port, just a five minute stroll from Guernsey’s shopping lanes. These narrow, winding streets , similar to the Lanes in Brighton, were packed with quirky boutiques, French-style bistros and a smattering of high street names.
The cobbled streets help to retain much of its character and many of the shops are housed in beautiful, historic buildings.
There are no pound shops, charity shops or discount stores, but bargain hunters needn’t worry.
There is no VAT on goods sold in Guernsey which means that many high value items, particularly jewellery, cameras and perfume, can be picked up at extremely competitive prices.
We spent a few hours browsing the shops before darkness fell and the streets were transformed with thousands of white fairy lights, giving a real magical feel to the town.
Visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants and cafes, especially in November, when many of Guernsey’s restaurants were participating in Tennerfest and offering superb value fixed-price menus.
We ate at Dix Neuf, a beautiful brasserie with a real French feel to it before strolling back along the harbourside to catch the return ferry.
Onboard, we summoned up the energy for one last shopping spree in the dutyfree shop, where bargains included six bottles of Blossom Hill wine for £16 and two large bottles of Baileys for £22.
The return journey flew by and before we knew it, we were staggering off the ferry with all our goodies.
Christmas shopping – job done.