Cultural Landscapes and Gardens of the Channel Islands: Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Burhou & Sark 2023

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26 May – 8 Jun 2023

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Cultural Landscapes and Gardens of the Channel Islands: Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Burhou & Sark 2023
Tour Highlights

Explore the history and horticultural heritage of the Channel Islands. Travel in spring with John Patrick, when clifftops are covered with wildflowers and subtropical gardens burst with colour.

  • With naturalist Mike Stentiford enjoy the wildflower meadow at Le Noir Pré which bursts into colour at the end of May with over 90,000 blooming orchids, and tour the Eric Young Orchid Foundation.
  • Enjoy specially arranged visits to private gardens, several featured in Hidden Gardens of the Channel Islands and in 1001 Gardens You Must See Before You Die.
  • Visit Hauteville, Victor Hugo’s house at Havalet Bay on Guernsey, where the author lived in exile for 15 years (from 1856 to 1870); the Islands inspired his Toilers of the Sea (1866).
  • Archaeologists introduce us to the prehistory of the Channel Islands with visits to the Neolithic Passage Grave of La Pouquelaye de Faldouet on Jersey and Le Dehus Dolmen on Guernsey.
  • Visit the 6000-year-old burial site at La Hougue Bie; and view its museum containing the  ‘Jersey Hoard’, a collection of over 10,000 Celtic and Roman coins found in 2012.
  • Sue Hardy, an expert on Jersey’s Norman and English history, guides our visit to the 13-century Mont Orgueil Castle which protected Jersey against French invasion for over 600 years.
  • Visit the unique Glass Church of St Matthew on Jersey where René Lalique designed the extraordinary and beautiful doors, font, screen and altar.
  • Visit the Jersey War Tunnels, a 1-kilometre tunnel network built by POWs. Originally an ammunition store, it was converted into an underground hospital.
  • Visit the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, the centre established by Gerald Durrell on Jersey to provide a sanctuary for endangered species.
  • Take a ferry to Sark for a tour of the walled gardens of La Seignerie and a special tour of the house.
  • Take a boat trip from Alderney to view the Atlantic puffin colony which breeds on Burhou Island between March and July, and the gannet colonies on Les Etacs and Ortac.

Overnight Jersey (6 nights) • Guernsey (7 nights)


The Channel Islands – Jersey, Guernsey, Herm, Alderney and Sark – are the remains of a vast primordial volcanic crater. Although they lie closer to France than England, the islands’ inhabitants are British citizens. They are, however, neither legally part of the UK nor administered from Westminster, having governed themselves since the 13th century. Their distinctive histories, cultures and geography set them apart not only from France and England but also from each other.

This 14-day tour explores the gardening, history and horticultural heritage of the Channel Islands. Warmed all year round by the Gulf Stream, the Channel Islands possess dynamic ecosystems, each a sanctuary for an incredible variety of flora and fauna. Our tour is timed for spring, when clifftops are covered with wildflowers and subtropical gardens burst with colour.

Starting in Jersey, the ‘Floral Island’, the tour continues to Guernsey. From here, we take excursions to the nearby islands of Sark, Burhou and Herm. As well as seeing a large and varied selection of public and private gardens, including Grey Gables, La Maison des Près and the walled garden at La Seigneurie on Sark, we also visit the wildflower meadow at Le Noir Pré, which bursts into colour at the end of May with over 90,000 blooming orchids, and enjoy a tour of the Eric Young Orchid Foundation, where unique varieties are still bred. A feature of this tour is the large number of specially arranged visits to private gardens that rarely open to the general public, and a boat trip from Alderney to view the Atlantic Puffin colony which breeds on Burhou Island between March and July.

This tour draws on the expertise of local guest speakers. The ‘Birdman of Jersey’, Mike Stentiford, will introduce some of his island’s abundant birdlife, and Dr Olga Finch will introduce the islands’ rich archaeological heritage. During World War II, the islands were the only part of the UK occupied by Germany. We visit the Jersey War Tunnels, a 1-kilometre tunnel network built by POWs originally as an ammunition store and then converted into an underground hospital. We have the special opportunity to visit the La Hougue Bie Museum with the conservator to view the ‘Jersey Hoard’, a vast collection of Iron Age and Roman coins discovered in 2012 and now on display after a period of study and conservation.

On Guernsey we visit Hauteville House, where Victor Hugo, in exile, wrote Les Misérables, while on Jersey we visit the unique Glass Church of St Matthew, the extraordinary doors, font, screen and altar of which were designed and produced by René Lalique. This is the only church of its kind in the world and a splendid example of the Channel Islands’ singular beauty and heritage.

Along the way we will sample Jersey’s famous cheese, ice cream, picked crab, the Guernsey Gâche (a special bread made with raisins, sultanas and mixed peel), and the Channel Islands’ famous lobster.


This was our first tour undertaken with ASA; the tour itinerary caught our eye. Before the trip we were impressed by all the communication with the ASA office, attention to detail and tour information provided. The Channel Islands may be pocket-sized but their variety and interest is amazing. We enjoyed visits to private gardens, meadow walks, ecology, birds, beaches, and cliffs – this tour provided the ideal mix for us. The right length, planning, content, leadership, local expertise and delightful fellow travellers.  Marion, NSW.

The islands looked most interesting, with a wide range of places to visit, a good length of tour and only [1 hotel change]. We had very high expectations and these were exceeded. Well organized and run, most interesting sites and some wonderful, memorable experiences.  Michael, NSW.

A variety of features make this a very interesting tour. Gardens large and small, WW2 history, charming villages and towns, varied islands and great ferry trips all add up to a tour that is ‘out of the ordinary’. Wildflower walks and wildlife spotting all helped hold your interest. Shirley, WA.



The following itinerary describes a range of sites which we plan to visit. Many are accessible to the public, but others require special permission which may only be confirmed closer to the tour’s departure. The daily activities described in this itinerary may change or be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate alterations in opening hours, flight & ferry schedules and confirmation of private visits. Participants will receive a final itinerary together with their tour documents prior to departure. The tour includes breakfast daily, lunches and dinner, indicated in the itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch & D=dinner.

St Helier, Jersey - 6 nights

Day 1: Friday 26 May, Arrive St Helier, Jersey
  • The tour commences at 7pm in the foyer of the Pomme d’Or Hotel,
  • Welcome Meeting

Meeting Point: The tour commences at 7pm in the foyer of the Pomme d’Or Hotel located in St Helier on the island of Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands.

St. Helier stands in St Aubin’s Bay on the southern side of the island and is named after Jersey’s first and most famous saint, a 6th century ascetic hermit who was martyred on the island in c. AD 555. The town is the capital of Jersey and has a population of about 28,000 – roughly one third of Jersey’s total population. While St Helier has a distinctive British atmosphere, the town retains numerous French influences as attested by the many streets that carry old French names and numerous shop fronts still displaying the names of their island founders. In the evening we will gather for a Welcome Meeting before time at leisure for dinner. (Overnight St Helier)

Day 2: Saturday 27 May, Jersey
  • Walk around St Helier: Royal Square, Central Market & Church of St Helier
  • Eric Young Orchid Foundation
  • Mont Orgueil Castle, Grouville
  • Welcome Talk by Guest Speaker: An introduction to the unique ecology of the Channel Islands
  • Welcome Dinner

Today we begin with a short orientation walk around the cosmopolitan harbour town of St Helier. Our walk includes a visit to the Victorian covered market which includes a stunning array of overflowing flower stalls, fresh fruit and vegetables, cakes, wines and chocolates, dairy products made from the famous Jersey cow, and local specialties including des mèrvelles (small doughnuts), de nièr beurre (apple preserve) and cabbage loaf (bread baked wrapped in cabbage leaves). We visit the Royal Square, where at its centre a stone commemorates the Battle of Jersey, which took place in 1781. We also visit the pink granite Church of St Helier, the largest of the parish churches. The seafront used to come right up to the church, and the square tower served as a useful observation post. The stretch of land between here and the sea was reclaimed from the end of the 18th century for town housing and warehouses.

We then travel by coach to the Eric Young Orchid Foundation. Nestled in the heart of the beautiful parish of Trinity and sitting within its own wonderful landscaped garden, this nursery and display complex houses one of the world’s finest collections of orchids. Jersey orchid breeders are considered amongst the best and this collection has won many awards.

We next turn our attention to a medieval site, Mont Orgueil Castle. This iconic landmark commands a prime position overlooking the picturesque harbour at Gorey and the Royal Bay of Grouville. Blue Badge Guide Sue Hardy will guide our visit here, explaining how construction of the castle was begun in the 13th century after King John lost control of Normandy and how for 600 years Mont Orgueil Castle protected the island against French invasion. Although Elizabeth Castle replaced Mont Orgueil as the island’s premier defence station when it was decided an inland setting was safer to protect, Mont Orgueil remained the island’s secondary defence until it was decommissioned in 1907.

This evening we will have a special lecture by Mike Stentiford MBE that introduces the unique ecology of the Channel Islands. This will be followed by a welcome dinner at the hotel, where we will enjoy a taste of Jersey’s marvellous local produce. (Overnight St Helier) BD

Day 3: Sunday 28 May, Jersey
  • Le Clos du Chemin, St Peter
  • Jersey War Tunnels, St Lawrence
  • The Botanical Gardens at Samarès Manor

This morning we travel to St Peter to visit Le Clos du Chemin, the private garden of Mrs Susan Lea. Colour and texture reign in this garden, set on a hillside overlooking the bay. It features a glorious herbaceous border; a bed filled with plants in shades of silver; around twenty different types of magnolias; and an extraordinary ‘foxglove tree’ that sports vivid violet flowers in the spring.

The five-year German occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II has had a significant impact on islander psyche. This, along with the material legacies left by the German occupation, is now reflected in tourism on the islands. During their occupation the Germans built hundreds of reinforced concrete bunkers and gun emplacements, anti-tank walls and tunnels – all constructed for an invasion that never came. Such was Hitler’s belief that England would try to regain the islands, he sent to the Channel Islands over 20 percent of the material allocated to the so-called ‘Atlantic Wall’ – a line of massive defence works which stretched from the Baltic to the Spanish frontier – to turn them into ‘impregnable fortresses’. Following Germany’s defeat, islanders began the job of decommissioning and destroying this legacy, but now they are recognised as important heritage sites and considerable energy and money has been expended on conserving and interpreting them.

We visit the Jersey War Tunnels, originally constructed as an ammunition store and artillery barracks, but were converted into a casualty clearing station known as Hohlgangsanlage 8 (often abbreviated to Ho8) or the German Underground Hospital. A huge workforce was needed to build the 1-kilometre network of tunnels and this was supplied by the Organisation Todt. More than 5000 slave labourers were brought over to Jersey – Russians, Poles, Frenchmen and Spaniards. Conditions were terrible, although Russian and Ukrainian POWs were treated the worst, with cases of malnutrition, death by exhaustion and disease among them becoming common. Today the site is a museum, which through interactive displays tells the story of the Occupation.

We finish our day with a visit to Samarès Manor where we visit the Botanical Gardens. Established in the 1920s, these extensive gardens have evolved over the past century and include a number of specialised plant collections within diversely themed gardens: the Herb Garden, the Garden of Colour, Calendar Gardens and the Japanese Garden. (Overnight St Helier) B

Day 4: Monday 29 May, Jersey
  • St Matthew’s Church, (Glass Church), Millbrook
  • La Maison des Près, St Peter
  • The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
  • Beau Desert, Garden of Mr & Mrs Michael Crane

We begin today with a visit to St Matthew’s Church at Millbrook. While the exterior of this church scarcely merits a second look, its interior is a work of such beauty that even the Germans took care not to damage it during their occupation of the island. Often referred to as the Glass Church, St Matthew’s has wonderful Art Deco glass fixtures and fittings designed in 1934 by René Lalique (1860-1945). The work was commissioned by Florence Boot, Lady Trent, Lalique’s neighbour in the South of France. Lady Trent’s principle residence, however, was in Millbrook on the island of Jersey and the work was commissioned to honour her late husband Jesse Boot, founder of Boots the Chemist. Opalescent panels, a magnificent altar cross, a glass font – perhaps the only one to be found anywhere – the Jersey lily motif, and Art Deco angels make the church one of the Island’s treasures and arguably some of the finest work Lalique ever produced.

We then make a visit to La Maison des Près, the private garden of Lord and Lady Brownlow. Its fine selection of trees includes a tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipifera, and a Metasequoia (dawn redwood).  A walk through the wildflower meadow allows us to note the lime trees around the border and the different windbreaks.  After the informality of the meadow and orchard, there is a complete change as you enter the more formal garden.  Here we find a giant Romneya coulteri (Californian tree poppy) and a delightful semi-circular summerhouse leading into Lady Brownlow’s ‘secret garden’, guarded by two actual-size reproductions of the celebrated terracotta warriors which were excavated in Xi’an, China.

We visit the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, formerly the Jersey Zoo. Located in a 16th-century manor house and surrounded by 32 acres of park and farmland, Jersey Zoo was the realisation of a dream by naturalist and author Gerald Durrell (1925-1995) to create a safe place for his animals. From the outset the Jersey Zoo was dedicated to breeding endangered species to ensure their survival. Many zoologists denounced Gerald’s early efforts at captive breeding but they are now universally acknowledged as an important weapon in the fight to save animals from extinction. The Trust established breeding groups of many species of endangered mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians and has pioneered the return of their progeny to the wild. In Jersey, in the 50 plus years of the Zoo/Trust’s operation, it has achieved many major breeding firsts.

Our day concludes with a visit to Beau Desert, the garden of Mr and Mrs Crane. Situated down a narrow laneway (we will travel there in small minivans!), this manor house dates to the 15th century, with later Georgian and Victorian additions, and the beautiful botanical gardens were created in 1903. (Overnight St Helier) B

Day 5: Tuesday 30 May, Jersey
  • Introduction to Jersey’s Prehistoric Sites by archaeologist Olga Finch
  • La Hougue Bie: prehistoric mound and dolmen
  • La Hougue Bie Museum & the ‘Jersey Hoard’
  • La Pouquelaye de Faldouet, Neolithic Passage Grave
  • Rozel Valley and Lunch

This morning archaeologist Olga Finch joins us at the hotel for a lecture to explain what the various Neolithic sites on Jersey signified to the indigenous population. Jersey became an island at the end of the second Ice Age as the land that once linked it to France was flooded. Neolithic people from the Mediterranean started to move north through France up to the coast of Brittany and eventually settlements appeared around the coast of Jersey. These early settlers brought with them a megalithic tradition of erecting stone monuments, known as dolmens or menhirs. They also introduced ‘passage’ graves, where a narrow entrance and passageway led to a burial chamber providing a focus for spiritual beliefs.

We then spend the morning visiting some of the extraordinary prehistoric sites on the island, visiting the La Hougue Bie Museum to see one of the newest and most important discoveries to be made in the Channel Islands – the Grouville Hoard. More commonly known as the ‘Jersey Hoard’, this is a collection of over 10,000 Celtic and Roman coins that was found in 2012 by two metal detectorists. Work on the find is ongoing, but at this stage it is believed that the hoard belonged to the Curiosolitae tribe from Brittany, who came to Jersey fleeing the armies of Julius Caesar in approximately 50 BC.

We also visit the 6000-year-old burial site at La Hougue Bie. This prehistoric mound and dolmen is one of Europe’s finest Neolithic passage graves. Particularly significant at La Hougue Bie is the placement of its entrance; it points directly east and during the Equinox sunlight penetrates the passageway illuminating the chamber deep in the mound. The discovery of the Equinox alignment demonstrates how important this time of year was to this past farming community and how critical cycles of nature were to its survival.

We then travel by coach to Rozel Valley. After a pub lunch we will walk through the grounds of La Ferme, one of the largest dairy farms on the island, and on to the north coast cliff path. From here we will be able to see L’Etacquerel Fort before returning to the hotel. (Overnight St Helier) BL

Day 6: Wednesday 31 May, Jersey
  • Wildlife walk with Mike Stentiford: Le Noir Pré Orchid Field
  • Parish Church and Fishermen’s Chapel of St Brelade’s Bay
  • St Aubin Village
  • Les Aix, private garden of Mrs Ariel Whatmore

The favourable climate of the islands, warmed all year around by the Gulf Stream, ensures that the Channel Islands have dynamic ecosystems, and each provides a sanctuary for a rich variety of flora and fauna. This morning we take an environmental wildlife walk with the ‘Birdman of Jersey’, naturalist Mike Stentiford, who will introduce you to some of Jersey’s abundant flora and fauna. Mike was awarded an MBE in 2000 in recognition of the work he has done in promoting and introducing Jersey’s natural heritage to visitors to the island.

We begin early this morning with a visit to Le Noir Pré Orchid Field, whose meadows fringing St Ouen’s Pond burst into colour at the end of May with over 90,000 blooming orchids. Often known simply as ‘the Orchid Field’, this unique site is one of the last remaining strongholds of the Jersey or loose-flowered Orchid (Orchis laxiflora), which also occurs in Guernsey, but is absent from the rest of the British Isles. In addition, three other species, the southern marsh (Dactylorhiza praetermissa), common spotted and heath spotted orchids (Dactylorhiza maculata), occur at the site. The meadows also contain a wide variety of other plant species, many of which have become increasingly uncommon in Jersey. During May and June, the meadows are a riot of colour, with the stunning deep purple of the Jersey Orchids contrasting with the various shades of pink, through to white, of the remaining species. Other notable wildflowers include the ragged robin, yellow bartsia, parsley water-dropwort, common knapweed, square-stalked St. John’s-wort and tufted vetch. A wide range of insects can also be seen in the meadows, especially butterflies of various species, such as the orange tip, whose caterpillars feed on cuckooflower, and dragonflies, including the spectacular emperor dragonfly. Small mammals such as voles, mice and shrews attract the kestrel, the barn owl and other predatory birds, and the rare marsh harrier can sometimes be observed hunting over the site.

At nearby St Brelade’s Bay we visit the Parish Church and La Chapelle des Pecheurs (locally known as the Fishermen’s Chapel), which occupy the site of an original wooden church built by St Brelade in the 6th century.  In the early centuries of Christianity it was common for a community, or a wealthy local family, to fund a chantry chapel. Here a priest could be paid to say prayers to keep the devil at bay and guarantee a path to heaven for the righteous. Originally it was thought that the name derived from the fishing guilds of the island, although it is also possible that pecheurs (‘fishermen’ in French) is a corruption of péchés (‘sinners’). A wooden structure may have existed on this site as the first church, however these churches were often burned down by pagan invaders. While the chapel appears older than the adjacent church, recent archaeological work suggests that it was constructed afterwards, probably during the 12th century. The chapel is built from the same material as was used in the parish church. Limpet shells from the bay were crushed and dissolved with boiling seawater. Until the 19th century, when the military fortifications were built in Jersey, it housed cannon for the local militia. It therefore survived the destruction of chapels at the time of the Reformation.

St Aubin is a charming harbour town that opens onto the Gulf of Saint-Malo. There will be time at leisure for lunch and to explore.

We finish the day with a visit to the charming garden of Mrs Ariel Whatmore, who works as a garden artist by the name Ariel Luke. The garden is built around a traditional granite house, with an orchard, nut and camellia trees, a yew and bush maze, and borders with old English roses, the various areas divided by stone walls. (Overnight St Helier) B

St Peter Port, Guernsey - 7 nights

Day 7: Thursday 1 June, Jersey – Guernsey
  • Maritime Museum & Occupation Tapestry Gallery
  • Ferry from Jersey to Guernsey (subject to schedule)
  • Dinner at the Conservatory Restaurant

This morning we visit the Maritime Museum and Occupation Tapestry Gallery in St Helier. The small interactive museum tells the story of how Jersey has been shaped by its maritime environment and seafaring history. The Occupation Tapestry Gallery within the museum was established to celebrate 50 years since the island’s liberation after World War Two. The 12 tapestry panels were made by the local people and tell the tale of life during the German Occupation, drawing on personal memories.

In the early afternoon we depart Jersey and take a ferry to Guernsey, where we will be based for the next six days. From 933 AD Guernsey was part of Normandy, forging a link between Britain and France that survives locally on the island in Norman Law, surnames and D’gernésiais, the local language. When in 1066 William of Normandy (‘William the Conqueror’) became King of England, Guernsey was linked to the English Crown. Guernsey remained an English possession after King Philippe Augustus of France took back the mainland of Normandy from King John in 1204. Guernsey prospered particularly from the 18th century when its port became free from British import duties. Wine and brandy were stockpiled here and taken to Britain in small quantities when prices were good. Referred to as ‘Free Trade’, the practice legitimated what was in effect little more than smuggling.

This evening we will have a group dinner at the Conservatory Restaurant at the hotel as we embark on the next part of our exploration of the Channel Islands. (Overnight St Peter Port) BD

 Day 8: Friday 2 June, Guernsey
  • Le Vallon, private garden of Major and Mrs A. Philippi
  • Optional walk to Jerbourg Point
  • Lobster & Strawberry Lunch at Jerbourg Hotel
  • Archaeological tour of Guernsey with Phillip de Jersey, including Le Dehus passage grave

This morning we visit Le Vallon, a 10-acre garden that includes a magnificent formal area, a woodland adorned with English Bluebells, and a fine walled kitchen garden. From Le Vallon there will be an optional 30-minute walk along the south coast to Jerbourg Point.

Following a lobster lunch at the Jerbourg Hotel we spend the afternoon with Phillip de Jersey (Archaeologist, States of Guernsey). Our tour starts at the parish church of St Marie de Castel, a 13th century church noted for its medieval frescos. In the churchyard is a Neolithic menhir dating from 2500-1800 BC. It is carved to represent a woman and was discovered under the church floor in 1878. Evidence of Roman occupation have also been found at this site.

Our tour includes a visit to the Dehus Dolmen, a well-preserved prehistoric passage grave with remarkable stonework. Archaeologists have discovered finds here dating from 3500-2000 BC, making this one of the oldest known sites on the island. (Overnight St Peter Port) BL

Day 9: Saturday 3 June, Day Excursion to Sark
  • Ferry to and from Sark
  • Lecture by the Seneschal of Sark, Jeremy La Trobe-Bateman  (subject to confirmation in 2023)
  • Guided tour of La Seigneurie Garden and House
  • Carriage ride to La Coupée

This morning we take a 45-minute ferry ride to Sark. The island is only 5 kilometres long and a little over 1.5 kilometres wide, but boasts 64 kilometres of picturesque coastline. Although it has a population of just 600, Sark is a self-governing Crown Dependency and was the last European territory to abolish feudalism in 2008. The Head of Government is the Seigneur, a hereditary position dating back to 1565 and currently held by John Michael Beaumont.

Sark consists of two main parts, Greater Sark and Little Sark to the south: they are connected by a narrow, razor-edged isthmus called La Coupée, which is 90 metres long and has a drop of 100 metres on each side. Two bays flank the isthmus: La Grand Grêve to the west and Convanche Bay, part of Baleine Bay, to the east.

We will be met by Jeremy La Trobe-Bateman, the Seneschal of Sark (President of Chief Pleas and Chief Judge), who will explain the history and politics of the island.

We will then visit La Seigneurie, the home of the Seigneurs of Sark where we shall have a picnic lunch in the gardens. With its colourful borders and stone walls, La Seigneurie has one of the finest gardens in the Channel Islands. There is also a potager, a pond, a restored Victorian greenhouse and a recently extended fruit and vegetable garden. The walled garden dates to the mid-19th century, complete with some of its original Victorian lay out. The high walls give protection from the wind and the island’s almost frost-free climate allows many tender and half hardy plants to thrive.

We then make our way to the fascinating La Coupée to cross the narrow isthmus to Little Sark.  As there are no cars on Sark, our journey will be made the old-fashioned way – by horse and carriage. (Overnight St Peter Port) BL

Day 10: Sunday 4 June, Guernsey
  • Guernsey Tapestry
  • Castle Cornet
  • Hauteville House

This morning we start our day with a visit to the Guernsey Tapestry. The gallery houses ten panels that illustrate 1000 years of local history, with each covering a century. The project to create the panels involved the whole community and stitched by local residents, and each panel bears the crest of the parish that created it.

We then visit the 13th century Castle Cornet, strategically located to guard the harbour at St Peter Port. It has played important roles in the English Civil wars (it was the penultimate castle to fall to the Parliamentarian forces), the Napoleonic Wars and World War One. We take a guided tour of the historic castle, including the 4 historic gardens which have lovingly been restored. We also witness the firing of the noonday gun!

Hauteville House, Victor Hugo’s home when he lived in self-imposed exile on Guernsey between 1856 and 1870 and again in 1872-73. Hugo arrived in Guernsey after he was evicted from Jersey, where he had lived for three years, because of his loudly expressed Republican opinions. While the poet produced some of his best work on Guernsey, as a Frenchman who brought his mistress into exile, installing her in a house at 20 Hauteville St, while he lived with his wife in the nearby Hauteville House, Hugo did not really fit into Guernsey society. While living here, Hugo saw his most famous work, Les Misérables, published in 1862. His novel, Toilers Of The Sea, written during the author’s stay on the island, is set in the ancient parish churchyard around St Sampsons Harbour. (Overnight St Peter Port) B

Day 11: Monday 5 June, Excursion to Alderney & Burhou
  • Ferry to Alderney
  • Boat cruise of the Alderney Ramsar Site: including Burhou Island for puffin watching & viewing of gannet colonies on Les Etacs and Ortac
  • A guided walk to Fort Tourgis

Today we visit Alderney, the third largest of the Channel Islands, situated at the mouth of the Channel, 11 kilometres due west of Cap de la Hague in Normandy.

From Alderney a boat trip takes us on a tour of the Alderney Ramsar Site (1500 hectares of important wetlands, accredited under the Ramsar convention in 2005) to view the Puffins on Burhou, as well as the impressive gannet colonies on Les Etacs and Ortac and the Atlantic seal colony near Burhou Reef.

Burhou Island is just 2.25 kilometres northwest of Alderney. Despite being only about one kilometre long and half a kilometre wide, Burhou is a bird sanctuary which is home to eleven species of breeding birds. The island is best known for its colony of Atlantic puffins, which may be viewed between March and July. The Atlantic puffin is one of four species of puffin and the only one found in the Atlantic Ocean. It is a member of the auks (Alcidae) family of sea birds which includes guillemots, the razorbill and auklets. Today there are 143 pairs of Burhou puffins, having declined from a total of many thousand birds in the last twenty years. The puffins spend most of the year out in the Atlantic Ocean. They only return to land at the end of March to breed and raise their young. On Burhou the puffins build their nests in old rabbit burrows or on the side of the cliffs. Other nesting birds on Burhou include the oystercatcher, storm petrel, shag, greater and lesser black-backed gull and herring gull.

Les Etacs and Ortac rocks support more than 2 per cent of the world’s gannet population. These colonies are the most southerly within the gannet’s range, with over 6000 breeding pairs recorded. Gannets feed primarily on fish such as mackerel, sand eels and herring, which they find by diving to depths of up to 20 metres of scavenging along the surface of the sea.

Before returning to Guernsey, we will take the opportunity to visit the charming town of St Anne before taking a guided walk to Fort Tourgis. Fort Tourgis was built in the Victorian era, and although not the largest fort on the island, it is an impressive structure with a fascinating history. (Overnight St Peter Port) BL

Day 12: Tuesday 6 June, Guernsey
  • La Petite Vallée, private garden of Mrs Monachan, St Peter Port
  • Forest Lodge, private garden of Mrs Tattie Thompson
  • Sausmarez Manor

Today we visit the private gardens of Mrs Monachan, La Petite Vallée, with a wide range of exotic and traditional planting on terraces and slopes leading down to the sea.  Here we will have the chance to explore the seasonal cloisters, herbaceous borders, woodland walk and a tropical area with a number of unusual plants and water flows.

We next visit the garden of Mrs Tattie Thompson where we will sample the famous Guernsey gâche (local fruit loaf) with a cup of tea or coffee. The sheltered site of this charming garden allows plants from around the world to survive here. Tattie is constantly making changes to the garden as she tries to accommodate ever more plants!

In the afternoon we visit Sausmarez Manor, the only seigneurial manor on Guernsey. The Sausmarez family first appears in Guernsey’s records in the 12th century and continued to be a leading family throughout the island’s history. The house has undergone many changes and redevelopments, from its origins as a medieval manor to it’s current Victorian form. Today a sculpture trail has been established in the gardens, and each year 70 to 80 contemporary pieces from around the world are displayed. (Overnight St Peter Port) B

Day 13: Wednesday 7 June, Guernsey
  • Royal Bank of Canada Garden, Les Cotils
  • Candie Gardens
  • Private garden of Mr & Mrs Cummings
  • Grange Court, private garden of Mr & Mrs Pat Johnson
  • Farewell Dinner

Today we will walk along an ordinance line to visit four very different gardens. The 2016 RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold medal-winning Royal Bank of Canada garden has found a permanent home in the grounds of  Les Cotils, a not-for-profit hotel and conference centre. Its relocation is in partnership with Floral Guernsey and it forms part of a new floral trail through St Peter Port. Designed by Hugo Bugg, the garden explores the role of water and is divided into three zones – a ‘dry garden’ without irrigation, a water harvesting zone and an edible garden with a seating area.

We then walk through the restored Victorian Candie Gardens that offer the best view across St Peter Port harbour and over to the sister islands of Herm, Sark and Jethou, along with a rare example of a late 19th-century public flower garden. They are home to the oldest known heated glasshouses in the British Isles, which date back to the late 18th century.

We continue our floral trail with a visit to the charming private garden belonging to Mr and Mrs Cummings, and Grange Court – the private gardens of Mr and Mrs Pat Johnson, which featured in the April 2013 edition of The English Garden magazine. Set in the heart of town, Grange Court is a 2-acre garden with a mix of formal and informal styles, containing many exotic and rare plants. A mature private town garden, it is shaded by majestic old trees, including a magnificent copper beech. Features of the garden include the remains of an elegant old stone orangery which forms the backdrop to the rose gardens, and an impressive Victorian ‘cactus’ greenhouse. Mixed shrub and perennial borders provide colour all year round in this immaculately maintained garden.

There will be time to return to the hotel before we head out to a local restaurant to share a farewell dinner.  (Overnight St Peter Port) BD

Day 14: Thursday 8 June, Depart Guernsey
  • Tour concludes in the morning
  • At leisure/Check out

Our tour ends in St Peter Port after breakfast. In the morning you will be required to check out of the hotel. Please contact ASA if you require assistance with a transfer to the Guernsey airport. B



ASA has selected 3- and 4-star hotels that are themselves historical buildings and/or are located in historical centres. All hotels provide rooms with en suite bathroom. Further information on hotels will be provided in the ‘Tour Hotel List’ given to tour members prior to their departure.

  • St Helier, Jersey (6 nights): 4-star Pomme d’Or Hotel – overlooking Liberation Square and the yacht marina, centrally located and within easy walking distance to cafés, restaurants and other sites in town. www.seymourhotels.com/pomme-dor-hotel/
  • St Peter Port, Guernsey (7 nights): 3-star Best Western Moores Hotel – located in the town, close to shops, restaurants and the marina. mooresguernsey.com

Note: Hotels are subject to change, in which case a hotel of similar standard will be provided.

Single Supplement

Payment of this supplement will ensure accommodation in a double room for single occupancy throughout the tour. The number of rooms available for single use is extremely limited. People wishing to take this supplement are therefore advised to book well in advance.

How to book

How to Book


Please complete the ASA RESERVATION APPLICATION and send it to Australians Studying Abroad together with your non-refundable deposit of AUD $500.00 per person payable to Australians Studying Abroad.

Covid-19 Vaccination Certificate

Commencing from November 2021 it will be a condition of travel that all group leaders and ASA travellers are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. All participants must send ASA a copy of their vaccination certificate at the time of submitting their Reservation Application Form. For information on how to obtain either a Covid-19 digital certificate or a certificate in PDF format please view the Australian Government Services Australia “What types of proof there are” web page.

Practical Information

Practical Information

The number of flags is a guide to the degree of difficulty of ASA tours relative to each other (not to those of other tour companies). It is neither absolute nor literal. One flag is given to the least taxing tours, seven to the most. Flags are allocated, above all, according to the amount of walking and standing each tour involves. Nevertheless, all ASA tours require that participants have a good degree of fitness enabling 2-3 hours walking or 1-1.5 hours standing still on any given site visit or excursion. Many sites are accessed by climbing slopes or steps and have uneven terrain.

This 14-day Tour of the Channel Islands involves:
  • A moderate amount of walking, often up and down hills and/or flights of stairs, along cobbled streets and uneven terrain, and/or standing, interspersed with short coach travel.
  • Short trips by coach on minor roads.
  • Two early-morning departures (between 7.00-7.30am), concluding in the late afternoon (5.30-6.30pm).
  • Tour of Mont Orgueil Castle up very steep and winding paths into sections of the castle with very steep narrow staircases leading into small rooms.
  • Two hedgerow walks along charming country lanes. The one in the Rozel Valley through La Ferme in Jersey has one very long hill. Clients wanting a less energetic tour could take a taxi back to the hotel after lunch at their own expense.
  • Woodland walk in Castel in Guernsey includes a scenic stroll in a picturesque area with some hills. Participants wanting a restful afternoon could take a taxi back to the hotel following lunch at their own expense.
  • 3- to 4-star hotels with one hotel change.
  • You must be able to carry your own hand luggage. Hotel porterage includes 1 piece of luggage per person.
  • Ferry transfers between Jersey & Guernsey, Guernsey & Sark, Guernsey and Alderney & Burhou.

It is important to remember that ASA programs are group tours, and slow walkers affect everyone in the group. As the group must move at the speed of the slowest member, the amount of time spent at a site may be reduced if group members cannot maintain a moderate walking pace. ASA tours should not present any problem for active people who can manage day-to-day walking and stair-climbing. However, if you have any doubts about your ability to manage on a program, please ask your ASA travel consultant whether this is a suitable tour for you.

Please note: it is a condition of travel that all participants agree to accept ASA’s directions in relation to their suitability to participate in activities undertaken on the tour, and that ASA retains the sole discretion to direct a tour participant to refrain from a particular activity on part of the tour. For further information please refer to the ASA Reservation Application Form.

Prior to departure, tour members will receive practical notes which include information on visa requirements, health, photography, weather, clothing and what to pack, custom regulations, bank hours, currency regulations, electrical appliances and food. The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers: www.smartraveller.gov.au

Plant Identification App

During the tour you may wish to consider using a plant identification app. Prof Tim Entwisle, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, suggests “for a garden tour of Europe two apps [can] be considered. Download Pl@ntNet for free and use its ‘Western Europe’ dataset, then consider investing $1.03 for the Flowerchecker+ app, which gives you three free identifications from an expert then 1USD for any subsequent identification. Pl@ntNet is probably the most useful for someone just curious about a few plants along the way but it won’t help you with all the garden plants that come from outside Europe (although it does have a couple of other datasets – South America, for example – which might be very useful).” For further information see Tim Entwistle’s review at: www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-11/plant-recognition-apps-no-replacement-for-botanists/8251280

Tour Price & Inclusions

Tour Price & Inclusions

AUD $8790.00 Land Content Only – Early Bird Special: Book before 31 March 2022

AUD $8990.00 Land Content Only

AUD $1590.00 Single Supplement

Tour Price (Land Content Only) includes:
  • Accommodation in twin-share rooms with private facilities in 3- and 4-star hotels
  • Breakfast daily, lunches and evening meals indicated in the tour itinerary, where: B=breakfast, L=lunch & D=dinner
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included.
  • Transportation by air-conditioned coach
  • Ferry from Jersey to Guernsey
  • Ferry to Alderney and boat tour of the Alderney Ramsar Site: including Burhou Island
  • Boat excursion: Guernsey – Sark – Guernsey
  • Porterage of one piece of luggage per person at hotels (not at airports or ferry terminals)
  • Lecture and site visit program
  • Tour notes
  • Entrance fees
  • Use of audio headsets during site visits
  • Tips for the coach driver, local guides and restaurants for included meals.
Tour Price (Land Content Only) does not include:
  • Airfare: Australia-St Helier, Jersey; St Peter Port, Guernsey-Australia
  • Personal spending money
  • Airport-hotel transfers
  • Luggage in excess of 20kg (44lbs)
  • Travel insurance
Tour Map

Tour Map

Terms & Conditions

A deposit of $500.00 AUD per person is required to reserve a place on an ASA tour.

Cancellation Fees

If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:

  • More than 75 days before departure: $500.00**
  • 75-46 days prior 25% of total amount due
  • 45-31 days prior 50% of total amount due
  • 30-15 days prior 75% of total amount due
  • 14-0 days prior 100% of total amount due

**This amount may be credited to another ASA tour departing within 12 months of the original tour you booked. We regret, in this case early-bird discounts will not apply.

We take the day on which you cancel as being that on which we receive written confirmation of cancellation.

Unused Portions of the Tour

We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.

Will the Tour Price or Itinerary Change?

If the number of participants on a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates ASA reserves the right to amend the advertised price. We shall, however, do all in our power to maintain the published price. If an ASA tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all tour monies paid. Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of ASA make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes in due course.

Travel Insurance

ASA requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. A copy of your travel insurance certificate and the reverse charge emergency contact phone number must be received by ASA no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the tour.

Final Payment

The balance of the tour price will be due 75 days prior to the tour commencement date.

Limitation of Liability

ASA is not a carrier, event or tourist attraction host, accommodation or dining service provider. All bookings made and tickets or coupons issued by ASA for transport, event, accommodation, dining and the like are issued as an agent for various service providers and are subject to the terms and conditions and limitations of liability imposed by each service provider. ASA is not responsible for their products or services. If a service provider does not deliver the product or service for which you have contracted, your remedy lies with the service provider, not ASA.

ASA will not be liable for any claim (eg. sickness, injury, death, damage or loss) arising from any change, delay, detention, breakdown, cancellation, failure, accident, act, omission or negligence of any such service provider however caused (contingencies). You must take out adequate travel insurance against such contingencies.

ASA’s liability in respect of any tour will be limited to the refund of amounts received from you less all non-refundable costs and charges and the costs of any substituted event or alternate services provided. The terms and conditions of the relevant service provider from time to time comprise the sole agreement between you and that service provider.

ASA reserves the sole discretion to cancel any tour or to modify itineraries in any way it considers appropriate. Tour costs may be revised, subject to unexpected price increases or exchange rate fluctuations.

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