Moving/Relocating To Guernsey: Top 6 Questions Answered To Get You Ready For Island Life

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How does waking up on the beach everyday sound to you?

Living in Guernsey of the Channel Islands will give you a daily dose of that sea breeze. A self-governing British crown dependency, living in Guernsey offers a great quality of life as there is a healthy mix of work and life balance.

Life in Guernsey includes 27 beaches waiting for you at the end of the day, the picturesque capital of St. Peter Port which looks like the quintessential harbour town, and the healthy mix of island life and economic development.

So, if you’re considering moving to Guernsey, here are the top 5 questions and answers everyone needs to know before relocating.

1. Where Is Guernsey And What Is The Island Like?

Some might think of Guernsey as such a small island in the English Channel, but it’s steadily proving to be an expat and tourism hotspot. Located between the United Kingdom and France, the island is only 9 miles long, 6 miles wide, and divided into ten parishes. Adorned with amazing cliffs and beaches, it’s no wonder why this island has become quite the destination for tourists. With a population of 63,000 the island life in Guernsey is intimate.

Only about 15% of the island is currently built on by the parishes, so much of the island is still untouched, preserving the rocky landscapes. The capital of Guernsey, St Peter Port, is the most populated.

bird's eyeview of sea port

Image Credit: Unsplash

2. What Is The Lifestyle And Cost Of Living In Guernsey?

Guernsey has a great work-life balance that you’ll find yourself relaxed whilst having a meaningful career.

There are 27 beaches in Guernsey, each with its beauty and charm, and after work, you are just minutes away from watching the sunset every day. The beaches offer beautiful white sand and clear waters, with the shore perfect for any activity whether you just want to sit and relax, fire up a grill and have BBQ, or take long walks with your loved ones.

St Peter Port, the capital of Guernsey, has cobbled streets waiting to take you to beautiful sights such as the Candie Gardens, Queen Elizabeth II Marina, or the many local boutiques and restaurants to choose from.

If you have more time to spare, hopping around the Channel Islands is always a fun idea. Explore the neighbouring Channel islands and get to know Herm, Alderney, Sark, and Lihou.

For such a picturesque life, you might wonder what the average cost of living is. To help you find a budget, here are a few average costs you might need to consider:

  • Single individual monthly costs without rent – 800 GPB (978.04 USD)
  • Family of four without rent – 2,870 GPB (3,508.72 USD)
  • One-Bedroom apartment – 650 to 1,500 GPB (794.66 to 1,833.82 USD)
  • Three Bedroom apartment – 1,800 to 2,500 GPB (2,200.59 to 3,056.37 USD)

Always consider that, as with any city, even near the city centre, there are expensive neighbourhoods to rent and affordable ones, so always be ready to dig a little deeper into listings of local market housing to find the best deal.

3. How To Get To Guernsey And Is It Easy To Get Around?

The island is roughly 120 km south of the United Kingdom and 50 km off the northwestern coast of France. Going to Guernsey, you can start from the UK, France, or the neighbouring Channel Islands.

Air Travel

There are many different ways to get to Guernsey, but the best way to get there is by plane as it is the fastest, and multiple airports cater to the trip. The airline carriers Aurigny, Blue Islands, British Airways, and Loganair all have flights toward Guernsey. Aurigny and Blue Islands have direct flights, Britsh Airways offer seasonal flights, while Loganair has one-stop routes going to Guernsey.

Sea Travel

You could also travel by ferry or boat. The faster boat, known as the Liberation from the UK port of Poole, will roughly take around 3 hours, while a slower boat from Portsmouth will take 7 hours. If you are from France, you can go to the port of St Malo to catch a ride.

Land Travel

The city is rather small, so if you have a car, that’s probably the easiest way to get around, but the roads are narrow. There is a bus system that travels around the island and takes you where you need to go, whether it be to town, a historic site, or one of the beaches. If you find yourself travelling after 9 pm, a night owl bus is available, although for a higher fare.

There are also taxis around the island, especially in bigger parishes and airports. Some bicycles and scooters are available for hire if you are into the more open travel experience. This is the best way for those who like to do their own exploring with the salty sea breeze in their hair.

aerial view of land near body of water

Image Credit: Unsplash

4. How Is The Local Economy And Job Market?

The economy in Guernsey started off in shipbuilding and farming, but over the years, Guernsey’s economy has greatly evolved. The finance industry has become its main source of income and employment. Banking, fund management, fiduciary, and insurance are a huge part of the country’s GDP and employ 20% of the workforce. Other industries that are seeing a rise in market shares are data centres and e-commerce.

Due to the pandemic, travel restrictions have made it difficult for employers to fill vacant positions. Now that travel restrictions are eased, and things are slowly returning to normal, this is the best time to get a job in Guernsey.

Just be sure that you have the right paperwork. To work in Guernsey, you will need a valid ‘Right to Work’ document from the Housing Authority. This proves that you are legally residing on the island and legally allowed to work there.

5. What Are Must-See Places And Festivities?

At the top of the list is the Cliffs at Fort George. The 28-mile walk offers a stunning scenery overlooking the English Channel.

As we’ve already mentioned, Guernsey is surrounded by beaches, and Cobo Bay is the most popular one. The hotels here are excellent, and the vibe is always energised as you watch the sunset while local bands play.

Due to the number of beaches and the ocean tides, surfing is quite popular in Guernsey, whether it be a bright and sunny day or a dark and gloomy afternoon. Vazon Bay on the west coast is a favourite, but there are many other beaches where you can catch the wave.

Other water sports such as kayaking, windsurfing, sailing, and paddle boarding are also available, as many shops offer equipment rentals. Due to the popularity of these activities, there are numerous sports clubs that you can join to meet the locals.

Playing sports offer a lot of excitement and it’s always nice to have a little friendly competition, but if you just want to have fun, celebrate, and party with locals, taking part in festivals is a great way to do so. Despite being a small island, the people of Guernsey are festive, and they have quite a few festivals you should check out, such as:

  • Spring Walking Festival
  • St Peter Port Town Carnival
  • Liberation Day
  • The Sure Guernsey Marathon
  • North Show & Battle of Flowers

aerial photography of island

Image Credit: Unsplash

6. What Guernsey Delicacies Are A Must Try?

Owing to its proximity to the UK and France, Guernsey cuisine has been inspired by these two countries’ flavours while carving its own distinct taste. If you love food made from fresh, locally produced ingredients, then you should try these dishes:

  • Lobster
  • Crabs/Spider Crabs
  • Golden Guernsey Goat’s cheese
  • Guernsey gâche, a fruit bread
  • Bean Jar, a pork and beans cassoulet, and
  • Ormer, a local variety of abalone harvested during low tide

Conclusion On Moving To Guernsey

Guernsey is a beautiful island with an amazing work-life balance to offer anyone. Wake up to the fresh sea breeze, and always end the day with a beautiful sunset. If this sounds good, start planning that move to Guernsey today!

But before you do, make sure to contact professional movers Sanelo to make your international move as easy and stress-free as possible. Call or email Sanelo and a representative from our team will make sure your relocation process goes smoothly.

If you’re interested to find out more about other amazing places you can move to, check out our guides about moving to Copenhagen, Shanghai, and Kuala Lumpur.

Frequently Asked Questions About Moving To Guernsey

Is It Safe In Guernsey?

Yes, Guernsey is very safe. The population is small and intimate, and you could say that the communities will probably know each other quite well.

Is Guernsey Part Of The UK?

No, Guernsey is a self-governing island with its own set of elected legislative assemblies, fiscal and legal systems, and its own court of law. However, they are considered ‘possessions’ of the British Crown and the British government is in charge of international relations and defence.

How Is The Weather In Guernsey?

Guernsey is one of the sunniest of the Channel Islands and enjoys an oceanic climate. It has long, dry summers and even sees more sunshine throughout the year than the United Kingdom. Still, winters do get dark and wet but tend to be milder.

Does Guernsey Have High Tax?

Guernsey’s tax system is not that high. Income tax is about 20%, with an exception for the first 10,000 GBP (12,225.49 USD). There is also no VAT or council tax.


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