Herm, Channel Islands, UK
“Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions.” Peter Hoeg
Magical. That’s the first word that came to mind when I visited Herm and it’s the word most others who have visited use too. I first popped over from Guernsey for a half day trip and fell in love with it immediately, the clear air, crystal waters, lack of cars and pollution so all that’s left is the strong smell of flora and fauna with breathtaking sea views.
After that initial trip we caught the last ferry back to Guernsey and sat in a waterfront cafe with a view of Herm and I stared at it knowing I had to go back. 5 months later I returned for a romantic long weekend on the island which was set against perfect late summer weather.
Our apartment was in The Settlement, an island community of resident’s cottages, a school, church and holiday cottages. This was a few minutes uphill from the main tourist area which itself consisted merely of a tourist office, shop, hotel and pub all within 2 minutes walk of each other. I can get lost anywhere but it would actually be impossible to get lost here.
Herm is around 0.75 square miles, in the middle of the island you can always see the sea, follow the coastal path and you reach the town. It is owned by Guernsey and currently leased to a trust who manage the island. There are no private residences on Herm, you can only live there if you work there. Most of the island is made up of fields separated by old stone walls and hedgerows, the coastal path is rustic with stunning vistas at every step.
Just over the hill from the town is Belvoir beach, I actually gasped the first time I saw it. A little crescent of pale sand, free of litter and bordered by rocks, foliage and an unassuming beach cafe. We were out of the main tourist season but Herm is very popular with Guernsey residents, however there were no more than 30 of us on the beach on the weekend days, plenty of room for all and a lovely relaxed atmosphere all day. All of this was a 10 minute walk from our apartment.
During our stay we had hot sunny beach days followed by balmy late afternoons when, back from the beach, we walked the coastal path and picked wild blackberries. We’d watch the sunset over the west of the island, Guernsey in the distance from our balcony, followed by evenings cool enough to justify a real fire in our apartment. It was the best of all climates rolled into one day.