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Alderney Article

Alderney is the third largest Channel Island and lies just 13 km from France and is famous for its massive breakwater which was originally begun back in 1847 and finally completed in 1864 along with many other defensive fortifications around the island when hostility between France and England was running high. The breakwater now provides shelter for hundreds of French and British yachts which visit the island each year. Alderney is a perfect retreat for those looking to get away from it all and enjoy outdoor life. It is a delightful place to explore on foot with 80 km of walks and paths taking you over windswept commons, long sandy beaches and scenic cliffs which are dotted with Victorian and German fortifications. The Alderney Wildlife Trust offer interesting organised guided walks covering aspects of the islands heritage, flora and fauna. Cycling is another great way to see the island with mountain bikes being most suitable for the terrain. Beach-loving families will enjoy Alderney’s peaceful golden sandy bays and clean clear waters suitable for swimming. Braye Bay close to St Anne’s is sheltered by the long breakwater. The wide sandy beach is perfect for children and you can sit and watch the fishing boats and yachts coming in and out of the harbour. This is the best place for water skiing and windsurfing and kite flying is popular on the dunes behind. Longis Bay on the south-east coast also has a wide sandy beach and the causeway to Raz Island is a great place to collect pretty shells. Other lovely quiet family beaches are Corblets (great for body boarding), Arch Bay and Saye. The island is a must for ornithologists and the nearby tiny Burhou Island has puffin colonies and a small bird sanctuary. Longis Common is also a paradise for bird watchers. Should you like golf the island has one of the most scenic 9 hole courses in the British Isles. Sea fishing holidays are always popular and an Angling Festival is held every October.
 
The capital and only town of St Anne with its cobbled streets has a very Gallic atmosphere and VAT free shopping. The islands history is best explored in the Alderney Society Museum in St Anne’s. The island is served by a good bus service and has the only working railway in the Channel Islands. Albeit short, the line runs for 3 km from Braye Road to Mannez on the north-east coast but is well worth experiencing. You can also rent a car, moped or bike or take a boat trip around the island. Alderney has a lack of bureaucracy and a relaxed attitude to drinking with flexible licensing hours so if the weather is bad many head for one of the 13 convivial pubs! What better place to meet the friendly locals. There are also several good restaurants to choose from offering excellent value menus and the perfect time for food lovers to visit is either during May for the Seafood Festival or in October for the Tennerfest. The island is linked to Guernsey, Jersey, Southampton and Cherbourg by regular flights so why not book and come and see the island for yourself!