If you read through some of the entries on this page you will find it difficult to come across very many currencies that do not have an official ISO code for use on the currency markets. The Guernsey pound is one of those rare currencies that does not have such a code however. There is a reason for this, and one that shall be revealed below.
Guernsey has long since used the pound as its official currency. It might be common enough to assume the Guernsey pound is valued at par with the British pound but actually this isn’t the case. In fact this is merely another version of the British pound. The coins and banknotes are exactly the same as they would be in Britain, except for the fact that Guernsey is allowed to print its own banknotes and provide its own designs on the reverse of the coins. If you use the British pound in daily life you may even have come across the odd Guernsey coin from time to time without realising it.
As such there are lots of familiar coins and notes to use here. The coins are as follows – 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p and of course coins worth one and two pounds each as well. You can also use the usual five banknotes, which are the £1, £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes. Yes there is a pound note there too!
There was a time when the currency used on Guernsey was French. These went from the livre to the franc, and the island also used other denominations of currencies over time such as pennies and shillings. It may not have been as big a change as it could have been, therefore, when the island started using its own version of the British currency. This occurred in the 1800s.
Back in 1971 Guernsey took on the newly-decimalised version of the currency to replace the previous version using pounds, shillings and pence.
If you use the British pound in your daily life you’ll be pleased to know you can carry on using it while in Guernsey. You may receive the Guernsey pound in your change, but this is not necessarily the case since the British notes and coins are also commonly used here so you could get both. Make sure you get rid of all the Guernsey notes and coins prior to finishing your time on the island though. They cannot easily be exchanged in the UK, and even if you do find a bank that will do it they are likely to charge for the privilege.
As soon as you get to the airport you can withdraw cash from the cash machines there if you need to. There is also a good network of machines across Guernsey so you shouldn’t have any trouble getting what you need. Credit cards are also welcome in most places along with debit cards, so again, buying anything is reasonably easy and you have the option of using cash or cards.
Since the Guernsey pound is the same in value as the British pound, it is simple enough to work out how far your money will go. If you use the British pound you won’t need to work this out at all. However if you’re from elsewhere in the world all you have to do is to find a currency converter to ensure you can get the figures you need. Just look for pounds sterling instead of the Guernsey pound, as that version won’t be listed (since it has no ISO code).
Any trip to Guernsey will likely be preceded by finding out more about the island and what to expect when you get there. The best website for this type of information is the official one for the States of Guernsey. This has travel information and healthcare advice for tourists, such as the advice given here - http://www.gov.gg/tourist.
For the most part Guernsey is a safe and lovely place to be. It is popular among tourists who enjoy seeing the many sights here. There are really no specific things to be aware of in regard to visiting Guernsey and making sure your possessions are safe from harm. The only thing you really need to employ is common sense. This should ensure you stay safe.
For example, make sure you don’t leave your bag unattended; if nothing else you could end up forgetting where you put it! It’s good to keep valuables to a minimum too as there is less chance of losing anything. Furthermore you shouldn’t really need to carry too much in the way of cash around, since you can easily find a cash machine from which to get more when needed.
Guernsey is one of the Channel Islands. It is formally known as the Bailiwick of Guernsey, which is basically a territory. As such it also includes other islands in the area such as Alderney within its territory for official purposes. The Channel Islands are of course located in the English Channel. In the case of Guernsey you’ll find it to the north-west of Jersey. Directly below Guernsey on the French coast – although clearly some miles away – is Saint-Brieuc, which allows you to pinpoint Guernsey more accurately on a map.
Guernsey Airport is towards the south of the island, but it is also possible to catch a ferry from Portsmouth in the UK, or to travel to and from Jersey and various places in France from St Peter Port. This is also the capital of the island and has many charming features that are often recommended to tourists. Among these is Castle Carey, which was originally built in 1840. Of course the harbour itself is another key attraction, and if you choose to arrive by boat this is where you are most likely to arrive. When you are there you can choose to see another castle too, this time Castle Cornet. This is a stunning castle that sits on its own island, and indeed is sometimes also known as Castle Rock.
The Guernsey Aquarium is also worth a visit, since it has all manner of creatures to look at. There are both fish and all kinds of lizards here, not to mention a fair few terrapins!
One of the best ways to get around the island is to hire a bicycle. There are buses too, one of which goes around the coast in a circular route. However if the weather is fine hiring a bike makes a lot of sense. For starters the island is three miles wide and only double that in length, so you don’t exactly have much chance to get lost! Furthermore this is the ideal way to explore, since you can go at your own pace and stop whenever you wish. L’Ancresse Common lies at the northern reaches of the island and is well worth stopping to explore. There are lots of beaches near here too so if you fancy a spot of sunbathing this is a good place to head for. If that doesn’t appeal you can always head out on a bracing walk across the common. Be sure to take in some of the World War II bunkers that still remain here.
There are many other signs of both the war and other events much further back in history too. Don’t miss the La Vallette Underground Military Museum, since it tells some fascinating stories from wartime. It is located underground simply because it makes good and appropriate use of a series of wartime tunnels that were built by the Germans when they occupied the island. There is also information here on World War I, and it is quite sobering to learn as much as you can about the two wars and their effects on Guernsey.
Another way to look back into the past here is to go to the National Trust of Guernsey Folk and Costume Museum. This travels back even further in time, showing you what life was like some 250 years ago. The museum is located in a large public park that is also home to various other attractions, so this makes it a great place to go if you really want to make the most of a day out.
Guernsey may only be a small island but it certainly makes up for it in appeal and character. There is plenty of history to be found here too, as you will see when you visit some of the suggested attractions listed above.
Whatever you decide to do in Guernsey it makes sense to make the most of every minute you have on the island. With something to appeal to every kind of visitor, you are bound to enjoy every minute of your trip.