Stunning Sark – an unforgettable destination one hour away
It only takes 55 minutes to reach the island of Sark by ferry from Guernsey, but in terms of getting away from it all, it feels like it’s a million miles away. It’s like being transported back in time in the best way: the island is peaceful and safe, and you have the freedom to walk or cycle whilst only having to look out for the odd tractor or horse-drawn carriage. This in itself is a huge bonus for parents, who can often feel it’s impossible to relax if their children are out of sight for a minute.
Compared to the palaver of catching a flight, getting to Sark is a breeze. Whether the kids are learning to walk or mastering the art of cycling in a straight line, Sark is always welcoming. The helpful crew will help you to load your luggage on and off the ferry and deliver it by tractor to your accommodation; if you’ve got a buggy in tow, you can pop it on the Harbour Hill Bus – more commonly known as the ‘Toast Rack’ – up to the Village.
There is plenty to do in Sark. Cycling is always fun here and tag-alongs and child trailers are available to hire as well as all sorts of bikes. You can even explore the island in a lovely horse-drawn carriage – Stocks Hotel has its own horses, Ronaldo and Willow, and a variety of carriages. Sark has a windmill, a heritage room hosting archaeological finds, a museum mainly dedicated to the Occupation, the smallest working prison in the world and brand new Sark Henge, located on the south coast of Big Sark. Little Sark is home to the remains of the Silver Mines, with stunning cliff walks around the area. The Golden Post Box in the Village is an homage to dressage champion Carl Hester, following his team’s gold win at the 2012 Olympics. The Seigneurie Gardens have a lovely maze as well as old cannons, including a bronze cannon given to Hellier de Carteret by Elizabeth I and sent from the Tower of London, and the original carp ponds of St Magloire’s monks. Or you can see chocolates being made in the kitchen at Caragh’s Chocolates and choose your own.
Active families will be spoilt for choice here. Adventure Sark host archery for groups and run kayaking and coasteering activities. With lots of caves, caverns and secluded bays to explore, a kayak trip with Adventure Sark’s local guides is highly recommended. Alternatively, George Guille runs three-hour boat trips in the summer, which take you close to the caves and sealife. Some of the island’s beaches are easier to access than others, and the dramatic tides make for fantastic swimming and snorkelling opportunities. There is a swimming pool at Stocks Hotel where families can take time to relax, have a cream tea and watch the children swim.
In 2011 Sark was designated the world’s first dark sky island by the International Dark-Sky Association. There is no light pollution due to the lack of street lighting, making it easy to stargaze with the naked eye. On a cloud-free night, countless stars and dashing meteors are visible against the stunning backdrop of the Milky Way. Islanders even raised funds to buy a new telescope and have created an observatory in the middle of the island. Why not stay for a night or two and see these magical skies for yourself? As well as Stocks and La Sablonnerie Hotels, there are some charming guesthouses, or you could go camping. There’s plenty of choice when it comes to eating and drinking too, with lots of fresh, seasonal, locally sourced ingredients on the menu.
For a small island, Sark has an impressively packed calendar of special events, including Sheep Racing, self-guided Rockpool Rambles, a Rugby Festival and the ever-popular Sark Folk Festival. Check out our What’s on guide for Sark for all the details or refer to Sark Tourism’s online events calendar on http://www.sark.co.uk/events.
Through our partnership with the Isle of Sark Shipping Company and Sark Tourism, Islandmums Family Cardholders can take advantage of lots of amazing offers, with great savings on travel, activities and food and drink. Islandmums.com has all the information you need.
A hassle-free journey, a beautiful destination within our very own Bailiwick and quality time with the family – a trip to Sark is a breath of fresh air.