If you were looking for the perfect travel setting, you’d be hard pushed to find better.
The sky overhead was a brilliant, cloudless blue, the crisp colour of azure only an English summer can pull off.
The sea, reflecting this, was the perfect oceanic blue and the morning sunlight, dancing upon her surface, was already bright, already alive.
Because sometimes the English summer gets it just right. Yes for the few days a year when she decides to come and play, there really is nowhere better on earth.
When her freshness, her light, her endless sense of optimism grabs you, you have to drop everything and run with it.
And we had!
Yes cruising the water of the English Channel were Mum and I, heading for the tiny gem of Sark with only a seemingly endless day of adventure and amusement before us.
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The Channel Islands
For those not in the know, Sark is one of the smallest Channel Islands.
A collection of rocky drops in the ocean between England and France, these islands uniquely combine the influences of their 2 European neighbours and then add their own independent sparkle on top.
Quite the unique combination!
Jersey, is the largest of the Channel Islands at 45sq miles, and boasts a town, several villages, lots of attractions and great restaurants – you can read more about my time there here.
Sark, on the other hand, is just over 2sq miles and has neither an airport, nor cars and just a few shops scattered around it which you must either cycle, horse ride or walk between.
There’s one school, one bank, one doctor and one policeman. The local fire engine and ambulance are pulled along by a tractor!
If you’re looking for a truly unique location, then trust me, Sark is the place to head.
It seems I’m a bit of a fan of tiny islands, after all I did live somewhere smaller than Sark for a year. Little Corn Island, off the coast of Nicaragua, is just 1sqkm big! Read about how I ended up living there for a year by clicking the link above!
Isle of Sark
With the modern pace of life rendered a basic impossibility here, visiting the island of Sark is like stepping back in time; travelling to a world where an altogether different pace of life exists.
This is something you quickly get a sense that the 600 residents here very much enjoy pride themselves on.
For those who live in this remote outposting, Sark is as much a community as it is an island – a place where necessity begets invention and friends become family very quickly.
With the only supplies coming in daily on a boat from the neighbouring Channel Island of Guernsey, on Sark you largely have to grow your own, make your own, swap, trade or do without.
It’s a set of values largely lost in our busy consumer-driven world and discovering them again in this tiny gem at sea really is like travelling back in time.
Getting to the Island of Sark
Indeed physically travelling to Sark, can feel like stepping back in time too.
With no airport, boat is the only way to get here.
And while daily trips are made from Guernsey year-round, it’s only in the summer that you can access Sark from the other main Channel Island of Jersey, or the nearby northern coast of France.
And to get to either of these places – be in Jersey, Guernsey or the northern French coast – you’ve pretty much got to fly!
Honestly, who knew getting to anywhere in Britain was this difficult in 2017!
But really it’s all part of the adventure, part of the stepping into another realm, where things are slowed down and savoured.
Luckily for mum and I, it was the perfect sailing weather when we set off from Jersey with Manche Iles Express.
Treated to stunning coastal and sea views as we sailed across to Sark, the journey was something we were definitely able to savour.
In fact it set the blissful tone for the whole day.
Sark Bike Hire
Because trust me people, it doens’t get more blissful than cycling around on a classic bicycle complete with basket and bell through the dusty country lanes of the British countryside.
Enid Blyton eat your heart out!
That’s why the first thing you have to do when you get to Sark is hire a bike.
Ok, well actually the first thing you have to do is get the Toast Rack (read. old red tractor with a carriage style trailer) up the hill from the harbour to the main town!
But after that, you have to get a bike. We shied away from the seemingly main operators and found the delightful A to B Cycle Hire, tucked in a small side lane of the town instead.
With great prices and beautiful bikes, we were sold!
And then we were off to explore the isle of Sark and all her wonderful attractions!
If cycling around tiny, carless islands is your thing, then check out my article about Rottnest Island off the coast of Perth in Western Australia. This cute, little paradise gem has some real similarities to Sark that I loved too!
Things to do on Sark
On Sark, in Sark – it’s a confusing world of propositions when you’re trying to describe small island adventures, but I’ve settled with ‘on’.
After all, with just a day trip up our sleeves, you don’t really get into Sark, more just onto it … In fact I got a real sense it takes a little longer than this to get under the skin of this unique island and even longer to be called a local!
But I digress …
With our bikes and bells at the ready we were all set to start exploring Sark.
Most definitely a summer destination, the natural beauty and isolation of Sark is her real asset.
Just cycling around you’re able to take in stunning coastal views, spot some beautiful bird life, view colourful wild flowers and snap photographs of the endlessly charming country life here.
From quaint cottages to farmyard gates, tiny churches and character-filled country stores, this is time travel at its best.
And with that sense of being in a different world, there’s also a sense of inhabitations being dropped, of an innocent freedom taking over, a joy in the simplicity of it all.
Before long, Mum and I were both ringing our bike bells, waving like the queen to strangers and laughing so hard that more than one hedgerow accidentally found itself in our path!
All too soon, Sark was taking us back in time not just externally, but internally too. There we were, laughing like kids out playing on their bikes, for whom the endless summer days seem to stretch before them like a never-ending dream.
Trust me if you’re stressed when you arrive on Sark, you won’t be for much longer!
The first place we headed to on our bikes was La Coupée. Translated as “the cut”, this is the tiny causeway that connects Sark and its even smaller extension, Little Sark!
We gathered stunning photos of the beaches below as we pushed our bikes across the bridge and then continued onto Little Sark to enjoy a hike along the coastal paths here.
On the way we saw Neolithic dolmens, an old abandoned mill and the beautiful Venus Pools – some dazzling, azure rock pools that sit hidden below the cliffs, like shimmering secrets.
Heading to Little Sark early in the day turned out to be a great move, because on our way back we passed several horse and carriage tours that were taking people around the island.
With Little Sark being so small, it’s definitely not a place for crowds!
Sark Island’s Best Bits
After Little Sark we made our way back to the main island of Sark and headed for Le Seigneurie Gardens.
A beautiful manor house, where the leaders of Sark lived for generations, the gardens here are quite phenomenal and there’s a lovely café to enjoy lunch too.
But ever the budget travellers, our picnics were firmly packed and we headed to the Window in the Rock to enjoy it!
A little walk from the beautifully positioned Cycle Park, the ‘Window in the Rock’ is a Sark must and definitely one of the most stunning vantage points.
If you’re looking for your ideal Insta-shots my friends, this is the place!
Beaches on Sark
Looping the Island, we then admired the Sark Henge before heading down to the hidden Derrible Bay to enjoy a well-earned swim in the sea!
We’d heard about the amazing caves you can explore here, which really are fantastic and well worth the steep hike down.
We didn’t see anyone else the whole time we were at Derrible Bay, and although stony, it was the perfect way to spend our last few hours on Sark.
The other great beach on the Island we’d been told about was Dixcart Beach, although if you’re looking for a sea swim without the hassle, just head to the Creux Harbour at high tide and join the locals!
Trust me it’s quite the gathering down there, at least it was when we swung past on our way back to the harbour to catch the boat home.
Sark Hotels and Accommodation
In hindsight, we really wished we’d allowed ourselves a few more days to travel back in time on Sark and would definitely recommend spending at least one night here to help yourself relax and get into the swing of things.
If you are lucky enough to do this, then there’s some excellent Sark hotels and budget accommodation choices to pick from.
Here’s my recommended list:
Le Hurel – Located on the east coast of Sark, this beautiful self-catering cottage is only a 10 minute walk to Sark’s “town” and is even closer to many of the island’s best cliff paths. Added bonus: it offers free wifi!
Clos de Menage Country House – A delightful family run guesthouse, Clos de Menage can accommodate up to 10 people in a range of single, twin, double and family rooms. Ideal for large groups, the lovely owners can even provide meals using their own Sark farm produce.
La Valette Campsite – Bring your own tent, or borrow one of theirs – everything is provided for you in this beautiful modern campground close to beaches and ideally situated to make the best of Sark’s status as the first Dark Sky Island.
La Sablonnerie Hotel – When it comes to Sark Hotels, the finest has to be La Sablonnerie, which is located on the magnificent Little Sark. If you’re looking to get away from the hussle and bustle, this place takes relaxation, peace and quiet to a whole new level!
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Heading to Sark really is like travelling back in time in the most magical way and I highly recommend it.
Have you visited this gorgeous little island?
Did you love it too?
Let me know more in the comments below…