I got to do the Channel Islands on the cheap a few years back. Hotel discounts, boat discounts and travelling there almost every day for 6 months while working as a Steward for Condor Ferries! I worked on a few different routes, mostly Poole (England) to Cherbourg (France) and Poole to Guernsey and then onwards to St. Malo (France). I also worked at Jersey and Weymouth. I loved the island of Sark and am sharing with you today how to get from Guernsey to Sark. This is the only border I have ever done which included a boat then a tractor! Amazing!! Sark is a tiny place.
What is Sark?
Sark is the smallest of the four main Channel Islands, it is located some 80 miles off the south coast of England and is actually closer to France. Sark is only three miles long, and 1.5 miles wide, it boasts 40 miles of what could well be one of the most picturesque coastlines anywhere in the world. It’s stunning. Backpacking in Sark.
The best thing about Sark is that there are no cars, tractor is the only motorised transport on the island and bicycle hire is the best way to get around.
In short – get this island on your hit list – it’s a fantastic place.
Do You Need A Visa To Visit Sark?
Sark is visa free as long as you are permitted within the EU. There is no passport control, no immigration booth and certainly no visas.
Who Owns Sark?
It’s affiliated with Guernsey and it is one of the Channel Islands, so officially it’s governed by the British Queen at the top level. Though Sark is fascinatingly considered to be the LAST Feudal State in Europe. I read a lot about the politics of it prior to my trip and the Wikipedia page I have to say is an excellent resource for it: Sark on Wikipedia.
John Michael Beaumont is the current (and 22nd) Seigneur of Sark, and officially by the UN Sark even has its own “country code”. Would you believe they once fielded an international football team in the “Island Games” and their record was played 4 lost 4, scored 0 and conceded 70. Even the Isle of Wight beat them 20-0. So you could class this as another country as they have a lot of the credentials needed. However in reality it’s just a small island which is one of the Channel Island governed by the UK.
How to book your boat from Guernsey to Sark
There is no need to book your boat ticket in advance at all. Just turn up in St. Peter Port in Guernsey and book your ticket there and then.
Astonishingly they now actually accept online bookings on the Sark Shipping Company website, but there’s no need to do that. The sailing times and schedules change depending on the season (July and August tend to be peak time) but generally there are around 4-5 ferries a day from St. Peter Port in Guernsey to Sark. The last ferry across to Sark is currently at 5pm. The last ferry from Sark back to Guernsey is at 6pm. If you miss that, you’ll be staying the night on the island of Sark. (which admittedly isn’t the worst thing that you ever happen – you’ll probably love it). All that said, I did the trip in a day to save money on accommodation on Sark itself.
Just so you know there is no airport on the island of Sark and ferry is the only way to reach it. There is an airfield for emergency landings (helicopters and biplanes) but it’s rarely used.
The Journey from Guernsey to Sark
It’s a 9 mile journey and takes just under an hour. It’s a really pleasant crossing and I loved it. The ferry has an open outer deck and you can really enjoy the cruise. Check out my videos at the bottom of the post. You board the ferry at the ferry terminal in St. Peter Port in Guernsey, and within an hour have landed on the magical island of Sark. On route you also get a glimpse of the island of Brecqhou – a private island right beside Sark. You cannot access Brecqhou at all. Sark also has two parts to it – Sark and Little Sark – a pathway called La Coupee joins them together.
What happens on arrival in Sark?
Sark is an elevated island with not much access by see due to the fact that all the buildings are high up, so on arrival you will see the “Welcome to Sark” sign firstly. From here walk under the tunnel where a tractor with a trailer greets you and takes you up the hill. This is the only motorised form of transport on Sark!
It’s about a 10 minute tractor ride up the hill – the tractor has a trailer on it and a very strong engine. This is the only border I have ever crossed with a boat and a tractor.
You gave to pay £1 each way for the tractor – totally worth it believe me. A real travel novelty. I totally recommend checking out my tractor videos below! I loved it!
Things to See and Do on Sark
I’ll go into this on another post – rent a bicycle when you are there, visit the capital of Sark (basically a street), La Seigneurie (government), the beach, Little Sark and the world’s smallest prison. It’s a really great place.
I’ll leave you with the videos from my actual journey from Guernsey to Sark:
On board the Bon Marin de Serk ferry:
Crevichon, Jethou and Herm from the Sark ferry:
First glimpses of Sark from the ferry:
Passing the private island of Brecqhou on route to Sark:
Arrival in Sark:
Waiting for the tractor in Sark:
Boarding the tractor in Sark:
The tractor ride up Harbour Hill, Sark:
Thanks for reading how to get from Guernsey to Sark! You’ll know I spent some time working on car ferries myself, if you’re keen on a life at sea, you can buy Earl Barons’ book on how to get a job on a cruise ship. Safe travels my friends!