St Peter Port seafront and harbour at sunset, Guernsey

The bailiwick of Guernsey

The Bailiwick of Guernsey is a group of Islands comprising the largest, Guernsey, as well as Alderney, Sark, Herm, Jethou, Brecqhou and Lihou. An autonomous and self-governing dependency of the British Crown, it is divided into three jurisdictions: Guernsey, Alderney and Sark, which enjoy close constitutional, cultural and economic links.

Guernsey has approximately 65,000 inhabitants and is situated in the Bay of Saint-Malo, some 40km from France and 100km from England. It is a beautiful, vibrant and safe place to live that is centred on its modern capital, St Peter Port, a bustling port city and patchwork of architectural styles that bear witness to an eventful past. President of the Policy & Resources Committee, Deputy Gavin St Pier, leads the Government of Guernsey and coordinates its work.

The Admiral Park development, Guernsey

A modern economy

With a GDP of more than £2bn, Guernsey’s economy is centred on financial services, tourism, agriculture and light industry. The Island is fiscally autonomous and has its own system of tax. As well as financial services Guernsey preserves the unique character of the Bailiwick with a focus on more traditional industries still playing an important role in the local economy.

Victor Hugo Statue in Candie Gardens, Guernsey

History and culture

Although Guernsey is geographically closer to France, the Bailiwick has been loyal to the British Crown since the time of William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy. English is now the predominant language, but Guernsey still has its own dialect, Guernesiais, and maintains its own distinct and unique culture. Local folklore focused on the Island’s ancient past and occupation by Nazi forces during Second World War is reflected in the Island’s many heritage sites.

Guernsey was famously the island home of writer Victor Hugo, who began, completed or published the majority of the works for which he is best known while living here, notably ‘Les Misérables’ (1862), ‘Les Travailleurs de la mer’ (1866), et ‘L’Homme qui rit’ (1869). Hugo himself described the Channel Islands as “fragments of France which fell into the sea and were gathered up by England”.