Here’s how to travel to the island of Sark!
The Island of Sark is a beautiful, isolated place, lost in time amongst the stormy seas of the English Channel. For centuries it’s been ruled as an independent medieval fiefdom, pledging nominal allegiance to the British Monarchy while archaic, mostly bizarre laws still govern this small outpost. It’s unique, and it’s a refreshing.
No cars are allowed here, only tractors. There’s incredible, lonely beaches to explore along the windswept coastline, and the small number of local inhabitants are a friendly, eccentric group to mingle with.
The island of Sark’s isolation is its main draw, but the obvious problem is that makes it rather difficult to travel to.
But I did make it there, so here’s my guide on how to travel to the island of Sark!
Get To Guernsey!
The first step is to get to Guernsey, the second largest of Britain’s Channel Islands. There are regular flights to the island’s airport from mainland Britain, or even from the larger neighbouring island of Jersey. Once you’ve landed, make your way to the harbour at St Peter Port, the largest town on the island.
If flying isn’t your thing, the much more adventurous route is the ferry to Guernsey. There are year round departures from the city of Poole on the south coast of England, which call in at St Peter Port. The same ferry can take you onward to Jersey, and even to St Malo in France.
Condor Ferries have a regular schedule which allows to you to efficiently island hop. Schedules and departure times vary, but you can book tickets on their website HERE. It’s best to do so in advance to get the cheapest ticket prices.
Get To St Peter Port Harbour!
The island of Sark is small, and the only way to travel there is to catch the ferry from St Peter Port on Guernsey, to the harbour on Sark. There’s a regular scheduled service run year round- weather permitting of course- by The Sark Shipping Company, which sounds more like a smuggling operation than a passenger company. They transport anything and anyone across to Sark.
Booking Tickets With The Sark Shipping Company
There are separate Summer and Winter schedules catering to the demand, but you can get across to Sark all year round. I booked my tickets online, in advance. You can find the website HERE. There are several departures throughout the day. Technically, you could even visit on a day trip if you catch the early ferry and the last one back, but you won’t get to enjoy the fabled isolation and dark night sky.
I had a fixed schedule, so booked in advance, but singles are the same price overall as buying a return, and you can probably get away with just rocking up to the ticket office on the day of departure anyway and booking there and then. Prices for 2016 are £14.25 for an adult single and £28.50 for an adult return.
The Sark ferry office at St Peter Port harbour is located here:
The Ferry Ride
You can check in at the office around an hour before departure, so don’t get there too early. The office is right next to the departure point, there’s a basic waiting room, or just enjoy the harbour if it’s not raining. I was given boarding cards for both my outbound and return journey when I checked in, so don’t lose this during your stay!
The seas were rough in October, the boat was small and at times it felt like we were being rocked almost sideways into the water! The journey took over an hour, but in calmer weather it would be much quicker.
The views as you leave Guernsey and then approach the coast of Sark are absolutely spectacular.
The ferry moors at the small harbour, and you’ll walk through a tunnel and onto the island. From the harbour, there’s a steep uphill walk to the village, or you can jump on the tractor bus. You heard me right. It’s there at every ferry arrival and departure. and it’s £1 for a ride up the hill. Worth every penny. you can even get the local transport company, Jimmy’s Carting, to drop your baggage off at your accommodation.
There’s plenty of accommodation on Sark, guesthouses and hotels, but they aren’t cheap. Camping however is cheap- in comparison anyway- and with Sark being a Dark Sky island- there’s almost no light pollution- it’s great to be outdoors at night!
I stayed at La Valette Campsite, in the field looking over the cliffs and down to the harbour. It was spectacular! It costs £9 per person to pitch a tent. Again, worth every penny. You can book a pitch by emailing them at [email protected] and there’s more contact details on this page HERE!
The campsite is located at the end of the road which leads down to the Mermaid Tavern, one of Sark’s many pubs. The road you walk down is labelled on the map below. Just keep going until you reach the end. If you walk too far you’ll be over the cliffs.
What To See?
It might be small, but you can spend days hiking or cycling on Sark. You could traverse the island in a single day, on foot, but that’s without exploring all the incredible beaches, cliffs and awesome scenery. Definitely walk over the terrifying bridge to Little Sark.
For more info and inspiration, then check out my own adventures on Sark right HERE!
An interesting point to note is that Sark, not being an official part of the United Kingdom, has no reciprocal health agreement with the NHS, so travelling here means you must have adequate travel or health insurance!
So that’s how to travel to the island of Sark!