I HAD always had this idea that holidays to Guernsey were strictly for the blue-rinse brigade.
And while this beautiful island is popular with slightly older tourists, I must tell you now, they are definitely on to something.
With its turquoise waters, golden sands and incredible scenery, Guernsey ticks all the boxes for an excellent family getaway.
I travelled in April with my husband Nick and three children, Jacob, eight, Olive, six, and Ivy, two.
And I couldn’t work out why I’d never been before, nor why more families don’t do the same.
First of all, there’s no need to drag the kids on a plane.
You can avoid the airport hassle and reach it by ferry from Poole, Dorset, in less than three hours.
If you forgot to renew your passport before the strike action, there’s good news too as you don’t need one to get there.
We drove our car loaded with all the kids’ stuff on to the Condor Liberation ferry, which is a much more relaxing way to travel than by plane.
In the Horizon lounge, which costs from £7.50, we had a table seat with reclining chairs and a bar serving snacks and drinks, plus Costa Coffee.
On arrival at St Peter Port, you’ll be greeted by turquoise water and a picturesque harbour that feels more like the Mediterranean than the UK.
The second largest of the Channel Islands, Guernsey covers just 30 square miles — you could drive around it in only 45 minutes.
It is a haven of quaint villages, rugged coastline and beautiful, picture-perfect beaches.
At the northeasternmost tip is Pembroke Beach, with immaculate white sands that go on for ever and mild winds that make it a popular spot among windsurfers and sailors.
This stretch is also home to the excellent Beach House cafe, which looks rather plain from the outside but serves amazing dishes — including the best seafood chowder on the island — which you can gobble up while taking in views of the bay.
Cobo Beach is another top coastal spot for families, brilliant for padd- ling and exploring rock pools.
There are, in fact, endless coves and crabbing opportunities around the island.
We stayed two-and-a-half miles away from Cobo Beach, at the three-star Les Rocquettes Hotel — a former country mansion which now has more than 50 rooms plus a pool, gym, sauna, steam room and award-winning restaurant.
The hotel is just a 20-minute walk from St Peter Port and in a prime spot for exploring the island.
Whether you’re into history or not, the 800-year-old Castle Cornet is a must, with dressing up for kids, and soldiers that fire cannons at midday.
Plus there’s Oaty and Joey’s Playbarn, one of the best soft play areas we’ve ever visited, with ball pits, super slides and arcade games.
Another highlight was the Pirate Bay Adventure Golf, just a ten- minute drive from the port.
Its restaurant, called 19, offers great family-friendly food, too.
Meat lovers should visit The Slaughterhouse, a top restaurant on the edge of Guernsey harbour, which serves burgers, steaks, chicken and ribs — all with a view of the sea.
If you somehow tire of the extraordinary scenery, there’s plenty more of it on the island of Herm.
It costs just £9 per adult each way (£4.50 for kids; 75p under twos) for the 20-minute ferry ride between Herm and St Peter Port Harbour.
The kids were amazed to see a pod of dolphins diving in and out of the water en route and Olive, five, tells everyone this was the best part of our week away.
Only 60 people live on Herm and cars are banned, which makes for a relaxing walk along the stunning coastal path to Shell and Belvoir beaches on the island’s east side.
But the real reason to visit is for the seals and puffins, which can be spotted bobbing in the sea or on The Humps sandbanks off the island’s northeast corner.
Sadly we didn’t get lucky this time.
Oh well, that just gives us an excuse for another visit!
GO: Channel Islands
GETTING THERE: The Condor Liberation costs from £90pp each way for a car carrying two adults. Foot passenger prices start at £45 each way per adult.
STAYING THERE: Four nights in a superior double room at Les Rocquettes costs from £1,750 in total for two adults and two children and including ferry crossing for a standard-sized car from Poole.