Castle Cornet, Guernsey – Looming over Guernsey’s capital, St Peter Port, Castle Cornet is formidable: it’s guarded the harbour for 800 years. Battling up there on a rainswept day, it felt like we had made a mistake, but my daughter was soon clambering up battlements, imagining knights and princesses. We were fascinated by the history: from the garden kept by Sir John Lambert, imprisoned there for his part in the English Civil War; to the German Gothic script on the walls from when the Nazis commandeered the castle during World War II. In one of five museums, we found dressing-up clothes and a toy castle and nobody else at all. We spent an hour being kings, dragons and soldiers. It’s the castle all castles will be held up against by our family.
Durrell Wildlife Park, Jersey – The bear cub throws itself at the cage, scrambles as high as he can go before racing back down and suddenly falling asleep in the corner. I swear I can see his mother breathing a sigh of relief. Raymi, an Andean bear who arrived at the park in January 2016, is as full of energy as a toddler after a pack of Smarties. Durrell Wildlife Park is no ordinary zoo — set up in Jersey by naturalist Gerard Durrell in 1959, it concentrates on rare species and the baby bear is the latest in a long line of conservation breeding programme success stories.
Puffin Patrol RIB Cruise, Guernsey – My five-year-old squealed with delight for most of the RIB voyage from Guernsey’s St Peter Port: every time she saw a puffin or when the boat zoomed up to its highest — very fast — speed. “Why are you closing your eyes, mummy?” she yelled, as the captain made the speedboat do tight loops. Terrifying, but good fun.
St Brelade’s Bay, Jersey – It’s the busiest beach on Jersey, but it’s also huge. Even on a busy, sunny afternoon in half-term we had an enormous swathe of golden sand to ourselves. It’s south-facing and sheltered: we had to give up on another beach as the wind was whipping sand into our faces. A short drive to St Brelade’s saw my daughter splashing in the sea, leading to a considerably more relaxed afternoon for everyone. There are a few car parks around, which do fill up quickly on fine weather days, but the beach is also served by the number 8 bus.
Cobo Bay, Guernsey – A safe, wide beach with lots of parking nearby, Cobo Bay is a very nice place to spend the day with children. We also had a lovely evening here playing on the shoreline while watching the most spectacular sunset, before heading to nearby Vazon Bay to eat seafood and pizza at noisy, cheerful family-friendly restaurant Crabby Jacks.