When I was little, I spent a weekend of each summer chasing my brothers around the dusty lanes of Sark on a rented bicycle. Back then it was a family tradition that we would visit the island together every summer and stay in the beautiful Aval du Creux for a mini break. My brothers and I would spend our days playing with the hotels dog, discovering new boltholes and playing make believe all over the tiny island. As we all got older and started to go our own ways our family trips to Sark were no longer and until this week I hadn’t visited the island for years!
Vintage shot! Check out my chubby cheeks!
Sark is a hidden gem of the English Channel. With only a few tractors roaming the island, it’s a tranquil haven with crystal blue seas, stunning scenery and rare wildlife. In the day, the island is devoid of the everyday noise which clutters our lives back home and at night, Sark is one of the best places in the world for stargazing.
When my boyfriend, Ross came to visit me in Guernsey this week, I knew that a trip down memory lane with him in tow was a must. We took the 50 minute boat over and then jumped on the toast rack – a tractor which takes you up the rather large hill toward the main village – and rented a couple of bikes from Avenue Cycle Hire on the main street. No need for directions, there is only one main road!
For our first stop of the day we decided to head towards Little Sark which lies to the South West of the main island. It is accessible by a narrow isthmus – what a great word – known as La Coupee. When I was younger, I would hold onto my mums legs as we crossed as I was terrified of falling (or being pushed by my brothers) down the steep cliffs on both sides. But now, I can appreciate the short crossing for the amazing views instead of burying my face into my hands.
With our minds now turning to the thought of food after all that strenuous bike riding, we set our sights on La Sablonnerie hotel and restaurant. The charming cottage can play host to up to 22 guests whilst also providing an award winning restaurant service. We chose to eat al fresco in the colourful garden which reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, just look how pretty it is!
Ross actually sporting a tan! Proud!
Now to the important bit, the food. Ross and I decided to share a Beef Carpaccio salad for the starter. The salad had the most beautifully sweet dressing which complemented the tangy and raw beef. We could have done with one portion each! For the main, I chose to have a whole grilled lobster with garlic and herb butter while Ross went for duck. The Lobster, which is locally caught, was highly recommended by the waiter – perhaps because it is one of the most expensive things on the menu – and was absolutely gorgeous. It was a rather generous portion which was so deliciously meaty that I’d go back any day and eat it again.
For dessert I opted for a nostalgia inducing apple and blackberry crumble. When I still had my horses my mum and I would go on hacks and pick the berries from the highest bushes which others couldn’t reach and then rush home to make a warming crumble. The Sablonnerie version was served with some Darjeeling ice cream, something which I wasn’t familiar with but trust me it’s pretty great.
Buttery vegetable goodness
After stuffing our faces with posh grub, we were invited inside the bar to enjoy a complimentary sloe gin and chocolate truffles with the hotel’s owner, Elizabeth. Do not give this a miss! The sloe gin, while sweet is incredibly tasty and may now be my new favourite tipple.
As our day came to an end, I attempted to give Ross a mini tour of the island complete with Ayre family stories but my sense of direction and lacklustre biking skills meant that we ended up back in a pub quicker than planned!
We had the most perfect day in Sark – apart from the few times I almost rode into some hedges – and I can’t wait to make a repeat visit with my family sooner than later!