Travel Advice

Condor Ferries – Our First Trip From Poole To Guernsey

Despite Guernsey being only 3 hours from the mainland, we had never got around to visiting this historic island. Also, with the recent publicity and release of the film “The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society,” we thought it was about time we crossed the channel and actually see Guernsey for ourselves.

Taking the ferry seemed to be the best option as you can just load up your car without any luggage weight restrictions, yes you can pack the kitchen sink! Simply drive to the port and when you get to Guernsey you already have your own transport to explore the island. So no need to rent a car or wait for buses and taxis.

The quickest route is the Condor Ferries fast ferry service, the ‘Condor Liberation’ from Poole to Guernsey which takes 3 hours. They also operate a conventional service from Portsmouth which takes 7 hours. As we are not the best sailors, (I was once sick on a boat simulator) we opted for the fast service.

Arrival And Check-In

Poole Harbour

Loading at Poole Harbour

It was grey overcast morning when we arrived at the terminal in Poole but more importantly, there wasn’t a breath of wind and the English Channel was as calm as it gets. As we had an E-Boarding Card the check-in was quick and easy. Just a reminder, the check-in opens 2 and a half hours before the departure time and closes for vehicles an hour before sailing.

While waiting to board in the area before customs you are able to get out of the car and use the toilet but once you pass customs you have to stay in the car until you are onboard.

It must have been my face as we were pulled over by customs for a vehicle search. They were surprisingly polite and didn’t make you feel like Pablo Escobar.

The lower car deck - Condor Ferries

The car deck on the Condor Liberation

Driving onboard was easy, the car deck was better lit than expected and there were plenty of staff directing you. Also, although the vehicles are tightly packed it didn’t seem as cramped as expected, you could actually open the doors to get out.

There are two levels of car deck and two staircases, one marked orange and the other marked green. Make sure you know where you have parked as when it was time to leave I did see a few people wandering the car decks aimlessly trying to find their car, it’s surprising how many people have grey or black cars!

Once you’ve parked your car you can go straight to the passenger lounge.

Onboard The Condor Liberation

Condor Ferries seating

The Ocean Plus seating area

Every passenger on the Condor Liberation ship has a pre-assigned airline-style seat. There is also an upgrade option to ‘Ocean Plus’ which is at the front of the ship with panoramic views, tables and power supplies. Finally, there is the ‘Ocean Club’ private lounge which has a steward service offering complimentary tea and coffee.

One of the snack bars

One of the onboard coffee and snack bars

As it was so calm we did try the food from Casquets Bistro, a counter service dining option but if you are in the Ocean Plus lounge you can place your food order at the Horizon Lounge and Bar.

Although you couldn’t really feel the motion of the ship we did go for something simple to eat, a jacket potato which was very good and had a decent amount of filling. If you wanted something a bit more substantial there was a varied menu including fresh lasagne, steak pies, a children’s menu and a nice looking vegetarian chilli.

Calm Seas Condor Ferries

Calm seas leaving Poole Harbour

If you do want some fresh air there is a public viewing area. You can watch the interesting coastline and the millionaire houses on the Sandbank peninsula as you leave Poole Harbour.

Duty Free onboard Condor Ferries

Stuck up on your Duty-Free

Don’t forget your Duty-Free shopping in the onboard shop, this opens once you leave the port. Top of on your perfumes, aftershave, wine and of course, chocolate!

Remember the Channel Islands are not part of the EU so the maximum allowances are lower – 4 litres of wine and 1 litre of spirits. Also, these allowances are strictly enforced by the customs officers when you disembark.

Arrival At St Peter Port, Guernsey
Land Ahoy

The first sight of land.

After the coffee, food and shopping it was soon time to return to the car as we were approaching St Peter Port. Guernsey is the first stop for the ferry in the Channel Islands, it then goes on to Jersey which is an hour further.

Luckily we remembered where we parked the car but as mentioned earlier, we did see a few people wandering the decks looking for their cars. Leaving the ship was easy and again the staff were helpful directing you.

The only issue we noticed was that if you are travelling with your supercar with minimal ground clearance, getting up the ramps could be an issue. Fortunately, we had left our Ferrari at home for the weekend.

Arriving at Guernsey

Arriving at St Peter Port, Guernsey

As we left the ship, the grey skies cleared and we had two days of dry sunny weather. We will definitely visit Guernsey again, maybe a little longer next time which will give us time to explore some of the other islands.

Have you visited the Channel Islands? Do you have any hints and tips for first timers?

Condor Ferries From Poole, England To Guernsey

Condor Ferries – Our First Trip From Poole To Guernsey – Pin For Later

*Thanks to Condor Ferries for inviting us on this press trip.

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  • Julie F
    June 8, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    I went to Gurnsey on a cruise, lovely place

    • Mr and Mrs W
      June 9, 2018 at 9:52 am

      It was our first visit and we loved it too.

  • Jenn and Ed Coleman
    June 10, 2018 at 4:31 am

    I’ll need to remember to not take my Ferrari on the ferry. There is nothing I hate more than bottoming out in that baby. Taking the fast ferry is always the go. Not only do you get there faster, but it’s a smoother ride. I also really appreciate assigned seating on ferries. Sometimes, it feels a bit like Lord of the Flies when you are looking for seats.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      June 10, 2018 at 8:46 am

      It was a much better experience than expected. Far smoother and not stressful at all.

  • Elaine Masters
    June 11, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    Always a fun read. How surprising that there’s duty free shopping on a ferry! Sad though that the alcohol limits are so low. Same when I drive or walk into Mexico. Protectionism. Guess I’d better get used to it as a US citizen but I’d much rather feel like a global family. Hope you enjoyed your tour around the island.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      June 11, 2018 at 6:20 pm

      The Channel Islands have a very unique position within the British Isles, the whole situation goes back 100’s of years. They are not part of the UK but we are responsible for their defence and the international relations of the island.

  • Linda
    June 12, 2018 at 2:16 am

    We love to take ferries if they are available. It sounds like it is a great way to get to Guernsey. I was surprised to hear that everyone gets an assigned seat. Most ferries are first come, first served for seats. The upgraded service areas sound great. A good reminder about customer duties.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      June 12, 2018 at 8:58 am

      As everyone gets a seat there was no pushing or hassle getting to the lounges. It was far more relaxing than we expected.

  • Indrani
    June 12, 2018 at 7:36 am

    Wow that is a good experience on ferry. Imagine being able to take your car in it. Must be really huge right?
    The seating arrangements seem good with great views. I am reminded of my ferry ride from HongKong to Macau.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      June 12, 2018 at 9:00 am

      This was the fast ferry that takes cars and van, the ones that take the trucks are really big.

  • parathyroid surgeon
    June 12, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Wow that is a good experience on ferry. Imagine being able to take your car in it. Must be really huge right?
    The seating arrangements seem good with great views. I am reminded of my ferry ride from HongKong to Macau.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      June 12, 2018 at 6:30 pm

      It would’ve been a great view if the mist had cleared but at least it was very calm, the English Channel can get a bit rough.

  • Carol Perehudoff
    June 12, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    I haven’t been to Guernsey but I did read “The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society” so I’d totally love to go. This sounds like the best way to get there, especially with a cafe and duty-free shopping. I’m glad the water was calm for your ride.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      June 12, 2018 at 6:32 pm

      Yes, the crossing was only 3 hours and luckily it was as calm as it gets.

  • Kirstie
    June 12, 2018 at 8:13 pm

    It does sound like a really relaxing ferry ride! Im usually not comfortable in ferries but would love to try this too.. especially that there is Duty Free shopping!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      June 12, 2018 at 11:59 pm

      We’re not usually a fan of ferries ourselves but it was a really good trip. It felt like being in an airport lounge but instead of just waiting, you are actually going somewhere!

  • Dorene
    June 13, 2018 at 12:29 am

    Now, this is first class ferry traveling! The last ferry I took was in Nicaragua – a far, very far cry from this luxurious travel. Coffees, food, shopping (and duty-free as well! ) Looks like a great way to travel. I thought is was interesting there were so many classic cars in the car deck – coincidence perhaps?

    • Mr and Mrs W
      June 13, 2018 at 6:33 pm

      I haven’t taken a ferry for years and it was surprising our easy it was, loading was quick and the car deck was quite light. There was a Morgan Sports Car Rally in Jersey so there were quite a few classic cars onboard.

  • Veronika
    June 15, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Hey! There is really a dute free shopping on a ferry? I would not expect it. I like traveling with all finds of feeries and boats, there is something relaxing about watching the sea.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      June 15, 2018 at 11:26 pm

      Yep, a Duty-Free shop as the Channel Islands are not part of the UK or the EU. It was a very very calm crossing.

  • Jennifer Melroy
    June 15, 2018 at 10:57 pm

    Ferry rides are so much fun. The Condor ferry looks comfy and has some great amenities. I like not having to stay in my car while on a ferry.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      June 15, 2018 at 11:27 pm

      No, you leave the car as soon as you park. It does take about 3 hours to get to Guernsey.

  • Karla Ramos
    June 16, 2018 at 10:25 am

    I love the seating areas. So classy. And wow, Duty Free!!!! That is amazing!

  • Jon Stride
    July 9, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    I am always surprised that more people don’t holiday on Guernsey – it is so easy to get to – especially if you are within striking distance of the south coast of England, and Poole. So much history on Guernsey – particularly as it was under German occupation during WW11. Being able to go inside a German observation tower that is as it was at the end of the war is amazing (Pleinmont Tower). The ability to easily island hop to the satellite islands – esp Herm and Sark is another attraction. The use of UK currency (their local version of the UK pound), and the fact that they drive on the same side of the road as in the UK helps. We stay at Blue Horizon Hotel on the south coast – right out of the way – yet only about 150 metres from the south coast path – ideal for a stroll. Both Jerbourg Point and in the opposite direction, Moulin Huet (a favourite of Renoir) are both within half an hours walk. It is the ideal place for a relaxing break, and travelling by Condor means that you see the picturesque Dorset coast – and the islands of Alderney, Herm, Jethou and Sark as you approach St Peter Port. Great spot for a relaxing break.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      July 9, 2018 at 11:10 pm

      Thank you for the information, it was my first visit to Guernsey but I will definitely be going back. I was lucky enough to get a tour of many of the German fortifications with ‘Festung Guernsey’ a group who restore and look after many of them.

  • amy fidler
    August 13, 2018 at 8:55 am


  • Yvonne Hannah
    August 13, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    Find me in the duty free shop.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      August 14, 2018 at 9:35 am

      Don’t worry you can’t miss it.