The island is approximately 24 sq. miles (63 sq. kilometres) and the population stands at just over 60,000. The Bailiwick includes several other islands - Sark, Herm, Alderney and Jethou. The island of Guernsey is divided into 10 parishes, which retain an administrative significance relating to the way the island is governed as well as their normal ecclesiastical function.
The island's capital is focused around a beautiful harbour with a continental atmosphere and an ever-burgeoning array of designer shops and quality retail outlets. St Peter Port is home to the backbone of the island's economy, housing large bank headquarters and legal and financial institutions. The capital boasts some of the island's most expensive property with Fort George and Village de Putron forming salubrious private estates of predominately Open Market homes.
This stunning parish is always in high demand due to its mix of family-friendly amenities, fine dining and beautiful cliff walks and scenery. The village of St. Martin, which is home to the popular primary school and M&S food hall, is a big part of the Southern parish's appeal. Properties within this parish often achieve a premium given the rarity of their availability and the parish's combination of a rural feel and close proximity to St. Peter Port amenities.
St. Andrew is the island's central parish and the only one to not be bounded by any coastline. Its history as a true farming parish has left a legacy of traditional granite farmhouses, some of which are particularly impressive. St. Andrew is also home to Talbot Valley which is a stunning route down to the west coast. Home of the Little Chapel - a tourist mecca - and the neighbouring Blanchelande School for Girls this parish is a fine choice for those seeking a rural home amidst idyllic countryside.
St. Saviour is situated at the heart of the Guernsey countryside together with a comparatively small stretch of coastline often described as "advocate valley" country with impressive farmhouses being in great demand to high-earning locals. Entwined by a network of small country lanes, it is very easy for a visitor to get lost within the parish if not armed with a map!
St. Pierre du Bois (St. Peter) is a parish unchanged by time with a predominantly 'local' outlook on life - relaxed and family-orientated. With tough planning laws the parish retains a quintessentially rural feel in high demand for those seeking seclusion and tranquillity. Lihou Island can be explored at low tide over a pedestrian causeway and is highly regarded by botanists and ornithologists alike.
St. Sampson is fast shedding its reputation for 'industrial Guernsey' aided by the rejuvenation of the working harbour into a residents' marina. More scheduled development is planned to transform the island's second town, making it a wise bet for long-term investment. Homes tend to be slightly less 'showy' than other parishes but can often hide surprising secrets and offer comparatively good value.
Castel is a parish with true community feel. Largely populated by families and active residents, Castel hosts one of the island's finest surfing and windsurfing beaches (Vazon) together with a family-friendly sandy bay known as Cobo - perfectly placed to enjoy the incredible west coast sunsets. Away from its enviable beach life, La Grande Mare Hotel, Golf and Country Club offers 18 holes and stunning scenery and Saumarez Park is popular for its wide open spaces and recently-renovated children's play area.
Forest is an increasingly-popular parish with two impressive schools, the island's contemporary airport, quality food produce and superb rugged cliffs which make for some high-energy but scenically rewarding walks. With a limited stock of property within the parish, homes are rare and often in high demand. The parish boasts Petit Bot Bay - one of the island's most attractive cove style beaches tucked into the scaling cliffs.
Torteval is the westernmost parish of Guernsey - where the next land mass heading West is America. The summer months offer sunbathing and swimming at the stunning Portelet and Rocquaine Bays while the scenery in the winter months can be equally as enjoyable as the Atlantic seas break over Pleinmont headland. Torteval is a desirable parish in which to own property but is sometimes overlooked as it takes many years to navigate the small rural lanes and discover some of Guernsey's most discreet homes.
The parish is divided into two parts. Until the 19th century, the northern part of the parish was a separate island until filled to meet the demands of Guernsey's domestic and industrial progression. The beautiful sands of L'Ancresse Bay adjoin wide-open common land for all to enjoy - including the Royal Guernsey Golf Club, an 18-hole golf club which is a mecca for those seeking a challenging course against the elements and undulating landscape. Other features include Beaucette Marina, an exclusive privately owned yacht haven and fine Victorian Villa style homes - once the main residences for the wealthy families of the parish.