Summer in Alderney

From late June the sea stills to a pellucid aquamarine. It softly licks the white sands of Braye and Saye and the startlingly lovely curve of Arch. You're hard pushed to think of anywhere better to be.

The air is soft and warm and at weekends families head to the beach for idyllic days of lounging on the sand, soaking up the sun and patting out sandcastles. Over the gentle hum of children's laughter, calling seabirds and the hypnotic sigh of the waves, everyone keeps an ear out for the distinctive tinkle of the ice cream van.

Braye Harbour is busy at this time of year. Sailing boats glide in from France, Britain, Holland and the rest of the archipelago, the blend of nationalities adding to the Island's vibrancy.

Lunchtime brings with it one of the hardest choices you'll have to make during your stay on Alderney. Do you eat a plate of our expertly cooked local produce in one of the island's flower-stocked pub gardens, where aged stone walls trap the summer heat, or dine out in front of a mesmerising vista of the sea? Or instead pick up some freshly baked goods from one of the shops, market or hedge veg stalls for an al fresco feast at a picnic table? Something to chew over while you're relaxing the morning away.

August's Alderney Week, the biggest free festival in the Channel Islands, needs little introduction. A summer staple of 70 plus years it brings an explosion of colourful floats, competitions, parades, shows and new and familiar faces to the Island.

Although this is the biggest and best known of the Island's festival there are other treats to enjoy before and after it. They include a Food & Drink Festival, showcasing local produce and culinary talent, a newly minted Chamber Music Festival, which draws some of the world's best young musical talent to the Island, and Alderney Wildlife Festival which culminates in a traditional summer fayre.