Alderney is the third largest of the Channel Islands and is the closest to France, which is clearly visible only 8 miles away. Unlike its neighbours, as the Germans swept ever closer during WWII, virtually the whole population of Alderney opted to leave. The island was effectively turned into a forced labour camp; an estimated 6000 men endured terrible conditions, hundreds died. The fortifications, sobering on all the islands, have a particular resonance here. At times eerie, but also vibrant and undoubtedly beautiful, today it's home to a close-knit but friendly community - most evident in the cosy pubs at the end of the day.
A good time to visit is the first week in August, when the carnival and mayhem of Alderney Week takes place (but book ahead).