IT was the hottest weekend of the year and the sunbathing masses were jostling for position on the beaches of Bournemouth.
Meanwhile, we had a stunning stretch of white sand and shallow waters virtually to ourselves.
Cobo Bay is just one of the many beaches which grace Guernsey's West Coast with white sands, glittering seas and amazing sunsets.
Just three hours away by high speed ferry from Poole, or a half hour flight from Southampton Airport, the Channel Island is a laid-back gem of a short break destination.
My husband, our two-year-old daughter and I were booked onto the 9.15am crossing onboard Condor Liberation on Friday morning to make the most of our weekend away.
The hassle-free journey was an experience in itself with me nosing at the people sunbathing in the gardens of their Sandbanks mansions and on Brownsea Island and our toddler enjoying waving at them from the top deck.
A spot of Duty Free shopping, a bite to eat and a film in the Kids Zone and we were soon arriving into St Peter Port, a pretty harbour town, alive with beautiful floral displays and cobbled streets housing an eclectic mix of boutique, antique and craft shops.
Our residence for the weekend was the Saints Bay Hotel close to the breath-taking South Coast cliffs and home to the warmest outdoor pool on the Island, which our spacious family room overlooked.
The short journey to Icart Point, along the busy town seafront, up the pictureseque Le Val des Terres hill and through St Martin's village, before hitting a series of narrow lanes, proved an adventure with few signposts, apparently a World War II legacy aimed at confusing German occupiers.
After a refreshing dip in the hotel pool, we headed out to explore some of the miles of cliff paths with stunning views; leading through pine and bluebell woods and down to beaches and fishing ports. We made sandcastles and paddled in the sandy cove and pebble bank of Saints Bay, which is surrounded by protective cliffs, and enjoyed refreshments from the lovely Saints Bay Kiosk, which serves all manner of homemade cake delights and local ice cream.
Dinner was back at the hotel, known for its high quality innovative and imaginative dishes by award-winning Head Chef and friendly Hotel Manager Ashraf Elsergany. A sucker for fresh seafood, my highlight was the delicious and plentiful crab salad.
We headed to Cobo Bay early the following morning and spent the entire day swimming, body boarding and collecting shells on this beautiful stretch of unspoilt beach. The area is also home to the superb Cobo Fish Bar, which made the headlines recently after former regular Heather Watson became Wimbledon mixed doubles champion. Saints legend Matt Le Tissier later Tweeted that Cobo Fish Bar was also his restaurant of choice while growing up on the Island.
St Peter Port was our destination on Sunday when the seafront is closed to traffic and transforms into a sea of market stalls and al fresco dining. On our particular weekend, the Guernsey Motor Cycle and Car Club, and Guernsey Kart Club, had taken over the promenade with stunt displays, classic cars and taster sessions for tiny motoring enthusiasts.
We were at Castle Cornet, which has guarded the harbour for 800 years, for the ceremonial firing of the Noon Day gun out to sea from within the Castle walls and thoroughly enjoyed an interactive short play about a historic battle at sea, which was brought to life by one talented actor and a band of volunteers from the audience.
At Castle Cornet, you can explore the battlements and enjoy breath-taking views towards the other channel islands. With five museums and four period gardens, there's plenty to discover. Castle Cornet even plays host to music from local bands at the KPMG Castle Nights, which see residents and visitors armed with picnics and blankets relaxing and dancing against a beautiful panoramic backdrop.
Before we knew it, it was time to board Condor Liberation for our Sunday afternoon return journey to Poole.
But, with some stunning spots for a stroll, more beautiful beaches to discover, plenty of history and culture and more sunshine than anywhere else in the UK, it won't be long before we return.
Condor Ferries operates a year-round service to the Channel Islands from Poole with its fast ferry Condor Liberation, alongside a conventional ferry service from Portsmouth. Prices start from £59pp each way with a car. To book, visit condorferries.com or call 0845 609 1024. See Visit Guernsey for more details on a Channel Island break http://www.visitguernsey.com/