Our Cobbled Street Town
There is just one town in Alderney, St Anne, and its high street – Victoria Street – is a cobbled road with a selection of local shops. Other than HSBC and Natwest there is not a non-local shop in sight.
You will not find a Macdonalds, a Topshop or even a Boots. There are some good shops selling clothes, shoes, gifts and practical goods but as this is a small and quietish town Alderney is not the place to come to if you are in search of retail therapy. However, amenities like a pharmacy, post office and the Information Centre can all be found in this small main street.
Alderney town has very much rejected the type of modernisation and commercialism which has been the cause of so many other small towns losing their individuality. Once people get into the spirit of the island most find life is enjoyably simple here, and it is refreshing not to be surrounded by constant advertising and pressure to consume.
A lovely clothes shop called Anchors is worth a visit. Another is the footwear emporium at the bottom of Victoria Street where you will find owner Sue surrounded by hundreds of shoes in all different colours and styles. On Saturday mornings in good weather a few stalls set up shop on the pavement to sell locally made or home grown goods.
Most outlets shut on Wednesday afternoons and Sundays, and also between 12 and 2pm every lunch time. Quite rightly Alderney shopkeepers feel that lunch is a time for lunching and the middle of the day should be spent eating at home or in cafes, bars and restaurants. Whilst they lunch it makes sense for you to do so too. Jacks Brasserie, at the bottom of Victoria Street, has outdoor seating, is open all day and provides great food until 5pm. The Georgian Pub is a little further up and does some good pub grub to be eaten in the pub itself or in their Orangerie Garden. In the evenings Nellie Grays is a well regarded Indian and there is an excellent Thai restaurant - the Mai Thai.
Also to be found in the town centre is the parish church, St Anne’s Church. The grounds can be entered through the Albert Gate leading off Victoria Street and it is a beautiful building worth seeing. It was built in 1850, to the design of Sir George Gilbert Scott, who was one of the most prolific architects of the 19th century and who did much restoration work on Westminister Abbey. It is still an active centre of prayer and worship and visitors are welcome to join any of the services.