A precious jewel of an island lying just three miles (five kilometres) off Guernsey's east coast, Herm offers shimmering golden beaches, close-up views of the Channel Island's rich marine wildlife and an instant escape from the stresses and strains of the outside world. The car-free and carefree place is just 20 minutes' ferry ride from St Peter Port harbour, but on landing visitors are transported to a miniature paradise with its own special microclimate as a result of being touched by the warming waters of the Gulf Stream. Herm's most favourite asset, the glorious expanse of Shell Beach that sweeps along most of its far side, takes its name from the millions of miniscule seashell fragments mixed in with the bay's soft yellow sand. Shell's shallow, turquoise waters also make it a super location for swimming and snorkelling, while just around the corner is another beautiful bay, Belvoir, that provides a perfectly sheltered spot for sunbathing.

One of the joys of a day trip to Herm is a walk along its cliff top coastal paths. They afford breathtaking views of the neighbouring private isle of Jethou, as well as Sark in the distance, and they also make an ideal platform for observing the island's many birdlife species in their natural, unspoiled habitats.

As well as a day trip you can make a short evening excursion to sample the unique Herm nightlife, which is based on fine dining within a gorgeous setting. Head to the

White House Hotel - so laid back there are no televisions, phones or clocks - and take in the beautifully tended gardens before going indoors for supper at the Captain's Table Restaurant. Alternatively, go next door to sample the culinary delights at the Mermaid Tavern, originally a fisherman's pub but now a magnet for families, parties and couples intent on enjoying a memorable evening out.

If one night or day is not enough, you can spend longer on Herm either by booking into the White House Hotel or any one of Herm's charming self-catering cottages and apartments and of course a short ride across the water is a wide choice of  Guernsey's fantastic hotels. Not forgetting the secluded Herm campsite where getting back to nature comes naturally.

For further information on Herm, please refer to www.herm.com.