I visited Brit island without a Spoons, McDonalds or Greggs โ€“ I loved it

Wetherspoons, McDonald's and Greggs have become staples of British high streets and let's face it, cuisine.

Travelling the length and breadth of the UK, you'd struggle to find a town without a single branch of a giant chain offering either fast food or cheap booze.

Yet, slapped between Devon and France is the 24 square mile Channel Island of Guernsey where residents need to hop on a plane or sail the sea to get the slightest whiff of a Burger King or Domino's.

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After a couple of failed attempts at landing (thanks to thick cloud), I couldn't resist the novelty of strolling out of the island's tiny airport on foot and headed for its biggest town, St Peter Port.

For all the signs directing me to the harbour town, there were countless others in French which served as a reminder of the short 27-mile stretch of water that separated me from mainland Europe.

Since records began in 1821, men have been outnumbered by their female counterparts on the island which has a population of around 63,000.

In 1951, women made up 51.6% of islanders and while they remain on top, that number has levelled out somewhat to 50.6%, sorry lads.

It wasn't until I loaded up my Wetherspoons app โ€“ yes I really am that guy โ€“ to assess my lunch options when I discovered I'd need to turn around and board the next flight out for some microwaved chips and a cask ale for under ยฃ2.

But, I'd made the hour's walk to St Peter Port where as grey clouds lifted I was genuinely taken aback by how quaint its bunting-strewn hilly cobbled streets were.

Quite how many UK town councils which they could boast such pristine, pedestrianised roads lined with open independent shops I can only imagine.

Resident Francis Russell told me how thanks to the absence of big chains, the island and specifically St Peter Port has managed to hold onto its pretty identity, compared to St Hellier across the water.

Given Guernsey's unique geographical location and position as a self-governing British Crown dependency, its little wonder tourists flock to its unspoilt coastline and rural villages.

Unlike a typical family UK staycation somewhere like Cornwall, driving to Maccies for a rainy day treat is off the cards, something pub general manager Amanda Roberts says is definitely a good thing.

The De La Rue boss told the Daily Star: "It's more beneficial for us not to have McDonald's, I might pick one up when we go home back to Liverpool, we might have a little McDonald's then but no.

"I think the kids miss it obviously but generally it's a good think not to have those fast food chains.

"Definitely for the health side of things, for the kids to keep them eating a little bit healthier food and not going to McDonald's every other day and grabbing burgers and fries."

And a teenager's perspective on the absence of junk food giants? Resident Archie, 19, admitted he relishes the chance to satisfy his cravings when visiting neighbouring Jersey.

He told the Daily Star: "I crave it, there's other places but nothing as fast. My whole life I've lived here we have Jersey obviously nearby, they have KFC and McDonald's so when we go over we definitely pop in and have some food. It's not often.

"It's a bit healthier without it but I would have it here, not going to lie."

Guernsey isn't just protecting its independent restaurants from UK and global chains but its boozers too, something Amanda is only too happy about.

The pub manager told us: "We're not competing against Wetherspoons but I don't think that the State of Guernsey would ever allow a Wetherspoons to come into the island to be honest.

"We're part of a group anyway, our group is here Jersey, and the South West of England. It's a big company but I think they like to keep them more independent than the big chains coming in having to undercut other businesses."

A spokesman for VisitGuernsey told the Daily Star: โ€œWe pride ourselves on the many restaurants, cafes and kiosks here being family owned and run making each one unique and welcoming.

"Local producers have flourished in recent years as we look to source more home grown food and drink, reducing the food miles. Our seafood is the freshest it can be, often caught in the morning and on the plate by lunch time.

"Our dairy produces the richest cream, milk and ice cream. We have local beers, ciders & gin to name a few and we have โ€œhedge vegโ€ honesty boxes filled with locally grown vegetables. Itโ€™s not just fast, itโ€™s fresh and better than ever before.โ€

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