The cost of living in the Channel Islands is fairly high. Most things in the Channel Islands are pricier compared to mainland UK, and this is largely due to the cost of importing goods to the islands. Jersey, the larger of the two bailiwicks, has a slightly higher cost of living than Guernsey. Accommodation, food and furniture are especially pricey, but fuel and insurance are generally cheaper than in the UK.
Cost of accommodation in the Channel Islands
With limited space on the islands, it's expensive either to buy or rent accommodation in Jersey and Guernsey. Extensive licensing and permit regulations govern the rent and purchasing of housing on the islands, and expats are often limited to just a portion of the local market.
The cost of parking might not be included in rental costs, and the price of utilities such as gas and electricity has been steadily rising over the last few years.
Cost of transport in the Channel Islands
The small size of both Jersey and Guernsey make it quite possible to live without a car. Although, those who decide to drive on the islands will be glad to know that petrol, insurance and parking are cheaper here than in mainland UK. Public transport, cycling and walking are affordable, efficient and healthy alternatives to driving in the Channel Islands.
Cost of groceries in the Channel Islands
Much of the fresh produce sold in the Channel Islands is imported, and the cost of doing so is generally passed on to the customer, hiking the price for these goods. Local produce is much cheaper and can be found at town markets, although the quantity is typically limited.
The Channel Islands are well known for fresh and high-quality cuisine, particularly seafood. Eating out in Jersey or Guernsey costs about the same as eating out in London.
Cost of education in the Channel Islands
The cost of education in the Channel Islands is equal to or lower than in the UK. State schools are free to attend in Jersey and Guernsey, as they are in the UK, while private schools on the islands are usually just as good as those in the UK, with much lower fees.
Cost of entertainment and eating out in the Channel Islands
The cost of eating out and entertainment in the Channel Islands can vary, but it mainly tends to be pricier than in many other countries. This is because the Channel Islands are a popular tourist destination, and prices can reflect the high demand for services. However, the cost of living in the Channel Islands is still lower compared to major cities in Europe, so the overall cost of entertainment may still be lower for expats.
Expats can expect a variety of entertainment options, including cinemas, theatres, bars, restaurants and cultural events. There are also many outdoor activities available, such as hiking, cycling and water sports, as well as a range of sports facilities. Additionally, the Channel Islands are known for their rich history and heritage, and there are many historic sites and museums to visit.
The Channel Islands offer a wide range of dining options, including local specialities, international cuisine and fine dining restaurants. The quality of food is generally high, as the islands are known for their fresh seafood and produce, and many restaurants and cafés use locally sourced ingredients. Expats can expect to find high-quality dining options, but with prices that reflect the premium experience.
Cost of healthcare in the Channel Islands
Jersey and Guernsey each manage their healthcare individual healthcare systems. Expats who have been living in Jersey and Guernsey for six or more months and are employed in the bailiwicks are eligible to make social security contributions and receive a social security card, which allows them to receive subsidised healthcare.
Otherwise, new arrivals to the Channel Islands should secure private health insurance as healthcare in the archipelago, though excellent, is pricey. The cost of health insurance will vary for individuals depending on their coverage level, lifestyle habits and current health status.
Cost of living in the Channel Islands chart
Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for St Helier, Jersey in February 2024.
|Accommodation (monthly rent)
|Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre
|Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre
|One-bedroom apartment in the city centre
|One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre
|Food and drink
|Milk (1 litre)
|Loaf of white bread
|Chicken breasts (1kg)
|Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)
|Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant
|Big Mac Meal
|Bottle of beer (local)
|Mobile phone monthly plan with calls and data
|Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)
|Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)
|City-centre public transport fare
|Gasoline (per litre)
What do expats say about living costs in the Channel Islands?
"The living cost on the island is very high, as this is one of the most expensive places to live. Average monthly rent is high for a one-bedroom apartment. The rent and dining are the highest expenses you would face on the island. As most of the products are imported, the cost of clothing is also an expense (that is why I usually go to London, do any shopping at Primark and fly it back to the island)."
Read our interview with South African expat Suzhanie to learn more about expat life on the Channel Islands.
►To learn about the ups and downs of expat life in Jersey and Guernsey, read Pros and Cons of Moving to Channel Islands
Are you an expat living in Channel Islands?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Channel Islands. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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