a group of islands near the north-western coast of France that belong to Britain but have their own parliaments and laws Culture The Channel Islands have belonged to Britain since the Normans arrived in the 11th century, although they are not officially part of the United Kingdom. Each island has its own parliament and laws. The main islands are Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark. They are popular with British tourists because of their pleasant climate. They are also popular with people who want to invest money or avoid British taxes, since their taxes are lower than in Britain.