In the last few years Jersey has really shaken off its ‘old fashioned’ image and now offers many 21st century comforts and facilities, without losing any of the island’s traditional appeal.
Stylish hotels, boutique shopping, fashionable cocktail bars and high quality restaurants have been added to this channel island jewel, without ever losing its delightfully, often quaint, french je ne sais quoi, which has always captivated tourists. The most famous example of the french touch is Mont Orgueil Castle, whose romantic, majestic look is often used to illustrate features about Jersey and which bears more than a passing resemblance to the more famous Mont Saint Michel in France.
Just 45 square miles when the tide is up, Jersey boasts some of the best sandy beaches in the channel islands – and that is a proud boast indeed when you see what’s on offer elsewhere. Move inland, and nature lovers can enjoy exploring the green lanes, a network of around 50 miles of roads where pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders have priority over motor vehicles. This part of Jersey is a real throwback, to far more innocent times, and contrasts sharply with the vibrant capital city of St Helier. Charmingly compact, with trendy Liberation Square at its epicentre, designer boutiques and high street names jostle for your attention within St Helier’s pedestrianised streets – perfect for that all-important spot of retail therapy.
Whether you’re looking for spas, shopping, golf, history, heritage, fun, forest or a gastronomic feast, you’ll find them in Jersey.
St Helier and the South
St Helier is the vibrant capital of Jersey and is a must for any visitor to the island. After shopping, why not stop off at one of the delicatessens, cafes or a Michelin starred restaurant? Culture wise, there are plenty of museums and galleries, while a trip to Elizabeth Castle is definitely recommended. Defending Jersey for more than 300 years, the castle is atop a rocky outcrop in St Aubin’s Bay, and can be reached on foot during low tide or by the pirate-themed Castle Ferry.
The bay of St Aubin stretches from St Helier in the east to St. Aubin’s village in the west. The vast beach, dotted with cafes, is extremely popular for swimming and watersports. St Aubin itself is a pretty fishing village, offering independent shops, galleries and cafes. Just inland you will find the Jersey War Tunnels, a chilling look at when the island was occupied by German forces during World War II.
St Brelade’s Bay
St Brelade’s Bay is arguably the most famous and popular beach, a sheltered south-facing stretch which is very safe for bathing throughout the year. In the summer months water sports are available, while cafes are open all year round. Beach Ability provides manual and ballooned wheelchairs.
The West Coast
The stunning and natural landscape will not disappoint those looking to explore a wilder and more rugged side to Jersey. Walk along the sea wall watching surfers ride Atlantic waves or discover the many coastal walks. Prestige Holidays suggests the seven-mile moderate walk from Plemont Bay to the iconic Corbiere Lighthouse, taking in the entire sweeping length of the west coast.
Also perfect for those looking for beautiful scenery, The North is home to steep cliffs and hidden bays. This is a popular area for walking and cycling, although not for the faint-hearted as inland Jersey can be quite hilly.
The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Park, made even more popular by the recent TV programme The Durrells, is a great place to spend the day, or book with us to stay at their Wildlife Camp. La Mare Wine Estate offers tours and tastings while, for relaxation addicts, Greve de Lecq is the north’s most popular beach and well worth a visit.
The East of the island has a multitude of picturesque towns and harbours, such as Gorey in the parish of St Martin’s, home to Mont Orgueil Castle. Protecting Jersey from the French invasion over 600 years ago, a labyrinth of staircases and secret rooms bring the castle to life.
For those looking for more secluded beaches, try Anne Port Bay and Havre de Fer, ideal for rock pooling. Moonwalking on Jersey happens when the island’s massive tidal reach suddenly, and dramatically, reveals rocks, reefs and pools – a strange kind of “moonscape”. Go with a guide, as tides can be treacherous.