One of the places I wanted to visit since I’ve been living in the UK was the Channel Islands. The main islands are Guernsey and Jersey and they are British Crown dependencies and not part of the United Kingdom.
Jersey was once part of the Duchy of Normandy, whose dukes went on to become the kings of England from 1066. After Normandy was lost by the kings of England in the 13th century, and the ducal title was surrendered to France, Jersey and the other Channel Islands remained attached to the English crown.
I wanted to go somewhere new but not far away from England for the weekend and an island break to Jersey was a perfect option for a short break.
How to get to Jersey from the UK:
By air: Fly to Jersey from numerous UK airports in around an hour including from London City, Gatwick, Luton, Liverpool, Leeds, Southampton, Newcastle and Manchester with British Airways, EasyJet and Flybe.
By sea: Jersey is accessible by sea from Poole and Portsmouth with Condor Ferries.
There are no immigration controls between the United Kingdom (UK) and Jersey, however it’s best to check visa and passport requirements for travelers especially if you are coming from a country other than the UK.
We spent 2 nights in Jersey and here are 10 places/things we enjoyed seeing the most and gave us great memories from this beautiful island.
1. L’Horizon Beach Hotel and Spa
We arrived in Jersey on Friday night, so it was too dark to see anything. At the hotel’s reception they told us our room had a sea view so I was quite excited to see it myself in the morning….and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. The beach was almost empty except a few locals walking their dogs. This is something you don’t see in typical seaside resorts. The hotel was less than 10 minutes away driving from the airport which was perfect.
2. Jersey War Tunnels
The tunnels tell the story of Jersey during the WWII. It’s a chronological journey through the 5 years of German occupation. Apart from memorabilia collected from those years, there is archive footage and interviews with people who lived there during that time. I was surprised to learn that ‘Russian slaves’ were brought to the island during the war, this is something I have never learned at school. I guess they are referring to hostages from the multinational Soviet Union rather than Russia as we know it today. It was quite an interesting introduction to the island and the beginning of our trip to Jersey.
3. St Helier
The capital of Jersey is a pretty seaside city with a castle, many coffee shops, and a market right in its centre. The Central market is a beautiful Victorian cast iron hall which is worth a visit to appreciate the late 19th-century building and walk along the stalls. St Helier’s centre has mainly pedestrian-only streets which are really very lovely.
Not to miss in St. Helier:
- Dandy. A specialty coffee shop serving thoroughly good coffee and food.
- Locke’s. Set in a beautifully stylish restored National Trust for Jersey building, serving up fresh food and specialty coffee.
- Moo. A petite but perfectly formed superfood and whole food cafe, using plant-based local seasonal ingredients.
- Nude food. A healthy eating, whole food cafe that provides a warm, welcoming and well designed place to eat or grab food on the go.
4. Faulkner Fisheries
You would expect to eat lots of seafood if you travel to any island and Jersey is a perfect place for it! We headed to a family run business Faulkner Fisheries that has been selling live, fresh, cooked, smoked, dried and preserved seafood since 1980! On a not windy day, you would sit outside and enjoy the bbq they make, but unfortunately, it wasn’t the case for us. With 29 mph winds that day we could only quickly get inside to grab crab meat sandwiches to take away. Delicious!
5. La Corbière Lighthouse
Lately I’ve become interested in visiting lighthouses wherever I can. When I found there is one in Jersey I got very excited! La Corbière Lighthouse is accessible by foot but only when the tide is low. We visited it twice – when the path to it was visible but while it was too windy to walk there and the second time when the tide was high which created a little different picture of this place. Both times it looked great!
6. Portelet Bay Cafe
This cafe was a real hidden gem of the island. You have to do a little work out to get there but it totally worth it. It’s a family run cafe located on a beautiful and remote beach. They specialise in wood fired pizza as well as seasonal fresh fish during high season. It was fully packed so you have to make a reservation. The views from the cafe are amazing! The beach was empty and it created a special atmosphere of being somewhere far away from the rest of the world. Oh, and the owners have a whippet called Ziggy who comes to the cafe sometimes 🙂 Sounds like a perfect place to me!
7. The Botanic Gardens at Samarès Manor
Following my relatively new obsession with plants and gardens I couldn’t miss visiting The Botanic Gardens in Jersey. Amongst the 14 acres there is a Japanese garden, exotic planting, water gardens, seasonal gardens, a formal rose and lavender garden, and large herb gardens. You can even spend a night at one of the apartments or cottages that are situated within the Manor’s picturesque early Victorian courtyard.
Gorey is a village in the parishes of St. Martin and Grouville on the east coast of Jersey. The harbour is one of the three main harbours of the island, and is located in St. Martin. We spent about half an hour walking along the bay and taking photos of pretty houses and boats. For a better view of Gorey and the coast around it, I recommend going up to Mont Orgueil Castle – a medieval castle that is also interesting to explore.
Another harbour village to visit is Rozel in the northeast of Jersey. It is much smaller than Gorey but very cute and picturesque. One of the main attractions is a food stall ‘The Hungry Man’ you can find right on the pier. They offer a wide range of food, from gourmet burgers to crab sandwiches and delicious homemade cakes. The atmosphere is welcoming and relaxing which makes it a perfect lunch stop on your way around the island.
10. The coastline and beaches
The main attraction of Jersey is for sure its coast and beaches. With over 70 km of coastline there are plenty of places for a beautiful walk, drive or a bicycle ride. Jersey’s beaches change from north to south and east to west. I think you need more than just a weekend to explore all sandy beaches, swim in sheltered pebble beaches or surf in the Atlantic waves on the west.
Discover more about Jersey at www.jersey.com
Thanks to Visit Jersey for making this trip possible for us. All opinions as always are my own.
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