Nestled in the Channel Islands a relaxing ferry ride away from the UK mainland and a mere 14 miles from the North West of France, lies the largest island in the English Channel, Jersey.
Once the go-to destination for British holidaymakers looking to soak up some continental temperatures and often referred to as a playground to the rich and famous, Jersey benefits from having the sunniest year-round climate in the UK.
Cheap airfares and a competitive market have opened the gates to Europe and the world in the last 30 years, however, the bustling capital of St Helier surrounded by the easily accessible collection of pristine white sandy beaches and hidden coves, make Jersey a jewel in the UK tourist crown that is a too often overlooked holiday destination.
And, whether it’s a spring break, summer holiday or autumn weekend away there’s a bit of something for everyone on this island.
Without a doubt, the best way to travel to the beautiful island of Jersey is by ferry. Condor Ferries operates a year-round service to the Channel Islands from Poole with its fast ferry Condor Liberation, alongside a conventional ferry service from Portsmouth.
You have the option of bringing your car with you and driving straight onto the vessel or travelling as a foot passenger. Once on board you’ll be able to relax with a drink and some tasty freshly cooked food and soak in some incredible panoramic coastline views as you pass by the different Channel Islands such as Alderney and Herm.
To book with Condor and check current prices, visit condorferries.co.uk or call 0345 609 1024.
The L’Horizon Beach Hotel & Spa situated close to the stunning beachside idyll of St Brelade is an upmarket hotel that ranks among the very best in the UK. With 106 rooms many offering ocean views, this is the ideal choice for an indulgent, luxury break.
With three restaurants, a gym and spa, you’ll no doubt find it a struggle to drag yourself outdoors to explore the beauty of the surrounding area, however, there’ll be no regrets once you do.
St Brelade can certainly lay claim to being the jewel in the Jersey crown. Rooms start from £116 per night.
A short trip from the harbour lies The Merton Hotel, very much the go-to choice for both families and travelling groups alike. This is mainly due to its close proximity to St Helier, a mere ten minutes on foot and the fact that it houses four restaurants, a sports bar and a nightclub.
There’s also the not so small matter of the Aquadome, a large water park facility with both an indoor and outdoor pool area, sauna, steam room and most excitingly a FlowRider wave machine for those that fancy a spot of surfing without heading into the sea.
The staff are friendly and always on hand to help with requests. Rooms start from £99 per night.
If you fancy self-catering on your visit, the perfect place is The Water’s Edge located in the tranquil Bouley Bay. Here you’ll find modern fully equipped self Catering chalet apartments for families and couples alike.
The accommodation comes with all the essentials you’ll need (so no need to stock up on toilet roll & dishwasher tablets) not to mention great sea views.
There’s also private gardens to relax in and a heated outdoor pool. For those in search of some adventure, there’s a scuba diving centre close by where you can also hire paddle boards. Chalets sleeping 5/6 people start at £695 for a week.
At the Southern tip of the island, St Helier is a bustling and energetic capital that’s easy to explore on foot but requires more than a passing visit to ensure you get a flavour for its many delights.
From a wide-ranging food scene to a lively nightlife with a strong emphasis on live music, and an endless retail market that’s a shoppers paradise, St Helier is also a destination steeped in history. Just over on St Aubin’s is Elizabeth Castle which can be accessed by foot at low tide, and perfect for lovers of bunkers and fortresses and all things artillery.
Alternatively, head over to Liberation bus station and hitch a short ride to the infamous War Tunnels where you can explore the underground tunnels built during the German occupation of the island during WWII to allow Nazi infantry to withstand Allied air raids, this is a must-see on your trip!
It’s imperative that anyone visiting the island, certainly for the first time, makes a trip to Saint Brélade. A picturesque beauty spot, with a number of whitewashed sandy coves hidden along the wandering shoreline.
There you can find peace and quiet, or relax in one of the cafes overlooking the coast. At the end of St. Brélade’s Bay and well worth a visit is St Brelade’s Church. The small Fisherman’s Chapel that sits alongside it contains medieval frescoes of fishermen.
A trip further round the coast to the South-West tip brings you to the iconic La Corbière lighthouse. This towering white structure sits atop of a mountainous cluster of rocks surveying all the seasons and indeed the weather thrown at it by the Atlantic.
It was the first lighthouse in the world to built from concrete. Completed in 1873, it’s an essential sentinel for all sailors in this notoriously fearsome stretch of water.
At the other end of the island on the East coast is Gorey Pier, a location that wouldn’t look out of place in a Famous Five novel. An endless sandy beach to one side that stretches out to the pretty little harbour, on the other is rocky coves that nestle at the foot of the impressive Mont Orgueil Castle.
A charming and picturesque location for a spot of lunch or to grab a coffee and soak in the picture-perfect views.
The North coast of Jersey offers something a little different to the intimate sandy beaches of the south, with a wild clifftop coastline offering spectacular views. You’ll find a host of cafes dotted along the many fishing villages that overlook the hidden coves and pebble beaches.
A perfect spot for walkers and wildlife enthusiasts, a day trip to this part of the island is easily accessible by bus and well worth the efforts of an afternoon jaunt.
The Food & Drink…
If you spend any length of time on an island it kind of helps if you like fish and should that be the case then head on over to Bistro Rosa located inside the indoor fish market in St Hellier. An intimate little affair serving top quality seafood with a varied menu, including lobster, scallops, mussels and delicious fillets of the favourites.
Quirky with friendly staff, given its size reserving a table prior to dining is recommended.
The Lookout Beach Cafe
For the best burgers on the island you need to head to The Lookout Beach Cafe run by the delightful Jules and her friendly team. It’s a charming restaurant along the Esplanade just outside of St Hellier, that’s hugely popular with locals and tourists alike, and it’s not hard to see why, especially with the captivating sea vistas.
With honest but exceptionally crafted fare, this restaurant housed right in front of the beach, can get very busy particularly in the summer months, so make sure you book ahead. You’ll be very glad you did. Check out the Lookout on Facebook.
Mark Jordan at the Beach
At the top end of the dining experience is a Michelin starred restaurant run by one-time protege of Keith Floyd, Chef Mark Jordan. Situated in Beumont a short drive from the capital, the restaurant offers top-notch grub in a wonderful setting at prices that won’t break the bank.
Look out for the channel islands ‘Tennerfest’ food celebration where many restaurants offer cheaper deals from the start of October to mid-November, and of which these guys are a part. book by visiting http://www.markjordanatthebeach.com/.
Jersey has something of a reputation as a European Surfing hotspot, with opportunities for all levels. With favourable conditions breaking off the Atlantic Ocean, the place to be is undoubtedly St Ouen’s Bay with its 3 mile stretch of sandbanks creating often large swells for the experienced.
Your first pitstop should be the retro Laneez Surf School and Shop to get you kitted out for your surf adventures.
For more information on this gem of an island visit: https://www.jersey.com/
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