Sunday, 23 August 2020

Jersey - more desirable than ever

With European holiday hot spots going on to the quarantine list on an almost weekly basis and others looking likely to as the number of new coronavirus infections fluctuates, a holiday closer to home is looking a more viable and safer choice. Making Jersey in the Channel Islands far more desirable than ever before.

The golden island offers a wonderful array of holiday possibilities, closer to home, and with more security and peace of mind.  The isle of Jersey may only be 45 square miles, but the island manages to fit a lot into that space! 

Top places to visit include the wonderful St. Ouen's Bay, a wonderful expanse of natural beauty. Jersey's west coast is five miles long, and at least three of those miles are covered in golden sand. The beach along St. Ouen's Bay is popular in spring, summer, and autumn.  Even in winter, especially as it is a prime spot for surfing it still attracts visitors from far and wide. So good is it for surfing that the British and European Championships having taken place there a number of times over the years.

Plenty of places to relax, walk, picnic or just enjoy the sand and the peace. Maybe stroll down to El Tico for a bite to eat.  This little restaurant has great views,  good food, although the portions have got a fair bit smaller in recent times, they are still good quality meals, a table outside in fine weather is ideal.  Not only do you have fine views of the beach and sea, depending on wind and weather conditions, you can also even see aircraft coming in on approach to the island's airport. 
Corbière Lighthouse

Head on down to the southwest point of Jersey to see and visit Corbière Lighthouse which was once described by Victor Hugo as 'the herdsman of the waves'. It was built on a rocky outcrop about 500 yards from the shore and stands at 35 feet tall and is hard to miss on this rugged part of the coast.  The lighthouse is accessible by a causeway, so you need to check on the times of the tides, to make sure you can get across and back without getting your feet wet!  

La Mare Wine Estate is also worthy of a visit, it is a meeting point of modern and historic methods and tradition. Some of the buildings are said to date back to the 1600s and was a working farm for a number of years.  After the war,  it was left to decay until the Blayney family bought it.  In 1972 they had an odd idea to plant the island's only commercial vineyard. Thankfully they did and now,  under different ownership, the estate produces a number of wines and other fine products from chocolate and jams to vodka made from potatoes!

Jersey Museum takes on you a tour of the island's history,  from when people first started coming to the island to more recent times.  It is fascinating and informative and oh so easy to spend an entire morning here without noticing the time passing.

Rozel Harbour is another fine little place to visit, that exudes the charm of the island.  It is, in the words of a local guide,  "Small but perfectly formed!"  You'll find a small fleet of fishing boats at the harbour, as well as the island's most beloved cafe, a handful of fantastic local restaurants and some huts.  When the tide is out,  there is even a little bit of a sandy beach to enjoy,  although it does get busy in peak times,  the harbour is still worth a visit.

Step back in time with a visit to Mont Orgueil Castle, which rather dominates the East coast of Jersey. Here you can explore its maze of staircases, climb the turrets and towers and even find a few secret rooms - but shsss its a secret!  There is a witchcraft exhibit in the cellar and life-size wooden soldiers guarding the castle against attack!

Looking to buy some island artwork,  then The Harbour Gallery along Le Boulevard in St Aubin, is the place for you to go. Spread over three floors it features the work of around 70 - 100 local artists. There is a store to buy goodies, a big exhibition space and a delightful little cafe on the first floor,  serving among other things, a lovely Bakewell tart!  There is even a wool shop there and are several artist studio areas.

I suppose, no visit to Jersey would be considered complete without a visit to the War Tunnels to learn about one of the most difficult periods in the Island’s history. The Jersey War Tunnels are no ordinary museum. It is a rather moving experience which serves as a permanent reminder of the German occupation of Jersey, it will linger in the mind for a long time after the visit. 

It’s the best place to get a true picture of what life was really like in Jersey during WWII. The exhibition is housed within an underground tunnel complex, built by the Germans using slave labour. In addition to the exhibition, you can also follow the war trail, a  garden of reflection plus a visitor centre and the obligatory gift shop. The tunnels are situated some four miles north-west of St. Helier, in an area called St. Lawrence, you can get there by car or bus, route 8 goes there,  its also on offer from a number of coach tour firms.  But, perhaps the best way to arrive is on a vintage bus from St Helier - this special shuttle runs during the summer well worth it and you might just recognise the voice doing the commentary.

Jersey Zoo began as the first-ever conservation-themed zoo. 60 years later, Gerald Durrell’s animal haven is the natural place to discover some of the world’s most incredible creatures. It is a 32-acre park with valleys, woodland and some of the world’s rarest animals and is the perfect chance to experience ‘the jewel in Jersey’s crown’.

The Pallot Steam and Motor Museum is a fascinating place with the sole object of promoting the permanent preservation of the island’s mechanical heritage. Whatever the weather, take a step back in time and enjoy at leisure the vast and varied collection of steam locos and engines, vintage commercial, military and classic vehicles, bicycles and toys, tractors, barn engines, agricultural implements and other machinery including nostalgic photographs.

Nestled on the South West of the island is  Beauport Beach, steep steps down from the car park lead to a lovely beach that is sheltered and south-facing. Ideal to while away a few hours,  relaxing on the sand or the cool clean waters.

Portelet Bay is also an ideal spot to relax, enjoy the super beach, before nipping to Portelet Bay Café for a pizza or even The Portelet Inn for tales of times long gone by with a pint or two!

Speaking of beaches,  one of the best is St Brelade's Bay, which is stunning and well known,  as such it can get busy, in normal times,  so a visit here is grand if you like to see and be seen!

Plemont beach is more secluded, private and peaceful,  you'll have to go down a long flight of steps to reach it,  but well worth the trek,  lovely sand,  rather sheltered thanks to the surrounding cliffs and all rather atmospheric.

Anne Port is another less busy beach, gently sloping sand,  ideal from swimming from, it is not developed, so expect no shops or cafes and only limited parking. All of which helps to keep it on the quiet side of life, so shsss tell no-one else!

If you don't fancy hiring a car.  then there is a good bus service on Jersey and also a network of 10 distinct cycle paths, which are an ideal way to see the Island and all its charms.

A discovery 7-day ticket cost £30 for an individual or just £60 for a family of four!

Is it safe?

The safety and wellbeing of visitors and islanders remains the top priority of the Government of Jersey and they have put in place a Visit Safe charter to provide assurance that tourism and hospitality businesses are working hard to keep you safe during your trip.

Staying safe on holiday in Jersey

In Jersey, you can enjoy your island break with peace of mind that you are following government guidelines to keep you safe.
You must observe physical distancing of 1m between yourself and those from outside your household and avoid close contact like hugging or shaking hands.
Cloth masks are required on public transport and are requested in some shops. They are also mandatory in the Airport and Harbour.
When visiting bars and restaurants and with certain excursion and activity providers, you will be asked to provide your contact details for contact tracing.

So what’s new on arrival into Jersey?

Although Jersey may be familiar to many of you, you will see some changes when arriving into our beautiful island.
Before leaving for Jersey
All travellers must complete an online preregistration form, giving your personal details, plus a declaration of health, countries visited before departing, whether you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who is infected. We will send this to you in your pre-departure information.
Upon arrival in Jersey, you must either:
Provide documentary evidence of a negative PCR test, taken within 72 hours of arriving in Jersey
Be swab-tested at the airport or harbour, then while waiting for your results (within 48 hours) you should limit the time spent away from your accommodation, limit social contact and, where possible, avoid public transport and indoor gatherings. There is no charge to you for this test.
Self-isolate for 14 days.
What happens if I test positive for COVID-19 on arrival?
Should you test positive for coronavirus, you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days in Jersey and will not be able to travel during this period. In this instance, you will be contacted by the Jersey COVID Contact Team who will discuss your accommodation options with you.
If you are able to stay in your current accommodation you would remain in residence there, if not, the Contact Team would help you with new arrangements and the costs related to this. The Contact Team will also help you arrange return travel and any costs involved will be assessed on a case by case basis.
Your new journey
In both the Airport and Harbour you are required to wear a mask and respect physical distancing. There will also be a few changes at Jersey Airport. This video outlines the safety measures that are now in place at the airport.

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