16 September, 2020

Destinations............Jersey, an island of exotic charm on your doorstep.

With European holiday hot spots filling up and getting more expensive, a holiday closer to home is looking more and more viable, 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!  The island has a unique charm that is both exotic and reassuringly familiar that offers something for everyone and with such short flight times, is pretty much on our doorstep!  

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. 
Corbiรจre Lighthouse

Head on down to the southwest point of Jersey to see and visit Corbiรจre 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.

Photo Jersey.com
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 Cafรฉ 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!