When it comes to the Channel Islands, nowhere is more well-known than Jersey. The largest island in the archipelago, Jersey is famous for its quaint towns, stunning beaches and rugged cliffs. This British dependency island is closer to France than it is the UK at a distance of just 14 miles from the French coast of Normandy and with its close proximity to French territory, Jersey offers a fine blend of British and French influence that creates a truly unique culture. Jersey is an unbeatable holiday destination, one that is particularly popular with those who love the outdoors and the island’s relaxed vibe is all part of Jersey’s appeal. There are 12 distinct Jersey regions.
The heart of Jersey lies in St Helier, a cosmopolitan harbour town that is one of the island’s twelve parishes and the capital of Jersey. With a population of just over 37,000, St Helier is home to one third of Jersey’s population and with so much on offer, it’s easy to see why. Not only does the town offer fantastic shopping and incredible fine dining, St Helier is also home to a buzzing nightlife scene. St Helier has an eclectic mixture of evening venues offering everything from relaxing country pubs and welcoming hangouts to chic cocktail bars and vibrant nightclubs. St Helier has a thriving music and club scene with jazz a particular favourite on the island. In the summer months, Jersey plays host to a number of festivals with many taking place in and around St Helier.
History lovers will fall in love with Jersey and in particular, St Helier. Named after Heller, a 6th century Belgian religious recluse who is the patron saint of the Channel Islands, St Helier is steeped in history. The town offers a wealth of fascinating museums whilst historic fortresses are scattered across the town. Elizabeth Castle is one of St Helier’s most iconic monuments, a 300-year old fortress that was built to guard Jersey and is a representation of British heritage. The castle is a must-visit when in Jersey with an exciting tour allowing guests to climb the battlements and witness a live demonstration with gun fire.
Outside of the buzz of St Helier, the history continues with Grouville home to one of the world’s oldest buildings. La Hougue Bie is a historic site and now a museum that makes the top ten list of oldest buildings in the world. This ancient site has been nominated for a Visit England Hidden Gem Award and dives into an exploration of Jersey’s Neolithic history. The island is scattered with a myriad of others interesting museums and fascinating historic sites.
Jersey’s coastline and beaches are unrivalled with the best to be found on the south coast of the island. With a Mediterranean vibe, Jersey’s beaches offer exciting beach days, stunning scenery and exquisite sunset views. Whilst Jersey has a seemingly endless list of beautiful beaches, St Brelade’s Bay is arguably the most picturesque. With an extensive stretch of golden sand, shallow turquoise waters and a palm-fringed promenade, St Brelade’s Bay is Jersey’s version of paradise. South-facing allowing visitors to enjoy long days of sunshine, the beach also features a plethora of water sport activities for a fun-filled day out. For those looking to catch the waves, St Ouens Bay is the best place for surfing with predictable rolling waves that are known as some of the world’s best for surfing. Heading off the mainland, the waters close to shore are home to a bounty of dolphins and whales with seafaris taking you out to try and spot these magnificent sea creatures.
Northern Jersey Landscapes
Whilst the south is dominated by magnificent, almost-French beaches, the north of Jersey offers a contrast with moodier landscapes of hidden coves, dramatic cliffs and a rugged coastline. Quaint fishing villages dot the island’s northern coast providing idyllic settings to pass the time. The villages ooze charm and have an air of relaxation with friendly locals and a slow pace of life. The village landscapes are also incredible with pastel cottages, boat-studded harbours and turquoise waters lapping against the shore. Fishing villages such as Gorey are often the best places on the island to grab a meal offering alfresco dining and menus of fresh, locally-caught seafood.
Events in Jersey can be found in abundance and make up a huge part of the island’s culture. Barely a weekend goes by without some celebration, event or festival on the island with many honouring the island’s unique heritage. Jersey also hosts a wealth of local farmers markets, arts fairs and sporting challenges that all serve the community of Jersey.
Getting to Jersey
Jersey is easily accessible to tourists wishing to travel to the island. The island is well connected to the majority of Europe with regular flights to a wide variety of destinations and frequent schedules to both the UK and France. Jersey can also be travelled to via ferry from the UK with the quickest crossing from Poole. The ferry is a great option if you are hoping to explore the island by allowing you to take your car with you eliminating any need for car hire.
When it comes to accommodation, Jersey offers an extensive list of luxury hotels, however the most popular option is Jersey self-catering accommodation. A vast majority of Jersey tourists are explorers with many preferring to be self-sufficient whilst travelling. Due to this, private self-catering accommodation can be found in abundance across Jersey and can be found through all major booking sites. This accommodation type provides the perfect base for discovering Jersey whilst also offering a home away from home feel. Options are endless and include modern apartments, quaint cottages, beachfront villas and even grand castles.
Jersey is an island just waiting to be explored offering sun, sea and sand in addition to history and adventure. For a small island, Jersey has an incredibly extensive list of attractions and activities on offer and the beautiful island is also home to phenomenal scenery. Factor in Jersey’s regular events schedule and you will find that this small island has so much going on that it would be difficult not to find an exhaustive list of things to love.