Straddling the parishes of St Martin and Grouville, the fishing village of Gorey is one of Jersey’s most loved locations. With an idyllic landscape and relaxed vibe, the harbour village is steeped in history, bursting with charm and has certain French air to it. Packed with character, Gorey is a perfect blend of historic Jersey and modern Jersey making it the perfect village to truly get to know the heart of the island. A popular destination for holidaymakers, Gorey offers an abundance of places to see and things to enjoy.
Gorey Historic Sites and Attractions
No matter where you are in Gorey, Jersey history is surrounding you with a wealth of historic landmarks and buildings scattered across the village. The most iconic of Gorey’s historic sites overlooks the village from its perch above the harbour. Also known as simply Gorey Castle, Mont Orgueil Castle is one of the finest remaining examples of a medieval fortress across the world and has watched over the fishing port for more than 800 years having been built in the 13th century. The Castle is a symbol of Jersey’s independence and national identity as it was the original primary defence of the island until the construction of Elizabeth Castle in the 16th century. A visit to Mont Orgueil Castle allows visitors to explore the hidden rooms, towers and tunnels whilst discovering gruesome tales and fascinating stories. In the cellar, you can find an exhibit on witchcraft whilst throughout the castle, you will also see the famous Dance of Death statue, the Wheel of Urine and art displays from world-renowned artists.
The maritime history of Gorey is also showcased in the village. The bay front gardens are beautifully manicured and feature an ornamental fountain of a symbolic keel representing the 19th century shipyards of Gorey and the sixteen largest ships built in Gorey. The view from the gardens is spectacular looking out to the turquoise waters of the surrounding sea.
Gorey Points of Interest
Beautiful beaches can be found in abundance across Jersey but with Gorey’s location on the East coast, the beaches here are the best place to start your day. Witnessing incredible sunrises, Anne Port Beach is a small beach nestled behind the castle and situated in a picturesque cove. The secluded bay offers incredible views whilst the calm waters are perfect for swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding. Anne Port Beach is one of Jersey’s quietest stretches of sand as in addition to a lack of watersports, there is also lack of nearby parking at Anne Port Beach meaning the beach is rarely crowded.
For a beach with more activity, the Royal Bay of Grouville is where it is at. Home to Gorey Watersports, this beach location offers an extensive list of water based activities including banana rides, speed boat trips and water skiing. Families can also hire a self-drive motor dinghy and explore the coastline independently. Known as Long Beach to the locals, the originally named Bay of Grouville received a regal title in 1859 after a visit from Queen Victoria who was very charmed by the bay.
Gorey Shopping, Dining and Nightlife
Gorey is a foodie’s paradise and is the centre for food heritage in Jersey. Gorey is where the first of the famous Jersey Royal potatoes were grown whilst a discovery of oyster beds along the shore sparked the village’s fishing industry. With fishermen setting sail daily from the harbour, the menus of Gorey’s restaurants are flooded with fresh seafood whilst other delicious dishes are built from local ingredients showcasing the flavour of Jersey. With stunning coastal views, alfresco dining is a popular option around the harbour.
When it comes to shopping, Gorey’s food industry doesn’t just end at the restaurants. The centre of the village is home to an abundance of independent stores selling artisan food. In addition, Gorey is full of quaint boutiques selling fashion and accessories whilst close to the pier, you can find a collection of charming stores offering handmade ceramics and Jersey pearls.
Part of the fabric of local Gorey life is the community spirit and you will find that nightlife in the village centres around traditional pubs with a welcoming atmosphere. Here you can get stuck into conversations with friendly locals whilst enjoying some of Jersey’s independently made alcoholic beverages. Bars and restaurants along the harbour are also a popular evening stop, locations where you can enjoy a quiet drink and watch the calming sway of the boats on the water.
Gorey Sport and Events
With Gorey a harbour village, it is no surprise that the main sporting events take place on the water. Sailing is the most popular activity with Gorey hosting one of the world’s oldest regattas which is an integral part of Jersey’s history. The regatta offers a range of competitive events with the Mont Orgueil Castle as the backdrop to the event.
The Gorey Fete is one of the village’s most vibrant events and takes place in August. This event is one of Jersey’s largest charity events of the year attracting over 8,000 guests annually and the festival has been running for over 60 years. The fete is bursting with activities including a fun fair and beach games whilst the spaghetti eating and yard ale contest is one of the main attractions and the event concludes with a grand firework display. This event is not to be missed!
With reliable public transport across the island, Gorey is easily accessible on the Liberty Bus service. The most frequent route runs from St Helier and it is advisable to get a Rover ticket, a hop on hop off pass specifically designed for visitors to Jersey that offers unlimited travel for the length of time the pass is purchased for.
Alternatively, car hire options are available at the airport and driving is the easiest way to navigate the island. Car hire in Jersey is generally reasonably priced and provides visitors with the freedom to explore the island at their own pace.