PREPARING FOR JERSEY
The Isle of Jersey is the most southerly point of the British Isles. It is located closer to France than to the southern coast of Britain. Jersey is surprisingly well connected by air with the island even boasting its own airline. The airport is well connected to a number of UK destinations including London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Belfast, and Cardiff among many others. The tiny Jersey Airport also offers flights internationally to France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and the Netherlands making the island popular a destination for foreigners as well. If you’re based on the south coast of the UK, ferry service is available from Poole, Weymouth and Portsmouth direct to Jersey’s Elizabeth terminal. If you didn’t bring your own car, buses connect visitors from the ferry port to a number of places across the island. While it is possible to hire a car on the island, families may enjoy cycling around the island given its small nine by five mile size. Jersey has plenty of cycle routes and bicycle hire is available for a reasonable price. To further enhance the feeling of being abroad, visitors will be delighted to discover that while Jersey is geographically part of the UK, it is officially a dependency of the British Crown. The island is ruled by its own assembly, boasts its own local language (Jèrriais), and features road signs written in French in addition to its own foreign currency, the Jersey pound. If coming from abroad, you will need to ensure that you have some on hand unless you have British pounds which are accepted widely across the island.
In addition to the many unique characteristics that enhance the feeling of being distant from home, Jersey offers a wide range of activities and experiences for the whole family that will make you feel like you’re in a completely different world.
The island boasts its own distinct Jersey cuisine. Jersey is famous for many of its local ingredients from Jersey Royal potatoes to the infamous creamy milk from Jersey cows. Being an island, it should come as no surprise that the seafood is to die for here including the sweet scallops of Bouley Bay, and Grouville’s oysters. Children will naturally indulge in the ice cream made from the creamy milk. There are a number of ways to sample the local ingredients from self-catering up to Michelin star dining. Captain Lobster on Victoria Pier in St Helier is a great place to purchase the daily catch. Fine diners can taste the best of the local ingredients from any of the island’s three Michelin star restaurants including Tassili, Bohemia Bar & Restaurant, and the Ocean Restaurant all located within Jersey’s hotels. Visitors may also be surprised to enjoy a taste of Portugal on the island at Restaurant Barquerio. Many of the island’s residents trace their roots back to Portugal. While fine dining may seem expensive for the family, a trip in October or November during Tennerfest is the best time with set menus from just £10 enabling visitors to sample Michelin-star food at bargain prices.
ADVENTURE AT THE BEACH
For families, it’s still incredibly hard to beat the appeal of a beach holiday. Located on the northwest corner of the island is Plemont Beach. It’s an ideal beach for families with clean golden sand, a waterfall, and even caves for the children to explore. The waves are a bit rough for swimming but they are perfect for body surfing. The beach also offers washrooms and a café. Be sure to time your trip well as the beach is completely covered during high tide. It’s best to arrive early to guarantee yourself a parking spot. Alternatively, Bouley Bay is also a popular beachcombing spot. The setting is one of a kind with lovely blue water cradled by cliffs at each side. You can try scuba diving here or head to the Black Dog pub just above the bay.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
The island has something for everyone from popular walks to challenging hikes. Hiking along the northern coast will be rewarded with plenty of stunning views and cafés serving up delicious Jersey cuisine especially in the area of Piermont Bay. Along the coast, children will love the opportunity to try out surfing, wakeboarding, or kayaking. Absolute Adventures is a popular tour operator that can get your family organized for a day of fun. For locals, one of the most popular activities is participating in one of the many walking programs and festivals. In September, the island participates in Autumn Walking Week featuring guided walks and even a five-day experience walking around the island and exploring food trails.
From historic attractions to hands on activities, Jersey offers something for the whole family. Discover the story of the German occupation at the Jersey War Tunnels, a museum that depicts island life during the war. It’s fascinating but spooky all at the same time. Jersey Heritage maintains a magnificent collection of forts including the sixteenth century Elizabeth Castle. It is set upon its own islet in St Aubin’s Bay and is reachable by foot during low tide. There are even sleeping quarters available for those who wish to overnight in the castle and if it’s your birthday, they will even fire a cannon for you. Children will enjoy a trip to the Jersey Pottery where you can not only observe fine craftsmen at work but also become one yourself. Children can choose a clay model, paint it, and they will fire it in the kiln for you. It’s a wonderful souvenir to serve as a token of a memorable trip.
With its diverse landscapes, warm climate and golden beach holidays, a Jersey staycation might just be your most memorable vacation yet. From the hints of rural France, to tastes of Portugal, a few days vacationing on this island will transport you to a whole new world right in your own backyard.
Written By Julie Martin