Looking for a short break closer to home? Idyllic Jersey is the most southerly island in Britain and with flights from 24 UK airports, including East Midlands Airport, getting there is a breeze.
Buses operate throughout the island and will take you to everywhere included within this itinerary, but for ultimate freedom you could hire a car or bike. The island is only nine by five miles but boasts over 95 miles of cycle routes as well as over 45 miles of “green lanes” making Jersey a dream for cyclists.
The views across the rest of the bay are stunning
After checking into your accommodation, head over to St Brelade’s Bay in the island’s south west corner to enjoy some sun (fingers crossed!), sea and sand. Voted in the top three best UK beaches in 2019 in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards, a visit is a must on any visit to Jersey. The soft sand and clear waters are a major attraction, but you should also make time to visit the beautiful Fisherman’s Chapel at the west end of the bay which is decorated with exquisite wall paintings dating back to the 14th century. The tranquillity of the chapel and surrounding churchyard provides a lovely change from the busy beach front and the views across the rest of the bay are stunning. I would also recommend hiring a kayak or paddleboard to explore along the coastline. For more adventurous types, book yourself a ride on a banana boat and try to hang on! After all that sea air, you’ll probably be feeling a little peckish, so treat yourself to afternoon tea on The Terrace at L’Horizon. Here, you can take in the spectacular ocean views whilst enjoying delicate finger sandwiches, beautiful pastries and fluffy scones with jam and the famous Jersey cream.
After tea, head east to Portelet Bay. There’s quite a climb down from the cliff top to reach the beach which helps prevent this south-facing gem from becoming too crowded. This bay is sheltered between cliffs and receives sun throughout the day making it a great place for a spot of sunbathing or swimming. As well as the golden sands, the bay also has plenty of rockpools so bring a bucket, a glass jar and some sturdy footwear and release your inner Attenborough. Hopefully, you’re not too full after all those scones as Portelet Bay Café is also not to be missed. Choose a table on the beach and watch the sunset across the bay as you tuck into an authentic wood fired pizza. The café is always busy in the summer so make sure you book in advance to secure a spot.
An atmospheric, thought-provoking and sometimes emotional place
After fun at the beach on Day One, it’s now time to discover the history of the island. There are a number of fascinating museums and historic attractions on the island, but I would recommend prioritising the Jersey War Tunnels and Elizabeth Castle. Found in St Lawrence, the War Tunnels are a poignant reminder of the German Occupation of Jersey which lasted for almost 5 years until liberation on 9th May 1945. You will learn stories of the desperate times endured by Islanders and Germans alike and explore over a kilometre of tunnels that were dug by forced and slave labourers. This is an atmospheric, thought-provoking and sometimes emotional place to visit, so make sure you bring tissues.
Grab lunch at one of the food stalls in St Helier Central Market; my favourite is the pasta stall but there are also some fantastic bakeries and tea places. As well as the food outlets, this Victorian covered market has a range of other stands including a model shop, book shop and jewellers so take the time to have a good look around and perhaps pick up a souvenir or two to take home.
Spend the rest of the afternoon at Elizabeth Castle. Built on a rocky islet in St Aubin’s Bay, at low tide you can reach the castle by foot, but it is much more fun to take the amphibious landing craft, aka “The Duck”. Once at the castle, you can climb the battlements, wander through the bunkers and passageways and experience fantastic views across the bay. Reflect on your day of culture whilst you enjoy dinner and a cocktail or three at the nearby Salty Dog.
Spend your final day on the west coast of the island in and around St Ouen’s Bay. Begin by clambering up and down the wild and beautiful sand dunes of Les Blanches Banques, a Site of Special Ecological Interest. As you explore this other-worldly environment keep your eyes peeled for wildlife and if you are lucky you might even spot a Green Lizard, Jersey being the only place in Britain where these reptiles occur naturally.
You’ll be sure to find something to your taste
Now, it’s time to put your field guide away and head down to the beach. St Ouen’s Bay stretches for five miles from end to end and with the waves rolling in from the Atlantic Ocean, this section of coastline is paradise for surfers. If you’ve never picked up a board, why not try a lesson with El Tico Surf School or if you don’t fancy getting wet, then simply enjoy a wander along the beach or a drive along the five mile road to enjoy breath-taking views of the bay. In addition to catering to all your surfing desires, El Tico is the perfect place to refuel after an action filled morning. The Cantina is a melting pot of food styles, so you’ll be sure to find something to your taste whether that be an authentic curry or a burger with Jersey beef.
Your last stop is La Corbière Lighthouse in the south west corner of the island. Try to arrive at low tide when you can walk along the causeway right out to the lighthouse. Close to the car park is a vendor selling delicious Jersey ice cream but be sure to eat quickly as the seagulls are always on the lookout to snatch an unguarded cone! At low tide, you can also peep into the rockpools close to the causeway and the daredevils amongst you can practise Extreme Lying Down on the rocks flanking the lighthouse.
A half an hour bus ride or ten minute drive means it’s easy to find the airport, knowing it won’t be long before the call of the sea brings you back.
Featured and in-article images courtesy of Ruth Bentley. No changes made to these images.
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