For my last trip of the year, me and Theo flew for a weekend in Jersey! We spent 48 hours exploring this wonderful island, including three days and two nights.
Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands, between England and France and even through it is a self-governing dependency, it still sits within the United Kingdom. The island is a real mix of British and French cultures, with streets signs in French and English, many towns named after French phrases and lots of French inspired cuisine.
The island is known for its beaches, cliffside walking trails and historic castles and there’s just so much to do on this tiny yet wonderful island. The island is possibly most famous for the Jersey War Tunnels complex, in a former hospital excavated by slave labor, which documents the island’s 5-year German occupation during WWII. So what are you waiting for? Get booking those flights and get planning that weekend in Jersey…
Here is my ultimate guide to a weekend in Jersey….
HOW TO GET TO JERSEY
I booked flights with EasyJet and British Airways in the end as we weren’t flexible with our dates. We flew out from London Gatwick with EaysJet and flew back to Gatwick with British Airways. The flight was less than an hour and cost around £80 return each. Such a quick and cheap flight! Super cheap meaning more money for having fun! EasyJet currently have a sale on 1000’s of flights, you can book here.
WHEN TO GO TO JERSEY
The best time for a weekend in Jersey is between April and September when the weather is better and summer makes the island a haven for late evenings and swimming. However, we visited in December over the Christmas period and the island was just as accessible and there was still lots to do. It is obviously a lot quieter too, so depending on what you are after from your trip, it may be better for you to visit in off peak seasons such as autumn and winter. You just adapt to your weather!
HOW TO GET AROUND JERSEY
The best way to get around the island for a weekend in Jersey is by car. Even though the island is small, it’s still worth hiring a car for your trip unless your accommodation is on the beach and you don’t plan on leaving the beach for your entire stay. You could also hire bikes or simply hike, there are so many good routes around the island worth trying out. We didn’t bike or hike during our trip as it was December and we didn’t fancy getting caught in a thunderstorm but in the summer we’d 100% take an afternoon by bike to explore the island.
WHERE TO STAY FOR A WEEKEND IN JERSEY
The Royal Yacht Hotel is a super stylish hotel with views over the marina in the town of St Helier. Our Jersey accommodation was a resort in itself, offering guests a choice of four restaurants, three bars and award-winning spa. It was the perfect base for our weekend exploring the island of Jersey! If you want a great location, with the added benefit of being in the thick of it, surrounded by cafes, restaurants and shops, this is the Jersey accommodation for you. Located smack bang in the middle of St Helier, the Royal Yacht Hotel is the place to visit, eat, and drink for both locals and tourists.
As the name suggests, this hotel’s decor and interior style, echoes that of a five star luxury yacht: from the fixtures and fittings, use of wood and chrome and balconies formed with sheets of curved glass to create waves across the front of the building. There are also chandeliers hanging from the ceilings, as well as silver buttoned upholstery. The hotel is full of elegance and style, around every corner.
READ FULL HOTEL REVIEW: Jersey Accommodation: The Royal Yacht Hotel
WHAT TO DO IN JERSEY
ACTIVITIES IN JERSEY
Cycling – Jersey is the perfect place to go for a cycling holiday with miles of beautifully scenic routes all over the island. From calm cycle tracks along the coast to scenic routes that will raise your pulse, Jersey’s fresh air and spectacular views make it a world class destination for cycling.
Kayaking – I love kayaking and everywhere I go I try to get on the water, whether its paddleboarding or kayaking. Jersey is a great place to kayak with many superb kayaking locations to choose from. We didn’t get the chance to hit the water as we visited in December but we were recommend to return in the summer and explore some of Jersey’s secret beaches.
Surfing – Surfing is the activity of choice for many locals in Jersey! The most popular place to surf is St. Ouen’s Beach where the Atlantic swell and tidal shifts, make it the perfect place to try your hand at surfing. Whether a taster surf lesson, a one-to-one, or a family day with a difference, hit the water and feel the rush! The lifeguards run from May through to October every year and are always approachable and happy to offer some advice.
Hiking – Just like cycling, hiking around the island offers you sweeping dunes, green fields, towering cliffs, and unspoilt beaches. The variety of landscapes within a short distance make Jersey one of the best places to go walking or hiking. It’s easy to set out on your own and explore the island using their green lanes to ramble through farm and field or find hidden bays and secret coves. And if you get tired, you’re never far from a public bus or friendly local to point you in the right direction.
PLACES TO VISIT IN JERSEY
Jersey War Tunnels – Jersey War Tunnels tells the true story of wartime Jersey in a way that no other visitor attraction does. 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.
Grosnez Castle – Grosnez Castle is a ruined 14th-century castle in St. Ouen, situated in Grosnez in the north-west corner of the island. Philippe de Carteret held it against the French when they held half of Jersey between 1461 and 1467, but it has been a ruin since the mid-16th century. Today, the ruins are open to the public with concrete steps that lead from the rear of Grosnez Castle to an automated signal station where you will have fantastic views across to the other Channel Islands.
Jersey Lavender Farm – Jersey Lavender is a working farm that grows lavender. During the harvest season (June to mid-August) the lavender crop is processed, the oil extracted and used to make a range of fragrant Jersey Lavender products. Don’t miss the talks in the distillery at 11.30 and 3.00 when you’ll learn about the whole process.
Elizabeth Castle – As part of the Jersey Heritage attractions, Elizabeth Castle is accessible at low tide by foot, or, at both low and high tide, the Castle Ferry, which will transport you across the bay to and from the Castle. Elizabeth Castle is the perfect place to spend a day exploring Jersey’s history. Climb the battlements, explore the turrets and bunkers and discover the Hermitage where Saint Helier is thought to have lived around 550 A.D.
Jersey Oyster Co – The company is the largest oyster growing concern in the British Isles and exports over 1,000 tons of oysters a year with 80% being exported to France. The produce is purified in tanks and packed at a purpose-built plant in Grouville. The business is owned by Chris Le Masurier, a third-generation oyster farmer.
Jersey Zoo – 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. Whether you’re after fun, tranquillity, knowledge or a place to soak up the sunshine, this stunning 32-acre park with valleys, woodland and some of the world’s rarest animals is the perfect chance to experience ‘the jewel in Jersey’s crown’. Relax and stay a while or see the best bits in under two hours.
Mont Orgueil Castle – Jersey Heritage make history come to life at Mont Orgueil Castle, which protected Jersey against the French invasion over 600 years ago. Explore the network of staircases and secret rooms to discover hidden treasures and breathtaking views. Discover secret artwork commissioned to tell the story of the castle and climb turrets to find the medieval ‘wheel of urine’.
La Mare Wine Estate, Distillery & Cider Farm – La Mare Wine Estate is a 20 acre working estate well known for its wines and popular Jersey Apple Brandy Cream. La Mare makes some of the island’s legacy recipes such as Black Butter preserve as well as its own contemporary produce from the distillery and production kitchens. Tours and tastings of the wines and handmade products are available daily.
The Botanic Gardens at Samarès Manor – The Botanic Gardens are privately owned by Seigneur de Samarès, Vincent Obbard. They are a development of gardens created in the 1920s by Sir James Knott. The gardens are diverse in style, extensive, tranquil and peaceful including a renowned herb garden and Japanese garden.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK IN JERSEY
FEAST – This place was my favourite on the island with great food and even better service! You can find the restaurant on Gorey Pier, overlooking the harbour and basking in the picture-postcard magnificence of Mont Orgueil Castle. Feast offers an easy, relaxed atmosphere dressed in a distinctive and eclectic style. They specialise in simple, delicious and modern cuisine, including sticky pork ribs, sizzling garlic prawns, Thai green curry and the famous salt and pepper crispy squid. Feast also offers an extensive wine list, as well as a selection of beers and exotic cocktails served from the Fin de siècle Parisian tin bar. It’s a haven for foodies and the perfect spot to unwind and indulge.
The Hungry Man – Nestled on the harbour wall in Rozel Bay, The Hungry Man offers a wide range of food, from gourmet burgers to crab sandwiches and delicious homemade cakes. All seating is al fresco, so be sure to rug up in the chillier months! The atmosphere is relaxed and unhurried to suit the calm and natural environment of beautiful Rozel Bay. An institution since 1947, the Hungry Man continues to deliver satisfaction to all appetites, large or small! Take on the Double Decker Health Wrecker, if you dare!
Sirocco Restaurant – Guests can relax in the light and fresh surroundings of the chic 2 AA Rosette restaurant, while indulging in a direct view of the chefs as they masterfully prepare delicious dishes. On balmy evenings they can dine under the stars on the Sirocco balcony and gaze out over the glittering marina and beyond.
Oyster Box – Beach Bar & Restaurant – Nestled in the heart of Jersey’s most popular bay of St. Brelade – voted one of the Best Beaches in the British Isles by The Good Beach Guide – Oyster Box offers chic-casual dining in a stylish, elegant environment at the edge of the sea. We offer the finest local seafood, fresh fish and meat and provide an eclectic menu to suit every taste, including vegetarians and those with other dietary requirements. We cater for all diets including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free.
La Belle Gourmande Delicatessen – A delicatessen and eatery, situated in the heart of St. Aubin, offering the finest ranges of artisan cheese, charcuterie, antipasti, wines and store cupboard ingredients, to buy for home or enjoy seasonal menus in house with family and friends, in the relaxed seating areas. Al fresco eating available, during the warmer months.
Jersey Crab Shack, St. Helier – From our first restaurant in St. Brelade overlooking the bay, to Gorey with the Castle vista and now St. Helier, in a restored historic market hotel, our team strive to bring you everything that’s best about Jersey. With a wide choice of fish, meat, vegetarian and vegan dishes, we also cater to those with food allergies and intolerance.
Faulkner’s Fisheries – This place isn’t really a restaurant but its still worth a stop to shot an oyster! Faulkner Fisheries is an independently family-owned group of companies buying and selling live, fresh, cooked, smoked, frozen, dried and preserved seafood in Jersey, the other Channel Islands and France. The group’s vivier is nestled inside a Second World War German bunker at L’Etacq in St Ouen while its poissonnerie is housed inside the Beresford Market.
Salty Dog Bar & Bistro – The Salty Dog has been the restaurant of choice for discerning foodies since 1998, locals treasure it and visitors wish they had one at home. It is a restaurant built on reputation for fabulous, predominantly locally sourced food with friendly conscientious staff. The atmosphere is stylishly informal, great music, relaxed service, al fresco harbour side dining in the summer, cosy in the winter. Reservations are a must, but you never know, you might just get lucky on the off chance.
*I was invited by Visit Jersey to explore this wonderful island but as always all opinions are my own.