Discovering Jersey ~ Channel Islands

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of landing in a new country, squinting out of the window at the weather as you approach, the clanking of the metal steps as you get off the plane and the excitement of what’s to come. After a flight from London of less than an hour, I didn’t expect to have that feeling stepping off the plane in Jersey, but it turns out you can take that feeling with you anywhere when you’re on holiday.

This year James and I agreed to find a low-key, low-cost summer holiday after our bank accounts got a hammering from buying our house. We decided on a Channel Island hopping holiday because the flights are quick, fairly cheap and we had free (family) accommdation available for most of our trip.

I put Jersey first on the list mainly because I’d never been before and had heard great things, but quite selfishly I was excited to spend a birthday somewhere new.

I had the usual worry about bad weather, being in the English Channel and after the awful weather we had at the beginning of August, but as we threw our (surprisingly heavy) suitcases in our hire car the sun was shining and we were straight off to the beach. The best thing about a short flight – still having plenty of energy to set out exploring!

D A Y  O N E

First things first…

Hands down probably the best Mr Whippy (or soft serve) I’ve ever had. Jersey cream is legendary around the world so you can only imagine how deliciously smooth and creamy this was.

Jersey is a relatively small island with a population of just over 100,000, but it offers plenty of beaches and bays to discover. Naturally our main aim was to see as many of them as possible.

We started with Saint Ouen Bay, Jersey’s longest beach at five miles long.

With the tide out it felt even bigger and surprisingly deserted for a Saturday afternoon. After months of talking about and doing stuff for the house, it was the perfect way to start the holiday – arm in arm soaking up the sun on the beach.

Most of the action was out at sea with a variety of surfers enjoying the late summer breeze.

Once we’d had lunch and a long wander, it was quite late in the day so we made one more stop before checking into our hotel – La Corbière. A tidal island home to a lighthouse that dates back to the late 19th century.

Of course the tide was high at that time so we couldn’t walk out. But we did enjoy climbing rocks to enjoy the views instead.

We checked into our hotel in St Helier feeling relaxed and blissfully tired after an afternoon by the sea, happy in the knowledge that we had two more weeks away to enjoy.

We were only in Jersey for four days so rather than take you along in any great detail, I just thought I’d share what else we discovered. (Do feel free to drop me a comment or email if you want to know where we ate.)

D A Y  T W O

We weren’t fazed by a lack of sunshine on our second day, of course it would have been nice, but we there were plenty of different paths to take.

Most of them coastal, but the beautiful thing about the Channel Islands is how lush and green it all is, from the wide stretches of countryside right up to the turquoise sea. We decided to go north of the island, our first port of call (Bouley Bay) was cloudy and lacking in many good photos, but our second port (Bonne Nuit) was small but full of beached boats.

Not somewhere you might spend a long time in but peaceful and picturesque all the same.

We moved on to Grève de Lecq with the promise of a big lunch. (Funny how being by the sea makes you so much more hungry…) The upside of limited bikini weather is being able to eat a huge toasted sandwich and salty chips, then walk it off along the beach without a care in the world.

I wasn’t convinced that this was the best Jersey had to offer, perhaps because I had yet to see the island’s famous turquoise sea, so we made one more hop over to Plémont.

Tucked in a small cove, we climbed down a long stream of steps to find a beach that had much more to offer on an overcast day.

Caves to explore, rock pools to fish in, and a beach just big enough for everyone.

We’d have stayed there for a while but the tide lets you know when you’ve overstayed your welcome.

With another day done, we parked up in the little village of St Aubin and enjoyed a glass of Rosé over its postcard pretty marina.

 

D A Y  T H R E E – M Y  B I R T H D A Y

Naturally I saved all the holiday highlights for my birthday.

I’d seen Gorey, a small seaside village on the east coast, a few times during my research so I was keen to save it. Although I might have preferred to see it at high tide, I wasn’t complaining and it being my birthday and all, was quite happy to get snappy.

(There are far too many photos of me taking photos out there!)

If you don’t explore the castle, there’s not a lot to do so we grabbed another carb-loaded lunch and drove up the road to Archirondel.

The strangest thing about this beach was just how deserted it was. But I loved the contrast of the red and white tower against the sand and grey skies. You’ll find these towers all over Jersey, remnants of the island’s long history in defending itself from invasion. 

Some of the towers were later developed and used during the German Occupation, which we learnt more about at our next stop.

The Jersey War Tunnels. A preserved underground hospital crossed with a World War II museum,  it’s the best place to go to really understand what it was like to have been under the control of the Nazis and a really great interactive museum.

But I think we saved the very best till last with our final stop of the day – La Mare Wine Estate.

For less than £10 you can explore the vineyard.

On your own and as a guided tour.

Wander around the orchard.

Make friends with the residents.

And finish with a wine tasting and the history behind Jersey black butter.

D A Y  F O U R

FINALLY, a full sunny day.

We’d seen the forecast a few days before and had our sights set on a whole day on the beach with our books. We started at St Brelade’s Bay.

But in all honesty, I found it way too busy compared to the other beaches we’d visited. So we decided to move on. We tried Plémont again, but the limited amount of parking made for a chaotic half an hour in the car, so we drove over to Petit Port and grabbed the last space available.

We couldn’t have picked a better spot to spend our last day.

I was so excited by the sun, sea and sand, I put together this short video to show you around.

There is a great little restaurant that smells of burning wood and sells Mr Whippy and stone-baked pizza. It gets fully booked in the evening, but you can order a take away and enjoy it by the shore. Is there any better place to eat dinner?

I hope you’ve enjoyed my whistle-stop tour of Jersey. It’s such a relaxing and beautiful place, I can certainly see us going back again. Do leave a comment below if you have any recommendations for any future trips.

Next up – Our week in Sark!  You might have seen this tiny island on here before but I really think I discovered its best bits this time round.

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2 Comments

  1. September 26, 2017 / 9:18 pm

    Jersey looks gorgeous! And very similar to Cornwall too. Walking around, eating ice cream, visiting vineyards… sounds like my dream break tbh! Especially with that super cute pony!! xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Life, Travel, Italy

    • ThisCityLifeLondon
      September 26, 2017 / 9:26 pm

      I agree it’s very much like Cornwall, so if you’ve been there and enjoyed it you’d love Jersey. It’s possibly even quicker and easier to get to and ideal for a long weekend. The short drives just make it all manageable too. I’ll certainly go back one day over a bank holiday weekend. x