Jersey a small island just off the coast of France with mainline UK not much further away.
Jersey is just 45 square miles – less than a quarter of the size of the New Forest. The island’s roads display one of the highest concentrations of extremely expensive high-powered supercars and off-roaders than anywhere in the world. Yet the contradiction is the speed limit is 40mph, so what gear would your average Ferraris spend most of its time in, and the owners of the numerous 4x4s must regularly get stuck in the narrow lanes. But it is these things that add to the Island’s appeal
So, at just nine miles by five, Jersey’s size makes it easy to fit plenty into your stay. With heritage discoveries on your doorstep and miles of beaches and bays to explore, and stunning restaurants serving memorable food experiences overlooking the sea, and for the more adventurous, boat trips with unique views, you can live Jersey’s island life to the full.
What we crammed in:
We arrived at Jersey Airport after a quick fifty-minute flight from Liverpool John Lennon Airport. Next pick up our hire car for the duration of our stay, first stop our Hotel the Highlands Hotel via the beautiful village of Corbiere in St. Brelade.
The Highlands Hotel is in one of Jersey's finest locations with breath taking views. The hotel is quiet, peaceful and close to the clean, golden, sandy beach of St. Ouen's bay. The hotel benefits from a south-facing sun terrace for al fresco eating and enjoying a glass of wine.
On arrival we were greeted with a complimentary glass of Champagne before we were shown to our room. The room was lovely with all the amenities you would expect, but the best was to come as the room opened out on to a glass balcony and the leaflets describing the hotel understate just how beautiful the views are. If as a visitor you just stayed to take in these views the journey would be well worth it. Indeed, when we chatted to the owner later the next day I asked him what had kept him here for the last thirty years his response was – ‘Just walk out onto your balcony, take in the view and tell me where could be better than to wake up to that every day’ – point taken!
The evening we were advised that the best place to go was down to the beach at Ouaisne Bay and view Jersey’s stunning sunset while enjoying a drink and a meal on the terrace at Kismet Cabana.
Kismet Cabana - described as a, new found secret waiting to be discovered, it has a colourful al fresco surf-style vibe and a mecca for quality breakfasts, lunch and dinners, with special dishes inspired by global flavours.
I will be honest it was not what we were expecting but as they say never judge a book by its cover. The uninterrupted view from the terrace was stunning as we sat enjoying a drink watching the sun slip below the horizon – speechless for all the right reasons.
Then the food – it was absolutely beautiful. Susan and I had the pan roasted sea bream with local cherry tomatoes and Jersey salad. This was all the more enjoyable as we looked out over the now darkening bay. This is a must for anyone visiting Jersey, and I would advise visit sooner rather than later as this gem will soon be a great favourite with diners.
After being entranced by the setting sun we decided to have an early morning RIB boat trip out of St. Helier with Jersey Seafaris to watch the sun rise.
It was an early start – 5:00am to get around ‘La Rocque Point for an uninterrupted view before heading up to Gorey Harbour and St. Catherine’s for an Al Fresco breakfast courtesy of Jersey Seafaris.
Us being big kids, we grabbed the front seats, after all what’s the point of a Jersey Seafaris RIB trip if you don’t get the full, albeit wet and bouncy experience, and boy did we get that – loved every second of it. When we stopped at sea to watch the sun climb over the horizon it was so beautiful it sent shivers down my spine.
This was another must do experience.
After breakfast we returned to St. Helier as the Super League Triathlon was to taking place, so we wanted to fit some of that in. The events took place in the Marina in St. Helier – swimming, cycling, and running, there was a huge turn out with contestants from around the world all taking part.
We then scheduled a trip to one of Jerseys most historic forts, Elizabeth Castle dating back to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. We caught the DUKWA which ferried us across to the island for a tour of the Castle. There were exhibits on the history of the place, from the earliest times through the occupation of the Channel Islands during 1940 to1945. One event included a musket firing demonstration.
This again is a must for any history buff.
We returned to the Highland to dress for dinner before returning to St. Helier for cocktails at The Blind Pig followed by dinner at St.Helier's Samphire restaurant.
The Blind Pig Jersey’s original cocktail bar a small Prohibition themed hideaway, which is nice for the few of us who appreciate some quality elbow room whilst drinking. The is 1920s Deco, which offers something a little different. Don’t be surprised to find yourself drinking from a tea cup and pouring your cocktail from your Nan’s teapot!
The ‘speak easy’ that serves the best Cocktails in a Deco atmosphere.
Samphire - Billed as - Relaxed yet polished, Michelin starred restaurant. Samphire is not just for special occasions, it uses only fresh local produce, Head Chef Lee Smith and his team have created a series of contemporary menus and meticulously crafted plates.
Susan had Scallops to start, main Beef Rossini while I had Smoked salmon to start and a main of Fish and Chips.
This was fine dining at its best and we could not recommend the Samphire more highly.
Breakfast at the Highlands Hotel once again a top breakfast menu.
We decided to spend the day enjoying the Island - in a let’s see what we find on our travels approach.
First up we checked out the beaches along Ouaisne Bay before heading into St. Aubin for a stroll among the towns many antique and curio shops, bars and eateries before heading to the stunning beaches of St. Aubin’s.
We then took in the Mansell museum in a flying visit, this was put on my ‘must spend’ more time when I return list. We then drove the A9 to take in the sights and countryside in the St. Johns area ending up at the Priory Inn. Needless to say, we had a refreshing drink before taking a walk along the coast through the Devils Hole, seeing the statue and learning about the wreck of the La Josephine and how its masthead gave the Devils Hole its name.
La Mare Wine Estate Distillery and Cider Farm
During our wanders we came across the La Mare Wine Estate and could not miss the chance of a visit to the 20acre working estate that produces wines, Jersey Apple Brandy, Cream and the island's legacy Black Butter preserve and its own contemporary produce from the distillery and production kitchens.
We took the tour, visiting cooperage, tasting the wines and handmade products in the garden vineyard.
This is another definite on the must visit list.
Jersey War tunnels
Jersey War Tunnels was on my wish list to visit as it tells the true story of wartime Jersey in a way that no other visitor attraction can. 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 the underground tunnel complex, built by the Germans using slave labour. It was a moving experience walking the tunnels as being in the actual surroundings brings home the true picture of life during that period of time.
In addition to the exhibition, we visited the war trail, garden of reflection, and the visitor centre, café and gift shop. Jersey War Tunnels also has an extraordinary Escape Room experience.
On the flight home we reflected on Jersey, we only scratched the surface on visitor attractions, first class restaurants, stunning beaches. For instance, we did not visit Jerseys world class zoo, the craft centres, Botanical Gardens, museums, or the many family attractions.
This is an island destination that no matter what you want out of a holiday you will get it and more.
Six stars out of five you won’t be disappointed.
Images courtesy of Visit Jersey
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