One of the Channel Islands in Europe, the Isle of Jersey is the largest island among the Channel Islands of Great Britain. The island is home to 90,000 people, it’s well known by many for its interesting banking laws and “close but separate” relationship with the UK.
The island may only be 45 square miles, but there are plenty of things to do, especially outdoor activities. Magnificent bays and beaches are perfect for hiking around the Island of Jersey. There are also architectural structures that reflect on the some interesting bits of history. Here’s an overview.
Standing above the Gorey Pier is the stunning sight of Mont Orgueil Castle. When France invaded the island 600 years ago, the castle served as a bastion protecting the island and its inhabitants. Hidden treasures can be found inside the castle’s stairways, rooms and the tower that offers an impressive view of the island’s coastline.
The Elizabeth Castle (above), another must-see, is located at Saint Helier in Jersey. It was built in the islet of St. Aubin’s Bay during the 1600’s when the fortress in Mount Orgueil was not enough to defend the island from the powerful cannons that attacked the inhabitants. During low tide, this islet can be reached by foot through a causeway, but high tides are also fun using a wading vehicle.
For those of you with children in tow, the aMaizin! Adventure Park at Saint Peter is a good stop. At the Barnyard, kids of all ages will have a wonderful time on the tractor rides, meeting the animals, and even milking the cows! There are also several rides, golf activities and a maze of maize for those who want to be challenged.
In Trinity, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust will be something special for the animal lovers. Gibbons, orangutans, and gorillas are only some of its top attractions. Durrell has developed updated techniques in trying to conserve species that are deemed to be instinct. With over a hundred species, the place is the perfect educational place to visit in the Isle of Jersey.
For beach lovers, don’t miss Plemont Bay. The beaches are hidden and to reach it requires a bit of a steep descent. There are some caves at the bay worth exploring.
Two other outdoor attractions here on the Isle of Jersey worth a peek include the Jersey Lavender Farm and the Fish ‘n’ Beads, where you can enjoy threading beads at a beads party at the beach.
For museum buffs, museums and historical architectures are everywhere on the Isle of Jersey. The Jersey War Tunnels and the German Underground Hospital must be the most popular among them. These tunnels take you back the occupation of the island by Nazi Germany during the 2nd World War. Only 3.5 miles from the center of the city of St. Lawrence, surfacing from the tunnel makes you think of how you would feel if you were one of the islanders during the infamous war.
For those who wants to understand the more seaworthy affairs of the Isle of Jersey, the Maritime Museum and Occupation Tapestry provides an interactive experience of the ship, ship’s deck and the sciences behind maritime enterprise especially during the war. The Occupation Tapestry is a work of art by the people of the island during World War II. A short audio-visual display explains the story behind the tapestry.
The Channel Island Military Museum is also an interesting place to visit in the Isle of Jersey. Located 300 miles from the center of the city, the museum is situated inside a bunker built by the Germans during the war. Everything inside the shelter are artifacts of the German occupation on the island. There are other interesting attractions for true wars, such as the Greve de Lecq Barracks and the Noirmont Command Bunker.
For those who wants to experience the art of the Isle of Jersey, there is Jersey Pottery, St. Matthew’s Glass Church, Catherine Best, and Jersey Pearl. For flora lovers, you can visit Judith Queree’s Garden, The Gardens of Samares Manor and Reg’s Garden. The Pallot Steam, Motor and General Museum is also a must-see attraction, especially for steam engine and train lovers.
Did you know that the maximum speed limit within the island is only 40 mph? Even if the island is just 9 miles by 5 miles in area, its paved road cover over 350 miles.
Food in the Isle of Jersey is influenced mainly by French cuisine, its sunny weather and its wealthy citizens. There are several fine restaurants in the island, several of which are culinary artists and champion chefs who have decided to make the Isle of Jersey their home.
Oyster farming is a big industry on the island. Royal Bay Oysters farms over 500 tons of Pacific oysters yearly. These juicy oysters can be found in many restaurants all over the island. Lobsters, oysters and the precious ormers (also sometimes called abalone), are very popular in the Isle of Jersey restaurants. Fish of any species are also easy to find.
During spring time, vegetables which are grown locally, and especially the most celebrated Royal Jersey potatoes, is mostly sought after by chefs because of its delicious taste. For beef and cheese lovers, the Classic Herd Farm Shop is the place to go. The Island of Jersey is famous for its Jersey cheese, which is produced by the owners of this shop, Darren and Julia Quenault. From their herd’s milk, Julia, one of the few cheese-makers of the island, makes Jersey Cache, Jersey Brie (my fave), Jersey Camembert and Jersey Golden Blue.
For the exotic food aficionados, you must visit the La Mare Wine Estate where you can taste their black butter (made with apples, spices, and cider). You can also visit their vineyards and sample the sparkling red and white wine of the area. At St. Mary’s Country Inn, you can have a taste of a unique brew that celebrated the freedom of the island from Nazi Germany, Liberation Ale, produced by the Jersey Brewery. At local farm shops, the Isle of Jersey’s honey is a must-taste item. Pork pies and sausages made of black butter are also some of foods that may make you want to call this lovely island your home.
How to Get There
There are 50 flights from the UK and the rest of Europe available daily into the Isle of Jersey airport, located in the parish of St. Peter. Traveling by ferry, the Island of Jersey can be reached from Guernsey or direct from the UK and France – Condor Ferries has a regular service.