Jersey: the perfect Autumn getaway
Are you itching to have one last weekend away before winter really kicks in? Big city breaks are fantastic, but there is a little haven closer to home and only a 50-minute flight from London.
The Channel Islands are just 14 miles off France and are often forgotten when you are scrolling through the usual list of weekend break destinations. My favourite of the islands is Jersey, mainly because this is where I was born and grew up but also because it is absolutely beautiful – from all angles.
Jersey – #theislandbreak
From the plane descending over the island (and realising that it is only 9 x 5 miles big…) to seeing your first herd of Jersey calves poking their heads over a fence as you trundle down a country lane, the island oozes charm and character.
Hit the road
If you are visiting Jersey, I would recommend you get yourself a hire car. Even though the island is small, it is still not small enough to walk/cycle everywhere and although the bus service has got better since I was a teenager, they are still not as reliable as a little hire car. It also gives you a huge amount of freedom to drive from bay to bay exploring the beaches and the little nooks and crannies that buses don’t take you near.
Go and explore
It is a bit cliché but it really has something for everyone, castles, beaches, hidden caves on the beach, you name it. If you are interested in walking and exploring, Jersey boasts miles upon miles of cliff path walks along the north coast. You can wander around the sand dunes along the Five Mile Road and then stop for an ice cream while sitting on the sea wall overlooking St Ouen’s Bay – the local surf scene.
Just next to the sand dunes in the west of the island is one of my favourite restaurants – El Tico Beach Cantina. There is nothing more that I love than sitting outside El Tico on a sunny day, eating their moules marinière while watching the surfers. If you are heading there in the autumn and it’s a bit chilly, they have blankets for your legs too.
A fascinating history
If you love to find out everything about a place’s history, you won’t be disappointed here. Jersey’s history is vast and if you are interested in learning more, there are many museums you can visit. The Jersey War Tunnels is an eerie museum that allows you to walk around the formation of underground tunnels (some unfinished) built by forced workers during the Second World War. Lots of men died from exhaustion and dehydration just trying to finish the tunnels. Jersey was occupied during this time and it’s interesting to read about how life carried on for the islanders.
On yer bike!
Want to get a little active whilst on your break? My favourite thing to do with visitors is hire bikes or a tandem! Along the south coast is a great cycle track that heads all the way to La Corbière lighthouse, up an old railway walk. You can also meander around the harbours and check out the latest super yachts to have docked.
In the capital, St Helier, there are plenty of great bars and restaurants to spend your evening. I would head on down to Wildfire Grill and Tapas for the perfect steak and then, once fed, head across the road to the Royal Yacht bar to the heated outdoor seating area for a few cocktails. Want a dance? Mimosa is a 2-minute walk away and trust me, the Peach Bramble cocktail is well worth the stagger over the cobbles.
A trip to Jersey wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the world famous Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Founded by Gerald Durrell in 1959, this is Jersey’s only zoo. It isn’t really a zoo, because all the work that is being carried out there is all for the preservation of species and trying to avoid extinction. The animals are kept in tip-top enclosures and you can see that they enjoy their surroundings. There are some unusual animals housed there including the odd aye-ayes and lots of cuddly looking lemurs. There is a playful family of gorillas, and my favourites, the orangutans. This is a beautiful place to visit if you have the time.
Go and visit Jersey!
Well there you have it. I could write this post for another 5,000 words about how amazing Jersey is, but I think the only way you can do this gorgeous little island the justice it deserves, is to visit it yourself. And remember to drop in on my mum and say hi.
Have you ever been? We want to see your snaps – @tweetjanes.