It’s not been an easy time for travel. But where uncertainty and personal sacrifices may have curtailed our travel wish list, Britain’s doors have been left wide open. We’ve discovered parts of the country to fall in love with all over again, but there’s still one more place filled with surprises.
Straddled between two nations with a cultural atmosphere all of its own, Jersey is not your typical staycation. There’s an adventurous, going-abroad feel to it, with quick and easy flights or ferry transfers needed to get there. Jersey is wonderfully hassle-free, with no testing, no isolation or travel forms to complete for UK travellers. Throw in gorgeous coastlines and the sunniest climate in the British Isles, and you have the makings of a curiously Brit…(ish) staycation.
Jersey’s unique microclimate makes it a surprising beach destination. With hidden coves and long white sands never more than 10 minutes away from anywhere on the island, you can discover your very own island paradise in the British Isles. Ever popular stretches include the long sands of St. Ouen’s Bay, where the tide attracts surfers, and the visitor’s fave St. Brelade’s Bay. But dive a little deeper and you can unpick spots like Beauport Bay, an irresistibly beautiful beach surprisingly close to St. Brelade, or the more remote Plémont Bay, whose rocky outcrops frame one of Jersey’s finest hidden beaches. For more intrepid explorers, a short boat ride takes you out to Les Ecréhous and Les Minquiers, where reefs, sandbanks, and evocative islands appear at low tide. Finally, don’t miss one of just a few spots in Britain to catch the magic of a bioluminescent bay. Jersey has one of the world’s largest tidal ranges, and at low tide, it grows to almost double the size. When the tide is out and the sun has set, Jersey Walk Adventures host spectacular bioluminescence walks on the seabed so you can stroll through Caulleriella bioculata – worms that glow like fireflies.
For an island of just nine by five miles, Jersey has over 350 miles of glorious country lanes to explore; hire an electric bike from EVie and glide effortlessly through wild Green Lanes, pedalling past pretty granite farmhouses and cottages, and stopping for ice cream made from the produce of famed Jersey dairies. There’s also a wealth of self-guided walking trails, taking in the island’s best craggy coastlines and bewitching forests. For something even more magical, don’t forego a night under the stars. The most evocative setting has to be the ruin of Grosnez Castle, where panoramic views across neighbouring islands are only surpassed by the incredible stargazing opportunities on a clear night.
You don’t have to scratch too far beneath the surface to experience Jersey’s rich and diverse past. The island’s unique history has been moulded over time by Ice Age visitors, conquering forces, and a fascinating mix of languages and traditions. Start with the ancients, ticking off the incredible neolithic dolmens that lie across the island. La Hougue Bie is the most notable, as one of the ten oldest buildings in the world, with a fascinating museum exploring Jersey’s ancient settlers. That typical Britishness returns at Jersey’s share of medieval castles, though at Mont Orgueil Castle you can do something rather untypical – abseil down its imposing stone walls. The famous Elizabeth Castle, best reached by boat, has its own tumultuous history. A visit to its museum shares the rocky outcrop’s 15 centuries of history, right up to its use during the Nazi occupation of the island of Jersey.
Jersey is bursting with flavour. Whether it’s farm to fork, or coast to cooker, food doesn’t travel far on the island. Only the freshest chancre crab, lobster and oysters await at a host of coastal eateries like The Oyster Box and Corbière Phare, though for a more rustic and unique feel, head to Faulkner Fisheries for a beachside barbie. Nestled in a WWII bunker, a clutch of local fisherman peddle their fresh catches, which can be bought freshly cooked and served up with buttered Jersey Royals. The simplicity is just perfection, as are the views.
After dinner, don’t miss the many local tipples brewed and distilled on the island – each with a curious Jersey twist. Sip Liberation Ale, an island brew, in the cosy pubs across Jersey. Meet affable locals La Robeline Cider, a fixture of the island’s foodie scene, or take a local gin tasting tour of the town for a night of masterful mixology in a host of speakeasies. To soak up the island’s Gallic influences, head to La Mare Wine Estate and dine overlooking the vineyard, whilst sampling a glass or two of the estate’s wines.
You see, Jersey is wonderfully unfamiliar. It’s, on one hand, the staycation experience we all know and love, but there are myriad quirks and inconsistencies – there are experiences that are simply unmatched across the British Isles, whether it’s the faint Jèrriais greetings or impeccable coastline. Jersey should be your next island escape, for curiously Brit…(ish) adventures.
Written in partnership with Visit Jersey