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3 July 2019

12 great reasons to visit the channel island of jersey

a good few weeks (months?) back now, during (one of) the may bank holiday, mum and i headed out of town - out of the country, really, to fiiiiinally tick one of the channel islands off the bucket list. jersey has long been on that list, mainly for the potatoes and the cows, not going to lie, so i was thrilled to find beautiful weather forecast for our five days on the island, as well as a plethora of things to see and do while we were there. of those many, many things, there are twelve excellent things that i can wholeheartedly recommend anyone do on their first trip to jersey. read on, and learn all about why you should check out this channel island while the sun still sears and the ocean still flows.

*disclaimer: some of our activities were complimentary, the rest we paid for ourselves.


coffee at locke's

we stayed in a really great airbnb in st. hellier, which was so handily located for evvverything. mainly coffee, of which we were spoiled for choice. our host had left recommendations and locke's was on that list, and as it was right around the corner from the bnb, we made sure to check it out. we stopped in for (dairy-free)dirty chais in between activities, and it was simply the best coffee i'd had in years. if you like your coffee served among plants and wooden benches, then you'll love it here. please also note the variety of food on offer too: fresh baked, fresh cooked, and every kind of variety you could want. plus, they have great loos.

lunch at cheffons beaumont

this was a plan b lunch after our plan a turned out to be unattainable, but actually, i think we got the better deal. we opted for the lunch deal which was like, two courses for £20 or so, and it was utttterly delicious. the boutique hotel has won numerous awards for their food and their acommodation, and it was easy to see why. the service was great, the decor was eclectic, and the wine was local. if you need evidence of how great the food was, i have none, because i didn't stop to take photos - it smelt too good to wait on, so forgive me for that - i will say this: the portions were big, so we definitely got a good deal at cheffons beaumont.

dinner at number 10

this was a recommendation from just about everyone who had previously been to jersey, so here i am, passing it on. number 10 seems very up market from the exterior and the menu, but we found ourselves joking with the staff (and at the ridiculous fish wallpaper), so don't let the exterior fool you. the basement of the restaurant also double as a cocktail bar which is also very fancy, but they serve aperol so it can't be all that glam. the food was easily the best thing i've ever eaten. i had angus beef two ways (charred brisket and fillet) with tender greens and a side of jersey royals. and, loooord, i about orgasmed with every mouthful. again, so much food, but still always room for dessert - right?

take away from hector's

if you need a night in, like we did after a loooong ass day on the go, then head to hector's fish and chippy in the centre of st. helier. truth be told, we ate here two nights while in jersey, because it was so good. and if you need evidence of that, hear this: my mum hates fish and chips. doesn't like fried batter and doesn't like cooked chips. the first time from hectors she grumbled something about a fish cake being her only option, the second time, she made the suggestion of hectors. so make of that what you will. both times i had the scallops and both times, they were bladdy excellent - not greasy at all!


stroll from st. helliers to st. aubin's bay

there are soooo many walks you can do from st. helier, but this one is a casual hour or so walking along the beautiful jersey south coastline so it hardly feels like anything more than just sightseeing. plus, cheffons beaumont is in st. aubins, so you can reward yourself with a hearty lunch once you're done walking along, and admiring the craziness that is the jersey tidal activity. at points you can walk up to a mile out to sea, the next day, covered in ocean. madness!

take a jersey seafari or boat tour

this was the highlight of the whole trip for both me and mum. it was the best £20 spent (that wasn't food, let me clarify), and couple of hours we could have spent while in jersey. there are a number of options for boat tours (check them out here), but the one we wanted was sold out for the day we wanted, so we booked with jersey bus and boat tours instead. and actually, we picked an excellent day to head out, because not only was our captain able to get us super close to some of the best attractions (elizabeth castle and some of the rockier parts of the coast), but we even got to see dolphins in the wild which was, as you can imagine, pretty damn spectacular. the whole tour took about two hours and was so, so informative. we learned so much about the island we were staying on, and i would absolutely take that boat ride again.

walk around the botanical gardens*

with the heritage pass* we were able to go into four of the island's must-see attractions for the price of three (though we were kindly gifted the passes), and the botanical gardens were at the top of that list for us, for obvious, plant loving reasons. we stopped in for (gluten free) cake and coffee while we were in the gardens, and it was nice to sit in and eat some of the local delicacies (jersey cream, obvs) while taking in the local attractions. the gardens are within the samares manor grounds, and there are a number of different parts to explore, from a wild flower meadow, a medicinal garden, japanese installation, duck pond - and more. it's really, very beautiful and we really enjoyed it. we did not enjoy the once-and-hour buses to get there and back, though..

swim at havre des pas lido

i'm not going to lie, this one was on the list purely because i'd seen it featured on the 'accidentally wes anderson' instagram feed and i wanted to see it for myself. and, it lived up to every bit of my pastel-retro-building dreams. the havre des pas lido is fully functional so you can 100% go there to swim, or just watch that tide come and go and reveal the underwater sea pool once the tide is low enough. it's totally free, and totally cute. you have to go!


jersey war tunnels*

this was one i was encouraged to spend a bit of time at, especially if bad weather as it's all underground and really quite cold, so we headed there on our last day. we grabbed public transport but there are a loads of tour options too, and with the heritage pass we were able to bypass the line too, and were some of the first in there after it opened. honestly, it was fantastic. i knew *nothing* about the war history of the channel islands until i went here, and left feeling.. enraged, sympathetic, confused, and a little bit sympathetic to the enemy after hearing how it all went down there in the channel during the second world war. honestly, i wouldn't call myself a history buff, but i do think it's important to educate yourself about the places you visit, and this was an epic way to do it. the tour is all underground, as i say, in disused tunnels from during the war; tunnels from war hospital to private bunkers, and all sorts of other tunnels. kinda creepy, but also very cool.

elizabeth castle and ferry*

we got to see elizabeth castle in a few different levels of undress; at high tide when a boat was required to get to her, and at low tide, when we walked more than half a mile across cement stones that usually lay at the bottom of the sea, waiting for low tide to hit to be visible to visitors and locals alike - to get back to shore from her. we went over just on last entry, and grabbed the last aquaduck of the day to get there. you get a return trip on the special ferries that have wheels to get on the sand, and a boat body to hit the water with your ticket to the castle, and it's a pretty fun experience! the view from the castle was great and all, but the highlight was the boat for me. the castle had a few exhibitions in it, but nothing to really give much of a history of the building. we learned quite a bit about it on the boat tour along the coast, but if we hadn't have done that, then i don't know what we would have learned. still - great view, and fun travel over.

mont orgueil castle and gorey port*

gorey is up on the east coast, and well worth a trip out there. again, we took the bus (hourly) but a car would have made this trip much easier (in general) so we didn't have to rush around in gorey to get everything in before we had to grab the next bus back to st. helier.  gorey pier was really cute and very scenic, and the rows of coloured houses along the coast were obviously very adorable. we went up to mont orgueil castle to check out the great protector of jersey; this castle is what held back the french during their last invasion attempt over 600 years ago. there were tonnnnns of stairs, it's quite tall and high, and mum had quite dodgy knees so the stairs became a bit of an ish for her, but we managed what we could. we had a ball, mainly with the view. potato fields on one side, the beautiful coast on the other. just wonderful, would recommend.

hamptonne country farm*

wanna pat a jersey calf? go to hamptonne country farm immmmmediately! be warned, it's a ball ache to get to and from without a car, but still doable. we took the bus, on a sunday, when their regularity was worse than normal, but we managed. inside the farm there are buildings dating back to the 15th century, when a functional bakery and blacksmith and wheelhouse and those sorts of things still existed on the property, but the highlight? the animals. as well as an apple orchard with more than ten types of apples, there are hamptonne jersey cows and calves, piglets, hens and chicks, and a whole shit ton of plants and flowers to frolic amongst. it was another highlight, for sure. 

so, there you have it. four days worth of activities, twelve great reasons to visit jersey. now tell me: which reason sold it for you? i honestly wish i could have stayed longer, and would love to go back again as i just don't think i saw (or ate) enough. there's the whole north coast to explore, so next time i'll be back with a car for sure.

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