Visiting Jersey - What to See and Do
(Jersey Airport JER, Channel Islands)
is the largest of the self-governing Channel Islands and is a British Crown Dependency set off the Coast of Normandy, in the English Channel. The island has its own laws and judicial system, as well as a separate identity apart from the other islands in the archipelago. Its fame as a tourist destination attracts families and couples seeking a weekend or longer break from city life, who come here to enjoy its laid-back scene and great choice of day and evening activities.
St. Helier is Jersey's capital city, set on the edge of a broad bay and home to approximately 30 percent of the island's population, many of whom work in the tourism industry. The island itself is beautiful, sloping upward from the long, sandy beaches and bays of the south to the wild, rugged cliffs in the northern sector. The mild climate and its closeness to France
combine to make this island a popular visitors destination for families from the south of England
Equally famous for its flowers, friendly islanders and delicious fresh seafood cuisine, a visit to Jersey is a rare treat away from the chaos of everyday life in the big cities. Transportation is by car along narrow, twisting roads separating farms and fields, and vehicle hire here represents good value for money. Two regular bus routes, 1 and 15, run to the east and west respectively, and less frequent bus services connect a number of the island's attractions in the remoter areas.
Ten things you must do in Jersey
- The premier summer attractions here are the glorious sandy beaches, with St. Aubin's Bay and St. Brelade's Bay being a hub for water sports. Speedboat rides, jet-skiing, kayaking, banana boating, surfing, wake boarding and pedalos are all offered, and for those keen on sea fishing, boats with experienced skippers can be hired for the day.
- The coastline of Jersey is truly spectacular, sloping gently down to the beaches in the south and with cliff-top walks along the rocky promontories in the north. Stunning views and ozone-fresh air come as standard, and one of the best walks is from Bouley Bay to Rozel.
- The Amaizin Maze Activity Park makes a great day out for all the family, offering two sizeable corn mazes, go-kart racing, crazy golf, tractor rides, bouncy slides, a dry slope with inflatable tubes and even panning for gold. Picnic areas and a café are provided, with this popular attraction giving a new slant in traditional seaside fun parks.
- Jersey's Corbiere Lighthouse sits on an offshore rock and can only be approached when the tide is low. Summer sunsets here are spectacular, with the lighthouse silhouetted in the centre of the great golden orb as it sinks below the ocean. In winter, the stormy high tides make the view even more special.
- The Jersey War Tunnels (Hohlgangsanlage 8 / Ho8) were briefly used as a hidden underground hospital by the occupying German forces during WWII, and were dug by tens of thousands of prisoners of war brought to the island for the purpose. This spooky site is reputed to have at least 10,000 bodies buried in its walls. Now a museum, the hospital is a grim reminder of the war years.
- St. Aubin is a charming little town and was once the island's main port, protected by St. Aubin Castle and with fine examples of historic merchant houses spread along the harbour wall. The castle was built on a rocky outcrop and is accessible only at low tide, and summer sailing lessons for youngsters can be had at the Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club at the end of the bay.
- Picturesque Elizabeth Castle lies just offshore of St. Helier and was commissioned by Sir Walter Raleigh in the early 1560s, during the reign of Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth I. English royalty, including King Charles II and King James II, are known to have stayed here. The castle boasts cannons, three small museums and a well-preserved German machine gun nest.
- Crafts here include wine-making and pottery, with the La Mare Vineyards and Jersey Pottery welcoming visitors. A tour of the vineyard takes holidaymakers through the entire process of wine-making, from the vines themselves to cooperage of the finished product. There is a kids' adventure playground, while the shop sells potent apple brandy. The pottery allows kids to paint their own piece and displays the fascinating process of glazing and firing.
- The Jersey Lavender Farm in St. Brelade village is a working business devoted to growing and steam-distilling of the fragrant lavender flowers. Visitors are taken through the steps necessary to produce essential oils, toiletries and perfumes, and the aroma from the plants during the flowering season is unforgettable.
- Samares Manor House in St. Clement is set in beautifully manicured grounds, where it is known for its herb gardens and visitor activities. Here you can watch craft and wood-turning demonstrations, ride in a traditional horse-drawn bus or take a tour of the manor house. The star of the show is the falconry demonstration.