Sightseeing in Jersey
More than five thousand years of history is packed into just 45 square miles, where you'll discover a host of prehistoric monuments, medieval castles and award-winning museums.
Jersey's small size and peaceful air belie an eventful and dramatic history, which is etched right into its very landscape. And dominating it you'll find Elizabeth Castle, home to Sir Walter Raleigh while he was Governor of Jersey. Climb the battlements, explore the turrets and discover the Hermitage where St Helier is thought to have lived around 500 A.D. Join the living history re-enactor on the gunner's parade and stand to attention as he fires the canon each day. Built on a rocky islet in St Aubin's Bay, Elizabeth Castle is accessible at low tide by foot or the castle ferry which will transport you across the bay.
On the east coast, Mont Orgueil Castle protected Jersey against French invasion for 600 years and offers some of the finest views of the island from its top. Explore the network of staircases, towers and rooms and uncover the castle's chequered history
You can learn about what is perhaps the darkest chapter of the island's past at the Jersey War Tunnels, built by forced labour during World War II. The largest of the tunnels is now home to 'Captive Island', an award-winning exhibition giving visitors a glimpse of life during the German occupation.
The acclaimed Maritime Museum celebrates Jersey's long association with the sea through interactive displays, while the Jersey Museum brings to life its history, traditions and culture. And among the island's cliffs and coves, you'll find the remains of Napoleonic Martello Towers and German gun emplacements – yet more reminders of Jersey's fascinating history.
Also not to be missed is La Hougue Bie, a Neolithic burial chamber which pre-dates the Pyramids of Egypt and lay forgotten until medieval times, when a chapel was built on its summit.
Fun Seekers in Jersey
Jersey's outdoor scene is full of activity, with numerous high energy sports to choose from. For those in search of an adrenalin rush, why not try your hand at beach-based activities such as blokarting, or head inland for thrilling aerial trekking, zip wires, climbing and abseiling at Creepy Valley Activity Centre.
The island also offers great opportunities for water sports, including sailing, surfing, sea kayaking, wakeboarding and coasteering. However, the island can also offer more gentle pursuits. Despite being just 9 miles by 5, Jersey encompasses an amazing variety of terrain, ranging from cliff-top paths and rocky coves to long stretches of sand and a lush, green interior, perfect for exploring on foot or by pedal power.
You'll find gentle footpaths offering spectacular views along the coast, taking in impressive heritage sights. Or you can join an organised walk with a professional guide and learn more about the island's folklore and natural history. The more adventurous can take a self-guided 2 to 3 day 'Around Island' walk of 48 miles. If you are hiring a bicycle, there are nine cycle routes to choose from, ranging from just a few miles to the exhilarating 40-mile Round Island Coastal Circuit, which covers every inch of the stunning coastline.
Moving inland, you'll discover Jersey's famous 'Green Lanes', a 45-mile network of quiet country roads. With a maximum speed limit of 15mph enforced to preserve their tranquillity, they offer a perfect means for walkers as well as cyclists and horse riders to explore the island in peace and safety. There is a wide range of bicycles for hire in the island suitable for all the family, from mountain and touring to fitted child seats, child trailers and even tandems.
Family Fun in Jersey
Jersey's unspoilt coastline and timeless, universal appeal make it a perfect destination for a traditional family seaside holiday but with attractions and activities that are bang up-to-date.
From St Brelade's Bay in the south to St Ouen's Bay on the west coast, there's a host of beautiful, uncrowded beaches to head to, their sands washed by the tide each day. And with lifeguards on patrol on the popular family beaches, there's always an extra pair of eyes watching the kids as they explore the rockpools or take a dip in the sea.
When hunger hits, there are numerous places to eat just a short distance from the water's edge. You'll find beachside cafés serving up hearty bacon butties, afternoon tea and rich Jersey ice cream – always sure to keep the children happy! Or feel free to bring along a picnic lunch and tuck in together on the sand. And later in the day, you can all sit down to an early evening meal in an informal bistro.
If you want a break from the beach, you'll find plenty of family-friendly attractions. The kids will love Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, where they can encounter orangutans, gorillas and other endangered species in environments close to their natural habitats. Or there's the aMaizin! Maze Adventure Park, with its mini-adventure castle, toboggan slope, mind-boggling maze, tractor rides, animal barnyard, craft centre and more. For thrilling aerial trekking, zip wires, climbing and abseiling head to Creepy Valley Activity Centre.
Venture to Elizabeth and Mont Orgueil Castles, which participate in a living history programme that allows kids to meet historical characters and learn about their lives and times. Head to Jersey Pottery's 'Glaze Craze' where you can decorate a piece of pottery before it is professionally glazed and fired. Or there's the Maritime Museum, whose interactive displays will keep children entertained for hours, and the fun of the Waterfront Centre, with its 10-screen cinema, places to eat, leisure pool and water flumes.
Romantic Breaks in Jersey
Teeming with opportunities to spoil yourself, Jersey is the perfect place to get away from the daily grind and spend some quality time together. Chic hotels abound, many specialising in soothing spa breaks which offer the ultimate in luxury.
At these havens of relaxation, you can quite literally immerse yourself in hydrotherapy and saltwater pools, hot and cold plunges, saunas and steam rooms. Or book a tranquil treatment room, where low lighting, ambient music and expertly administered therapies will ease both body and mind.
If you feel like indulging in some therapy of a different kind, the island's capital, St Helier, is home to a wealth of smart, sophisticated shops and local boutiques, not to mention vibrant Victorian markets and two department stores, De Gruchy and Voisins.
If you prefer the great outdoors, you can stroll along stunning cliff-top paths and into sandy coves, or head inland and explore Jersey's famous 'Green Lanes'. With nine routes to choose from, covering 45 miles of peaceful country roads, cycling is the perfect way of taking in all the sights and sounds of the island's rural interior.
When you want to rest your weary legs, the island's culinary scene ranks among the world's best with Jersey boasting two Michelin star establishments, the Ocean Restaurant in St Brelade and Bohemia Bar & Restaurant in St Helier. Wherever you go, local produce is on the menu, from freshly caught seafood to seasonal and famously tasty Jersey Royal new potatoes.
The island boasts a huge range of places to eat, from gastro-pubs serving gourmet dishes to beachside bistros offering simple but excellent staples. Not to be missed are the deliciously rich dairy products from Jersey's own distinctive breed of cow, including milk, cheese, yoghurts and ice cream.
Top Tips for Jersey
Language - Whilst the street names are in French, the official language is English, so Jersey feels reassuringly familiar to visitors from the UK.
Currency - Although Jersey has its own coins and notes, all trade in Jersey is conducted in pounds sterling. All major debit and credit cards are widely accepted. Lower rates of direct and indirect taxation mean that the prices of many items are lower than in the UK.
Getting Around - It's easy to discover Jersey whether by bus, car or coach. The local bus service radiates from Liberation Station in St Helier, just next to Liberation Square. Seasonal 'myExplorer' tickets are available for 1, 3 and 5 days, which provide easy access to over 20 attractions, beaches and places of natural beauty or special interest. Car hire in Jersey is easily arranged - visitors must hold a valid driving licence with no endorsements and must be aged 21 and over. The maximum speed limit in Jersey is 40mph. You drive on the left and single yellow lines indicate that parking is prohibited and you are liable to a fine. Island coach tours are available for a morning, afternoon, evening or a whole day.
Parking - Paycards are used throughout Jersey with the exception of the harbour, airport and waterfront car parks where a pay-upon-exit scheme is operated. Individual or books of paycards can be purchased from the Jersey Tourism Visitor Centre in St Helier or in most newsagents, garages, supermarkets and some hire car companies.
Jersey Pass - With the Jersey Pass, you can visit the best that the island has to offer with one affordable pass. You will be granted free entry to all 16 Jersey Pass attractions - saving you money while you discover the heart of this very special island. You can choose from a 2, 4 or 6 day pass, which can be bought online at jerseypass.com or from the Jersey Tourism Visitor Centre.
What's On - Jersey is full of life throughout the year, with a non-stop events and entertainment scene. For the full picture, visit jersey.com/events.