As every sailor knows, islands have a special quality. Encircled by the sea, they invite you to leave the world you know behind, and immerse yourself in somewhere new. And you don’t need to travel far to experience that island getaway feeling – the spectacular Channel Island of Jersey lies just a short flight, ferry ride (or sailing cruise) away.
Lying off the coast of Normandy, this British Crown dependency is the largest of the Channel Islands, and with more than 2,000 hours of sunshine each year, it enjoys some of the best weather in the British Isles.
Visiting is hassle-free: because Jersey falls within the UK’s Common Travel Area, there is no requirement to isolate when returning home to the UK. Arrivals in Jersey from the UK are classified as Green or Red with a free PCR testing on arrival and during your stay. Green arrivals need only isolate until the first test result which is usually under 12 hours; Red arrivals would need longer isolation. If you are fully vaccinated then Green arrivals have no isolation requirement and Red arrivals need only isolate until the first negative test result is received.
With a number of RYA-affiliated clubs, Jersey is a wonderful sailing destination – but there are also a plethora of ways to enjoy the island’s coastline from dry land. Here are six unmissable experiences that capture the island’s uniquely maritime air:
If you want to make the most of that sunshine by spending time on the beach, you're in luck. Jersey is just nine miles long by five miles wide, so you're never more than ten minutes from the sea. Gorgeous beaches ring the island, and Jersey’s huge tidal range makes for epic expanses of sand at low tide.
Each coast has a distinctive quality. South coast beaches like St. Brelade’s and Portelet are classic, family-friendly spots for sunbathing and sandcastle-building. The west coast is wilder, with Atlantic-borne breakers calling to surfers and kiteboarders. The cliff-backed north shore is a place of hidden coves and rock pools – don’t miss the dramatic caves and waterfalls of Plémont. And the east coast is the place to really experience those big tides – explore miles of exposed rocky foreshore with local guides
Jersey has a fascinating history as a frontier between Britain and continental Europe, and the island is home to numerous coastal forts and battlements. Elizabeth Castle in St. Helier has guarded Jersey for four centuries, and was presided over by Sir Walter Raleigh in the early 1600s. The castle is built on a rocky islet in St. Aubin’s Bay: to get there you can take a ferry ride or walk over at low tide.
Meanwhile on the east coast lies the imperious Mont Orgueil Castle, built by King John in the middle ages to defend Jersey from King Philippe Augustus's marauding forces. And if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to live in a fort, on Jersey you actually can. La Crête Fort - a centuries-old outpost with panoramic sea views and its very own gun platform – sleeps five and is available for hire.
If the words ‘national park’ make you think of moors and mountains, think again – Jersey’s National Park is all about the sea. Around 30 miles of Jersey’s coastline and islands are protected, and you can explore its wildlife-rich dunes and cliffs by foot, kayak or on a variety of specialist tours. The National Park celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2021, and shelters many of the island’s most unspoilt landscapes including 18 Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
To explore on foot, take a walk along Jersey's northern coastal path, admiring the breathtaking views and exploring the hidden harbours of Rozel and Bonne Nuit – at the former, be sure to look out for the native geese. Want to go further? You can make a full circumnavigation of the island on foot in this four-day itinerary.
Jersey’s giant tides expose a fascinating moonscape as the waves recede – an in-between world where strange creatures lurk. And none stranger than the tiny glow-worms which stud the shoreline off Grouville.
As night descends, in a few special coastal spots, you can see star-like shapes of luminous green sparkle on the seabed – a fascinating phenomenon. Join a guide from Jersey Walk Adventures for a Bioluminescence Walk and see the sand twinkle at your feet.
With 48 miles of coastline, Jersey has some spectacular eating and drinking spots, whether you’re looking for a quick flat white or a luxurious dinner. You’re spoilt for choice for beach cafés, which range from a repurposed WWII bunker to the art deco splendour of The Lido at Havre des Pas.
And if you want to push the boat out, there are no shortage of fine dining options. Seafood is a speciality here, with succulent oysters and lobster top of the menu, often accompanied by iconic Jersey Royal potatoes. Every local has their own favourite restaurant, but everyone raves about Tides, a classy and welcoming eaterie in the Somerville Hotel, overlooking St. Aubin’s Bay.
No sailor’s holiday is complete without a wander around the marina to see the visiting yachts – and Jersey has a host of harbours to cast your eye over. The most popular for short-stay visitors is St. Helier, though, with berths for up to 200 yachts. The town (Jersey’s capital) is a
vibrant place to explore by foot, and the waterside restaurants – with views of bobbing yachts and the sea beyond - make the ideal place to finish a perfect day on the island
Stays of three nights or more earn a voucher for a Jersey Heritage Pass for entry to four Jersey Heritage attractions, including Hamptonne Country Life Museum, La Hougue Bie and Mont Orgueil Castle. Terms and conditions apply. For the latest travel information, refer to Jersey’s Safer Travel Guidance.Visit JerseyTravel.com