With its mild, pleasant climate, charming English Channel island Jersey, just off the coast of Normandy, is an excellent weekend break destination as it’s a very short flight from London. The landscape is varied, from rugged coastlines to pristine beaches and the history is fascinating, with castles, including Elizabeth Castle, where King Charles II hid during the English Civil War and bunkers from German-occupied Jersey in World War II. As a tax haven, it’s probably better served than similar islands of its size, with some lovely hotels, shops and good restaurants, including one with a Michelin star.
Where to Stay
St. Helier, the island’s capital is a good base and an attractive town with a vibrant covered market, upscale shops, fine dining and lively waterfront and promenade. The four star Club Hotel & Spa, in a handy location, tucked away on a side street, is a great choice. A five-minute stroll will bring you to the charming pedestrianised Queen Street shopping area. The hotel has 38 rooms and eight suites, a Michelin-starred restaurant and chic bar, a rooftop terrace, a heated outdoor pool and a spa. The spa has a salt-water pool and thermal suite, and various treatments are on offer. The do-it-yourself salt scrub and rasul (white) mud treatment in the individual chamber results in baby soft skin.
Where to Eat and Drink
Bohemia, the island’s Michelin-starred restaurant, in the Club Hotel, is an elegant, art deco-inspired space. The Modern European menu is led by Chef Callum Graham (previously of Michelin-starred retaurants, Le Celadon, Paris and Auberge du Lion d’Or, Geneva and The Lanesborough, London). A true gastronomic delight, the tasting menus include dishes like local white and brown crab meat pannacotta, Jersey Angus sirloin of beef with broccoli and stilton and spiced duck, kohlrabi, pistachio and rhubarb. There are also pescatarian and vegetarian tasting menus available.
Located on the east of the island, overlooking Mont Orgueil Castle and the picturesque harbor of Gorey, Sumas has a beautiful setting and a great seafood menu, including fabulous oysters, lobster and catch of the day. Casual fine dining with seasonally changing menus, Fruits de mer platters are popular during the summer months.
The Moorings, also on Gorey Harbor, is a great place for a pre-dinner drink or nightcap. The outdoor terrace features an excellent DJ on Sundays and Mondays.
What to Do?
For culture fans, the ArtHouse Jersey, at Capital House in St Helier, is a must visit. The non-profit arts center holds temporary exhibitions throughout the year that feature work from local and international artists. The current show, No Place Like Home (until 15 October 2023) features 23 gallery based artworks and three external installation pieces by acclaimed UK, international and Jersey-based artists that explore the concept of “home.” Sasha Bowles turns the notion of “home” on its head with her colorful, playful installation that suggests the term is about people rather than a place. Justin Hibbs’ installation allows visitors to make themselves at home in a temporary living room. Lisa Traxler’s sculpture Ghost Echoes, on display at the entrance of the Jersey War Tunnels, draws on the artist’s WWII family history.
The German-built Jersey War Tunnels from when the Germans occupied Jersey in WWII, are made up of more than 1,000 metres of finished tunnels, with many more unfinished and in parts reaching depths of more than 50 metres underground.
Beaches are plentiful and varied. If you ask for recommendations, you’ll be asked if you want a secluded cove, a pebbly, shell covered one or with wide golden sands and amenities. St.Brelade’s Bay is a great choice in the latter category.
A speedy boat trip on a rib with Jersey Seafaris is glorious and includes potential sightings of sea lions, seals and dolphins, through the famous Les Minquiers, a group of islands and rocks situated nine miles south of Jersey. The largest island, Maîtresse Île, has a cluster of small cottages and the trip includes a stop there for swimming and exploring.
British Airways has daily flights from London that will have you on the ground in 40 minutes.