With an expansive coastline, pristine beaches and rugged interior, Jersey is perfect for walking, swimming, cycling and generally exploring. The capital, St Helier offers a fantastic selection of museums, cultural landmarks and activities. Nestled in the England Channel, Jersey is actually only a short distance from France’s Normandy Coast and both English and French are spoken. Expect a diverse little island packed with plenty of sights and interesting things to do!
Explore St Helier’s Museums
One of the main attractions on the island of Jersey are the variety of museums that tell a rich history. The three main museums are located in St Helier, the capital city of the island. These are the Jersey, the Maritime and Occupation Museum. The Maritime Museum holds several exhibits that tell the maritime history of the island, which is very captivating with tales about sea pirates. It is located at the rear of the steam clock sandwiched between the tunnel and avenue. The museum is very colorful and kids will definitely enjoy the visit. The Jersey Museum depicts a rich history of the island as it displays the island’s wildlife and farming activities. There is a floor that hosts an art gallery with wonderful paintings about the island. The Occupation Museum tells a sad story of the island under the occupation of Germans.
Chill out on the St Helier Waterfront
For a concentrated cluster of restaurants, bars and amenities, head to St Helier’s Waterfront district. This is great place to while an afternoon especially if the weather is inclement. Visitors can watch a film at the on-site cinema, swim in the pool and enjoy a coffee, watching the yachts meander through the harbour.
Discover the Jersey War Tunnels
The island of Jersey was occupied by Germans during World War II and the tunnels were built during this time by slave labourers. The War Tunnels Museum is now within the German Underground hospital, where the tunnels cut across the rising hills. The exhibits are a little eerie but are interactive and very interesting.
Explore Jersey’s beautiful beaches
St. Brelade's Bay Beach is not only breathtaking but also the busiest resort in Jersey thanks to its inclusion in the Top 10 Beaches in the UK list! It has a small jetty and there is a parish church located on the western side of the beach. You can enjoy a long day of sunshine especially during summer, although the western side of the beach gets some shade late in the afternoon. The sands are golden and the palm trees sway in the cool breeze from the sea, which provides the much needed comfort. Other top beaches on Jersey include Plemont Bay and St Ouen's Bay.
Wander the Corbiere Lighthouse
La Corbière lighthouse is located in the St. Brelade district. Travellers can explore this dramatic little lighthouse and learn how it has saved thousands of vessels from being shipwrecked by powerful tides and steep cliff faces. The lighthouse was built in 1874 and has withstood the elements over the years. It has a spiral staircase that leads to the lantern room.
Experience Mont Orgueil Castle up close
The British are renowned for their fine medieval castles and the Mont Orgueil Castle in St Martin is a particularly good example (see picture above). This medieval example overlooks the Gorey harbour and was constructed after the Duchy of Normandy was divided in 1204. It was primarily used to defend the island against French invasion until gunpowder powder was developed, which made it indefensible from the overlooking hills of Saint Nicholas. The castle was thus used as a prison up to the end of the 17th century and visitors can today walk the networks of towers, staircases and rooms.
Enjoy a day at the Durrell Wildlife Park
The Durrell Wildlife Park in Trinity was earlier known as the Jersey Zoo. It was established by the English conservationist Gerald Durrell OBE in 1959. It is estimated that 169,000 people visit the zoo every year. Durrell Wildlife Park boasts of having over 130 species of animals, most of which are endangered or rare. Located only eight kilometers from the capital city, the park hosts reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals. Its parklands are landscaped with beautiful water gardens. This 32 acres park has many fruiting and flowering trees, which attracts a wide variety of wild insects and birds. Gerald Durrell’s most famous novel is ‘My Family and Other Animals’ and the naturalist and TV presenter’s Wildlife Park became his legacy following his death in Jersey in 1995.