As a child I was brought up on a farm in the depths of Yorkshire. My weekends were spent in the moors or at the seaside, hiking around in my waterproof trousers and tucking into picnics overlooking stunning scenery. Although I am now a Londoner, I will never lose touch with my love of the outdoors and I often crave a breath of crisp seaside air.
A common misconception is that you have to leave the UK to experience a slower pace of life. In fact, relaxation and exploration are right on your doorstep. Jersey is a beautiful island just off the southern coast of England. It takes me back to my childhood. It’s rolling hills, rugged coastline and quaint cafes are unspoiled. It provides a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. I recently spent a long weekend there during the winter months and managed to cram in tonnes of cultural and scenic experiences, as well as my fair share of eating! If you’re looking for some inspiration for an upcoming trip, here is the itinerary I followed.
Getting to Jersey is ridiculously easy, especially from London. I recommend catching an early morning flight from London City Airport. It is super quick and convenient and gets you there in just over an hour. Once you land, grab a rental car in the arrivals hall and head out into the small country lanes. I recommend downloading the Maps.Me app which uses no data but gives you GPS functionality. Drop your bags off at your hotel and head out to explore the island.
Start off in St Brelade’s Bay grabbing a light lunch at L’Horizon Hotel overlooking the gorgeous surroundings. Once your meal has settled, grab your coat and walk down to the beach. Take a stroll along the sandy coastline, paddle in the refreshing water, delve into rock pools and soak up some sunshine. Once you have your dose of vitamin D, grab your car and head to St Helier. This is the main town in Jersey and the centre is best explored on foot. This is a great opportunity for some shopping. Be sure to head down the smaller side streets to stumble upon unique local shops.
If you want a true taste of Jersey head to the central market. This beautiful indoor market is crammed with overflowing stands selling local produce and crafts. Don’t forget to pick up some famous Jersey fudge while you’re there! Once you’re all shopped out, finish your day at the classy No 10 Restaurant and Bar on Bond Street for a delicious three course meal, speedy service and a bustling atmosphere.
Start your day off with a workout. I recommend taking advantage of your surroundings and getting outdoors for a morning run along the coastline. To refuel, head to the popular Moo cafe in St Helier. They focus on healthy and wholesome breakfast and lunch food, including colourful smoothie bowls and fresh homemade salads. Don’t forget to grab an energy ball for the road!
Now it is time to delve into all the attractions Jersey has to offer. Depending on the weather, you can explore by bike or by car, the choice is yours. I recommend starting off at the Jersey War Tunnels. This is the most popular attraction in Jersey, and for good reason. It gives a valuable and fascinating insight into the war history of the island. Following this, drive over to Mont Orgueil castle. Take your time exploring is many rooms and hidden staircases, before climbing to the very top for a stunning view over the neighbouring bay. Then wander down into the harbour village and grab a coffee, indulge in some people-watching and absorb the local atmosphere.
Finally, head to El Tico for sunset drinks overlooking a gorgeous seaside view, before heading inside and tucking into a hearty dinner. The communal tables make for a friendly atmosphere. Be sure to look at their ever-changing specials board to find the best meals on the menu. Beware though, the portion sizes are huge!
It is your final day on the island, and you simply can’t leave without going on a walk along the coastline. To be honest, you could practically walk anywhere on Jersey and see beautiful sights, but there are free resources available to give you some guidance. Find yourself a walking trail on the Jersey website and head out for a stroll. One of the most well-known routes is from Corbiere Lighthouse down the coastline to Portelet Bay; it honestly has some of the most beautiful scenery on the whole island so don’t forget to bring your camera. You can even stop off along the way at a cafe for a coffee overlooking the sea.
To finish your stay in Jersey, head to one of the popular Jersey Crab Shack restaurants for a late lunch. They overlook stunning views and serve up famous crab tacos which are well worth the hype. Before you head to catch your flight home, be sure to take one final walk along the beach and inhale a deep breath of fresh sea air.
All in all…
Jersey has taken my heart. The people are friendly, the food is fresh and the scenery is beautiful. It is the perfect location for an active escape, with a rugged coastline just waiting to be hiked and a rapidly expanding health scene. And the best part? It is affordable and close to home. I’ll be back!
Check out my accompanying video here, I am pretty proud of it!
Photos and video: Denis Plesca