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The Essential Jersey: Explore the Channel Islands
Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands that is just off of the cost of Normandy, but resides within the Crown as a dependency and is a self-governing parliamentary democracy. It has its own power of self-determination and that independent spirit is seen everywhere you look when you visit this beautiful island on your next holiday. Even though more than half of the island is dedicated to agricultural lands, there are still plenty of opportunities to explore and relax during your time away.
Are you planning a visit to Jersey in the near future? If so, we’ve put together a few essential suggestions for you to think about incorporating into your own plans for a memorable holiday. Let’s take a look!
Take a Drive and Enjoy the Island
One of the most unique aspects of Jersey is the openness of the island. Taking a drive around the island, you’ll often find roadbox stands that contain surplus supplies, flowers, and food. Take along some money, grab a few farm fresh supplies, and enjoy a beautiful sunny day exploring the countryside. There are plenty of farm stands that sell supplies directly as well, but finding those roadside stalls does make for a fun adventure.
After you finish with your tour of the island, you’ll want to make your way over to St. Brelade’s Bay beach. There are facilities around the beach so you can get something to eat or go shopping if you wish. The sands on the beach are expansive and clean and there are gardens surrounding the beach that just pop with color all year long. Take a walk along the promenade, grab an ice cream, and find a quiet spot to enjoy the views of the sea.
The German Underground Tunnels Are an Interesting Adventure
Outside of the UK, people don’t realize that Jersey was occupied by Germany during the Second World War. The Nazis controlled the island for five years and although the Underground Tunnels are billed as a museum, it isn’t your average stroll through a modern building. They are dug into the hills in St. Peter’s Valley and tell the story of the occupation, looking at how the island coped during the experience. There’s a garden for reflection, facilities on site, and craft activites for the little ones.
As you’re exploring the history of Jersey, another landmark to make time to enjoy is the Mont Orgueil Castle. It is positioned to protect the island from an invasion by France and it provides a time warp into medieval times when you visit. There is an expansive network of towers, staircases, and hidden rooms to explore throughout the grounds. It has a cafe and shop on site as well.
There Are Several Fantastic Museums Throughout Jersey
The history of this island goes back over 1,000 years of recorded history, which means there are several museums that are fascinating to explore that take on just one niche portion of time. One of the best is the Pallot Steam, Motor, and General Museum. It takes a look at some of the transportation history of the island and includes various items of memorabilia. Steam engines, tractors, bicycles, and children’s toys that reflect this niche can all be found here. Plan to spend at least a couple hours browsing through everything!
If you love exploring niche museums, then you’ll also enjoy the Mansell Collection. An F1 driver, you’ll find numerous trophies that were earned during his racing career. Mansell narrates the museum commentary and you’ll get up close and personal with 4 of his F1 racers during a visit there. Even if you don’t really watch Formula One racing, you’ll enjoy the depth that this small museum has to offer visitors.
Are You Ready For More of Jersey’s History?
One of the best preserved Neolithic grave sites in all of Europe can be found on Jersey. The La Hougue Bie also doubled as a German underground bunker and you’re invited to explore the grounds at your leisure. Take a tea to enjoy, visit the chapel if you wish, and catch the short film that has been put together about this site. There’s a display room to visit and the burial chamber has been renovated just recently to add easier access to the site.
For another taste of history, the Battery Lothringen was a WWII battery that makes for an interesting afternoon walk. These old batteries might be abandoned, but you can really get a sense of what life was like manning the guns with the constant anticipation of an invasion. It’s easy to see what the Nazis wanted this island when you see the layout of this battery and there plenty of amazing views to see as you explore. Plan on a weekend visit if you want to be able to access the bunkers.
Are You Hungry? Here’s What We Recommend!
If you’re looking for a good meal in the middle of the day, we highly recommend stopping at the So Bar for a taste of the local cuisine. You’ll find a good lunch menu that is served quickly and the food is of excellent quality. It’s a great place to grab a burger if you want, while there are some Asian inspired dishes to enjoy as well. Make sure to get extra prawn crackers to go with your rice!
If you prefer more of a pub atmosphere, then The Royal Oak is a great place for a visit. There’s often live music there and the atmosphere is absolutely wonderful! If you’ve managed to avoid having too much to drink, right down the road is a freeform glass studio where you can create your own artwork to take home with you to remember the good times you had during your visit to Jersey.
Whether you’d prefer to camp out on the beach during a sunny day, explore the island at a leisurely place, or take time to learn more about the history of this island, Jersey offers everyone a chance to enjoy themselves in their own unique way.