SOS TRAVEL UK

‘Jaunting around Jersey’- Channel Islands

 

Our trip to Jersey came about after a long car ride back from Stansted Airport after my travels to Budapest with my dad. We encountered a bad motorcycle accident and we were stuck for quite a few hours on the motorway not far from the airport. So I used my time wisely and searched for any good deals or bargains that may be waiting for me, I came across flights to Jersey from Newcastle Airport in early October for £24 pp return with Easyjet. A quick what’s app to Adam and we were booked! There’s no stopping me haha… After a look over at booking.com I had secured us a hotel too, Hotel Cristina in St Lawrence, which sits between St Helier and St Aubin, a perfect location and a good price too. It cost £80 per night with breakfast for us both and we didn’t have to pay until checkout, win win. Now we had a new adventure in the Channel Islands to look forward too. 

October arrived, we packed our bags and headed for Newcastle Airport for our afternoon flight to Jersey. We had the pleasure of being able to use the Aspire Plus Lounge before our trip and enjoyed three hours of relaxation, some delicious food and drinks along with some social media updates of course… I love nothing more than an airport lounge and the Aspire group never let us down. The staff are always pleasant, the lounge is always spotlessly clean and well equipped for the traveller in all of us. There was some new dishes to try too, the vegan cauliflower dhal with rice and naan bread was yummy and full of flavour!! I look forward to my next visit already and recommend to you all. 

As we boarded our Easyjet flight it was a full plane and we quickly got seated and enjoyed a short 1 hour 15 minute journey on a beautifully sunny autumn day across the UK and past Guernsey into Jersey by late afternoon. On route we chatted over a glass of vino about what we expected in Jersey, scenic, quiet and good seafood on offer. We were about to find out as we disembarked the plane and went through arrivals, it was quick and easy. As we hailed a taxi, you could also take the bus too, 15 minutes later we arrived at Hotel Cristina. The hotel is part of a group called the Dolan Hotels, one of Jersey’s most established hotel groups. We were greeted warmly and checked in swiftly, hearing we had kindly been upgraded to a sea view room was wonderful news and a great start to our trip. Soon after we were shown to our room which was lovely and had a great view of the beach and the sun starting to set slightly. Happy was the word I would use for our experience so far… We decided to drop our bags and after a few pictures of the view, we went for a drink on the terrace. Adam opting for a Liberation Ale and I myself a Sippin Rhubarb gin with tonic, which is distilled in Jersey using local rhubarb and 8 botanicals, it’s a must try drink and the perfect way to celebrate our first stay on the island. Dinner that evening was pre booked at Tides Restaurant in St Aubin, so after changing and sprucing ourselves up we got a taxi to The Somerville Hotel where it was situated. 

Dinner was delightful, we opted for a set menu of four courses. Starting with salmon and prawn salad, followed by sirloin steak with all the trimmings it was moreish and lamb, ending with custard tart and a cheese board plus tea, coffee and petit fours. The food was delicious, the service was so good and what we had noticed is everyone we spoke to was absolutely lovely and very friendly indeed. The dining room is set with large windows looking out onto St Aubins Bay and their own heated pool, a stunning setting and I would certainly suggest eating here if you are in or visiting Jersey. An excellent evening! 

We awoke early and went for breakfast, after a quick look out on our balcony at a beautifully sunny morning over Jersey. Breakfast was good, there was much choice with a hot and cold buffet plus juices, pastries and more. We were served tea and coffee plus toast of our preference, you could also pick other options off the menu such as porridge and kippers. I couldn’t fault the morning service in any way, with another fantastic view from their dining room over the beach and such lovely staff.

We headed out to get a quick start to the day and walked to the Jersey War Tunnels, well that possibly wasn’t the best idea… as pavements don’t seem to that popular in Jersey and I worried we would be knocked off the roadside so Adam went in front. It took us about 25/30 minutes to arrive and we quite enjoyed the wander. This attraction was at the very top of my ‘must see’ list, we both love learning about history and take a keen interest in visiting places of interest whilst travelling. We had been highly recommended a visit to the War Tunnels, it did not disappoint at all. Just to set the scene for everyone, Jersey was occupied by the Nazis and Germany for five years. Winston Churchill tried to stop this happening and wanted to defend them more, he was advised it wasn’t stratigically important by a high ranking naval officer. Between the 30th of June 1940 and the 9th of May 1945 this island and it’s people had a terrible time. Here you will learn the TRUE story of what life was like and it is very impressive, as there are videos from people sharing their own experiences with you, letters and much interactive information as you walk through the tunnels. For me just to wander through the tunnel and try to think about what had happened was quite impactful, I felt somber as I read, listened, watched and took it all in. The people were so very brave and deserved none of this happening to them and their families. If you visit anywhere whilst here in Jersey make sure it is here! The price of entry was £15 per adult and £9 for a child, all the money goes back into the tunnels as we talked to the staff at the end, who kindly offer you a complimentary tea or coffee in with your visit here. We decided to take the vintage bus after our visit down to St Helier, it was a really fun experience and we bounced all over. Bergerac himself, John Nettles, even narrated over the sound system as we drove down to the capital. It didn’t take long and cost £3.50 each, well worth it too!! 

As we got dropped at Libration Square, this is the square that was named in 1995 to commemorate 50 years since the end of occupation in Jersey, you can’t come to the island and not visit the square. It is a symbol of Jersey’s history and thanking all for their sacrifices and efforts for the cause. We went to explore firstly the square and the monument, then we had a look around St Helier itself where I bought my obligatory fridge magnet and t shirt from Jersey. Adam was keen to find the Binance Office here as he is crypto mad… We found it but unfortunately you couldn’t gain entry. Everyone was so willing to chat and we ended up talking to some of the Jersey Police officers who were running an awareness campaign about hate crime, sharing what life was like for them on the island and their low crime rate. Elizabeth Castle was next on our list, so we walked along past the marina and thought we would go on foot as it was low tide to the castle, as we crossed down onto the causeway a few others joined us. It was a lovely walk taking 10/15 minutes, however on arrival the clouds above opened and we got drenched. So after a slight arguement, we took cover and tried to dry out. The rain stopped briefly and we went to explore. Elizabeth Castle is built on a tidal island in St Aubins Bay and it has defended Jersey for over 300 years, with origins dating back to 1595 this Tudor Castle should be seen by all. Did you know that Sir Walter Raleigh named this castle after Elizabeth I of England, whilst he was governor of Jersey between 1600 and 1603. Unfortunately the rain returned and we headed back across the causeway, soaked to the skin haha. Oh well we dried off when the sun came back out and walked along the promenade in search of St Aubins Fort. We stopped on the way at The Lookout Cafe for an ice cream, well you can’t come to Jersey and not have a Jersey ice cream. It was DIVINE and huge, disappeared in no time. We went down onto the beach to walk over to the fort, again as it was low tide so we were able to access it this way which was much nicer. Well apart from Adam not believing I had checked the right times for the daily tide and rechecking in a mid panic, I was right after all…

St Aubins Fort was originally a tower that Sir Henry Cornish had built in 1542 to protect the natural harbour, however it was expanded into a fort during the time of the English Civil War where a pier and a harbour were added to it. This is one of Jersey’s most important fortifications and I recommend a visit especially at low tide. This tidal island has stunning views over to St Helier and it is fantastic to explore, we spent quite a while here and were in our element. Afterwards we wandered into St Aubin and looked around, it was so very pretty with a real French feel to it. We stopped at The Boathouse for tea, coffee and cake, our feet had certainly been exercised today! The sun was shining and life was good. A little later we walked back along the main promenade to St Lawrence, chatting about the gorgeous homes on the beach, the laid back feeling and saying how it seemed like such a lovely lifestyle on live on Jersey. We wanted to get back to the hotel to capture sunset from the balcony, however we managed to get a few shots on our way back up. I also decided it was time to have a dip in the hotel pool, Adam declined the invitation and I quite enjoyed my pre dinner ice bath. I will say it did wonders for the aching feet and joints. 

Tonight we were excited as we were dining at Mark Jordan at the beach, he is the holder of the Michelin Bib Gourmand and two AA Rosettes. I had read great things about his restaurant. We had pre booked it in advance and we took a short taxi ride down to the beach, saving our feet and starving. What an evening we had, the restaurant is super popular and the ambience was lovely. We had some drinks before dinner at the bar with some yummy nibbles, including truffle popcorn, olives and crab on brioche. As we were seated we perused the menu and chose off the Tennerfest Menu, which is an October tradition in Jersey, for the month you can go out and enjoy the local restaurants for a special price. For £17.50 pp you can order two courses at lunch or dinner with an optional course for £5. I ordered the duck terrine with fig chutney, baby apple and fresh fig, Adam decided on the smoked salmon. For main I had the fillet of Jersey sea bream with crushed potatoes and Adam the braised lamb shoulder with fried gnocchi, with wine. There is always room for dessert, which we were meant to share but Adam forgot… we ordered a mango cheesecake and a chocolate creme brulee. The meal was one of the best we have tasted and good value too, compliments to the chef! We ended it with tea and coffee plus chocolate pops, which were all different and super yummy. Please dine here if you get the chance and savour every moment.

Our last day we made the most of it by taking the Liberty Bus along to La Corbiere and the famous lighthouse, after breakfast we walked down to the bus stop at Coronation Park and waited. When the bus arrived it couldn’t have been easier, we paid contactless £2 each and took our seat, half an hour later we arrived after taking the coastal route along past St Brelades Bay and more. The bus driver was very nice and we had a good chat with him about life on Jersey as he had lived here many years after leaving Scotland, I love nothing more than chatting to locals and finding our about day to day life in another place.

When we got to La Corbiere the rain had decided to start, so we went down to the lighthouse and took our photos as best we could trying to take it all in before going into the nearby Corbiere Phare for tea and Jersey cream scones, well when in Jersey I say!! They were good and once we finished we headed back to the lighthouse to see more of it, before hopping on the Liberty Bus back to St Lawrence. La Corbiere Lighthouse is one of the most photographed landmarks in Jersey, it is situated on the islands south western corner and I was thrilled we got to visit. It’s name means ‘a place where crows gather’, from the word Corbin meaning crow. Now however there are many more seagulls than crows here. La Corbiere Lighthouse was designed by Sir John Coode and it was Britain’s first reinforced concrete lighthouse completed in 1874, it cost £8000! Make sure to add it to your list whilst here visiting. We got off the bus a stop before our own as I wanted to see ‘the glass church’, otherwise known as St Matthews Church in Millbrook. Adam wasn’t keen at first but as soon as we entered he quickly changed his mind. This church is very special indeed, it started it’s life as a chapel of ease in 1840 but in 1934 Lady Trent Frances Boot who was the widow of Jesse Boot, the founder of Boots the Chemists, paid for an extensive renovation of the church by the famous French glass designer Renee Lalique in memory of her late husband. It is said to be the only remaining and complete example of Lalique’s glass work, I definitely was happy to see it with my own eyes and marvel at the craftsmanship of it all. 

Our trip had come to an end and I felt sad, we loved Jersey and it really touched us in ways so many places don’t. We had had pre misconceptions of the island and they couldn’t have been more wrong. Everyone needs to come and visit, it is absolutely incredible filled with so much history, charm, gorgeous scenery and food!! But the highlight for us was it’s people, everyone was friendly and happy to help or chat. Overall I think Jersey has it all, we look forward to returning soon and if we ever got the chance I would move here in a moment. Head for Jersey all, you won’t regret it.

*Our Aspire Plus Lounge access was gifted, however our opinions are our own*