It’s not often the first place you think of going to for a long weekend. But this nine by five miles island – with a population of less than 100,000 – has a lot to offer. Being just 14 miles away from France, Jersey combines British and French cultures. It has some of the best food I’ve ever had, and the friendliest people I’ve ever met as well as a large of variety of things to do. Plus it’s only a 40 minute flight from the mainland UK. So why not consider Jersey for your next getaway?
What to do
We visited in early January so as it was out of season a lot of the attractions were closed. We were still spoilt for choice though and didn’t even manage to make a dent in our to do list. I rarely relax on weekends away as we are always so busy trying to cram as much in as possible, so instead we decided that we would make Jersey a truly relaxing weekend away. We still saw a lot but didn’t put too much pressure on ourselves, after all it is only a short flight away and now we have an excuse to return.
We got a bus from St Helier to St Brelade’s Bay as we’d heard plenty of good things about the area – St. Brelade’s Bay was voted in the top three best UK beaches in 2017 in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards! Although we visited in January and it was cold it didn’t feel like a usual January day at the beach. There was a chill in the air but it was a comfortable temperature, it was sunny, the sea was calm, and we were greeted by so many lovely dogs. It was so relaxing.
We stopped for lunch at the Pizza Express as it over looked the beach and had great views. As we visited out of season it was also the only restaurant open during the day, so when visiting make sure you plan where you want to go in advance, as you may find that some places are closed for the season.
Afterwards as it was low tide we walked from St Brelade’s beach to Quaisne (pronounced ‘Way-nay’ apparently!). It was a lovely walk taking in the beautiful views around us.
Close to Ouaisne Bay, we stopped off for a pint of the local Liberation Ale at The Old Smugglers Inn. This pub is one of the most historical and established pubs on the island. It is located within two fishermen’s cottages which date back to the 13th century.
We were staying in St Helier so also went on a short walk to Elizabeth Castle, it was closed for the season when we visited but we had a lovely walk there along the beach when the tide was out. You can also get there by the castle ferry from the bay. Elizabeth Castle is a great place to visit to delve deeper into Jersey’s history – the castle has defended Jersey’s shoreline since the 16th century. When it is open you can pay to explore inside where you can climb the battlements and explore the bunkers.
Before our flight home we had a stroll around St Helier where we came across The Lido Jersey. This was also closed but made a great place for photos, it has that ‘old-fashioned’ typical beach/summer holiday feel to it. The Lido is said to be one of Jersey’s most iconic coastal buildings. It connected to shore by a wooden board walk and is open daily throughout the summer. It was even a great place to go to in the winter, offering a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere to just stop off and enjoy the views. This where Havre des Pas is located – a popular beach and Victorian bathing pool. The bathing pool fills up during high tide for swimmers to enjoy, I can only imagine that it must be an incredible hangout in the summer.
I usually come back from a weekend away feeling completely exhausted and in need of another holiday to get over it. So I wanted our trip to Jersey to be completely relaxing and that’s what it was. So on the Sunday morning we went to The Club Spa for a massage and to take advantage of the facilities.
The spa offers a great variety of treatments suitable for everyone. There’s even a dedicated Rasul mud room where you can experience a Rasul Mud treatment as well as massage.
On this occasion I indulged in a Aromatic Fusion massage which eases away the day’s stresses and strains and bring body and mind back into balance. This massage also includes a face and scalp massage which was ideal, I came away feeling so refreshed.
The Club Spa boasts wonderful facilities and the spa team were so warm and friendly making us feel totally relaxed. We checked out the spa’s salt cabin, herbal steam room, experience shower, and salt pool. There’s a relaxation room complete with day beds, fresh fruit, herbal teas, magazines and headphones so you can completely chill out.
Two places we didn’t get to explore were La Mare Wine Estate, Distillery & Cider Farm and Jersey War Tunnels.
La Mare Wine Estate is renowned for its wines and Jersey Apple Brandy Cream and creates the island’s traditional recipes such as Black Butter preserve, we had this for breakfast and found absolutely delicious. La Mare offers tours and tastings of the wines and handmade products which sounds like my heaven – so that’s a good reason to head back to Jersey!
Jersey War Tunnels gives a true picture of what life was like in Jersey during World War II. The exhibition is within an underground tunnel complex, there’s the war trail, garden of reflection and also an Escape Room experience.
What to eat
Jersey is famous for its foodie offerings making it ideal for a gourmet foodie getaway. The island is very fortunate that it has so many talented chefs offering fantastic dishes and the island offers an extensive variety of local produce including Jersey dairy, local fresh seafood and a variety of wild edible and medicinal plants to be foraged.
Splurge: Bohemia Bar & Restaurant
We spent our first night at one of the best restaurants in not just Jersey but in the whole of the Channel Islands – Michelin starred Bohemia Bar & Restaurant. Bohemia is the only restaurant in the Channel Islands to have been awarded 5AA Rosettes and Head Chef Steve Smith has held a Michelin star for over 15 years and is one of the world’s most distinguished chefs.
We began our evening with a Trio of Lanique cocktails elegantly put together in miniature cocktail glasses. We sipped on Lanique & Lime, Lanique & Prosecco, and Rose Negroni. It was then time for one of best dining experiences I’ve ever had.
We went for the 7-course tasting menu priced at £79. As I have a slight seafood allergy I was able to swap some fish dishes for vegetarian dishes.
It was my second time dining at Bohemia and I was not disappointed. Yet again I was blown away by the immaculate service and the attention to detail, the decor and of course the incredible innovative dishes. Our Bohemia experience was truly outstanding and we were in awe of the dishes through each incredible flavour and the intricate presentation.
Each table at Bohemia has a low light creating a spotlight on the table and illuminating each dish as it served to your table. It also was the perfect photo opportunity which is ideal in a world where Instagram has such a strong influence on what we do and where we go.
We were served a bag of homemade bread with salted butter and seaweed butter to enjoy with it. Then our experience begun. These are some of the indulgent dishes we feasted upon…
Butternut and parmesan veloute, Paris brown mushroom, and quail egg
Foie gras cream, duck salad, sea buckthorn, and orange and pistachio
Lamb, Jerusalem artichoke and goats cheese with wild garlic. My favourite dish of them all, I don’t think I’ve ever had lamb quite like this.
One of the best vegetarian dishes I’ve ever had – Heritage carrot and beetroot
Beetroot and pecan cake with blueberry and yoghurt
Jivara chocolate cremeux and mango sorbet
Affordable: JB’s Brewhouse
Before our flight home we decided to stop by JB’s Brewhouse for a quick snack. JB’s is a smokehouse, craft brewery, PingPong and live sports and music venue. They serve over 100 craft beers and have a vast bar selection of ciders, spirits and wines. There’s ping-pong tables all around and even beer pong areas – which sold this place to me. JB’s is owned by two young, local, hospitality entrepreneurs. They only use pure Jersey beef to produce their BBQ meats and burgers.
Well our idea of a quick snack went out the window when we saw the menu. With eyes bigger than our bellies we went all out. I chowed down on Jersey beef brisket which was THE BEST (or perhaps even better) brisket I’ve had since I went to Texas and nothing hasn’t ever compared since…until we visited JB’s. It was unreal. I enjoyed this with a side of Mac & Cheese, again I would say the best Mac & Cheese I’ve ever had and that’s a big claim.
Karl created his own platter and plumped for pulled pork and beef short rib and we shared sides of deep fried dill pickles and BBQ tender broccoli.
Budget: Park House Thai Chinese Restaurant
Our second night was a Saturday and as we hadn’t booked somewhere (I recommend you do!) we struggled to find a table anywhere. We were craving Thai after many people recommending Little Thai in St Helier, which was unforunately fully booked. Luckily we stumbled across Park House. From appearance the restaurant may not look like much but the friendly service and incredible authentic Thai dishes definitely made up for it. We spent around £10 each here on a main course and alcohol drink.
You will not leave Jersey hungry. I think this is the first place I’ve been to where every meal we had was incredible. It’s no wonder Jersey is famous as a foodie destination.
Where to stay
We stayed at boutique hotel The Club Hotel & Spa which is the perfect base for exploring the island being located in the centre of St Helier. The hotel offers a luxury spa, a roof top terrace which would be perfect to sit on drinking cocktails if we hadn’t visited in the winter, honesty bar – a bar where you help yourself to drinks and just make a note of what you’ve had and your room number, outdoor pool and is home to Michelin starred Bohemia.
We stayed in a Deluxe Suite which was kitted out with a private inroom bar with a vast selection of drinks and snacks, fluffy bathrobes and slippers and lovely Elemis bath products to enjoy in the bath or shower. We had a super king Frette dressed feather bed which made it hard getting up each morning – despite the wonderful breakfast waiting for us downstairs. Our room had a separate sitting room area and it was the first time I’ve decided to stay in a hotel room rather than stay out on a Saturday night. The room was just too good not to make the most of it! The hotel offers a turndown service so each evening freshly-baked shortbread biscuits from Bohemia were delivered to our room.
The hotel offers a delicious breakfast. The continental buffet has a great selection of cereals, yoghurts, and croissants, many which were local products. There were a variety of spreads available include traditional local Jersey Black Butter. I was also won over by the Champagne Mimosa and Bloody Mary on offer at the buffet. I could get used to starting each day with a Mimosa! As I said, we ate VERY well throughout our trip. Even breakfast was incredible!
The hotel team were so wonderful throughout our stay and made us feel so welcome. We felt so relaxed we didn’t want to leave!
How to get there
Many flights leave daily from the UK so it’s really easy to get to from all over the country. We flew in early January with EasyJet priced at £50 per person, flight prices change all year so keep an eye out as you can go for a lot less or a lot more than what we paid.