Offbeat Euro Getaways: Jersey, Channel Islands

Why Jersey?

“Hey, EasyJet is doing return tickets from London to Jersey for £50…wanna go?””Where’s Jersey exactly?”

“I’m not sure about “exactly”, but it’s an island between England and France, closer to France though…. should I get the tickets anyway?”

“Yeah, let’s do it”.

It was as easy as that and so our weekend getaway from London to Jersey began.

I saw the deal on Wednesday and on Friday morning we were flying out from Southend Airport located on the outskirts of London. In just under an hour we were in Jersey. No passports and no visas required (There are no immigration controls between the United Kingdom and Jersey).

And Moo to you too, Jersey Cow

What did I know about Jersey before I got there? Excellent Food and Jersey Cows.

 

FIRST THING, HIRE A CAR IN JERSEY:

Being a busy work week we hadn’t got the chance to book anything whatsoever. Once we landed first thing we decided to do was hire a care at the airport. Eurocar was giving us the best deal so we went with them. It cost us less than £60 for the entire weekend with a full tank of gas that we didn’t have to fill back up when we returned the car. It was off season rates, though, we were there in November.  The thing worth knowing here is that the roads in Jersey are really narrow and only drivers who are confident in their abilities to reverse a car for miles should hire a car. That said, Jersey with public transport didn’t look like too much fun so maybe taking your chances is worth it.

TELL ME MORE ABOUT JERSEY:

Jersey is geographically located closer to France and has historically been a British Crown dependency. Consequently, it is quite easy to see both the French and the English influence on the island. While the villages and the houses look distinctly English the names of the streets and neighbourhoods sound entirely French. This mixed influence trickles down to other aspects such as the cuisine and the culture of the island. Since we had only a couple of hours of daylight left we decided to explore first and find a place to stay later. “Worst comes to worst, we’ll just sleep in the car” we agreed mutually while secretly hoping it wouldn’t come to that.

THE WEEKEND IN JERSEY BEGINS- FRIDAY EVENING:

Jersey isn’t a big island at all. Over the weekend we went around the island a fair few times and just about got the fuel down to half tank.  There is so much to do in Jersey yet because of its size, it doesn’t seem overwhelming at all making it a perfect destination for a weekend getaway. After our drive, we stopped at Watersplash Cafe on St. Ouen beach to eat an early dinner while watching the sunset and to use their WiFi to find a bed for the night. Watersplash sits right on the beach and has an outdoor seating area that gets quite busy on sunny weekends. St Ouen’s is a surfing beach so it’s a great place to watch surfers do their thing or.. you know… to just watch the surfers. Not creepy at all.

 

OFFBEAT ACCOMMODATION IN JERSEY:

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Away from the crowds. Picturesque Boulay Bay, right next to our B&B in Jersey. Photo Credit: Undercliff Guesthouse
Away from the crowds. Picturesque Boulay Bay, right next to our B&B in Jersey. Photo Credit: Undercliff Guesthouse
Away from the crowds. Picturesque Boulay Bay, right next to our B&B in Jersey. Photo Credit: Undercliff Guesthouse

We zeroed in on Undercliff Guesthouse, a well located B&B in the picturesque Boulay Bay area. It’s not close to the city centre but given Jersey’s minimal distances that are not a cause for concern at all. The property is owned and run by a very friendly couple who’ve lived in Jersey for decades. Ida, the co-owner of the property loves a chat just like me and we had a lot of conversations about the island and what it’s like to live there. She gave us a lot of information about the places we could see and the things we could do. Since it was off season we managed to get a great deal on the price which came to a total of £35 per night inclusive of a healthy brekkie for two.

SATURDAY LATE AFTERNOON:

After time well spent at the castle, we decided to head back to Undercliff to dry up and get changed for a night about town in the capital of Jersey, St. Helier, only a ten-minute drive from our B&B.First things first, however, we were running out of light (November in Europe remember?) so we decided to head to St. Aubin Harbour and explore a little. St. Aubin with its blue and white boats, fisherman returning from a day out at sea and its row of charming cafes and restaurants made for a lovely walk.

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Charming little St. Aubin’s Harbour with its bobbing boats and seagulls. Photo Credit: Marilyn Jane

Soon enough, it was time for dinner and we ambled around trying to find a restaurant we liked.

 

DINNER TIME IN JERSEY:

We finally zeroed in on the Old Courthouse Inn. The Bar downstairs was pumping and noisy, like a bar on a Saturday night should be. The restaurant area, however, was upstairs and it was busy but not loud and chaotic. There is also a really classy pre-dinner cocktail area upstairs however sadly our drinks were quite a disappointment. Thankfully, the food didn’t follow the same trend whatsoever. Quite the contrary in fact. I had the Grilled Chicken Breast which was moist, tender and smoky. It was paired with a slightly sweet Apricot Couscous and the soft chicken combined with the grainy couscous created a beautiful texture making it my favourite dish of the night. The other contenders for the top spot were the Lamb Roast in Thyme Jus and the soft and pillowy Ricotta and Spinach stuffed Ravioli.

The Old Court House Inn, where we chose to eat dinner. Photo Credit: Old Court House Inn
The Old Court House Inn, where we chose to eat dinner. Photo Credit: Old Court House Inn

I’d recommend Old Courthouse for a meal although because they often cater to large groups, it might not be the best place if you’re looking for a romantic night out.

SATURDAY NIGHT OUT:

St. Helier is the place to be on a Saturday night out in Jersey. Photo Credit: Holger Ellgard
A night out in Jersey is best enjoyed in St. Helier. Photo: Holger Ellgard

Post dinner it was time to dance the calories away in St. Helier and there were a lot of bars and clubs for us to choose from. Again, given how small the island is, it wasn’t odd that it seemed like everyone knew everyone else in the club or out on the streets. Everyone from 18 to 80 parties in the same place and no one really seems to care because people are just out to have a good time. I really liked that… maybe it’s different for the young locals, though. I’m not the one who had to deal with the awkward situation of bumping into my best mate’s mum while being out on a drunk night out about town

SUNDAY MORNING:

 

Plemont Beach. Many say this is the most beautiful beach in Jersey. Photo Credit: Ian Britton
Plemont Beach. Many say this is the most beautiful beach in Jersey. Photo Credit: Ian Britton

After another lazy wake up on Sunday, we went to Plemont beach, which judging by popular opinion appears to the favourite beach on the island. It’s easy to see why. Plemont is a sandy beach with a waterfall, caves to explore, a cafe with ocean views and clean functioning toilets up top. However, the rain gods decided to pay us a visit again and the cafe was closed since the owners were probably away somewhere warmer. We drove around waiting for the rain to let up as we took in the sights and then went to the Grosnez Castle ruins.

The walk to the Grosnez Castle Ruins and the area around it is one of my favourite memories of the trip
The walk to the Grosnez Castle Ruins and the area around it is one of my favourite memories of the trip

The ruins along with a walk in the undulated grassy surrounds more than made up for the dreary weather.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON:

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Despite the multitude of things going on, time appears to stand still in St. Ouen

There is a lot of fantastic hiking in Jersey but since I was with a non-hiker I didn’t get to do much hiking this time round. For our last hour in Jersey we hung out on St. Ouen Beach, the first stop of our trip and weekend getaway came round a full circle. We sat on the beach in silence as we watched surfers, beach golfers, body boarders, runners and walkers do their thing.

AU REVOIR JERSEY:

Jersey makes you want to stay a lot longer than just a weekend. Photo Credit: Ian Britton
Jersey makes you want to stay a lot longer than just a weekend. Photo Credit: Ian Britton

Jersey is the sort of place I could imagine living in and growing old in. You know a place offers something significant and worthwhile to its people when the younger generation doesn’t leave as soon they’re old enough to. Jersey has something for everyone and even though it is tiny there is a lot to love about it. It’s a place with good food, an impressive history, fun nightlife, stunning outdoors and a healthy lifestyle. And of course the adorable Jersey Cows.

 

Buying that £50 ticket was one of my best impulsive decisions and I’d go back again in a heartbeat.

FOODIE WOES:

Next time, I’d like to go to Jersey in the summer and pay a bit more attention to their highly regarded food. This time round my focus was on exploring the island itself and food took a bit of a backseat. It was too cold to try their amazing ice-creams even. The only place that gave me a bit of an idea of the fresh and organic Jersey flavour was the restaurant I mentioned earlier, Old Courthouse Inn. The rest of the restaurants we went to were chosen out of convenience because they happened to be around where we were and none of them was particularly “tastebud enlightening” or even close.

Indian Passport Holders: If you have a U.K visa in your passport then you don’t need a separate visa for the Channel Islands.  Next time you’re headed to London, fly over to Jersey, it is a highly recommended getaway! U.K Resident Card Holders, a photographic id will suffice.

 

 

 

3 comments

  1. Lots of useful info here 🙂 Jersey's somewhere I can fly to from my local airport and I've been thinking of going for a while. After reading this I think I will look into it now!

    Like

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