Jersey is the largest and southernmost of the Channel Islands. It's a self-governing Dependency of the British Crown, but not part of the United Kingdom. It lies 14 miles west of the Cherbourg peninsula of France in the Bay of St Malo, rather than in the Channel proper.
With a resident population of just under 100,000, Jersey extends some ten miles east-west and six miles north-south. The main town, with a third of the population, is St Helier on the southeast coast. This is the capital and ferry port, guarded by Elizabeth Castle on a tidal island, and has many visitor attractions and facilities. A broad bay sweeps west to St Aubin which is separated by the Portelet headland from St Brélade on another bay with sandy beaches. Most visitors stay in this part of the island, two miles south of the airport. The rest of Jersey is gently rolling country, a quiltwork of small fields with small, straggling villages named for their parish church: St Peter (location of the airport), St Ouen, St Mary, Grouville, Trinity, St John and St Martin. Three others that have become absorbed into St Helier are St Saviour, St Lawrence and St Clement.
== Understand ==
The Bailiwick of Jersey is the name of the political entity, though Jersey itself is the only inhabited island. (By contrast the Bailiwick of Guernsey is a cluster of islands, of which Guernsey itself is the biggest.) However Jersey has outlying islets that are being eroded and were once much bigger. There are many legends of Lyonnesse and lands lost under the sea that hereabouts may have some basis in fact (with other examples around Guernsey, and in the Isles of Scilly across the Channel.)
- Les Minquiers ("the Minkies") nine miles south of Jersey at low tide actually have a larger surface area than Jersey itself. At high tide only a few islets remain, the largest being Maîtresse, all of 50 yards long. It has ten dilapidated cottages and no residents, though fisherman, sailors and others land in summer. Les Minquiers are the most southerly point of the British Isles. A group of Wehrmacht soldiers here were among the last to surrender at the end of World War II, three weeks after Germany capitulated. Everyone had forgotten about them.
- Les Écréhous are a group of islands and rocks six miles north-east of Jersey. Only three keep their heads above water at high tide, the largest Maîtr'Île being 300 yards long. There are fishermen's huts but the islands are uninhabited and have no fresh water.
The Channel Islands' odd status arose because in 1066 William Duke of Normandy gained the crown of England, so he and his descendants ruled many parts of France as well as ruling England. A series of wars, and peace treaties followed by more wars, wrested control of French territory away from England to the growing kingdom of France, until all that remained were these islands. And so they remain today. The Bailiwick of Jersey, like that of Guernsey, is therefore a "Crown dependency". They are not subject to the UK parliament or legislation or - crucially - taxation in any way, but they cede control of defence and most international affairs to the UK.
In practice, that defence meant the British using the Channel Islands to exert their sea power, preferably to the detriment of the French. One 17th-century governor, Sir George Carteret, did the King a few favours and was rewarded with lands in America which he named New Jersey. The islands were fortified against invasion during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars but there was little fighting here. And when France was overrun during the Second World War, the British left the islands to German occupation rather than fight a doomed rearguard action. The Germans likewise fortified and tunnelled against a counter-attack that never came. So Jersey has many bastions and bunkers that were never bombarded and are thus in good condition, and interesting places to visit.
Post-war Jersey returned to its staple occupation, agriculture: the Jersey cow remained highly productive, but was no longer a standard component of dowries. Tourism grew on a small scale and never became a mass-market. The big growth factor was Jersey's low tax, which made it an attractive domicile for international companies and for the very wealthy. (Stress very wealthy - a mere £ / $ millionaire doesn't cut it here.) A quarter of the workforce are engaged in the legal & financial sector, and the mild climate suits prosperous but ageing bones.
By planeJersey's own airline Blue Islands is now part of Flybe. They have direct flights to Jersey from London City LCY, Manchester, Southampton, Doncaster Robin Hood, Birmingham and Bristol; seasonally to Cardiff, Exeter, Newquay, Inverness, Düsseldorf and Zurich. There are several flights each day to Guernsey and a day trip is possible. They also have connecting flights from several other cities.
Easyjet fly to Jersey from Belfast International, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle, Southend, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Jersey also has direct flights from London Gatwick LGW (British Airways), Leeds Bradford (Jet2), Dublin (Aer Lingus) and Munich (Lufthansa), and the Guernsey-based airline Aurigny has flights between the islands.
This means that air connections from France are surprisingly poor, eg nothing direct from Paris, you have to double back via Southampton. But in this part of the world lots of people have access to private light aircraft or would charter a flight.
is in the parish of St Peter; it's small but modern. Liberty Bus 15 runs to St Aubin and St Helier every 15 mins, adult fare £2.20.
By boatCondor Ferries sail to Jersey from Poole (4 hrs 30 min) and Portsmouth (10 hours) in England, St Malo (90 min) in France and from Guernsey (1 hour). All these ferries are year-round and take vehicles, with daily sailings in summer, but the fast-cat from Poole is more likely to be cancelled in bad weather. Day-trips are possible to & from Guernsey and St Malo.
Manche Iles sail to Jersey from Granville (90 min), Barneville-Carteret (1 hour) and Diélette in Normandy. These are for foot-passengers only and are scheduled for day trips from Normandy, with one outward sailing in the morning and one return late afternoon. They likewise have day-trips from Jersey to Sark, and between Jersey and Guernsey either way.
Most ferries land at in St Helier, but some of the Manche Iles ferries sail to Gorey on the east coast. You can sail your own boat to one of several marinas, see Jersey Ports for facilities, rules, tariffs and helpful info.
All public buses are operated by LibertyBus and fan out from St Helier, Liberation bus station next to the harbour. Some routes you might use are:
These are geared to tourist outings and run daily in summer, less frequently after 18:00 (although some run until midnight) and on Sundays. A few services, serving tourist destinations, are withdrawn in winter and some others are less frequent. The maximum adult single fare is £2.30, but if you wanted to go (say) from St Aubin to Mont Orgeuil in Gorey, you'd have to take two buses. However there are Discover Jersey tickets for 1,2,3 or 7 days unlimited travel by bus available. Fare concessions are available for some younger or older people, but UK Concessionary Passes are not valid in Jersey.
By roadDrive on the left, same as in UK and Ireland. Roads are in good condition but often narrow and twisty. The speed limit throughout Jersey is 40 miles / 64 km per hour.
If you intend to bring your own vehicle, check your insurance, as UK motor policies don't cover the Channel Islands. It's usually better to rent: Hertz, Avis and Europcar are based at the airport, while Zebra Cars and Sovereign are downtown in St Helier. They'll usually require you to be aged 21 or over, and to hold a valid driving licence with no endorsements for dangerous or drunken driving in the last 5 years.
Taxi ranks are at the airport, outside the arrivals hall at the port, and here and there in the main streets of St Helier. Tariffs vary by distance, time of day and amount of luggage.
Jersey Bike Hire is based in St Brelade; April-Oct it's open daily.
English! Jersey was heavily anglicised in the 19th & 20th centuries so English is now universal. You may see French signage, but it's only spoken by visitors. The native regional language of Jèrriais is still spoken by a minority, but you will not need it to communicate with locals. Jersey has drawn a lot of workers from Madeira, who speak Portuguese.
Consider buying a Jersey Heritage Pass for the main attractions, which costs £34 and is valid for 7 days and 4 sites run by Jersey Heritage. In St Helier it covers Elizabeth Castle (including castle ferry), the Maritime Museum and the Jersey Museum & Art Gallery; elsewhere it covers La Hougue Bie, Mont Orgueil Castle and Hamptonne Country Life Museum. It doesn't include the War Tunnels, or any other attraction not run by Jersey Heritage.
address: St Aubin's BayCastle on tidal island, built from the 16th century when the stronghold at Mont Orgueil became vulnerable to improving cannon power. It was built over a confiscated abbey, and saw action during the English Civil Wars, and the Seven Years War with France. A barracks was also built, but the site made them sitting ducks so the garrison was moved to Jersey main island. At low tide you walk to the castle across a causeway, at high tide you take the "ferry", which is a pair of amphibious vehicles. The kiosk for ferry tickets is on the slipway directly opposite the Grand Jersey Hotel - don't follow signs for "Port Elizabeth Ferry Terminal" which is for the big ferries to the mainland.
phone: +44 1534 811043address: New North Quay, St Helier JE2 3NDGreat hands-on exposition of Jersey's colourful maritime history, which involved lots of pirates, privateers and other salty rapscallions. Includes the Occupation Tapestry Gallery commemorating wartime events.
phone: +44 1534 633300address: The Weighbridge, St Helier JE2 3NGInteresting displays of Jersey life, from Ice Age hairy mammoths, farming and wildlife, Victoriana, the actress Lily Langtree (1853-1929), and the Nazi occupation. Plus small art gallery.
- The Waterfront is a pleasant place to spend an afternoon. The harbour is gated, but you can look in through the fence.
- in Saint Saviour is the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Jersey. You can only visit if you're invited to an official event there.
St Brélade / St Aubin
- St Aubin is a pleasant fishing village at the west end of the bay. The parish hall was a busy railway station until the line closed in 1936.
- stands on a tidal islet; it was built from the 16th century and periodically reinforced, including during the wartime occupation. It's reached by a causeway at low tide and is free to enter.
- Le Portelet is the headland separating St Aubin's bay from St Brélade's bay to the west. It's dotted with bastions and lookouts: the eastern part along Chemin de Noirmont has a couple of German positions and ends at "Tour de Vinde," a daymark for navigators. On the western headland is Ouaisne Tower (again, primarily a daymark) and the Common, best area for strolling and dog-walking. Between is a small beach.
- , on the tidal L'Île au Guerdain just off Portelet beach, is a stubby affair built in 1808 that never grew up into a Martello tower. The nickname is from poor Philippe Janvrin, who in 1721 died of plague on his way home to Jersey; the authorities wouldn't let his body come ashore and had him buried here. A later John Janvrin from Jersey became a leading figure in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and gave his name to Janvrin Island there.
- St Brélade, inland and ribbon-developing towards the airport, is the only settlement beyond St Helier that could be called a town. St Brélade's parish church was first recorded in 1035 AD and is therefore older. For some reason it was built near the coast a little way from town: the local legend invokes a species of leprechaun-realtors, obviously busy little folk since many mainland churches have a similar legend.
- next to the parish church is a rare example of a monastic chapel that survived the destructive zeal of the Reformation. It may have been built in the 14th C and has remarkable frescoes. It was probably a chantry chapel, where monks recited prayers for the dead, so its name of Chapelle-ès-Pêcheurs (ie for fishermen) would originally have been Pécheurs (ie for sinners).
- is the headland at the southwest tip of Jersey. The name means a gathering of crows, though the gulls have seen them off. You can walk here either along the track of the old railway (see "Do"), or along a clifftop path past a modern prison, wartime bunker, and desalination plant. The gaunt concrete wartime Radio Tower is now self-catering accommodation. The Strongpoint is a wartime bunker and artillery position, erratically open as a museum, and there's a memorial to a successful rescue from a shipwreck in 1995. At low tide you can continue across the causeway to the lighthouse.
- is one man's creation, inland off Route des Genets, St Brélade.
=== Elsewhere ===
address: Grouville JE3 9HQNeolithic passage grave, in use circa 3500 BC - the passage is 18.6 m long. A medieval chapel has been built on top, and recently a replica of a Neolithic longhouse.
address: Les Augrès Manor, La Profonde Rue, Trinity JE3 5BPZoo and conservation park; you can day-trip, or stay in the glamping pods for a safari camp experience. Gets rave reviews.
phone: +44 1534 861963address: La Rue du Moulin de Ponterrin, Victoria Village JE3 5HHBeautiful display of orchids. Small area so an hour here will be plenty.
Mont OrgueilImpressive castle built from 1204; it had little military value once gunpowder and artillery meant it could be bombarded from the nearby hill, so Elizabeth Castle became the main bastion. However it remained in use as a prison and barracks until the 19th C. It fell into disrepair but re-opened as a museum in 2006.
phone: +44 1534 860808address: Les Charrieres Malorey, St Lawrence JE3 1FUA network of tunnels built during the German occupation by forced labour, to enable the occupiers to withstand Allied bombardment. In 1943 they were converted into a hospital for the anticipated casualties, with 500 beds and an operating theatre. They were never used for either purpose, as there was no fighting here and the occupying forces surrendered along with Germany.
address: Rue de la Patente, St Lawrence JE3 1HSDemonstrating country crafts, with farm animals.
- is in a wartime bunker on the west coast. It's open daily 10:00-17:00.
- The North Coast of Jersey has some beautiful bays with excellent beaches, most of which are fully serviced (lifeguards, WC's, cafes, car parks, but services etc). The best are at Plémont,. Grève de Lecq and Rozel.
phone: +44 1534 511 115 (Box Office)address: 3 Gloucester St, St Helier JE2 3QRTheatre and opera house with regular programme. Saturdays in July & Aug there are backstage walking tours, £22.
Jersey BowlJersey's only bowling lanes, open all year. Facilities include a restaurant, bar, pool tables, and car parking.
address: La Hougue Farm, St Peter JE3 7AXChildren's adventure park. Entry fee includes park activities, aMaizin Maze (July-Sept) and the aMaizin Barnyard. Tractor rides, go-karts, water pistol range, crazy golf course, animal encounters etc. You should allow most of a day to use all the facilities, and bring and a towel and change of clothes for the water activities.
- Walk the Jersey Railway which plied between St Helier and St Aubin from 1870, later extending beyond the quarries at La Moye to Corbiere. It was busy with passengers and freight well into the 20th C when road transport undercut it. In 1936 a fire at the St Helier depot destroyed the station and most of the rolling stock, and that was effectively the end of it, though the line briefly re-opened in wartime by the German occupiers for military construction freight. At the St Helier end it's now simply a walkway and cycleway along the promenade. In St Aubin the former station is now the village hall.
- The Jersey Coastal Path runs around the entire coast. Although sections are on roadway or pavement, particularly the East, and South coasts as far as St Aubin, the north coast from L'Etacq to Rozel Bay is superb and in conjunction with the bus services can be done in sections. It should be pointed out that the path is NOT suitable for Mountain Bikes, but there are separate dedicated mountain bike trails paralleling sections of the path - for details ask locally.
- Jersey Boat Show is held in May in St Helier, with displays of sailing and power boats. Dates for 2020 will be announced during Sept 2019.
- Jersey Battle of Flowers is a street carnival held in St Helier on the second Thurs & Fri in August. The next is expected to be 13-14 Aug 2020 but tbc in Nov 2019.
- Weekender is a rock festival held at the The Royal Jersey Showground, Trinity in late August. The next is expected to be 29-31 Aug 2020 but tbc.
- A Triathlon is held in September in St Helier: swim, bike and run. The next event is 28-29 Sept 2019.
Money: The Jersey pound is on parity with British £ sterling. Notes from Guernsey, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man are also accepted in Jersey. But Jersey pounds are not accepted in the UK, so change them for UK pounds before leaving the islands, although they can be paid in over the counter at British banks. Cash machines may offer a choice of which currency is dispensed - Local or Sterling.
Occasional themed "food weeks" celebrate the different cuisines of Jersey. Tennerfest in October is a promotion where you can sample top-rated restaurants for a fixed price; the next is 1 Oct - 11 Nov 2019.
- Midtown places include Quayside Bistro, Bohemia Bar, Cafe Spice, Abilio's, Bella Italia, Mano's and Park House Thai.
- East of the harbour are Drifters, Moita's, Roseville and Thai Dicq.
phone: +44 1534 879482address: Phillips Street, St HelierServes a wide range of food ranging from cafe to restaurant style. Teas, Coffees and drinks are also available all day long. Takeaway service available by phone or online.
phone: +44 1534 732769address: Halkett Place, St Helier JE2 4WGDecent enough drinks & bar food.
- Splurge at Tassili in the Grand Jersey Hotel on the Esplanade, serving dinner Tu-Sa 19:00-21:30.
St Brélade / St Aubin
phone: +44 1534 859230address: Le Boulevard, Saint Aubin JE3 8ABGood fish restaurant overlooking harbour.
Jambophone: +44 1534 745801address: Route de la Baie, St Brelades JE3 8EFGood sit-down Chinese restaurant, don't be put off by tatty exterior.
phone: +44 1534 741177address: La Marquanderie Hill, St Brelade JE3 8EPBritish restaurant, good food and drink.
- Beau Bistro is within Golden Sands Hotel on St Brelades Bay.
phone: +44 1534 741899address: Route de Noirmont, Portelet Bay JE3 8AJGood food in 16th C inn, watch your head on that low ceiling.
phone: +44 1534 741510address: La Mont Du Quaisne, St BreladesRustic pub with good food near the beach.
- Pizza Express have a branch at 59 Halket Place St Helier and another at Route de la Baie St Brelades.
phone: +44 1534 742760address: Le Boulevard, St Aubin JE3 8ABBar and bistro specialising in seafood, plenty other menu choices.
phone: +44 1534 746495address: La Neuve Rue, St Aubin JE3 8AAGood Indian food, speed & quality of service variable.
- The Brasserie and The Grill are in Hotel l'Horizon, see "Sleep".
- There are cafes in the airport, and in St Peter's Garden Centre.
phone: +44 1534 500111address: Route de Beaumont, St Peter's JE3 7BQRefurbished under new owners in 2019, good restaurant and bar.
Victoria in the Valleyphone: +44 1534 485498address: La Vallée de Saint-Pierre, Jersey JE3 7EGTraditional British fare, but well prepared.
Great Wall Chinese Takeawayphone: +44 1534 280049address: Princes Tower Rd, Five Oaks JE2 7WPGood standard of food.
phone: +44 1543 864691address: Rue des Picots, Trinity JE3 5JXRefurbished in mid-2019, now a pleasant slick place for pub grub.
phone: +44 1534 856289address: St Martin's JE3 6HWDoes respectable pub grub at a reasonable price.
- There's a whole slew of pubs near the waterfront: The Square, The Office, and The Bar & Canteen in the Waterfront Centre. Inland are The Cock & Bottle, Halkett Pub (see Eat), St James, The Adelphi, Chimes and The Shipwright.
Blue Note Barphone: +44 1534 733793address: Broad St, St Helier JE2 3RRTraditional pub downstairs, live music upstairs.
St Brélade / St Aubin
Midbay Cafeaddress: Route de la Baie, St Brelade's Bay JE3 8EFConvenient stop for refreshments, eat indoors or out.
address: La Moye, St Brelade JE3 8LNSnacks and light meals in pleasant surroundings.
address: Rue Du Croquet, St Aubin JE3 8BZA Randall's pub with TV live sports.
address: St Aubin JE3 8AARandalls pub with good meals and drink.
phone: +44 1534 735511address: 50 St Saviours Road, St Helier JE2 4LAModern hotel, edge of town but walking distance to everything, clean and comfy.
phone: +44 1534 671100address: Rue de l'Etau, St Helier JE2 3WFSlick well-run hotel on waterfront.
phone: +44 1534 876500address: Green St, St Helier JE2 4UHPleasant spa hotel near town, with pool and Bohemia restaurant.
phone: +44 1534 724231address: Belvedere Hill JE4 9PGFamily-friendly 3-star hotel with pool and Bonetti's restaurant, short walk to sea front.
phone: +44 1534 725501address: Longueville Rd, St Saviour JE2 7WFWonderful comfy hotel with excellent restaurant.
St Brélade / St Aubin
phone: +44 1534 741585address: Le Boulevard, St Aubins harbour JE3 8ABClean and comfy guest house, the harbour view is only from the front rooms - back rooms just look onto concrete.
phone: +44 1534 744101address: Mont de la Pulente JE3 8HELuxurious relaxing place with ocean views.
phone: +44 1534 746433address: Le Boulevard, St Aubin JE3 8ABSmall hotel with pleasant rooms centred on old pub.
phone: +44 1534 741241address: Route de la Baiae, St Brelade JE3 8EFBeach hotel in great location.
phone: +44 1534 744261address: Route du Coin, St Aubin JE3 8BTFriendly well-run 3-star, also has self-catering cottages.
phone: +44 1534 741226address: Mont Du Boulevard, St Aubin JE3 8ACharming 4-star hotel, on hill above town.
phone: +44 1534 743101address: Route de la Baie, St Brelade's Bay JE3 8EFGreat well-run hotel on the beachfront.
phone: +44 1534 742429address: La Rue du Croquet, St Aubin JE3 8BZGrand 5-star hotel overlooking the bay.
phone: +44 1534 742239address: Le Mont Sohier, St Brelade's Bay JE3 8EA3-star in gardens overlooking the bay, good rooms and service.
- Campsites are all to the north of the island. East to west (from closest to furthest from St Helier) these are Beuvelande, Rozel, Durrell Wildlife Camp, and Daisy Cottage (May-Sept).
phone: +44 1534 861735address: La Route de la Trinite JE3 5JNDecent enough hotel, a bit 1980s timewarp, and breakfast is only served from 8 to 9.
phone: +44 1534 863354address: La Vallée de Rozel, St Martin's JE3 6AJCharming upscale hotel, excellent rooms, food and service.
The way that this has been interpreted has varied over the years: for many years it was relatively easy for businesses to get licences, but now it is far more difficult.
This does not mean that there are no available vacancies, but it means that the Jersey job market is rather unusual. Those who have specialised essential skills (particularly in medicine) will find vacancies, and some of the offshore finance companies have block licences which they will use to bring in specialist or senior staff. At the bottom end of the market there are still some seasonal vacancies for waiters and bar staff (although the States, Jersey's government, are increasingly pushing the tourism industry to use local staff). In between there is very little.
The five year rule also applies to anyone who wishes to set up a business outside the finance sector, unless they can prove that the business does not duplicate an existing business.
Outside of towns and villages, streetlighting is non-existent, and so a torch/flashlight is strongly recommended if walking on the road. Roads are also often tight and narrow, so walk defensively. In particular, take care on weekend nights. Although drink-driving is illegal in Jersey, law enforcement is very limited in more rural areas, and public transport is rarely available later in the evening, meaning most people will drive to and from pubs. This can make narrow, unlit roads particularly hazardous.
Going to the doctor's in Jersey will cost you money, normally around £40 a time. This can vary considerably, as it is up to the doctor's surgery to set the price.
A bilateral healthcare agreement between the UK and Jersey exists, but this does not cover dental treatment and prescribed medicines. Proof of UK residence is needed.
As a general rule, people from Jersey are very pro-Europe (despite not being a part of the 'European Union') and would describe themselves as being more a part of Europe than Great Britain is, on the basis of geography and French culture. With that in mind, British visitors should be aware that while the island superficially resembles the UK, service culture is more like Paris, and manage their expectations accordingly.