Before we begin this itinerary for a short break in Jersey, I must clarify one thing. This post is dedicated entirely to the Jersey located between England and France; that small, yet beautifully formed, Channel Island. It is not dedicated to a weekend in New Jersey, USA. As far as I’m aware, there are no guidos or guidettes in this Jersey, and – I’m fairly sure – no Club Karma.
Instead, this Jersey is a place of country lanes and after work surf lessons; a pastel wash of creamy beaches, blue skies and blushing sunsets. For those living in the UK, the island represents an ideal weekend escape; a place to wile away those precious hours between Friday and Sunday inside Michelin-starred restaurants and atop golden sand dunes.
Although just fives miles long and nine miles wide, there is a surprising amount to do on Jersey.
Food enthusiasts, for example, will find themselves overwhelmed with choice, as seasonal food vans and Michelin-starred restaurants vie for their attention. Alternatively, for those with a penchant for the great outdoors, the island is a haven for both ramblers and hikers alike. If this doesn’t entice you, then Jersey’s compelling history can easily fill your weekend, with 13th century castles and eerily poignant war museums filling the island’s borders.
Given this almost endless list of things to do, we have put together a complete itinerary for a short break in Jersey. From its palm fringed beaches to fresh-from-the-sea dishes, this guide will ensure that you’ll experience everything that this beautiful island has to offer.
The largest of the Channel Islands, Jersey lies just 14 miles from Normandy, France, and around 100 miles from the UK’s south coast. Although the UK is constitutionally responsible for Jersey’s defence, the island possesses its own international and political identity; quite separate from the UK’s. As such, it is an island with a unique character: a distinct blend of French and English cultures, littered with German military history. It even has its own (now largely extinct) language – Jerriais – featuring a blend of Old Norman and Norse.
However, given its links to the UK, you will not need your passport to travel here (if British). Likewise, pound sterling is in circulation (along with the Jersey Pound) and the island features UK plug sockets (3-pin).
Jersey can be easily accessed by both plane and boat.
We chose to fly to Jersey, finding cheap flights thanks to easyJet from London Luton airport (£45 per person). The flight took just 40 minutes and given the small size of Jersey’s airport, the journey was entirely hassle free.
Alternatively, you might wish to hop on a boat to Jersey, with ferry services running from both Portsmouth and Poole, via Condor Ferries. A return journey (for 2 adults) will set you back just £79.96 (sailing from Portsmouth), whilst travelling with a car will cost a further £100.
For our long weekend in Jersey, we decided to rent a vehicle via Europcar. Despite its diminutive size, the island overflows with flower-filled country lanes and coastal roads; all of which make driving here a real joy. As such, we couldn’t resist hiring a Mini Cooper to enjoy it all.
Given that the island’s speed limit is just 40mph, driving on Jersey is slow and leisurely; allowing visitors to enjoy the island’s 350 miles of winding roads at a slower, more relaxed pace.
Our car hire (for three nights and four days) cost £149, including half a tank of petrol and basic insurance. Be warned, however, parking on the island can be both difficult and expensive. To avoid being caught out, be sure to download the PayByPhone App before you go, saving you both time and money.
A short break in Jersey can be equally enjoyed via public transport. Given the island’s small size, Jersey’s bus network (Liberty Bus) is both regular and reliable – stopping outside most major hotels, towns and tourist hot spots.
The central bus station is found at Liberation Station in St. Helier, and tickets can be bought onboard. Alternatively, why not take a tour of the island in a vintage bus, thanks to Jersey Bus Tours. Carefully restored and open-topped, they are a lovely way to see the island.
Lastly, it’s entirely possible to simply walk or enjoy Jersey by bike – with bike hire shops available across the island. All available cycle routes can be viewed here.
Overlooking the spectacular St. Ouen’s Bay – part of the Jersey National Park and a Marine Conservation Recommended Beach – sits the tranquil Atlantic Hotel.
Teetering on the western edge of the island and surrounded by six, beautiful coastal acres, the Atlantic Hotel is housed within a striking 1970s building. A glittering poster boy for timeless elegance, the hotel is light and spacious, and filled with the sounds of twinkling piano keys, clinking cocktail glasses and a pool of shimmering coy carp. Family owned, it is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection – a testament to both its intimacy and charm.
For anyone planning a short break to Jersey, the Atlantic Hotel is certainly the place to stay.
Arriving at the Atlantic Hotel’s wisteria covered entrance, we were immediately met by the hotel’s staff, who neatly whisked our cases away. Finding ourselves inside the tranquil lobby, we were next greeted warmly by the hotel’s General Manager and Sales and Marketing Manager, before being shown to our room.
Returning back downstairs a little while later for a drink, we were welcomed by waiters and reception staff, all of whom had taken the time to learn both our names and room number.
It was this level of highly personable and friendly service that I’d suggest is the Atlantic Hotel’s pièce de résistance. Even breakfast staff remembered what we had requested the day before, ensuring that a steaming pot of coffee was waiting for us each morning.
A family owned and run business – something that often lends itself to a sense of intimacy – it was the staff at the Atlantic Hotel who truly made our stay here the pleasure it was. Warm, friendly and immediately welcoming, they created an environment that felt like a home-away-from-home and one that, quite frankly, was difficult to leave.
The Atlantic Hotel is equipped with a number of facilities – not all of which are dependent on warm weather (thankfully).
The hotel’s crowning feature is perhaps its outdoor pool, surrounded by an immaculately maintained garden and luxury sun loungers. Teetering on the island’s headland, guests can enjoy beautiful views across Jersey’s wildlife site – Les Mielles – and the wider St. Ouen’s Bay, featuring its ancient dune system – Les Blanches Banques. With swaying palm trees overhead and the sight of foaming surf on the horizon, you might be forgiven for forgetting that you’re a mere 100 miles from home.
Outside, guests can also find a tennis court with breathtaking views.
Inside, an indoor pool caters for Jersey’s more inclement weather, alongside a hot tub, sauna and small gym. There is also a wonderfully cosy lounge filled with books and board games; the perfect spot for those more wintery evenings (a gin and tonic in hand, of course).
Alongside its excellent staff, breathtaking views and poolside experience, the Atlantic Hotel is also celebrated for its restaurant: the Ocean.
Overseen by head chef, Will Holland, the restaurant delivers award-winning food, including a neatly devised ‘mini tasting menu’, which we enjoyed on our first night in Jersey. A daily ‘market menu’ is also available, bursting with local food and seasonal produce.
Complemented by carefully selected wines, our mini tasting menu included Jersey’s prized export – a salt baked Jersey royal potato – swiftly followed by poached jersey lobster tail, roast retired Jersey cow fillet and for desert, a Jersey whole milk mousse, complete with Jersey honeycomb.
Now, I’m certainly no food critic, but even my inexperienced palette was able to discern that this was a meal worth writing home about. Its flavours, textures and presentation were all brilliant.
A resident on the island since 1970, the Atlantic Hotel has undergone a number of refurbishments in its time, including the most recent redesign of its bedrooms.
Throughout our short stay in Jersey, we were lucky enough to stay in one of the newly renovated rooms, complete with a small balcony and romantic views across the bay. Decorated a crisp white, with soft white linens and a wooden ceiling fan, the room reminded me of those beach side rooms found on the American coast: coastal, fresh and breezy.
Complete with a Sky HD box (including the coveted ‘Movies’ selection), a chaise longue, Molton Brown products, free WiFi and even a beautiful ceramic teapot, our room was a stylish little bolthole.
Prices range from £130 in low season (for a double room) to £340 in high season. Costs include breakfast (served at the Ocean restaurant ) and free WiFi.
9am: Travel to Jersey
11am: Head to St. Ouen’s Bay
If staying at the Atlantic Hotel, or close to the island’s west coast, begin your short break to Jersey with an introduction to its main attraction: its vast, golden sands.
St. Ouen’s Bay spans a stunning five miles, featuring the roaring surf of the Atlantic Ocean and an endless curve of golden beach. Scattered with surfers, dog walkers and contemplative faces, the bay is a Mecca for holiday makers once the summer temperatures roll in, but is equally enjoyable out of season.
From the bay, it’s possible to see the island’s famous Corbiere Lighthouse: a postcard worthy white turret, surrounded by crashing waves. From the lighthouse, we walked up the bay, through the ancient dunes that line the beach – known as Les Blanches Banques. Once inhabited by Jersey’s first settlers in the Neolithic ages, visitors can still find flint scatters amongst the dune’s grassy banks, some of which are over 6,000 years old. Now classified as one of the largest dune systems in the British Isles, St. Ouen’s dunes play host to hundreds of species of insects, animals and wild flowers – and are well worth a ramble.
For those keen to do more than walk, you can also take to the surf: enjoying a lesson via the Splash Surf Centre. Located at the Watersplash, Jersey’s well-known surf break, live music is also played here throughout the summer months, and food trucks and stalls also pitch up. During the summer, visitors are even able to take their own BBQs onto the beach.
For those driving over to St. Ouen’s Bay, parking runs along its five miles (although be warned, it can get busy during the summer months).
12pm: Lunch at El Tico
Walk up St. Ouen’s Bay and you’ll soon spot El Tico Cantena: one of Jersey’s oldest (and most loved) beach cafes.
Arriving at El Tico after a rather blustery walk on the beach, we were met with a warm and friendly atmosphere, as the sounds of the open kitchen filled the space. We enjoyed eating here so much, that we returned not once, but twice.
To truly get into the spirit of island life (Jersey style), try the cajun spiced local crab and prawn sandwich.
El Tico is open from 9am – 8.30pm and serves food all day.
2pm: Head to Greve de Lecq
Located on Jersey’s northern coast, Greve de Lecq is one of the island’s more sheltered bays, offering lush forested slopes and a selection of cosy cafes.
For those in a hurry, you can drive from El Tico’s to Greve de Lecq in just 13 minutes. Alternatively, a coastal walk will take you nearing two hours, and will also treat you to some of Jersey’s rugged beauty.
Once at the bay, head to Coleen’s Cafe for a cup of tea. It’s also worth stopping by here for a breakfast roll if you’re awake early enough; allowing you to enjoy a bacon bap as the morning light creeps in.
8pm: Dinner at the Ocean Restaurant, Atlantic Hotel.
After a day of coastal walks and bracing sea winds, we found ourselves counting down the hours until our mini tasting menu at the Ocean restaurant, part of the Atlantic Hotel.
A recently modernised venue, featuring American-style shutters and warm lighting, the Ocean is a peaceful, quiet and thoroughly enjoyable place to visit during your short break to Jersey. Furthermore, it also offers an incredible introduction to the island’s foodie scene: displaying the very best produce that Jersey has to offer.
09.30am: Head to the Coastal Village of St Aubin
Just a ten minute drive from the Atlantic Hotel lies the picturesque village of St Aubin. A historical fishing village that snakes its way around Jersey’s golden coast, St. Aubin is a haven of winding lanes, panoramic views and friendly coffee shops.
We began by wandering up the village’s steep hills; leaving behind its turquoise waters and bobbing fishing boats. As we walked – the lane becoming increasingly shaded by towering trees – we passed beautiful cottages decorated in purple wisteria and traditional merchant’s houses named ‘Summer’s Day’ and ‘Coastal Cottage’. It was quiet, serene and unbelievably beautiful; a true seafaring idyll.
Having enjoyed the village’s spectacular coastal views, we headed back down to the seafront – or the Bulwarks – as it is also known. This promenade is lined with antiques and vintage stores, and independent coffee shops. Further along, and past the marina, you’ll also find the Harbour Gallery, featuring work from local artists and a popular cafe, serving fresh local food and sweet, sticky cakes.
10am: Brunch at Nude Beach
A new addition to St Aubin, Nude Beach holds prime position on the village’s seafront, with beautiful views across the coast.
With another Nude Food cafe in St. Helier, Nude Beach offers a ‘clean eating’ menu, featuring on trend ‘avo-on-mash’, and other tasty vegan and vegetarian dishes (the vegetarian burger is particularly delicious).
Housed within a beautifully designed building – reminiscent of a beach hut – Nude Beach features large windows overlooking the beach and is filled with a golden light. Relaxed, beautifully appointed and featuring lovely food, it is a great spot to wile away an hour or so.
Nude Beach offers breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Midday: Head to Jersey Zoo (Durrell)
No short break in Jersey would be complete without a visit to its world-famous zoo.
When I first heard that Jersey had a zoo, I was a little surprised. Surely this would be more of a glorified wildlife park, rather than a truly functioning, conservation-driven, zoo?
Oh, how wrong I was.
The legacy of famed naturalist, Gerald Durrell, Jersey Zoo was envisaged as an ‘Ark’ – a place to safe house and protect endangered species from across the world. Following an idyllic childhood on the island of Corfu, Gerald Durrell founded Jersey Zoo in 1959. Disillusioned with how other zoos were being run – and firm in his belief that they should primarily reserve and regenerate endangered species – Gerald decided to open his own zoo, collecting animals from around the world.
Today, Jersey Zoo is an unbelievably beautiful and inspiring place; its grounds filled with falling apple blossom and delicate bluebells. Following Gerald’s death in 1995, the work of the Zoo continues, providing a training ground for conservationists from across the world.
During our visit, we had the pleasure of watching as the gorillas were fed their breakfast, the orangutang their dinner, and the kaleidoscope of butterflies their sticky fruit. A truly beautiful place, Jersey Zoo is a must for your holiday to Jersey.
Adult entry to Jersey Zoo costs £16.50 and a child’s entry will set you back £12. The Zoo is open every day, apart from Christmas Day.
3pm: Head to Rozel Bay and The Hungry Man
Having spent a few hours wandering Jersey Zoo’s thirty-two flower-filled acres, we next made the short ten minute drive to Rozel Bay.
Situated on Jersey’s north-east coast, Rozel Bay is another example of the island’s historic fishing villages. When the tide is high, the Bay appears only to have a shingle beach; one lined with canary yellow fishing boats. Yet, and as the tide slowly creeps out, the bay’s brilliantly white, powdery sand is revealed – making it a very popular spot during the summer months.
However, visitors to the bay are drawn by far more than its soft sands: instead many visit in order to eat at the legendary Hungry Man.
Tucked into a harbour wall, and decorated with circus-like banners and stripes, the Hungry Man is more than a food stall. Here, guests can enjoy gluttonous burgers, homemade cakes and fresh crab sandwiches.
It is the perfect spot to enjoy a late afternoon bite to eat.
Note: The Hungry Man only accepts cash, with no cards accepted.
8pm: Dinner at The Oyster Box
After a swim back at the Atlantic Hotel, we ended the second day of our short break to Jersey inside one of the island’s most popular restaurants: The Oyster Box.
Situated just a seven minute drive from the hotel, and overlooking the spectacular St Brelade’s Bay, the restaurant offers panoramic views and world-class dishes. Be sure to indulge in a platter of Jersey Rock Oysters and a steaming bowl of Jersey Shellfish Bisque.
10am: A Bacon Sandwich at the Lookout Beach Cafe, St Helier
Our third day in Jersey began with sea views and a sizzling bacon sandwich, courtesy of the Lookout Beach Cafe. Featuring a wood-burning stove for the winter months, and sun-drenched views across St Aubin’s Bay in the summer, this cafe was a firm favourite of ours.
11am: Explore St Helier – Jersey’s Capital
Having spent the first few days of our short break in Jersey exploring the island’s smaller, more secluded spots, it perhaps hadn’t occurred to us that the island might feature a sizeable town.
Once in St Helier – Jersey’s capital – I quickly realised my mistake.
A mini-capital city, St Helier is home to the island’s financial institutions, banks and businesses, a busy high street filled with independent and nationally owned stores, and a busy marina, flooded with yachts and boats. It’s a vibrant and busy place, and the island’s only town.
As such, it is a one-stop shop for everything you might need – from creative cocktail bars to Michelin starred restaurants, such as Samphire.
If it’s shopping you’re interested in (as we were), then head to the town’s two department stores: de Gruchys and Voisins. Voisins in particular is well-worth a visit, holding the title of Britain’s oldest family-run department store. Alternatively, why not soak up the atmosphere of this microcosmic city with a coffee at the beautifully eclectic Beresford Street Market.
Here, stalls overflow with freshly caught Chancre crab and oysters, and chefs rush by with their daily haul of ingredients. It is a great spot for people watching.
3pm: Head to the Historical Mont Orgueil Castle, Gorey
Having walked Jersey’s compact capital, we next headed east – towards the island’s rugged cliffs.
A twenty minute drive from St. Helier, Gorey is a small coastal village overlooked by a historical magnate: the 13th century Mont Orgueil Castle. Jersey’s stalwart defender, the castle was built some 600 years ago, in order to protect the island from French attack.
Remarkably intact, the Castle offers a maze of hidden alleyways, secret rooms and panoramic views. Amongst the ruins flowers have bloomed, whilst hidden archways lead to coastal perches. As such, it is an incredibly romantic and dramatic place to visit, and a must see during your short break to Jersey.
Adult entry to the castle costs £12.95, whilst a child’s ticket costs £8.35.
4.30pm: A Late Lunch at Jersey Crab Shack
Falling away beneath the castle lies Gorey and its small harbour. Here you’ll find a cluster of shops and restaurants, with the best being the Jersey Crab Shack.
With a few restaurants across the island, this particular Jersey Crab Shack is located just a five minute walk from the castle. With historic ‘cotils‘ (the slopes where the famed Jersey Potato are grown) on one side, and a view of the castle on the other, this excellent diner offers market fresh seafood alongside tacos, ice-cream and vegan burgers.
8pm: Dinner at Thai Dicq Shack, St Helier
If three days in Jersey has not proven to be gut-busting enough, then end your mini break to Jersey with a meal at one of the island’s most loved restaurants: the Thai Dicq Shack.
Incredibly popular during the summer months – when diners spill onto St. Saviour beach – the Thai Dicq Shack is something of an island institution. Inviting guests to BYO alcohol, the restaurant serves its famed ‘jungle curry’, alongside other traditional Thai dishes.
A small island with a dizzying amount crammed inside its sea-lapped borders, Jersey is a poster boy for an indulgent and relaxed weekend break.
With a foodie scene to rival any major city, costal walks and activities to satisfy even life’s biggest of adventurers, and a very real, living history, Jersey may be small, but it is most certainly not lacking. Indeed, it is a vibrantly beautiful little island, with a fiercely independent spirit – and one I would urge you to visit.
Thank you to The Atlantic Hotel for hosting us during our short break in Jersey.
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