Located just 10 miles from the coast of France, the small island of Jersey is a fascinating place to visit, with a unique and charming blend of French and English influences. A Crown Dependency rather than a part of the United Kingdom, there’s plenty to see and do in Jersey, and thousands of years of history to discover.
Where else in the world could you find Neolithic graves, medieval and Elizabethan castles, a thriving international finance centre, top-notch accommodations and cuisine, and simply stunning scenery, all within 40 square miles? The island of Jersey in the British Channel Islands has all of this and so much more.
Whether you’re planning a trip for work or leisure, this post shares the top 8 reasons to visit Jersey.
- A Magical RIB Trip to Les Ecrehous – Seals, Dolphins and Smugglers
- A Complete Guide to the Best Jersey Beaches
- The Only Way to See La Corbiere Lighthouse
- Visiting the Jersey War Tunnels
8 Top Reasons to Visit Jersey
1. The beaches and coastline
No trip to Jersey is complete without seeing at least one of the 30+ beautiful, pristine beaches – whatever the weather. From the sweeping golden sands of the south coast to the pretty coves of the rugged north coast, nestled beneath towering granite cliffs, to the wild exposed west coast, pounded by Atlantic breakers, there’s a perfect beach for all comers.
While the beaches are glorious in the heady days of summer, they are also perfect for bracing winter walks, sea glass hunting, bird watching, and for watching wild Atlantic storms hurl waves over the seawalls (from the comfort of a cosy beach cafe).
Find your favourite Jersey beach here
2. The thousands of years of incredible history and culture
The history of Jersey is long and fascinating, not least because Jersey was a possession of the Duke of Normandy (better known as William the Conqueror) when he invaded England, killing King Harold in battle, and becoming William the First of England. Here are just some of the treasures for history buffs to enjoy when visiting Jersey:
- The passage grave tucked away beneath a chapel at La Hougue Bie – one of the ten oldest buildings in the world
- 3 ancient granite castles
- At least 12 Neolithic dolmens
- Multiple museums, including the riveting Jersey War Tunnels
If you love exploring history, that would be one of the top 8 reasons to visit Jersey.
3. The scenery
The island of Jersey is a photographer’s dream. There are ancient mellow pink granite buildings, tiny verdant lanes bursting with wildflowers, and dramatic land and seascapes at almost every turn.
One of the most rewarding things to do is to watch the sunrise over the imposing 13th century Gorey Castle “Mont Orgeuil“. If you’re more of an owl than a lark, head west for sunset above La Corbiere lighthouse, St Ouen’s Bay, or the stark clifftop ruins of Grosnez castle.
4. The food
Is there be a better reason to travel than to discover new food experiences? Jersey is a real treat for foodies, with restaurants, cafes, and tearooms to suit all tastes and budgets.
The locally harvested seafood is especially good, Jersey Royals (new potatoes) are legendary, while Jersey milk, butter, and ice cream are probably the richest and creamiest you’ll ever taste.
Local treats to look out for include Jersey Bean Crock or les pais au fou (a type of cassoulet), Jersey Wonders or Mèrvelles (a type of deep-fried doughnut), and black butter or lé nièr beurre (a dark spicy spread made from apples, cider, and spices).
Locally made beer, wine, and cider are excellent too, and the Royal Gin from La Mare Wine Estate is really rather special.
5. The Battle of Flowers
Jersey’s biggest annual event is the Battle of Flowers. Held on the second Thursday in August, this afternoon parade of floats decorated with flowers dates back to a celebration for King Edward VII’s coronation in 1902.
In the early years of the parade, participants and spectators tore flowers from the floats to use as “ammunition” in a “battle of flowers”.
Today, this vibrant, and hotly contested, community carnival concludes with a moonlight parade and fireworks display the day after the main parade. Seeing the Battle of Flowers is one of the top reasons to visit Jersey.
6. The outdoor lifestyle
Jersey is a joy for keen walkers and cyclists. Head for the north coast cliff paths for the most challenging hikes, or take a more gentle stroll along the seafront from St Helier to St Aubin.
There’s a network of safe and scenic “green lanes”, where the speed limit is just 15mph, perfect for a leisurely cycle ride or countryside walk.
With so many beaches, it’s no surprise to learn that Jersey excels in water sports. Paddle-boarding, kayaking, and blow-karting are very popular, and you don’t need any previous experience to try these out.
One of the best trips is an evening kayak tour around the north coast, to spot Atlantic penguins. Find out more from Absolute Adventures.
7. The world-leading zoo and local wildlife
One of the best reasons to visit Jersey you is to see Jersey Zoo, the world-famous animal conservation trust set up in 1963 by the late Gerald Durrell OBE.
It’s as unlike most other zoos as you can imagine, with every focus around the conservation of endangered species.
An animal encounter is one of the most exciting and unforgettable things to do at Jersey Zoo but book early – these experiences are limited and very popular.
I do assure you, the world needs Durrell.Sir David Attenborough (on Durrell’s 50th anniversary)
The impossibly pretty Jersey cow is probably the best-known animal on Jersey, but there are some surprises too. While no foxes rummage through bins for scraps, no deer peep from leafy glades, no venomous snakes bask in the sunshine, and there are no badgers or grey squirrels, cute red squirrels thrive in Jersey.
One of the best places to see red squirrels is on the Railway Walk from St Aubin to La Corbière Lighthouse.
There are harbour porpoises and bottlenose dolphins too. A “Seafari” to one of the rocky reefs and sandbanks which belong to Jersey is the perfect way to see porpoises, dolphins, and seals.
You will find a visit to Les Ecrehous – a Ramsar protected reef – an unforgettable experience.
Jersey is also the perfect location for keen birdwatchers. Perhaps the most exciting to visit and photograph is the colony of tiny but colourful Atlantic puffins – the only way to see them is by kayak!
8. The French connection
With Jersey located just 10 miles from the coast of France, you can see French influence everywhere.
Many streets and properties have French names (or Jerriais – the unique Jersey Norman-French patois) and while English is officially the main language today, many French/Jerriais terms are still in common use.
Here are a couple of Jerriais phrases you might hear:
- Bouônjour (Good morning)
- Combein qu’ch’est? (How much is it?)
- Mèrcie bein des fais (Thank you)
- À bêtôt (Goodbye)
And best of all the reasons to visit Jersey?
Jersey is only a 40-45 minute flight away from London’s Gatwick airport, so it’s equally perfect for weekend trips, short breaks, and longer visits.
If your time is squeezed, it’s easy to fly out on Friday and back again on Sunday, and you’ll be able to see and explore a lot of the best places in Jersey in just 2 days.
Checkout: Visiting the Jersey War Tunnels
Where to Stay in Jersey
You will be spoiled for choice as Jersey has a very good selection of places to stay. Here are some tried and tested favourites:
Pomme D’Or Hotel: Best for its location right in the middle of St Helier, close to myriad bars and restaurants, and moments from the central bus station
The Atlantic Hotel: A luxurious treat offering fabulous rooms, incredible service, and the very best in fine dining, all wrapped up with astonishing views. An out of town gem
St Brelade’s Bay Hotel: Located moments from Jersey’s most highly regarded beach and a good selection of high-quality restaurants, this luxurious treat never disappoints
Longueville Manor: Just outside St Helier, this 14th-century manor house features a 3 AA-Rosette restaurant, an outdoor pool with al fresco dining, and a casual cocktail bar.
Find more places to stay in Jersey here.
These 8 reasons to visit Jersey are just a taster of what’s available to do in Jersey. For such a small island, there are so many things to do – there’s a lot about Jersey that makes it special.