Jersey Royals for a Weekend

Kate Self on 12 September 2014

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I'd never been to Jersey before. I guess I saw it as a more mature person’s holiday, but I couldn't have been more wrong. The beaches are stunning, the weather a couple of degrees warmer than mainland UK, the food amazing (especially the seafood), the nightlife vibrant and only 30 to 55 mins away by air from the UK depending on where you are based or an easy ferry journey from Weymouth or Poole if you're not a fan of flying.

We left Southampton airport on a sunny Friday morning, flying with Flybe on the 30 minute travelling time. Met at St Helier airport by Waverly Travel, the driver gave us some local information and hints and tips as we made our way on the 15 minute transfer to the Radisson Blu Hotel on the St Helier waterfront. Our room wasn't ready so we had lunch in Tiffin Tea House where the service was excellent, the food was excellent and the views over the mariner and Elizabeth Castle were beautiful.

We had a relaxed Friday afternoon and evening, taking walks around the marina and the St Helier Beach. Saturday was to be our day of exploring this beautiful island.

I have a friend on the island who picked us up on the Saturday and showed us around the island and some of her favourite spots. There are 12 different parishes in Jersey and each have their own shield and colour which is displayed on the road signs so you know where you are. The landscape is hilly with lots of winding roads and gorgeous beaches. There are also many war bunkers, turrets and castles dotted along the coastline, leaving a reminder of the history of the island, the various occupiers and battles over the years. There are even war tunnels that are open to the public that you can visit if you are interested in the world wars and how life was.

Walking and cycling are popular ways to explore the island and the visitor map is clearly marked with popular routes around the island. Car hire is very easy in Jersey and they drive on the same side as the road as us, just be prepared for narrow and winding roads.

There is a strong French influence on the island and many of the parish and road names are French. English is predominantly spoken and pound sterling accepted, so no need to change currency.

Saturday evening, we walked from the Radisson Blu Hotel to St Helier centre for dinner. We had cocktails at the popular Wildfire, before heading to Café Zephyr for dinner. After dinner we went for more cocktails at the Unique Blind Pig Speakeasy. Enter via a wardrobe at the back of a Weatherspoons type establishment and find yourself in the windowless Blind Pig. Baroque mirrors adorn walls and Renaissance art, which spans the high ceiling drips decadence over the crowd below. The back bar is made from 200 year old French oak carved to perfection and winking bottles and jars give a nod to the apothecary. When it comes to drinks, classics are served in metal goblets and even miniature plant pots. A traditional absinthe fountain stands proudly on the bar, whilst flashes of blue flame scorch exotic garnishes. A must for those looking for a unique night out experience.

On Sunday, we had a relaxed breakfast and then boarded the duck boat over to Elizabeth Castle where we witnessed a re-enactment of firing a canon. This included crowd participation and was funnily interesting. You are free to roam the castle grounds and the castle itself where you are open to a fantastic view across St Helier and St Auban where the UBS Regatta was taking place. At low tide, you can walk across the seabed to and from the castle as the tide goes out for miles.

After a hearty lunch, we were transferred back to the airport and from take-off to walking through my front door in Winchester, the journey was only 1 hour 30 mins making Jersey the perfect short break destination.

If you are interested in going to Jersey or any of the Channel Islands, please get in touch and I would be happy to help.

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