Jersey fuses British and French cultures to make for a charmingly carefree holiday escape. Whether you’re seeking striking natural scenery, crumbling castles or traces of World War II history, the largest of the Channel Islands has a great deal to keep you entertained.
As a dependency, Jersey enjoys a level of autonomy from Westminster without losing its British link, giving it a sense of familiarity alongside its own distinct atmosphere (some locals still speak jérrais or Jersey French). The best way to explore the island’s highlights on your own terms would be with a car rental in Jersey from easyCar. Here are some of our top picks for things to do during your stay:
Cruise around the countryside
Vivid colours and expansive sea views punctuate Jersey’s photogenic countryside, conveniently packed into 45 square miles to make for a manageable weekend’s sightseeing. Planning laws have prevented the landscape from becoming overly built up, allowing for large stretches of undisturbed greenery to give you a real sense of escape.
Begin with a serene woodland walk at the The Forgotten Forest, where you’ll be able to spot Giant Redwoods along with 300 other different species of tree, before heading to the Jersey Wetland Centre in the afternoon featuring attractive views across St Ouen’s Pond whilst being home to a range of rare birds.
If you’d rather venture further into the unknown, drive to one of the island’s painstakingly preserved Sites of Special Interest, with imposing cliff views from La Lande Du Ouest or rolling dunes at L’Ouaisné Common both serving as prime examples of Jersey’s undisturbed natural beauty.
Journey back in time at the Jersey War Tunnels
One of the island’s main attractions, this well-crafted series of exhibitions gives a shocking insight into life during the German occupation of Jersey during World War II. Discover the trials faced by locals by venturing into cavernous passages borne into the hillside, showcasing everything from Nazi StuG Tanks to stomach-churning wartime operating theatres.
Offset the grisly scenes from the tunnels’ exhibitions with a revitalising walk on the War Trail – a network of paths within a calm forest setting featuring remnants of German defence fortifications. Follow this with a visit to the tasteful and moving Garden of Reflection, where you’ll be invited to explore the conflict’s lasting impact and influence on the island today, giving your visit an introspective finish.
Find your bliss by the beach
Jersey’s roads are rarely busy meaning you can drive to several of the island’s most attractive coastal viewpoints in a day. Beauport is a wonderfully secluded spot to enjoy a picnic or photo stop-off with its stacked rock formations and crystal waters justifying its deserved popularity.
If you want to up the heart rate then Splash Surf Centre at St Ouen’s Bay will give you everything you need. Go out and catch some waves to get the blood pumping! Whilst the sandy expanse of St Aubin’s Bay is perfect for beach volleyball in the summer.
Plemont on the north coast wins when it comes to looks, with an intricate network of rock pools and caves providing ample entertainment for swimmers and hikers alike.
Glimpse into Open Gardens this Spring
Ever driven past a lavish country estate and wondered what lies behind those high hedges? In Jersey, homeowners share the love by opening their doors to visitors for consecutive weekends, providing a unique opportunity to seek out new worlds of flora and fauna that would normally be hidden away.
April will see the opening of three major sites, firstly at Le Coin St Brelade which will introduce viewers to a five acre, 17th century Portuguese-themed garden paradise. Domaine Des Vaux opens the following week this time highlighting herb and tea gardens within a peaceful, wooded valley. The final showcase of the month is at Oaklands, which offers a more organic, natural feel thanks to its arboretum being home to rare birdlife and insects that will undoubtedly turn heads.
Discover ancient castles
You’ll probably have seen by now that the bulk of Jersey’s attractions are nature and wildlife based, but human history buffs need not despair. Within its picturesque landscape are a host of attractive castles that will treat punters to sights from times gone by.
If you’re staying in St Helier you’ll be ideally placed for a trip to Elizabeth Castle, an imposing 16th century fortress sitting on a rocky islet just off St Aubin’s bay. You may even be able to catch a gunfire demonstration to show off the old defences.
Heading east you’ll find the island’s most famous fortress, Mont Orgueil Castle, a fascinating ruin that towers above the quaint fishing village of Gorey and offers far-reaching views of the French coast.