Very recently family members and I had an opportunity to visit one of the islands belonging to the United Kingdom. am talking about Jersey, Channel Islands. Before my trip, I heard and watched a lot about the island formation, history and its natural beauty, but nothing prepared me for what I experienced by actually visiting this magnificent place.
Jersey is the largest island in the English Channel. It lies in the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel, between England and France, exactly 161 km south of mainland Britain and only 22 km off the cost of Normandy, France. In spite of its compact size (14 km by 8 km) the island’s rich history, mixed architecture and diverse landscape makes it a unique vacation destination.
Jersey’s unspoiled coastline, majestic cliffs, beautiful sandy beaches, numerous bays, rocky coves and lush valleys create endless opportunities to discover the abundance of what this island has to offer. Between the natural beauty of the island, rich history, cultural events in St Helier, amazing food in dozens of cozy pubs, restaurants, and cafe’s and various sea activities, there is something for everyone on this enchanted island.
The island is well know for it’s dramatic, most extreme change in tide, which I was able to observe during my trip. At low tide you can enjoy walks on the exposed seabed that stretches out for miles, only to be astounded a few hours later by all of that being swallowed by the high tide.
My first and unforgettable encounter with the island was the sight of the iconic Corbiere Lighthouse, which I was lucky to admire at both low and high tide…and what a view it was! I walked along the causeway at low tide to the foot of the lighthouse, and admired the view from the distance at high tide.
The Town of St. Helier
After a tasty calamari salad lunch at El Tico Beach Cantina in St. Ouen’s Bay, we headed to our hotel in Jersey’s capital of St. Helier. This busy and expensive town opens its doors to the tourists with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, pubs and cafes, great shopping, night life and of course….beautiful views from the town’s harbour, including the marina.
I was fascinated to find out that the part of the town was developed on reclaimed land, when the new land was created from sea….a truly amazing experience, walking the streets that in the eighties were not there at all!
Once again I had an opportunity to witness the change in tide, this time by visiting the impressive St. Helier marina. At low tide, the view is kind of strange. The boats, yachts, sailboats, all sitting on the seabed just resting their hulls, only to be awoken and brought back to life by the powerful high tide a few hours later. Absolutely incredible site.
Rozel Bay, St. Martin
Although I witnessed the low and high tide while exploring the island, my eyes really opened to this phenomenon when we arrived at Rozel Bay, in the parish of St. Martin, which is more of a traditional fishing harbor rather than a sunbathing beach. What I saw and experienced there helped me to understand the beauty and danger of rising and falling tides.
When we arrived, the fishing boats were sitting on the sand and we were able to go for a nice stroll around the boats and to the point where the waves were reaching our feet. That in itself was a unique experience. Not aware of what’s coming (but in good company of family members who were well aware of the tide times), we strolled to a cafe located above the beach for a nice cup of coffee and amazing ice cream made of the famous Jersey cream…..YUMMY, only to discover that after 20 minutes the bay filled with water and the stroll to the boats wouldn’t be possible anymore. The sight was absolutely incredible, as it took only minutes to cover the seabed with a few feet of sea water. I have never seen anything like it, but I sure hope to see it again!
Safety And Travel Tips To Jersey:
- be aware of the tidal table so you don’t get caught by the high tide while exploring the local beaches
- when planning a walk to the Corbiere Lighthouse, leave yourself enough time to go back safely so you don’t find yourself stranded at the bottom of the lighthouse
- visit https://www.gov.je/weather/Pages/Tides.aspx for the daily tide times
- Jersey is a home to some of the world’s richest people, and prices are a lot higher than on the mainland, so be prepared to spend more than you would when visiting other parts of the United Kingdom
- bring a jacket or other outfit with hood since the wind can be quite strong
- when renting a car, be cautious driving on the very narrow and winding island roads
- the parking in St. Helier can be an issue so take that into consideration when booking your accommodation. Some town parking facilities offer overnight parking scratch cards (valid from 5 pm to 10 am) at a reasonable cost.
- Jersey is a safe place to travel to, but like everywhere else, be cautious and aware of your surroundings.
- St Helier is still safe to walk at night but reports of street crimes are slowly rising. As for my personal experience…no issues at all. Safe during the day, and at at night. Mind you, I never walk alone at night…better safe than sorry.
- take appropriate clothing and footwear. Be prepared for windy, rainy and sunny weather. Comfortable walking shoes are a must.
- surfing lovers are able to rent wet-suit and surf board at a rental hut on St Ouen’s beach – most popular beach for surfing
- don’t forget to try real Jersey ice cream and real Jersey yogurt, the flavor will amaze you
- good camera is a must
- be cautious while exploring Jersey’s dramatic cliffs
- for the ultimate Jersey experience on water, contact Jerseyseafaris.com (day trips to other islands, France, wildlife encounter trips)
- Jersey and British Pounds are accepted on the island. Since you will not be able to pay with Jersey Pounds outside of the island, don’t exchange/withdraw more than you need while visiting
- make sure to bring with you the travel adapter for all your devices charging needs
I very much enjoyed my trip to this beautiful Island, and really hope to go again, for longer stay. Seeing the coast of France in the distance while standing on St Catherine’s Breakwater, the thought that maybe one day I will be able to discover not just Jersey, but the other Channel Islands on the English Chanel and pop over for lunch or dinner to either Carteret or Portbail in France, was quite appealing.
I truly recommend Jersey as your next destination, and wish you wonderful travels.