Jersey is a fantastic choice for a mini break or longer stay. With 48 hours in Jersey, we will show you how to get the best from your trip. It’s often described as the sunniest place in the British Isles, although it’s actually a country in it’s own right. The largest of the Channel Islands, it has some fantastic beaches, walking trails and an intriguing mix of British and French culture.
48 HOURS IN JERSEY – DAY 1
I recommend that you start your exploration of the island in the capital, St Helier. There are quite a few pedestrianized streets in the city centre, making it a great place for an afternoon stroll or spot of shopping.
This statue by Philip Jackson in Liberation Square of a group holding the Union Flag symbolizes the liberation of the island from wartime occupation.
The fish market is also worth a visit, it’s currently being renovated, but you can still wander around and buy some local produce.
A short walk or cab ride from the centre, The Mansell Collection was created by renowned racing driver Nigel Mansell, who lives on the island. Housed in a beautiful art deco building, it’s an impressive collection of sporting memorabilia.
The former Formula 1 and Indy Car World Series winner had it written into his contract that he could keep all the helmets and trophies from his races. He provides the commentary for the audio-guide, and it’s a fascinating insight into his life not only as a race car driver, but also a talented golfer and reserve police officer – the man obviously has bags of energy!
This Beechdean Ginetta-Zytek GZ09S is a Le Mans prototype race car, co-driven with his sons Greg and Leo in certain Le Mans events and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Samares Manor is a must-see – it has the most spectacular herb garden in the United Kingdom, which you can view from a raised platform.
If you’d like to see an overview from the viewing platform and an exploration of the willow labyrinth, check out the video below as we get lost in the maze (mute the sound if you wish). It’s our first GoPro filming attempt – any tips on how to best film with one would be very welcome.
There’s a lovely Garden Cafe for salads, sandwiches and a naughty but nice chocolate tiramisu cake.
Mont Orgueil Castle has a striking location overlooking the harbour of Gorey. For over 600 years, it protected Jersey against invasion, later becoming a prison and today it’s a tourist attraction maintained by the Jersey Heritage Trust.
The view from the top over the harbour is well worth the effort. There are quite a few dining options in Gorey, including the Crab Shack, which has views of the harbour and the castle.
LA MARE WINE ESTATE
One of the most idyllic places to visit on the island has to be La Mare Wine Estate. We sampled the wines, chocolates and other delicacies produced here. Our guide talked us expertly through the wine-making process, as well as the distilling of Jersey Apple Brandy, matured for a minimum of four years.
Whilst you are there, have a go at tipple dipping, where you try to get the water into the glass without spilling it, and you may get wet in the process!
We tasted three of La Mare’s wines, starting with a refreshing Sainte Marie white. This is a medium dry white wine, made from Orion and Seyval Blanc grapes, and we particularly enjoyed its aromas of citrus and herbs. We then tried the intriguing Perquage, a rose wine made using the Saignee method of “bleeding” a little red juice from a red wine ferment, then blending with white grape juice. I can see this working really well for barbecues and picnics. Finally, the red Bailiwick, my personal favourite, with a long finish and soft red fruit accents. It’s a subtle combination of Pinot Noir, Rondo and Regent grape varieties.
The vines themselves make a lovely setting for a walk and a bride was having her wedding photos taken whilst we were there. Set over 25 acres, the vineyard was established in 1972.
There’s a great shop where you can get some souvenirs to take home. We couldn’t resist some of the estate’s handmade chocolates and don’t forget to try the famous black butter, which isn’t actually a butter but a conserve that goes well with cheese, cold meats, ice cream and apple pies – pretty versatile then! The latest addition to the vineyard’s products are Royal Gin and Royal Vodka, made from the famous Jersey Royal potatoes.
Jersey is blessed with a multitude of sandy beaches. One of the nicest is St. Brelade, which is very sheltered yet which offers all sorts of water sport activities: banana boat rides, canoeing and kayaking.
There’s a little Fisherman’s Chapel where you can see the perquage, a path from the chapel to the sea. You’ll notice that was the name of the red wine from La Mare Wine Estate. Ancient laws allowed a criminal to seek sanctuary in the chapel for eight days. On the ninth day, they had to surrender or walk down the path to board a boat, which would take them to permanent exile from the island.
There are a number of Conway towers dotted around Jersey, often mistaken for Martello towers, they are earlier, taller than those and built from local granite. There is a whole stretch of casual cafes and stylish restaurants such as Oyster Box along St Brelade’s Beach.
There are regular flights to Jersey from a range of airports and you can even take some of the famous Jersey Royal potatoes back with you, there’s an honesty box at the airport! We were invited to try the Blue Islands service from London City Airport, which was incredibly quick and easy, with a dedicated passenger lounge at Jersey airport serving up refreshments.
It’s best to take a cab or to hire a car, as public transport is quite infrequent. The added advantage of taking a cab is that the taxi drivers are a real mine of knowledge about the island.
FURTHER READING – 48 HOURS IN JERSEY
Check out our guide to the top 10 things to do in Jersey for more tips.
Have you been to Jersey? Do you have any tips for visitors?