For a weekend of healthy, outdoor activities Jersey is the place to go. With lungs filled with the clean fresh air and spirits lifted, visitors are guaranteed to go home with a renewed mojo and feeling inspired, relaxed and refreshed.
Jersey lies 100 miles south of the UK and is only 14 miles west of France, so has an alluring and unique Anglo-French atmosphere that is especially popular with visitors. It has a population of just 87,000 and has been part of the British Isles since the thirteenth century.
Jersey is just nine miles long and 45 square miles at high tide, although the island nearly doubles in size when the tide drops over 12m, so you can really get to know the island in quick time, which makes it a great choice for a short break.
Whilst many visitors rent a car for a day to enjoy the Jersey scenery, exploring the island close up is best done on foot. One of the best things about visiting Jersey is that you’re never very far from the coast. There are 30 beaches and bays on the island, so there’s always a golden stretch of sand or pebbled cove to seduce you to stop and rest a while.
The beaches in the more exposed west are a major draw for surfers. In the sheltered south are the more populated family beaches, ideal for safe swimming and a spot of sunbathing. The cliffs on the north of the island are popular with walkers
Another great way to see all that the island has to offer is to hire a bicycle and wind your way through the 50 miles of lush ‘green lanes’ that take you through the heart of the countryside with fantastic glimpses down to harbour towns and enticing views of the sea. Take note, cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders take precedence over the motorist and the speed limit is just 15mph to discourage cars from using the lanes except for access.
Jersey is a paradise for gardeners. Its mild climate, which is almost sub-tropical by the sea on the south coast, and fertile soil make it possible to grow an astonishing range of trees, shrubs and flowers. With sheltered and sunny sites, plants often grow at break neck speed and to giant proportions so never fail to impress green-fingered visitors
Whenever you visit Jersey there is something special to see – and as far as the eye can see! The mild climate and rich soil means that you can see blooms earlier that in mainland UK. Visit in the New Year to see wild daffodils that grow on the cliffs and roadsides. Head off for Jersey on holiday in February and the abundance of golden pompon-like fragrant blooms of the mimosa tree or Acacia dealbata will have you believe you really are visiting an exotic island in the Med. In March the ice plants or mesembryanthemums open their bight magenta-coloured blooms and put on a stunning show right through until autumn, helping Jersey to earn its excellent floral reputation.
Visitors learn most about the native flora of Jersey by joining one of the many, guided tours led by some of the Island’s experts and Blue Badge Guides to find the exact locations of some of the rare flowers
Visit Jersey during March and April and you’ll be shown wildflowers including the very rare sand crocus or Romulea columnae in bloom, in May and June the meadows at Le Noir Pre come alive with an abundance of wild orchids that include the southern marsh, common spotted and heath orchids. And, from mid-summer onwards the tiny Rosa pimpinellifolia covers the dunes along with sea thrift and other maritime flowers – take a notepad and a camera for the list is endless!
The cliffs also look spectacular with their carpet of heather and gorse. On the organised walks the local experts keep their eyes peeled as they wind through rough paths with twists and turns to point out the many insects, reptiles and birds that also inhabit the diverse habitats on the island.
The Battle of Flowers – In 1902 to celebrate the Coronation of Kind Edward Vll and Queen Alexandra Jersey decided to hold a parade. The event was so successful that it was decided to repeat it the following year and a tradition was established
Jersey has festivals all year round and some of the most popular are those dedicated to the islands beautiful flowers and gardens. These include the famous flower parade, Battle of Flowers, which is one of the most spectacular carnivals in Europe and held in August when Floral Jersey is at its peak. For garden lovers every season has its highlights and the following attractions are also a must-visit…
The Eric Young Orchid Foundation near Gorey, which has won multiple awards at the Chelsea Flower Show, and holds one of the world’s finest orchid collections. No matter the time of year you visit, you can expect to find an exotic display of orchids in bloom, with hybrids, which are unique to the Foundation
Stunning private gardens abound and throughout the spring and summer many owners open their gates to visitors. They range in style from semi-tropical with cabbage palms, tree ferns and the like and stylish Mediterranean designs to simple cottage gardens burgeoning with colour.
One of the most interesting to enthusiastic plantsmen and garden makers is that of Judith Queree’s at Creux Baillot Cottage. This visually stunning garden is crammed with a diverse, eclectic collection of plants and is a magnet to birds and butterflies
Now a country hotel and traditional pub, Chateau La Claire in Rozel has a forgotten Victorian garden, which was created by the renowned horticulturist Samual Curtis in the 1840s. Curtis had toured the British Isles looking for the perfect microclimate in which to develop a sub-tropical garden before he discovered Jersey and all that its mild ‘Riviera’ climate could offer. Look for a guided tour to hear the fascinating history of this ‘hidden’ garden.
On Jersey there is a fascinating range of carefully preserved natural habitats from peaceful woodland, sweeping moorland, dune land habitats, marshland, with rare orchids, cliffs and coastal heaths supporting a complex and diverse range of flora and fauna. The spring and summer months have the most to offer, especially on the sand dune system at St Ouen’s Bay.
St Ouens Bay is a designated Site of Special Interest and more than 400 plant species have been identified here, 16 of which are recorded in the British ‘Red Data’ book as nationally endangered species
Floral Jersey owes a debt to its dedicated, green-fingered islanders who plant and decorate the island with flowers each summer. Visitors can look and learn, taking inspiration and ideas home and especially for recipes for making the beautiful hanging baskets that are used to decorate the shops, pubs, restaurants and public buildings around island. These displays are judged every year, along with parks and gardens in Jersey’s ‘Parish in Bloom’ competition and the winning parish goes on to represent Jersey in the ‘Britain in Bloom’ national finals, which is organised by the Royal Horticultural Society.
The Jersey Lily or Amaryllis belladona is also known as the belladonna lily or naked lady. Autumn rains bring out the delicately scented gorgeous trumpet shaped flowers in late summer and autumn
Jersey has nine neatly manicured parks, the showcase being Coronation Park that due to its immaculate lawns and beautiful borders, which feature a diverse collection of plants, won it the accolade of being voted the Best Public Park in the British Isles. Howard Davis Park in the centre of St Helier is worth a visit at any time of year and you can join in a guided walk. The park is especially stunning in summer when 1600 roses of about 80 different varieties in bloom.
The landscaping at The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust features three valleys with dramatic exotic planting and garden worthy plants as well as native Jersey flora, which are grown to encourage native birds and mammals. It’s worth a visit at any time of year but to see the organic farm with demonstration garden where a huge variety of vegetables and fruit are grown organically for the Trust’s rare and endangered species, make a summer trip worthwhile.
Gerald Malcolm Durrell, OBE (7 January 1925 – 30 January 1995) was a British naturalist, zookeeper, conservationist, author, and television presenter. He founded the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Jersey Zoo in 1959.
The exotic Jersey lily, Amaryllis belladona, can be found all over the island and is in full bloom between late August and September. This along with agapanthus and mesembryanthemum arrived in Jersey as a result of the Cod Triangle – islanders would travel to Canada to catch and cure cod and monkfish, then sail to the Cape of South Africa purchasing exotic plants, before returning to jersey with their goods.
Why visit Jersey
It’s official – Jersey is the sunniest place in the British Isles!
There is a 15mile network of green lanes for cycling.
Exhilarating cliff walks with breathtaking views and gentle hikes along magnificent leafy paths.
World famous attractions, most notable is the zoo, which is a sanctuary for rare and endangered species. Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust sees over 500 births every day!
Award winning museums including the Maritime Museum and Channel Island Military Museum – check out too, the Occupation Tapestry Jersey Heritage, which was woven by Islanders to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the liberation from five years occupation by the German armed forces, during the Second World War.
In the centre of St Helier is the Central Market, a Victorian cast iron market hall, which was opened in 1882 as a result of the stalls being banished from the Royal Square in 1800. It’s worth seeing both for it’s architectural detail including the recently restored central fountain, and for the colourful array of fruit, vegetables and flowers inside
Wonderful clear waters in which to sail or surf and swim, or fish.
Plethora of stunning sandy and pebble beaches plus beach cafes.
Nine neatly manicured parks and beautiful gardens such as Samares Manor, which boasts a superb walled herb garden that is said to be one of the largest in Europe.
Field upon field of fantastic flora and fauna and Sites of Special Interest, which are protected under the law for their ecological, architectural or cultural values.
Trendy shops and fantastic restaurants – there are over 100 quality restaurants.
Historic churches, such as St Matthew’s, which has beautiful glasswork designed by Rene Lalique – it’s known as the Glass church
Jersey enjoys the prestigious Green Globe status in recognition of its environmentally friendly programmes, which features coastal footpaths, cycle tracks and the green lane network.
Five different wines are produced on the island as well as Royal Vodka and Royal Gin, made from Jersey Royal potatoes
IT’S A FACT!
Officially, men are banned from knitting during July and August! This is due to naughty 17th century knitters loving their woollens so much that they ruined many a crop, taking to the needles rather than harvesting.
Tourist Information Centre
Tel: +44 (0) 1534 859000