If you want a taste of English life, if you fancy a weekend away, or just a day’s shopping and a chance to practise your English, why not pop over to Jersey?
Want to go for the day? It’s great for Christmas shopping! Just take the early morning boat, then shop till you drop*, and get the late afternoon ferry back.
There are two department stores in the main street: Voisins and De Gruchy. You can buy luxury goods, shoes, bags, clothes, homeware etc. in these shops.
Also in the main street you will find book shops, jewelers, Clarkes shoe shop (much cheaper than in France), lots of clothes shops and all the famous UK brands such as Monsoon, Next and Marks & Spencer’s.
If you are going with a really trendy teenager – then have a look around Jack Wills, a quintessentially* British style that English university students love.
There are lots of little side streets to investigate, and one of them has a fantastic indoor market.
If you want to buy typically English food, you can have a look around the food department of Marks & Spencer’s for biscuits, cakes, chocolate, cheese, sausages and other goodies which you can’t buy in France.
What to eat:
If you arrive early in the morning, my advice is to go and have an English breakfast somewhere – there are lots of cafés which offer this, and if you stay at The Inn hotel, cooked breakfast is included in the price.
If you just had a « continental breakfast », and you are feeling peckish* at lunch time, go and find a pub and have fish ‘n chips, or jacket potato. Pub grub* is usually very good!
If you are staying overnight, there are lots of restaurants to choose from, but I usually head for Jaipur opposite the bus station near Liberty Square, which is a wonderful Indian restaurant.
Where to stay:
Jersey is a tourist island, so there are plenty of hotels to choose from. We usually stay at The Inn, because it is an easy walking distance from the town, the staff are extremely helpful, the food is great and the hotel has a young vibe* to it. There is quite often live music too. The Inn offers fantastic value for money.
Not far from The Inn is The Savoy. This hotel has a more formal and grown up atmosphere. The rooms are very comfortable, the food is excellent and every Friday a jazz band plays in the bar. You don’t have to be a resident to go to the jazz evening – but you will have to book a table if you want to be sure of a seat.
The Savoy also does a particularly good « Afternoon Tea »
If you are feeling rich, or if you want to have a very special weekend – then you could stay at Longueville Manor, an extremely beautiful and expensive five star hotel. However, one way of having a taste of Longueville Manor without breaking the bank, is by treating yourself to lunch there. If you go on a special occasion such as your birthday or wedding anniversary, you won’t be disappointed. It is very high class, so I wouldn’t recommend taking children .
Take a taxi from the port to your hotel – it’s by far the easiest solution.
You can easily visit all parts of the island by using the local bus service. Jersey bus drivers are absolutely charming and will tell you when to get off the bus. You can get a timetable from your hotel or from the bus station in St Helier.
You can also hire a car, but make sure you get quite a small one, because Jersey streets are very narrow and winding out in the countryside. The island isn’t very big so you can easily drive all round and all over it in a day. If you book in advance, the car hire company will bring the car to your hotel – this is much better than queuing with everyone else when you arrive at the port.
Driving around the island is the best way to come across the famous Jersey cows. Stop at the side of the road and they will probably wander over to say hello to you.
What to do and what to visit:
There is loads to do on Jersey! But obviously much depends on your age, your taste and what time of year you go there.
A “Must See” is the Jersey War Tunnels museum. This is great for kids as it is an interactive museum. It is underground though, so make sure you wear something warm – even in summer – and it’s not for people who are claustrophobic.
There is also a zoo on the island, as well as forts, castles, and museums and a beautiful coastline with lovely beaches. There are lots of musical events, a theatre, plenty of bars, water sports etc.
The streets are an open-air art gallery…..you never know what you might see!
How to get there:
It only takes about 80 minutes on Condor Ferries from St Malo to St Helier – the main town on Jersey. – and it’s not very expensive if you go as a foot passenger.
For further information, here are some useful links:
Condor Ferris: http://www.condorferries.fr/
Jersey Tourist Information: http://www.jersey.com/francais/pages/default.aspx
The Inn: http://www.theinnjersey.com/en/home/
The Savoy: http://www.hotelsavoyjersey.com/
Longueville Manor http://www.longuevillemanor.com/welcome
Jersey War Tunnels: http://www.jerseywartunnels.com/index.php
* Shop till you drop = shop and shop and shop until you are extremely tired
*feeling peckish = a little bit hungry
* Pub Grub = home made food in pubs – usually very English and very good value for money.
* vibe = a modern word for ‘atmosphere’
*quintessentially English = totally/completely/perfectly / typically English