Mid September, my friend Myra and I decided to have a few days away. The weather hadn’t been great in London so we decided to chase the sun to Jersey and we did! We had 5 beautiful days of sunny weather whilst emails from my friends at home bemoaned the fact that it was grey and cold!
We stayed at The Savoy Hotel in Rouge Bouillon in St Helier. It maybe doesn’t look quite as grand as it’s name would suggest but it is a lovely hotel. The rooms are small but very comfortable and the public areas are lovely. There is an outside swimming pool and sun lounger area and the staff are really helpful and friendly. We didn’t eat in the restaurant (except for breakfast which was a great buffet plus full English!) but we did have dinner in the bar one night and the food was superb.
A visit to Jersey wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Jersey War Tunnels. It doesn’t sound too exciting but was, in fact, very poignant and emotional. One kilometre of tunnels built by the Germans (using slave labour) during the German occupation of Jersey during WWII consists of thought-provoking galleries depicting life during the occupation. When you purchase your ticket you are given a replica of a Jersey Identity Card which contains a photo of a real occupant. A nice little memento to remind you of your visit.
Another “must see” place is The Durrell Wildlife Park. Gerald Durrell (as well as being an author) dedicated his life to conservation and has done wonderful work at his Wildlife park. Seeing the Western Lowland gorilla families thriving is wonderful.
The Jersey Bus and Coach Company do a great Round Island Tour. This stops at numerous lovely bays and beaches (sandy on the West side and rocky on the East) and gives you a taste of the rest of Jersey if you don’t want to hire a car.
St Helier isn’t the most beautiful town I have visited but it has a lot going for it. Numerous lovely restaurants such as Dorans Courtyard Bistro which has a mixture of lovely dishes and a very amusing Irish proprietor, Casa Mia – a very authentic and tasty Italian and for lunch I would definitely recommend Relish “the finest delicatessen in the Channel Island”. With it’s platters of French or English cheeses and delicious breads it certainly lives up to that claim.
In St Helier you can walk out to Elizabeth Castle when the tide is out (duck type vehicles can take you out when the tide is on). This is where Sir Walter Raleigh lived when he was Governor of Jersey from 1600-1603. The Botanic Gardens is also only a short bus ride away. It isn’t quite Kew but is very pleasant.
I had never visited the Channel Islands before but I would definitely recommend it.