We are blessed to live in Jersey, a 5 mile wide, 9 mile long island that we consider to be one of the world’s most idyllic corners. Geographically closer to France than England, it’s an island with a unique history, climate and culture.
With the warmer summer weather setting in, now’s the perfect time to make the most of the beauty our island has to offer. Here is a collection of our favourite day (and one night) trips:
Mont Orgueil Castle
Casting its imposing shadow over Gorey, Mont Orgueil Castle has witnessed eight centuries of life on the island. The castle served as the base for garrisons of English troops during the Middle Ages, when the island was subject to frequent raids by the French. Until the construction of Elizabeth Castle in St Aubin’s bay, this castle was the island’s principal defence against invaders.
Today, you can take in breathtaking views of the French coast and surrounding hills as you walk through the castle’s labyrinth of towers, staircases and secret rooms. Expect to hear some gruesome tales and discover hidden treasures. You can also climb the turret to see the curious Wheel of Urine, which relates to the medieval medical practice of visually examining a patient’s urine.
Physical distancing measures are in place at the castle, so visitors will be asked to provide a name and telephone number when entering. As per usual, social distancing should be adhered to at all times.
In the introduction we mentioned that one of these trips is a ‘night’ trip. This spectacular night-time display might even be unknown to some Jersey locals.
Jersey is home to bioluminescent Jersey glowworms – caulleriella bioculata as biologists call them – an elusive type of glowworm extremely rare in the rest of the UK. Unlike normal glowworms, the Jersey variety are at home in the water and along the shoreline. You can see them on most nights as long as it’s dark and the moon is full.
The worms are only about 4mm long and light up for about 20 seconds when disturbed. Turn off your torch and see the shoreline transformed into a dazzling display, like bright stars reflected on the ground.
Jersey Walk Adventures offer ‘Bioluminescence on the beach walks’. Visit their site here to book a walk.
German War Tunnels
The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to fall to the Nazi’s during WWII. The War Tunnels are a stark reminder of the occupation, a dark chapter in Jersey’s past. Blasted out by gunpowder and built using slave labour, the Tunnels were originally constructed as an ammunition store and artillery barracks. However, as the tide turned against the Nazis later in the war, the tunnels were converted into a hospital to cope with rising numbers of German casualties.
Now, the tunnels are home to a fascinating exhibition about life on the Channel Islands during the Nazi occupation. You can explore over 1,000 metres of tunnels that go down to a depth of 50 metres underground
The tunnels have recently reopened following the relaxation of lockdown measures on the island. Please note, face masks are obligatory when visiting the tunnels, so don’t leave yours at home.
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
Jersey Zoo was set up by author and naturalist Gerald Durrell as a conservation zoo 60 years ago, dedicated to preserving some of the planet’s most amazing creatures for future generations.
Today, the zoo is home to cranes, lemurs, howler monkeys and some of the world’s rarest species such as the Black Lion Tamarin.
There is much to discover at the zoo and the enthusiastic staff make it all the more interesting. They give informative talks through the day, providing context to the fantastic species the zoo hosts.
For those of you after more than a day trip, there is an on-site ‘glampsite’ where you can stay in plush yurts with real warmth and character.
St Ouen’s Bay
A list of Jersey day trips could never be complete without mentioning one of the island’s fantastic beaches. One of our favourite things about Jersey is that you’re never far from the sea.
St Ouen’s lays claim to being one of longest on the island, locally referred to as ‘The Five Mile Road’. On a beach this long, you don’t need to worry about it being crowded. The beach is one of the best spots for surfing on the island, picking up the heavy Atlantic swells.
The sunsets from the bay are spectacular, with the sun turning the sand golden as it sets over the shore. If you’re a Jersey local, we’re sure that you’re familiar with St Ouen’s and likely have many happy memories of it. However, it’s truly a special spot and always a great day out when the sun is shining.