Jersey

In September I spent a week in Jersey with my family. Jersey holds a special place in my heart, it’s where we holidayed when I was a kid every year from when I was 6 until I left college at 18, and whilst I’ve been a couple of times since then, it’s now been 10 years since I last went. A place that holds lots of memories. In contrast to pretty much every other trip on this blog, this was a family holiday, and one to celebrate milestone birthdays for my dad, mum and brother.

For the first time in years (though actually the second time in 9 days due to a work trip) I flew from Cardiff airport, just 35 minutes from where I live, and such a small airport that you can happily whizz through check in and security in under 10 minutes. Cardiff airport doesn’t offer a massive array of destinations, but Qatar Airways have started daily flights to Doha which does give me options for next year without having to go to Heathrow…stay tuned for more on those plans.

Jersey is a 30 minute flight from Cardiff, and so after one of my shorter holiday journeys I was standing in warm early September sunshine on the island of Jersey.

Most of my folks had arrived the previous day on a flight from Manchester but my brother and sister-in-law were coming on the ferry from Poole, so after I arrived (and had a drama at the hotel check in whereby I’d been bumped from a double room to a single room for one night because ‘we are very busy’) we all headed off to the harbour in St Helier to wait for their boat to come in.

After waving at them as they drove off the ferry, we then had a pretty relaxed afternoon before all meeting up in Rozel for a lovely pub dinner. On the second day we all went for lunch at the Atlantic Hotel, to celebrate my dad’s birthday (not that it was actually his birthday but, you know, any excuse…). Biggest Yorkshire pudding ever…

After a leisurely lunch, we then drove to Corbiere lighthouse right on the south-westerly tip of Jersey. At low tide you can walk along the causeway to the lighthouse. We just about managed it before the tide came in.

Then we drove round to St Ouen’s Bay which spans the west coast of Jersey. There’s always been something kinda wild and beautifully desolate about St Ouen’s, it’s exposed to the prevailing wind (great for surfing) and if you headed directly west the next stop would be Newfoundland.

We then went to Bouley Bay on the north of the island. This is where I’ve always stayed when I’ve previously been to Jersey. It’s in a small bay which has a stony beach and steep hillside behind it and is probably about as much off the usual tourist trail as you’d get on Jersey. I have so many happy memories of May half term, September hols and early July hols here (the daily Calippo ice lolly from the cafe, watching the Hill Climb on the May bank holiday Monday, having tea in the lounge when we were too young to go down for ‘grown up’ dinner, being able to watch anything on TV in the evening whilst mum and dad were at dinner, usually Eastenders or Casualty if I remember (we were young!), eventually being old enough to go for dinner and then fancying all the Portuguese waiters, throwing stones into the sea and trying to get good ‘skimmers’…those were the days) and it was kinda sad to see that the hotel is now empty, and has been for some time.

The next day was no less hectic. After a morning run along the front we headed off to Elizabeth Castle on the Duck boat as the tide was in (when the tide is out you can walk there). A castle with a long and potted history including being controlled by Germany during the Occupation in WW2.

After this we headed over to St Aubin, across the bay from the castle, for a spot of lunch (there was a lot of eating on this holiday!)

We went to Jersey Zoo the following day. It’s been a long, long time since we went to Jersey Zoo (in fact since I’ve been to any zoo). I have mixed feelings about zoos, on the one hand it gives you the opportunity to see wildlife you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to see without embarking on an adventure, but on the other hand they aren’t in their natural environment and some of them didn’t look super-happy about being gawped at by tourists.

I remember when I was younger that my favourite thing to see here were the flamingos. They’re still awesome.

After the zoo we went to St Catherine’s Point on the east of the island, and a nice walk along the breakwater.

That evening we had the first of 2 tasting menus for dinner, this one at Tassili at the Grand Hotel. Lovely if slightly large portions – I was stuffed after this!

The next day I went to the Escape Rooms at the War Tunnels with my mum, brother and sister-in-law. It was the first time I’d been to an Escape Room, and it was a lot of fun. And we managed to escape in under an hour – result!

After that we headed to La Mare Vineyards for some wine tasting and purchasing, followed by a quick trip to Devil’s Hole, always a disappointment when the tide isn’t in.

That evening we had our second tasting menu at Bohemia. Very nice, and better-sized portions.

The next day was the Jersey Air Show. Always a good day, and a perfect blue sky for background. It’s always good to see the Red Arrows, and some of the other displays were pretty awesome.

The next day we went to the Oyster Box in St Brelade’s for lunch, more delicious seafood….

And then we went to possibly my favourite beach on Jersey at Greve de Lecq. Nice and quiet at the end of the season.

A lovely way to end a fabulous week in Jersey. I flew back to Cardiff the following day.

All in all, a great week. Lovely memories of my childhood, good weather, great food and only 30 minutes from Cardiff!

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