An Island Coastal Tour of Jersey

Touring the Coast of Jersey

Jersey is the most southerly and largest of the Channel Islands, a group of islands in the English Channel. It sits approximately 100 miles south of the English coast and only 14 miles from the French coast. It is a small island measuring around 9 miles by 6 miles and has 36 miles of coastline which has a reputation for being stunning and diverse. We took an island coastal tour of Jersey to see it for ourselves.

The stunning views of St Ouen's Bay, Jersey
The stunning views of St Ouen’s Bay, Jersey

Tour Options

There are a number of companies offering an island coastal tour of Jersey Рsee our Jersey Travel Guide for details. We went for the half day tour with Tantivy Blue Coach Tours. The cost was around £19 per person although you can get a discount at times of around 20% to 30%. Tantivy has been in business for 120 years and so have a fair bit of experience in doing this sort of thing. You can make bookings at the Tantivy information booth in Liberation Square (ask for John). The tour is popular with short stay visitors as it is promoted as the very least you should do during your visit to Jersey.

An open top single deck bus used by Tantivy Tours
An open top single deck bus used by Tantivy Tours

What you get in the half day tour

The half day island coastal tour of Jersey lasts around 4 hours with collection at 12.45 from the front of the impressive Pomme d’Or hotel, facing Liberation Square. This hotel has a fair bit of history and was used by the Germans as their headquarters during the World War 2 occupation. During the tour stops are included for photos and also for refreshments. Transport is in a single decker open top coach, the same as the one above. Some seats are covered if you want to avoid the sun or rain, depending on the weather. Our driver, Sebastion, supplemented the recorded audio description with live explanations in both English and French which we found really interesting and helpful.

The route follows a clockwise direction when leaving St Helier on the south coast to take in Jersey’s spectacular coastline. These are our highlights.

St Aubin’s Bay

Looking across St Aubin's Bay towards St Helier
Looking across St Aubin’s Bay towards St Helier

Within minitues of leaving St Helier, the expanse of sand in St Aubin’s Bay comes into view. The bay faces south and runs from Elizabeth Castle to the small picturesque town of St Aubin. You might not think it, but from the 16th to 18th centuries St Aubin was the island’s commercial centre. From here fisherman used to sail across the Atlantic Ocean to Newfoundland and bring their catch back dried and salted.

At low tide in St Aubin’s Bay there is around 300 metres of flat sand. So flat in fact that before the building of Jersey airport it was used to land De Havilland Dragons. It is perhaps not the prettiest of beaches on the island but it is safer than others for swimming and is popular for water sports. Also check out Elizabeth Castle at the bay’s east end which you can walk out to at low tide using the causeway.

St Brelade’s Bay

St Brelade's Bay is a popular place for both watersports and sun worshipers
St Brelade’s Bay is a popular place for both watersports and sun worshipers

Situated on the south coast St Brelade’s Bay is one of the prettiest on the island and is the most popular beach resort. It is often voted the best beach on the island which is no mean feat. A small fisherman’s chapel sits at one end of the bay which dates back to Norman times. The beach slopes gently and is again really popular for a host of watersport activities. If you go back on your own take a picnic, perhaps including local produce, pick your spot on the beach, lie back and enjoy the scenery. You’ll tire yourself out watching the watersports activities!. The promenade is bordered by beautiful well maintained gardens and the bay is overlooked by large mansions.

Corbiere Lighthouse

The Corbiere lighthouse on the south west corner of Jersey at low tide
The Corbiere lighthouse on the south west corner of Jersey at low tide

The first opportunity to get off the bus is at the Corbiere lighthouse on the southwest corner of the island. It surely is one of the most recognisable sights in Jersey. You should try to get there at low tide when the rocks appear on which the lighthouse is built. There is parking at the road end and at low tide you can walk the causeway out to the lighthouse. It is one of the favourite places on the island to watch the sunset and also the rough seas crashing against the rocks. In addition, the lighthouse is overlooked from the headland by a World War 2 German watch tower which is now used as self catering accommodation.

St Ouen’s Bay

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St Ouen’s Bay from 5 Mile Road

The road along Jersey’s west coast is known as 5 mile road and was purpose built to show off the beach of St Ouen’s Bay. This is Jersey’s main surfing centre and surf schools are dotted along the beach to make use of the breakers. If you want to go back here under your own steam then there are plenty of cafes for refreshment stops if you go for a walk. La Rocca Tower at the southern end of the bay is one of 9 round towers built along the bay during the Napoleonic wars. Unfortunately it was substantially damaged during the German occupation in World War 2 when it was used for target practice. Its not difficult to see why the beach is a favourite spot for barbecues.

Driving along the coast road you pass the Jersey Pearl Factory. The half day tour doesn’t make a stop here but if you take the full day tour then you will have the opportunity to stop here.

Grosnez Castle

The ruins of the 14th century Grosnez Castle in the north west corner of Jersey
The ruins of the 14th century Grosnez Castle in the north west corner of Jersey

The ruins of Grosnez Castle sit on the very North West corner of the island, perched on heather covered cliffs. The castle dates back to the 14th century and is believed to have been destroyed by the French during the same century.  On a clear day you can see all the other Channel Islands and also the Normandy coast of France. The ruins sit close to the Jersey racecourse which holds regular meetings during the year.

Greve de Lecq beach

The prom at the busy Greve de Lecq beach on the North coast of Jersey
The prom at the busy Greve de Lecq beach on the North coast of Jersey

Greve de Lecq is the most popular of the north coast beaches. We stopped in the large car park here for a comfort break and refreshments which were welcome. In addition to the beach there is a fishing pier and places to eat. Check out the Seaside Cafe at Greve where you’ll find a self service restaurant, an ice cream shop and a well stocked gift shop. The self service restaurant also provides you with the opportunity to sample a glass of Jersey’s Liberation ale.

Rozel Bay

Rozel Bay on the North East corner of Jersey at low tide
Rozel Bay on the North East corner of Jersey at low tide

The bay is one of the closest places on the island to mainland France and so its no surprise you can see the coastline. The little village sits at the foot of wooded slopes and consists of a handful of fisherman’s cottages, a small port and a shingle beach. There has been a harbour here for centuries and in the 1820s there were around 30 oyster fishing boats based here. However, today lobster and crab are the main catches.

You should check out the Hungry Man kiosk at the pier. It has a reputation for serving a great crab sandwich with a mug of tea.

Town of Gorey

Panorama of Gorey harbour at low tide
Panorama of Gorey harbour at low tide

The town of Gorey, beneath the imposing Mont Orgueil Castle on the east coast, is definately one of Jersey’s main attractions. This was the third and final stop on the tour. Gorey has a picturesque harbour and also a promoenade full of colour from the many flowers and planters that line it. The port looks out over the Royal Bay of Grouville. Queen Victoria added the Royal prefix after her visit in 1859 as she was impressed by the sandy bay. We felt it was well worth going back to Gorey to spend a morning there. You can walk round the harbour and also admire the stunning views to the north and south from around the castle walls which date back to the 13th century. It really is picture postcard stuff.

Reflection

For us the 4 hour island coastal tour of Jersey passed really quickly and the tour was interesting and entertaining. It felt like decent value for money and gave us a useful introduction to the highlights of the island. It’s well worth doing, particularly if your time on the island is short.


Looking for More?

If you are looking for some further reading then below you’ll find more of our articles on Jersey. For related reading check out the Tag links as well at the bottom of the page.


More Reading on Jersey


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