Welcome to our Jersey Travel Guide. The island of Jersey, the most southern part of the British Isles, has a temperate climate, miles of sandy beaches, plenty of history, loads of attractions, adventure sports, walking trails and restaurants and shopping to suit all tastes. Because of this it is no surprise that the island is promoted as having it all as the perfect holiday destination. We dipped our toes into what Jersey has to offer and came away feeling that we only scratched the suface. If you are thinking about visiting the island, our Jersey Travel Guide will give you a flavour of the island and help you prepare to make the most of your time there.
Jersey Travel Guide
Know Before You Go:
Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands, a group of British dependency islands in the English Channel. It sits approximately 100 miles south of the English coast and only 14 miles from the French coast. So it is a small island, measuring around 9 miles by 6 miles and has 36 miles of coastline. But with 450 miles of roads and country lanes it seems much bigger than it really is.
Jersey has a resident population of a little over 105,000 (2017) which has been rising at around 1,000 per year. Most of this increase has come from net inward migration which is strictly controlled.
St Helier, the capital, has a population of around 30,000. The town is named after a 6th century hermit who is now the patron saint of the island.
English is most widely spoken. However, you will also hear French and Portuguese. Jèrriais, the local language is not widely spoken although efforts are being made to try to have it taught again schools.
Politics and Governance
The political position on Jersey is a little complicated. It is neither French nor English. In fact the Channel Islands are what is known as a ‘Peculiar of the Crown’. Basically they pledge allegiance to the English Crown but not to the Parliament. This means they are not part of the UK. Nor are they full members of the European Union either, although they do enjoy some privileges.
Sterling is used in Jersey, however the island also prints the Jersey pound, including a pound note. You can use English money freely and the value is the same. However, expect to be given Jersey notes as change in shops and restaurants. Also, to avoid any problem trying to change your Jersey notes back when you leave the island its best to spend what you have. Likewise, there are ATM machines in St Helier and across the island but only lift what you need as these will distribute Jersey notes. You can use all major debit and credit cards as these are readily accepted.
The time zone is Greenwich Mean Time or GMT for short, the same as the UK. This means Jersey changes to British Summer Time along with the mainland.
Jersey uses UK plug sockets (3-pin socket type G) and 220 – 240 voltage. Therefore, European and US visitors will need adaptors which can be bought in St Helier on arrival or before you travel.
Jersey has a temperate climate due to its location close to the north west coast of France. This means that generally it is relatively mild and perhaps a little warmer and sunnier than the south coast of Britain. Unsurprisingly, the warmest days are normally found in July and August, with average temperatures around 18-20°C.
Health & Safety
The crime rate in Jersey is relatively low. Despite this, sensible precautions should always be taken particularly in busy areas to guard against petty theft. Tap water is drinkable although bottled water is available for those who prefer it.
Travel insurance is all but essential. Jersey is not part of the UK, and so their health service is not part of the NHS. For UK visitors, while some medical care is covered by a health agreement they have with the UK, some treatment is not, and neither are pre-existing conditions.
In an emergency you can attend the Emergency Department at the General Hospital in St Helier. As in the UK, an ambulance can be called by dialling 999. Emergency treatment is free of charge, but treatment or care which is needed after that might not be. So if you do not have travel insurance you may need to pay for any treatment which is not classed as an emergency.
There is a wide range of accommodation on Jersey to suit all budgets and preferences. This ranges from bed and breakfast to 5 star hotels to farmhouses. So there is something to suit all tastes. You need to remember that Jersey isn’t a year round resort so demand and supply will fluctuate throughout the year, as will prices.
Cost of Living
The cost of living is comparable to London prices. Expect to pay around £35 for a 3 course meal in a mid range restaurant and around £4 -£5 for a pint of beer in a bar. You can visit Numbeo for more details.
A wide range of interntional dishes are readily available. With around 10% of the population from Portugal there are a number of good Portugeuse restaurants available. Although, if its locally sourced food you are after then there are 4 to choose from. These are lobster, oysters, Jersey Royal pototoes and dairy products from the iconic, doe eyed Jersey cows such as ice cream, butter and cream.
There are no immigration controls between the United Kingdom (UK) and Jersey and because of this you don’t need to carry your passport for immigration purposes if travelling from the UK. Although, depending on your country of origin you may need a visa. You can check the Jersey Government website for details.
If you are arriving at the airport, it is located in the west of the island and is well served by buses and taxis from outside the arrivals hall. However, if you are not coming off an international flight and have no luggage to collect then with a good run you can go from the plane to outside the arrivals hall in 10 minutes.Really fast!.
Travelling into St Helier by bus is by far the cheapest way to get from the airport into the centre of town. The number 15 service runs every 15 minutes and takes around 30 minutes to reach the bus station at Liberation Square. From here you have a choice of routes to other parts of the island. It costs a flat fee of £2.20, or if you pay by card using their contactless facility on the bus they discount the fare by 10% and charge £2.00.
When you come by ferry you will arrive into St Helier in the south east of the island. As a result the town is only a short walk from the ferry arrivals hall, although buses and taxis are also available.
Car hire is readily available from the airport and in towns if you want it. As in the UK they drive on the left. Look out for the handy infomation leaflet produced by the Jersey Govrenment on Parking and Driving in Jersey. You can pick it up from information stands when you arrive. It covers all sorts of information on driving on the island, from speed limits (maximum is 40mph) to payment methods for parking.
The public bus service is really comprehensive for a small island and you are rarely more than half an hours journey from anywhere. The cost per journey is £2.20 or £2.00 if you pay by contactless card, so you might want to pay that way if you can. Extra bus routes are laid on over the tourist season to deal with increased demand and they serve the top attractions. The timetable gives you all you need to know to get around the island if you are not hiring a car and don’t want the expense of travelling by taxi. It is comprehensive and easy to work out what bus you need to take you to where you want to go. Check out www.libertybus.je for more details.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit will depend to an extent on what you are looking for. If it is the weather you are after, then July and August are the warmest months, although anytime between the end of May and mid October, which is basically the tourist season, will be mild. Besides the weather, from mid September to mid October the sea temperatures are at their warmest, if swimming in the sea is for you. Also at this time of year there are less tourists visiting and hotel prices tend to be lower.
What to avoid
Jersey is said to have the second biggest tidal ranges in the world – next only to the Fundy Isles in Nova Scotia. Due to this the tide goes out a long way but comes in fast. So dont get caught out by it if you are out on a causeway or exploring caves. Also, you should avoid getting caught speeding when driving. The national speed limit on the island is 40mph and often less in built up areas. It can, therefore, be easy to get caught and fines can be heavy.
The crime rate relatively low in Jersey although as always you should take care in crowded areas.
Jersey is the most southern part of the British Isles and so has a temperate climate which is warmer and sunnier than the south coast of England. Although it is only a small island the coastline is surprisingly diverse, with long sandy beaches in the south and craggy cliffs in the north. Much of the island feels a bit like a British seaside holiday resort, although with no donkeys on the beaches!. There are miles of sandy beaches, an abundance of rock pools at low tide, plenty of history, loads of attractions, adventure sports, walking trails and restaurants and shopping to suit all tastes. Perhaps it is no wonder Jersey promotes itself as having it all as the perfect holiday destination.
Be Sure to See ….
With such a range of activities and attractions there is plenty for you to see and do. Make sure you don’t miss:
The Village of Gorey
The village sits on the east coast and has a picturesque harbour which is overlooked by the imposing Mont Orgueil castle. If you like history it is well worth spending a few hours here and visiting the castle.
The Corbiere Lighthouse
The views of Corbiere Lighthouse on the south west corner of the island are outstanding. If you get the chance take in a sunset as they can be stunning. Also, at low tide you can can walk across the causeway to the lighthouse.
Elizabeth Castle at the St Helier end of St Aubins Bay was built on an islet to defend Jersey. You can either take the amphibious vehicle from the beach or at low tide walk the causeway to reach the castle. The battlements date back to the late 16th century so there is plenty of history to explore as well as the rocks around the castle.
St Ouen’s Bay
St Ouen’s Bay and the 5 mile road stretches almost the entire length of the island’s west coast so there is literally sand as far as you can see. You should make the most of the views from the road which was purpose built to show off the beach. Make sure you stop at one of the cafes amongst the dunes for refreshments.
Jersey Zoo was founded by the naruralist, Gerald Durrell, to protect endangered species from extinction. The zoo will inevitably have benefited from the success of the recent television series the Durrells which covers ‘Gerry’s’ childhood years spent on the Greek island of Corfu. The zoo holds over 1000 animals within 32 acres of parkland. Visit www.jerseyzoo.org for times etc..
The War Tunnels
The War Tunnels tell the story of wartime Jersey over the 5 years of German occupation. The exhibition is housed in an underground tunnel complex and tells the story using archive footage and interviews with people who lived through it.
…. and also check out these hidden gems
We got talking to John at the Tantivy information booth in Liberation Square looking for some insider info. His top picks were:
Hamptonne Country Life Museum
Hamptonne Country Life Museum is a 15th century farmhouse which has been restored and brought to life with living history characters. During the summer months kids have the chance to interact with calves and piglets in the traditional farmstead area. Details at www.jerseyheritage.org.
La Hougue Bie Museum
The Hougue Bie is estimated to be one of the ten oldest buildings in the world. It is also home to the world’s biggest Celtic coin collection which was found in Jersey in 2012. Details at www.jerseyheritage.org.
16 New Street
The Georgian house at 16 New Street in St Helier was gifted to the National Trust in 2003 and has now been substantially restored. The house lets you see the epitome of Georgian taste and elegence. You can also meet the resident cook and discover and taste her recipes. See the National Trust’s site for more details www.nationaltrust.je.
The Jersey Heritage Pass
Most attractions in Jersey have an admission fee, which varies, but can be as much as £12 per person. Because of this costs can rise quickly, particularly if you are travelling as a family. To help keep costs down a bit have a look at the Jersey Hertage pass. It offers 4 entries for the price of 3 to their heritage sites and currently costs £32.45. You can get more details by visiting www.jerseyheritage.org. Also check out our other posts for much more to see and do on Jersey.
If you dont want to get around the island under your own steam there are a number of local companies that provide a range of excursions to allow you to take in the sights. All have their own way of advertising for your business. The main companies include Tantivy Blue Coach Tours, Waverley Coach Tours and Jersey Bus and Coach Tours .
If you want to go further afield then day trips can also be arranged to visit other Channel Islands such as Guernsey, Sark or Herm, or even spend a day in France as its ony 14 miles away. You can get further info by checking out www.condorferries.co.uk or www.itravel.co.je
You can find more details at the official Visit Jersey website: https://www.jersey.com
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
Before You Go
Before you leave this post, it would be good if you could take a few moments to subscribe for website updates and follow us on social media. You can also share this post on your favourite social media channels which we would welcome. You can find all the links in the section below. Finally, if you have any thoughts or questions please leave them in the comments section at the bottom of the page. We will get back to you.
Follow us on Social Media
Join our Mailing List
Make sure you don’t miss out by entering your email address below
By clicking submit, you agree to share your email address with the site owner and Mailchimp to receive marketing, updates, and other emails from the site owner. Use the unsubscribe link in those emails to opt out at any time.