This year we will have had one spontaneous and one planned holiday. The first one is already behind us, but still fresh in my mind, so I though it’s best to write about it before I reach that phase where I need to look at photos to remind myself of the beautiful places we’ve been to. And that is especially true about this particular trip, because I did not manage to make that many photos for a number of reasons, and, unfortunately, I will have very little in terms of images to share with you. In any case, I hope that my story will spike up your interest in the island and may make you go visit yourself.
Jersey was a very incidental find, but it seemed like the right place to go to, because there was the option of going on a ferry, taking our car. This was important because I am terrified of flying and over the past year I’ve had quite a few occasions on which I had to face my fear. So, naturally, for our holiday, I wanted a relaxed beginning and not to fear the end of it. I will probably make a separate post about the ferry ride, because if you haven’t been, there are a few surprises about it. But now I just want to focus on the island.
We went mostly for the beach, the ocean and the sand. Unfortunately, the first few days the weather was not very good and we had to come up with a plan B. The good news was that the island offers quite a lot of alternative activities, which one can do if the weather is not quite so “beachy” and some of them are also ok to do with a kid as little as ours.
Here are some of the places we visited
The war tunnels
These were fascinating. Coming from an Eastern-European country, where museums are more like galleries of all kinds of valuable and not-so-valuable things, expositions like this one can make great impression. The tunnels were originally made during World War II and were used as a medical centre for injured soldiers. However, they’ve managed to create a journey inside that tells the story of the island and the other Channel Islands, during the actual war. I have never been too interested in history as a whole, because originally I was introduced to that subject in the form of years and facts one had to memorize by heart. If it was thought to me like it was told in this exposition, I would have been million times more interested in finding out more. Anyway, these tunnels are a must-see, I think. Some of the facts were presented in a very interesting way that can make you think what you would have done if put in that situation. I am not going to spoil it for you so I will not say anything more about them. Just if you are not planning a visit anytime soon – do have a search on what happened to the Islands during WWII.
I’ve been to my fair share of zoos over the years. My favourite one is still the London one, even though the one in LA was pretty impressive as well. This one was ok, but the good thing was that our little one had never been to a zoo before and we were eager for him to have a look. The entrance fee seemed quite expensive for what was on offer, but we decided to go ahead. One may get the impression that this particular zoo is quite empty – in lots of the areas there’s a sign to look for the animals hiding and you cannot help but think – are there really animals in there?! My husband, however, pointed out something quite interesting – the different thing about that zoo was that animals were not kept in tiny cages, where you can see them from any angle, but were given vast spaces to play around in and live a normal life. That, unfortunately, meant that you have to look closely in order to spot the actual animals but I think the trade-off is fair. It is truly sad seeing animals locked in super small spaces for people to look at and this zoo seemed like a happy place for its inhabitants, most of which were monkeys.
It is a beautiful “castle”- no doubt about it and it being in the sea makes it seem even more special. However, the most spectacular thing about it, we thought, was the fact that when the tide is low you can actually walk to it, while on high tide you need a boat of some sort to reach it. Of course, the people have thought about everything and so there is a ferry/bus – Amphibia taking tourists to the castle – if you choose to use it, which can go in any kind of tide and bring you safely ashore. It is not a fancy ride, but does the job. We could not wait for the tide to change, so decided to go with the ferry/bus. A short ride away from the coast was the castle. We were told the walk would take us about 2 and a half hours, but we had the buggy with us so had to skip most of the more “adventurous” parts, and by that I mean walking along the walls overlooking the water as well as a half-a-mile long pier-like leading to Hermitage Rock, which is where St. Helier used to live. It is nice to walk around the “castle”, but I am not sure it is meant for going with such a small child as ours, because we missed most of the really attractive bits. There are free tours done by volunteers, which I guess is quite handy for people, who would like to know more about it.
Beaches, we visited a few, but mostly went to the St Brelade’s Bay one. We were warned this was one of the busiest beaches there, but look at the pictures and make your own mind, because for us it was pretty ok. The best thing about that beach was, as one of the receptionists at our hotel noted, that if you stay the whole day, you don’t end up walking miles from your towel to the water, as the tide does not go too far in, when low. There are beach facilities like umbrellas, beach beds and even tents one can rent for a reasonable price and for most of these you can say where you would like them to be and the guys will set it all up for you.
The other two beaches we went to were Victoria Pool Beach (Jersey Marine Lake) and Havre des Pas Beach. They are very close to each other and quite similar in that they both have a horseshoe shape “swimming pools”, where when the tide is low the water stays in. The good thing about these to name a few are that the water gets warmer as the day goes on and also they save you the hassle of having to chase the end of the water all day. These pools are perfect for children, because there are no waves and there’s a very gentle slope, so it does not get deep too quickly. At the deeper ends, they both have ladders to climb to the edge and one of them (the Havre des Pas) even had a platform from which the braver ones could jump into the water.
- Driving – The island is suuuper tiny with suuuper tiny streets. Still, I think that is one of the most adorable things about it. I am super disappointed for not making any video of us going through those narrow roads surrounded by pretty houses and green nature everywhere. Anyway, my advice is to go for it anyway, even if it seems super scary because it is worth it.
- Parking – Parking is super easy around Jersey. Most tourist attractions have free parking if you manage to find a free spot, and on-street parking as well as the ones by the different beaches use the so-called pay cards, which one can buy from almost any small shop or café around. The parking that we used the most was the Sand street one and it was quite good – almost always we managed to find free spaces.
- A good place to eat I could recommend is The Goose in St. Peter. Food and service were good, and they have a children’s menu, which our little one approved of.
I could probably share a few more details, but feel like this has become too-long-a-story, so I’ll leave it here. I hope you enjoyed it and possibly found something useful in it. Let me know if you’ve been to Jersey what your experience was like, things we missed and places worth going to in case we go back anytime soon J