INDEX Insider's Guide To The Channel Islands
The Channel Islands offer perfect spots for an early autumn getaway. Here’s the INDEX insider guide.
From beach walks and coastal driving routes to memorable food experiences, relaxing weekends in the fresh salt air and boat trips with stunning views, Jersey is full of charm and character. Just nine miles by five, the largest of the Channel Islands brings together varied landscapes and nature with picturesque coastal paths, Second World War history with sea foraging and oyster tours, and wine estates with lavender farms.
On two feet
Walking in Jersey you’ll discover a landscape of gentle surprises. Meander along rugged cliff paths carpeted with gorse and wildflowers as the tide laps against sweeping shoreline below; wander through wooded valleys and country lanes to birdsong, or gently amble along the marina to enjoy local food and drink in a French-style fishing village.
Jersey packs beautiful and challenging cycle routes suitable for all levels of fitness into its compact size. Warm up with gentle spins along sandy seascapes or tackle a pulse-raising hill climb to Jersey’s north coast.
The beautiful north coast where soaring cliffs tower over sheltered bays and windblown seascapes are stark in contrast to Jersey’s southern shores but no less breath-taking. The former boasts many hidden secrets, while serene, sloping beaches with silky smooth sand make up the southern shores.
Jersey is bursting with flavour from abundant local produce and rich creamy milk to seafood straight out of the island’s clear waters. From beach cafes to chic restaurants, farm stalls to village delis, discover high quality eating experiences to add an authentic local flavour to your stay.
This is a place where it’s easy to indulge in life’s simple pleasures with the whole family. How about shell hunting on a pebbled beach or a picnic after a morning’s activities? Jersey offers a range of superb settings, coastal and rural, from hidden worlds of rock pools on unspoilt beaches to watching sunsets over glittering waters.
48 hours in Jersey
Morning: Beach cafe breakfast
Begin your stay Jersey-style with a sea view breakfast at one of the island’s famous beach cafes and enjoy the vista with a breakfast featuring local produce.
Afternoon: Shopping & spa
Shopping in Jersey doesn’t have to mean the standard high street offerings. Venture further into St Helier’s criss-cross of streets to find independent boutiques and local shops where you can pick up unique souvenirs. For more quirky finds, make for the bay of St Aubin. After shopping it’ll be time to relax, so head to one of the island’s hotel spas to unwind. The Club Spa at Bohemia or Spa Sirène at the Royal Yacht offer a range of treatments, or try some rejuvenation by the sea at L’Horizon’s spa and pool.
Evening: Gourmet discoveries
From the gastronomic magic of a Michelin-starred menu to the simple perfection of freshly-caught Jersey lobster by the sea, take advantage of the island’s thriving food scene to try out a few new flavours. And round off your evening by discovering Jersey’s nightlife within the Weighbridge area’s bars and real ale pubs.
Morning: Pack a picnic & explore
Taste the real Jersey by making a stop at one of the island’s food stalls or markets to pick up home-grown produce. A favourite is the Fresh Fish Company’s harbour-side farm shop where you’ll find freshly-caught seafood, fresh bread, home-baked cakes and deli ingredients – all perfect for an alfresco lunch. Don’t miss the chance to taste some of the island’s local Liberation Ale or La Robeline Cider. And for a picnic with a view, visit one of Jersey’s two castles – climb to the top of medieval Mont Orgueil at Gorey or take the castle ferry out to 17th century Elizabeth Castle in St Aubin’s bay.
Afternoon: Get outside
After lunch, blow away the cobwebs and breathe in some fresh sea air with a restorative coastal walk. With miles of cliff paths, beach walks and bays to explore, there are plenty of spaces to soak up the seaside atmosphere. Choose your island side – the north for breath-taking cliff views and rugged wild beauty and the south and west for beaches stretching for miles.
And there’s more… Guernsey!
From exploring castles and forts, hidden gardens, art galleries and museums to discovering the island’s historic sites and natural beauty, Guernsey is another island that impressively punches above its weight. Its beaches (27 in total) are among the cleanest in the British Isles. Vazon Bay, on the west coast, recently won the coveted title of Britain’s cleanest. And the nearby Grandes Rocques Bay also featured in the top 10. The island offers numerous quiet beach breaks where you can indulge in life’s simple pleasures.
Tasty Walks (www.visitguernsey.com) is a series of 20 self-guided walks featuring the best Guernsey has to offer – stunning scenery and fabulous food. Whether it’s the rugged south coast cliff paths, the long sweeping bays of the west or uncovering the historic past of the island’s capital, the island has much to offer in just 25 square miles.
The closest of the Channel Islands to France, Alderney has enviable sandy bays, natural environment, historical intrigue and a unique character. It is recognised for its rich and varied wildlife, including the rare blonde hedgehog, the largest population of Glanville Fritillary butterflies in the British Isles and a huge colony of northern gannets and puffins nesting just offshore.
It also boasts more than 50 miles of walks along magnificent cliffs and coves, across golden bays and windswept commons, past Victorian fortresses, Second World War batteries and alongside a scenic golf course.
And in St Anne – the capital – you’ll find a community of colour-washed houses, cobbled streets and shops that has at its centre a magnificent church, known as ‘the cathedral of the Channel Islands’.
An elevated plateau atop formidable cliffs, Sark is home to around 600 people who live a relaxed pace of life lifted straight from a bygone time. Horse-drawn carriages transport visitors along the Island’s small network of charming roads, which are also enjoyed by cyclists and those on foot.
Sark is home to one of the most spectacular sights in the Channel Islands – La Coupée, a narrow isthmus linking Sark to Little Sark. And, after a morning exploring, it’s that much easier to justify a delicious lobster lunch or perhaps a Sark cream tea.
Images: Visit Gurnsey, Jersey Tourism, Chris George & Studio_M