Updated on 15 December 2022

Explore Jersey: what to see, where to stay and what to eat

The largest of the Channel Islands, Jersey is an island that's proud of its unique identity – including its cows. There's plenty more here to discover too, from Jersey's well-heeled capital of St Helier to its beautiful beaches, World War Two relics and the famous Jersey Zoo.

Why go to Jersey?

Jersey isn’t part of the UK but it is part of the UK Common Travel Area. This British Crown Dependency even has its own language, Jèrriais, with Norman origins and a splash of Viking.

It’s a little British, a little French, but undeniably Jersey. Expect to follow French road signs through winding country lanes, tuck into fish and chips along boulevard-style high streets and savour views of the French coast, just 14 miles away across the sea.

You can enjoy a short break to Jersey over a long weekend, or even pad out an extra few days. Once you’ve landed at the airport and collected your hire car, it’s time to start exploring. Read on for the best things to do in Jersey, as well as where to eat, sleep and what to see.

Key locations in Jersey

Jersey Museum and Art Gallery (Image: Courtesy of Visit Jersey)Jersey Museum and Art Gallery, courtesy of Visit Jersey


Enveloping St Helier, St Lawrence and St Aubin, the central part of the island is crammed with culture, from the Jersey Museum and Art Gallery and the Jersey War Tunnels to Jersey Zoo. St Helier reigns supreme as the island’s capital (and largest) city with its jewellery shops, British high street brands and swish restaurants. This area is best for a city break getaway filled with museums, shopping and style.

READ MORE: 10 outdoor adventures in Guernsey


Outdoorsy types will be happy to know that Jersey’s northern slither is located in the island’s very own national park. You’ll spot unique flora, Manx Loagthan sheep and maybe even a rare Atlantic puffin as you tackle Jersey’s walking trails, with dramatic views along every twist and turn.

La Hougue Bie, Jersey (Image: Courtesy of Visit Jersey)La Hougie Bie, courtesy of Visit Jersey


Jersey’s history is woven into the landscape of the east coast. There’s Neolithic burial site La Hougie Bie (pictured above), which you can still crawl inside; a mighty medieval castle and pastel-coloured fishing villages to fall in love with. Plus, this part of the island is closest to France – not quite within waving distance, but you can see the French coast from balcony-boasting cafés and picturesque cottages.


As this is where the airport is located, if you're flying here it makes sense to spend time in west Jersey. Aside from its beginner-friendly surf schools, there's also 'blo-karting' to try: essentially, a sail is attached to a go-kart that whizzes along the sand. This area also has Les Mielles Nature Reserve, La Corbière lighthouse and more rugged landscapes to enjoy.

READ MORE: The best places to see puffins in the UK and the Channel Islands

What to eat and drink in Jersey

Jersey has its own ‘Big Four’ of food: lobsters, oysters, Jersey Royal potatoes and Jersey dairy. Being an island destination, its seafood game is strong, with fresh scallops, oysters and mussels adorning most menus. 

El Tico, Jersey (Image: Courtesy of Visit Jersey)El Tico, courtesy of Visit Jersey

French cuisine is an obvious choice but there’s a strong Portuguese community in St Helier, so practise the lingo as you tuck into bacalhau (salted cod), empanadas and pastel de natas. Jersey also brews its own beer, roasts its own coffee, and produces its own wine – La Mare Wine Estate is the most southerly vineyard in the British Isles.

With Michelin-starred restaurants, speakeasy bars, deli shacks, markets and more, rest assured you’ll tuck into quality, local food no matter where you find yourself.

READ MORE: How to spend a weekend in Guernsey

Top things to do in Jersey

Mont Orgueil Castle (Gorey Castle), Jersey (Image: Gail Johnson/Shutterstock)Mont Orgueil Castle, Gail Johnson/Shutterstock

Spend a morning at Mont Orgueil Castle

Looming over quaint Gorey Village, the 13th-century Mont Orgueil Castle protected Jersey from French invasion some 600 years ago. Get to grips with Jersey’s unique French and British history as you navigate the castle's network of atmospheric rooms and winding staircases. The upper, open ramparts offer stunning views over the east of the island and towards the French coast. Entry to the castle for adults is £13.95, although if you buy a Heritage Pass, you can visit four Jersey attractions for the price of three over the course of seven days, so it's worth investing. 

Venture underground at the Jersey War Tunnels

Jersey was occupied by the Germans during the Second World War, and the underground Jersey War Tunnels (adults £17) insightfully detail the soldiers’ experience, the locals' resilience and the brutal conditions slave labourers endured in building this tunnel complex. Just a short 10-minute drive from the airport, it makes for a captivating final instalment before you head home.

Jersey Zoo (Image: Courtesy of Visit Jersey)Jersey Zoo, courtesy of Visit Jersey

Take a walk on the wild side at Jersey Zoo

Jersey Zoo (adults £18) feels as if you’re walking through the animals' environment rather than watching them behind glass walls. Founded by the late naturalist and writer Gerald Durrell, you’ll meet orangutans, flamingos, reptiles and meerkats across its 32 acres. There’s also a huge (and excellent) charity shop onsite selling second-hand and upcycled items, with proceeds going towards the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.

Take a bus-ferry to Elizabeth Castle

An unmissable attraction in Jersey is Elizabeth Castle, situated on a rocky islet in popular St Aubin's Bay. You can either board the amphibious boat or, at low tide, walk across the causeway to reach the castle. Once there, unpick the layers of history at this 16th-century complex with battle ramparts, hidden rooms and bunkers to explore. There are also reenactments of 18th-century parades – but be warned, you might be drafted in to help…

Come face-to-face with history at La Hougue Bie Museum

One of the 10 oldest buildings in the world, La Hougue Bie (free) is an underrated attraction in Jersey. Here you'll find a 6,000-year-old Neolithic passage grave (which you can actually clamber inside); it's thought to have connections with the summer solstice. Also onsite is a tiny 12th-century chapel, a reconstructed Neolithic longhouse and a harrowing Forced Workers Memorial.

Jersey clifftop walk (Image: Alagz/Shutterstock)Clifftop views, Alagz/Shutterstock

Explore a network of walking trails

Jersey is prime walking territory with dedicated routes snaking along rugged coastlines, through the national park and into the quaint countryside. At 5.6km (3.5 miles), the Jersey Zoo to Gorey route takes you from the countryside (or conservation park) to the coast, while those after a harder hike can take the 16.5km (10.3-mile) North Half Loop, starting inland from St Mary's Pub, along coastal footpaths and past pretty bays before looping back inland.

Dive into the watersports scene

Whether it’s paddleboarding in hidden bays or taking a RIB boat to see the group of rocky Minquiers islands, Jersey has an exhilarating watersports scene. The island's watery playground might see you kayak with dolphins, hit the waves with a surfing lesson or swim from one of the UK's favourite beaches at St Brelade's Bay.

Best hotels in Jersey

Best hotel in Jersey for couples: The Atlantic Hotel

Some 50 years in the running, the Atlantic Hotel is one of Jersey’s best hotels. Rooms and suites are decadent yet understated with full-height sliding windows, light oak touches and marble bathrooms equipped with Molton Brown toiletries. This small-yet-luxurious hotel is adjoined to La Moye golf course while its restaurant spoils you with seasonal and market menus. Push the boat out with a private yacht charter, either for a half day or full day (3 or 7 hours), organised by the hotel. 

Best cottage by the sea in Jersey: Sea View Cottage

When it comes to booking the best cottage by the sea in Jersey, you can’t go far wrong with Sea View Cottage. This detached holiday cottage lies on Jersey’s north coast with views from both rooms looking towards France. Its location is stellar: set on a farm with roaming heifers and the Channel Island’s first ‘tea garden’, it also has direct access to clifftop paths. While the minimum stay is seven days, you’ll leave wishing you could linger for longer…

The Moorings Hotel, Jersey (Image: Courtesy of Visit Jersey)The Moorings, courtesy of Visit Jersey

Best hotel in Jersey for style: The Moorings

Nestled along Gorey Pier, The Moorings offers 14 rooms overlooking Grouville Bay or Mont Orgueil Castle and combines soft, natural colours with bamboo mirrors and rattan lampshades. Its ground-floor restaurant offers a seasonal menu, from pheasant schnitzel to oysters Rockefeller, while its cosy bar practically invites you to sip a signature Scandinavian cocktail in front of the rippling fireplace. This independent hotel also has an onsite Pilates and yoga studio – a great way to limber up before a day of sightseeing.

READ MORE: Secret French places you might not know about

Best self-catering accommodation in Jersey: Durrell Wildlife Camp

Make your island escape even more secluded with a family-friendly stay at Durrell Wildlife Camp. Set within Jersey Zoo, each pod – think camping meets chalet – has a separate kitchen and bathroom, while sun loungers and wood-burning stoves make it a year-round treat. As well as access to BBQ and communal areas, you get free entry to the zoo throughout your stay.

Best five-star hotel in Jersey: Grand Jersey Hotel & Spa

The Grand Jersey Hotel & Spa is the only five-star hotel in St Helier. Its 129 rooms and suites overlook St Aubin's Bay, while some also include dreamy views of Elizabeth Castle and the park. Plus, this upscale hotel has multiple dining rooms (the late Queen Elizabeth II once lunched here) where you can tuck into fresh Jersey crab, French-inspired dishes and veggie options. The hotel's private health club and spa treatments are a blissful way to rejuvenate after a long day's hike.

Durrell Wildlife Camp, Jersey (Image: Wildlife Camp,

How to spend a weekend in Jersey

Day 1

From the airport: Head straight to La Corbière. The gleaming-white structure sits on a rocky outcrop some 500 yards from the shore, which you can walk out to at low tide between the jagged rocks. There’s a great vantage point from the top of the small car park, although on a cloudy day it does give slight Shutter Island vibes…

Stop for lunch: at El Tico, a relaxed 'beach cantina' serving hot grilled gambas, packed sandwiches and light bites. It's worth knowing that while Jersey uses its own currency, the Jersey pound, you can also use British Stirling.

La Corbiere, Jersey (Courtesy of Visit Jersey)La Corbière, courtesy of Visit Jersey

Check into: The Moorings Hotel in cutesy Gorey Village. Oozing Scandi-chic, the spacious rooms feature stylish yet cosy furnishings and with parking outside, it’s a great base for exploring – although, with Jacuzzi-style jets in the bathtub, you might find it hard to leave…

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Spend the afternoon settling into your surroundings with the short walk up to Mont Orgueil Castle, where you can enjoy stunning coastal views and points of interest dotted around the site. A map provides information about key points to keep an eye out for; there’s a valid reason for the unusual Wheel of Urine, we promise!

Hit the beach: Seeing as you’re already in Grouville, one of the best beach spots in Jersey, you could walk or drive along Route de la Cote to Anne Port. This small beach is lapped by shallow waters, making it a great swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding spot.

Jersey cows (Image: Courtesy of Visit Jersey)Jersey cows, courtesy of Visit Jersey

Dinner time: You’re missing a trick if you don’t dine at The Moorings. Relax in front of the crackling fireplace in the bar before heading through to the intimate restaurant. The Gallic-influenced menu is complemented by an impressive wine list which waiters can talk you through.

Day 2

Wake at sunrise: Watch the sunrise from your balcony with a cup of Grind Coffee before heading down to the hotel's breakfast room (the stuff of Pinterest dreams) for Eggs Florentine or Norwegian waffles and pastries.

Hit the zoo: Head to Orangutan Islands or Kirindy Forest for daily keeper talks, marvel at Chilean flamingos and Andean bears and wind down at the Discovery Centre to find out more about the foundation's global conservation work. 

Drive to St Helier: It’s about time you introduced yourself to Jersey’s capital, St Helier. This well-heeled part of the island is lined with boutique stores, bustling markets and brilliant jazz bars. Stop for a light bite at Locke's, whose Notorious BLT washed down with a coffee will set you up for an afternoon of exploring.

Spend the afternoon: At Jersey Museum & Arts Gallery (£11). The short Story of Jersey film will set you up with an understanding of Jersey's complex identity. Across the rest of the museum, you can discover Jersey's Ice Age history, listen to Jèrriais being spoken and check out a trove of artefacts and displays which piece together Jersey's culture. Interestingly, it also addresses Jersey's association as a tax haven.

READ MORE: How to holiday in Newquay, Cornwall

Elizabeth Castle, Jersey (Image: Courtesy of Visit Jersey)Elizabeth Castle, courtesy of Visit Jersey

If there’s time: Visit Elizabeth Castle, but whatever you do, follow directions to 'Elizabeth Castle Ferry Kiosk'. Don't just follow the route to 'Elizabeth Castle' on Google Maps as you'll find yourself inside the Jersey ferry terminal bound for France or England. You should also check when the last Elizabeth Castle boat crossing and tidal times are. 

Go for dinner: Stick around St Helier for dinner; it's home to some of Jersey's best restaurants. Awabi serves pan-Asian food in an informal setting – a bit like a Japanese izakaya or British gastropub – and is great for couples and groups. Nibble on smacked cucumber, sink your teeth into bao buns and deep-fried wontons, and share a big bowl of kimchi fried rice. If you're indecisive (or just really hungry), go for one of the two set menus.

Awabi, St Helier, Jersey (Image: Courtesy of Visit Jersey)Awabi, courtesy of Visit Jersey

Day 3

Start bright and early: Whether you're a guest or staying local, start your morning with a yoga session at the The Mooring's Studio. During summer, they take place on the hotel's roof terrace. 

Dig into ancient history: With a visit to La Hougue Bie, where you might spot the true VIPs of the island, the Jersey cow (a protected breed since 1763; no other cattle can be bred here). Or, if you didn’t make it in time yesterday, pay a visit to Elizabeth Castle.

Enjoy a hearty meal: Next, follow the curve to the other end of St Aubin’s Bay for lunch at The Old Court House. This traditional pub dates back to the 15th century with a brasserie-style restaurant in the original courthouse, although modern touches bring it into the 21st century. Amongst all that history you'll find modern touches and hearty food – whether that's fish and chips or an aubergine and chickpea curry.

READ MORE: Where to find winter sun

Jersey War Tunnels (Image: Allard One/Shutterstock)Jersey War Tunnels, Allard One/Shutterstock

And one final attraction: Spend your final afternoon at the Jersey War Tunnels, with interactive and immersive displays allowing visitors to really engage with Jersey's German occupation during the Second World War.

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How to get to Jersey

Flights to Jersey

Flying from England to Jersey is the quickest way to reach the Channel Islands, with flights taking as little as half an hour.

From the UK, you can fly between London Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton, Southampton, East Midlands, Birmingham, Exeter, Bristol and Southampton with easyJet, British Airways or the regional Blue Islands, which also serves neighbouring Guernsey.

Ferries to Jersey

You can also visit Jersey by ferry, which is commonly included in Jersey holiday package deals. How long it takes varies; Condor Ferries from St Malo, France or Poole, England take between one and four hours while from Portsmouth, England, it takes at least four hours.

Lead image: Courtesy of Visit Jersey

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Map of Jersey, the Channel Islands

Explore Jersey with our handy map:


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