All about Jersey – the Sunshine Isle!
Situated in the Bay of St Malo, fourteen miles from the coast of Normandy and making the southernmost end of the United Kingdom, Jersey has a ‘vibe’ all of it’s own!
The Island is a granite ‘mount’ on the shallow seabed connected to France, formed by volcanic action and sloping gently in a south facing plateau. What all that geographical talk actually means, is that the island is like a giant sun-bed – hence it’s designation as the warmest place in the British Isles!
The culture here is a real melting pot, cliché as that may sound there really isn’t a better way to describe it; the street names are mostly French, there is a large proportion of Portuguese cuisine in the restaurants and the Western end of the Island is a surfers paradise that would remind you of somewhere across the Atlantic at times!
Come and see for yourself, and if you are here already, here are some things you could see and do!
Jersey – beaches and watersports; insider information!
Although Durrell Wildlife Camp sits more or less ‘in the middle’ of the island of Jersey, the 9 x 5 mile (45 miles squared) size puts almost all of the beautiful and varied coast within easy reach of guests.
Lovers of clean beaches, clear seawater, rugged coastline and spectacular cliff path views will find Jersey has all of these in abundance – and mostly within a half hour drive or taxi ride of Durrell!
The more famous beaches include St Brelade in the south west – a ‘tourist beach’ but for good reason! It has clean sands, is framed by green fringed cliffs and palm trees, with a gentle sloping tidal area that gets heated all day by way of being in the sun’s path from morning to evening. Perfect for bathing! There’s boat trips and watersports concessions along the beach, offering kayaks and pedal-boats for hire – and lifeguards on duty between 10am and 6pm from Saturday 28 May until Sunday 2 October.
One of the more spectacular beaches in Jersey, and perhaps one of the more secret, is Plemont in the west. Another of the Island’s naturally occurring bays, carved into the high granite cliffs, Plemont is crowned with a huge cave complete with a fresh spring water waterfall with around a 200ft drop! When the tide is low, there are acres of clean shining sand dotted with rock pools! Conversely, when the tide is up Plemont offers a chance to swim through the caves and huge standing rocky outcrops, in some of the clearest water in Europe! One thing to note about Plemont is that access requires a lot of stair climbing – but trust us, it’s totally worth it!
On the south coast, Havre des Pas has one of the last remaining Victorian tidal swimming pools, complete with promenade, changing rooms and a fine cafe right on the ‘mini pier’. When the tide drops, not only do you get the chance for safe swimming in fresh seawater, but the Ramsar wetlands reserve area on Jersey’s south coast reveals itself. It’s been described as ‘a moonscape’ – as the many mounts, rock and craters is staggering – but we suggest you look for one of the guided walks available if you want to explore it, as the tide can come in extremely rapidly. See www.jerseywalkadventures.co.uk. Nearby Green Island is also worth a look if you like rock pools and nature.
Jersey Sea Sport Centre operate from La Haule Slipway on St Aubin – and offer jet skis for hire, guided jet ski coastal tours, inflatable ‘banana’ rides and waterskiing! See www.jerseyseasport.com for more information.
Surfers or even wannabe surfers will find the expansive St Ouen beach – known locally as ‘five mile road’ or ‘the dunes’ to be their very own surfer’s paradise. Served by rolling swells right off the Atlantic ocean, piled up by the shallowing approaches and served on clean sands with enough space for literally hundreds of surfers, it’s a unique part of the Channel Islands. Local surf tutors work from www.jerseysurfschool.co.uk and hire out all the necessary equipment – if you ever wanted to try, here’s your perfect opportunity!
This is but a small taste of the varied coast Jersey has to offer… your Wildlife Camp Rangers can tell you even more when you get here… just ask!
Jersey – annual events and calendar highlights!
Some of Jersey’s annual events are age old traditions, some, like the music festivals, are fast become ‘new traditions’… and some are just plain good days out! Let us tell you about a few of them!
Taking place at the Royal Jersey Showground – literally ‘around the corner’ from Durrell Wildlife Camp, Jersey Live is an annual two-day music festival that find Jersey hosting some of the biggest names in the music scene – as well as meticulously sourced ‘up and coming’ acts, many of whom go on to be huge stars in their own right later on. It’s been going – and dare we say growing since 2004 – and is held around the end of August or beginning of September annually. We humbly suggest that those planning a visit specifically to go to Jersey Live will find the closest, handiest and certainly most unique self catering accommodation is right here, at Durrell Wildlife Camp! See www.jerseylive.org.uk for more information.
The Airtel Vodafone Seaside Festival takes place on Havre des Pas promenade each year at the start of August. This year August 8th from 1100hrs until 2200hrs ‘the prom’ and Victoria tidal bathing pool will see some of the very best entertainers and food stalls, arts and crafts and general celebrations of beach culture! Admission is Free too!
The Battle of Flowers – both daytime and Moonlight Parade, are spectacular carnivals held annually along the seafront and esplanade in St Helier. Presided over by celebrity ‘King and Queen’, along with the ‘Miss Battle’ pageant contestants – winners of Parish pageants – the ‘Battle’ is a parade of colourful floral floats and performers. Each ‘Battle’ also coincides with a fun fair at the People’s Park west of St Helier town… so kids and adults can enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of a true carnival atmosphere! This year’s parades are on August 9th (daytime between 1400hrs and 1700hrs) and August 10th (moonlight parade between 2100hrs and 2345hrs). For more information see www.battleofflowers.com
The Festival of Arts and Crafts is held annually each September, and consists of over 35 exhibitors with mostly handmade art, craft and design based gift ideas, food stuffs and technology. Held at Fort Regent in St Helier, itself worthy of a good look around, not least for the views from the ramparts, the festival is a highlight of the year for many exhibitors, and they bring their finest wares and fares just for Jersey! This year it runs from September 18th – 23rd with doors opening at 0900hrs. See www.barnespublishing.com for more information.
If you’re a fan of cider – especially freshly and traditionally made cider – you may be interested to know that Jersey has a long tradition of cider making… in fact, Jersey famously had 80% of it’s land devoted to orchards! La Fais’sie d’Cidre is literally ‘the festival of cider’, and is based around the Jersey Heritage’s wonderful Hamptonne Country Life Museum with it’s traditional granite cider press! There’s all kinds of cider and organic apple juice, bands playing into the night and period costumes and history talks! Held every Autumn – this year on October 20th and 21st – and now incorporating Sounds and Cider mini music festival, it’s great fun… just try not to ‘sample’ too much! See www.jerseyheritage.org for more information.