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IT'S NOT JUST COWS, CREAM AND POTATOES YOU KNOW!
Member Name: hazydaze123
Advantages: Beautiful island; friendly people; no VAT!
Disadvantages: Can be expensive to get there
WELCOME TO MY FAVOURITE HOLIDAY DESTINATION!
Jersey is situated just 12 miles off the north west cost of France. I have spent many a happy holiday in Jersey and thought it would be nice to share my experience with others who may wish to visit in the future.
~~~ A Little Background Information ~~~
Jersey, together with the other four main Channel Islands of Guernsey, Herm, Sark and Alderney, was originally ruled by the Duchy of Normandy, but came under British rule in 1066. The islands are renowned for being the only part of Britain to be occupied by the Germans during the Second World War. Jersey is rich in history dating back centuries, and there is a particularly large amount of wartime memorabilia which is always popular with tourists.
~~~ What Kind Of People Visit Jersey? ~~~
Jersey caters for more or less everybody. However, it is not the kind of place you would want to go on an 18-30 holiday or a stag weekend, but visitors of all ages will find there is always something there that suits them. There are beaches galore for children who like nothing more than spending a day building sand castles. Couples of all ages can experience the Island's abundance of attractions and the elderly often enjoy the guided coach tours around the island, together with the pristinely kept parks.
~~~ So What Kind Of Attractions Are There? ~~~
As I mention above, Jersey is full of attractions which cater for everybody of all ages. I have listed below the places I think are well worth a visit on the island:-
This is one of the few zoos of the world which concentrates on the preservation of endangered species. The zoo was started by the late Gerald Durrell over forty years ago. Once a certain species has been taken off the 'endangered' list, the zoo no longer exhibits it. There are many talks given on the various species and it is advisable to get to each one early as they fill up pretty quickly.
There is a large restaurant situated within the zoo which offers a wide selection of sandwiches, cakes, pastries and cooked meals.
There is also a gift shop offering a wide range of souvenirs.
This is a must for first time visitors to Jersey. Basically, you are taken on a journey through the history of the island. You enter the building through a courtyard. Once inside, you are met with various displays reflecting life in Jersey over the last hundred years, together with an interactive film of Jersey through the decades, dating back to 1900. The interactive part just consists of pressing a button to select which decade you want to view.
The highlight of Living Legend is a show called 'The Jersey Experience'. This is well worth a visit, though may be a little frightening for younger children. You are taken on a trip on a make-believe submarine through the various developmental stages of Jersey, including the eruption of a volcano, various wars and historical events. The introduction is narrated by John Nettles of Bergerac fame, which does tend to date it a little, and the rest of the story is taken up by holograms - yes, holograms. A very different way in which to tell the history of the island. A word of warning : BE PREPARED TO GET WET!
Living Legend has a very large gift shop (naturally) together with a decent restaurant.
Whether you want to purchase anything, or just watch while the pottery is being made, the Jersey Potteries are well worth a visit. You can watch the whole process of the pottery being made from start to finish. For anyone with children, there is a 'paint your own pot' room called Glaze Craze in which little ones can paint a pot and then take it home.
There is a very large shop within the potteries where you can purchase the goods made on the premises, and there is also a small exhibition of discontinued lines dating back over the last 30 years. I would warn you that the prices are quite high. I bought some coasters which cost in the region of £5.00 each but then they rely on tourists willing to pay this much just to take home a keepsake.
For anyone interested in this kind of sightseeing while on holiday, this is a great experience because you get to walk out to sea across a stone walkway. The castle was built just off the coastline of St Helier. However, you have to get your timing right with the tide. If you stay a little longer than expected and the tide comes in, you can either swim back or get a little boat back to shoreside - namely a 'duck'.
The castle has numerous exhibits situated in the Guardroom such as the usual medals, rifles and uniforms.
German Underground Hospital
(Now known as Jersey War Tunnels)
First time visitors to the island should not miss this. Built into the hillside, the hospital was built by slave labourers during the German occupation in the second world war. There is a fair amount of film footage and interviews with people who lived on the island during the occupation. When you pay your entrance fee, you are given a mock identification card of a specific person who was living on the island at the time, and on entering the restaurant, the walls are covered with photographs of these people. The idea is that you find a photo of yourself on the wall and discover your fait.
But remember - even if you visit in the heat of summer, take a jacket because it is freeeezing down there. Remember you are hundreds of feet underground.
There are many other attractions on the island which don't really need an explanation, but which ones you decide to visit depends entirely on personal preference. Here is a little taster:
*Eric Young Orchid Foundation (you get to see where orchids are grown)
*Jersey Pearl (basically a big shop selling pearl jewellery)
*Jersey Gold (same as Jersey Pearl except they sell gold instead)
* Mont Orgueill Castle (another castle with good exhibits and guided tours)
*Jersey Lavender Farm (see the process of lavender cultivation)
~~~ What Are The Beaches Like? ~~~
In a word - EXCELLENT! The beaches in Jersey are essentially little bays and coves. None of your Magaluf here! My favourite is St Brelade. Very similar to the south of France and a great beach for the kids. For those wanting a quiet sunbathing session, try Rozel. Any budding surfers out there? Well, THE place to surf is St Ouens Bay. It even holds international surfing competitions.
~~~ What Excursions Are Available? ~~~
Whilst visiting the island, you will see many notices advertising various trips. The most popular is a day trip to the second largest of the Channel Islands - Guernsey. I am unable to comment on Guernsey as I have never visited, but I have been told that it is a lot quieter than Jersey and not quite as much to do there.
For those wanting a trip with a difference, take the catamaran over the Sark. Here, everyone travels by horse and cart or bicycles, as motor vehicles are not allowed on the island.
Trips to the islands of Herm and Alderney are also well advertised, together with day trips to France.
~~~ What You Need To Be Aware Of ~~~
For anyone taking a car over to Jersey, or thinking of hiring one, the speed limit is 40 m.p.h. It may seem slow, but a lot of the roads are so narrow you can't really go much faster than that. However, a lot of the locals certainly don't abide by this limit!
It is advisable to avoid visiting the island when the Battle of Flowers is taking place in August. Although I believe this is a magnificent event, the whole island seems to be taken over by it and you will find hotel prices soar at this time of year, if you are lucky enough to get a reservation in the first place.
Jersey has its own currency. However, if you are travelling from the UK, there is no need to pay a visit to the Bureau de Change as they will accept English currency. However, by the end of your stay, you will have a pocketful of Jersey change - and they still use pound notes too!
There is no VAT on goods bought in Jersey. So fill your boots and get spending!
~~~ Finally ~~~
If you've made it this far, I would just like to thank you for reading my 'mini-brochure' of Jersey. I hope you found it useful for any potential future holidays.
~~~ Ooh yes, nearly forgot - My Claim To Fame (sort of) ~~~
I actually watched a scene from Bergerac being filmed in the middle of St Helier one year. Yes, I am old enough to remember the original series, and yes, I am sad enough to admit it!
(Also on Ciao - matthewsmum)
Summary: Fantastic holiday destination