One of my favourite places to visit is Jersey the largest of the Channel Islands. Jersey is a self-governing dependency of the United Kingdom and lies in the bay of St Malo with the French coastline being just 19 miles away and some 85 miles from the English coast.
It is a small island being just 9 miles by 5 miles and a population of around 100,000. With its past history and close proximity to France, there is a strong French influence that can be seen in the street names, the 12 Parish names and the architectural style of many buildings. The capital is St. Hellier where most of the shops and population are found.
Jersey has its own democratically elected parliament under a constitutional monarchy, with its own financial, legal and judicial systems. Jersey has its own bank notes and coins and uses the pound. Visitors can spend UK pounds. It does not have VAT as it is not in the European Union but does charge a 5% (2017) purchase tax on goods. Prices for some items can be lower than in the UK although food costs tend to be higher. Jersey has to import many everyday things which can increase some costs but with the lower purchase tax this often balances out.
Banking and tourism play an important role in the Jersey economy and with many people in banking earning high wages and the limited availability of property pushes property prices so high that for most Jersey people today the hope of owning their own home is merely a dream.
Driving in Jersey
The roads in Jersey are generally narrow with a maximum speed limit of 40 miles per hour but in many places, this is often 20 miles per hour or indeed on the “green lanes” just 15 miles per hour with pedestrians having precedent. Do keep in mind though that because the island is small this is not a big issue when you live there. Small cars are definitely an advantage on these narrow roads! As in the UK vehicles drive on the left and other than a “filter in turn” rule (do what it says at junctions where this applies) driving is much the same.
Jersey has a milder climate than the UK and more hours of sunshine. Before the low-cost air fares and package holiday business took a firm hold it used to have many more visitors from the UK looking for that going abroad feeling without traveling too far. Today many of the hotels have been converted into luxury apartments and there are limited tourist attractions but plenty to keep you busy for a week or two.
The countryside and coastline are lovely to explore and cyclists and walkers can have a great time discovering the leafy lanes and sea views from new places around the island. There are many walks and cycling routes that are available from the Jersey Tourist Board.
Surfing is a very popular pastime for islanders and if you like surfing then come prepared. There are many good surfing areas around the island.
Jersey Zoo founded by Gerald Durrell is one of the most beautiful places that you can visit. It is much more than a zoo as it is a foundation for conservation and does good work all around the world. Do allow a day to spend there and look out for the times of the keepers’ talks throughout the day when you can learn a great deal about the animals and the work being done.
The zoo also has an excellent restaurant and shop and unlike many attractions prices are reasonable the quality very good. The place is kept scrupulously clean and the toilets are proof of this! There is plenty of free parking, places for bicycles or you can take the bus.
Cafes and Restaurants
Nowhere in Jersey is far from the sea so if you like your seafood really fresh this is the place to eat. There are some really terrific restaurants catering to all budgets and you will never have to go far to find one. All across the island, you will find super cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy good food and hospitality.
Jersey – Occupied by Germany during WW2
Jersey was the only part of the United Kingdom to be occupied by Germany during World War 2. There are still many German fortifications around the coast that remain as a testament to this plus an underground hospital built using slaves brought in from Russia and other parts of the occupied territories of Germany. Many of these slaves died constructing this and the many other fortifications. When you visit Jersey by going to see some of these things will help you appreciate the story of what happened and what life was like from 30 June 1940 until Jersey’s peaceful liberation on 9 May 1945.
During the next few weeks I will be writing in more detail about various places in Jersey and the history of the island so please subscribe to be kept informed. Please use the Follow This Blog via Email sign up in the column on your right.