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Small island with lots on offer

By Jonny Drury | Travel | Published:

It is a small island that is held by the UK monarch but is closer to France and attracts thousands of holidaymakers every year.

Jersey is just nine miles by five miles and has a population of 100,000. Along with Geurnsey and the other Channel Islands, Jersey isn’t really top of many British holidaymaker’s list of places to visit for a week-long vacation or a short weekend trip. However I saw first-hand over two days in April just why it is popular and why more people should stick it on their ‘holiday bucket list.’

My girlfriend and I visited the island for two nights travelling with Condor Ferries and staying at the four-star Hotel De France.

A long trip down to Poole in Dorset was followed by around four hours on board the ferry, which I have to say was a great experience. We were in one of the lounges with recliner seats and couldn’t have asked for better service from the staff on board.

After arriving into St Helier, we had a short ten-minute drive to our accommodation. The staff were excellent and we had nothing to complain about. The facilities were superb especially the spa and swimming pool, and I would recommend it to anyone staying on the island.

Due to our short stay, we were restricted to just the one full day of activities, but it wasn’t the end of the world.

We managed to cram in four major attractions that gave a snapshot of what Jersey really has to offer.

Being part of the crown, Jersey is similar to the UK mainland, although due to the small land mass of the island, the speed limit is capped at 40mph, which was very strange.

And the large majority of road names were French, which gave us a bit of a laugh when the satnav attempted to read out place names.

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Our first stop was the botanic gardens at Samarès Manor, which were fantastic and nice way to start the day. The gardens are open to the public from April until October.

Following that we made our way to Jersey Zoo, which is north of the island and not far from the coast.

It was a fantastic morning at what is a conversation zoo, much like the larger zoo at Chester. Established in 1959 by naturalist and author Gerald Durrell, it is operated by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.

Both of those attractions I would recommend, along with the other two we visited that day.

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On our way to one attraction we drove past the La Mare Wine Estate and popped in to see and taste some of the wines and ciders on offer.

The tour we had offered a look at what goes on there, and how the products, including chocolate, are shipped to countries all over the world. Then we had our final visit of the day to the Channel Islands Military Museum which is housed in one of a host of bunkers built along the coast by Hitler during the Nazi occupation between 1940 and 1945.

This was followed by for me most anticipated part of the tour, the Jersey War Tunnels. The Nazis built tunnels into the mountainside inland on the island and then turned them into a hospital that could treat 500 injured servicemen.

The 90-minute tour gave a fascinating insight into what life was like, and how the people of Jersey lived alongside the Nazi regime.

I wouldn’t want to give any more away because it is really a must-visit if you go to Jersey. The only downside is we didn’t stay long enough to be able to visit more of the attractions the island has to offer, but I will certainly be going back.

If you’re into your history or enjoy visiting and exploring new and unique places, Jersey is definitely a must in the future.

Jonny Drury

By Jonny Drury
@JonnyDrury_Star

Senior reporter covering Oswestry and Mid Wales.

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