Jersey as a Vacation Spot

By: Richard Adams
Jersey, one of the Channel Islands in the English Channel (in contrast to Jersey, USA), is a small yet beautiful island, perfect for a short holiday.

The island itself is as far south as France (St. Malo is less than 4 miles away and visible on a clear day) and so whilst still part of the British empire it benefits from far better weather.

This weather means not only an ideal place for camping, beaches and outdoor persuits but also you will see a profusion of plants and animals not normally seen on mainland Britain. Most notable is the only British population of the Green Lizard, often nicknamed the Jersey Green Lizard for just this very reason. Reaching around a foot long, and the males possessing a bright blue throat they are certainly a wonderful (if rare) sight to behold. Red squirrels can still be seen here for the eagle-eyed and dolphins may often be seen during the summer months.

Talking of beaches, whilst the island only measures a few miles long there are beaches for all ocassions. Long, sandy beaches perfect for surfing, more protected "sun bather" beaches and wild rocky outcrops covered in breeding sea birds. There are even some caves that only appear at low tide.

You can arrive by ferry or plane as Jersey is well served by both a safe port at St. Helier or an airport on the west side of the island.

Escaping from the attractive but busy main town of St. Helier, venture to the northern half of the island for the "true" Jersey experience. Rolling fields filled with Jersey cows producing thick, delicious cream. Farmers fields green with the tops of Jersey Royals - the finest new potatos around. Greenhouses filled with flame-red tomatoes. Foxglove-strewn laybys and meadows and the deep blue sea. There are also castles and fishing-boat filled coves to enjoy.

Jersey has a low national speed limit, plenty of narrow tracks and a "no caravan" rule making it a great place to walk or cycle, and an efficient local bus service covers the entire island. Exploring this small island is therefore safe, practical and incredibly good fun.

Other things to see here are the underground tunnels used by the Nazis during the war (the Channel Islands are as far north as the invasion got) and the world-famous Durrell Wildlife Preservation Trust (or just "Jersey Zoo"!). It was here that a small boy fell into the gorilla pit many years ago much to the shock of his parents. Alive, but scared, rather than being attacked, the boy was watched over and looked after by the gorillas until keepers were able to extract him safely.

Personally, I like to camp though there are plenty of hotels around (less self catering accomodation though) of an international standard. Being a tax haven, Jersey boasts rich businessmen, private jets and Ferraris making it a more British Monaco. English is spoken, they drive on the left and they use the pound. There is, however, a lovely "French" feel in the style of the houses, many French place names and in the excellent quality of food available here - especially the seafood.

The Channel Islands also consist of Guernsey, Alderney and Sark, all of which can be reached by one of the inter-island boat services in operation over the summer months and day trips to France from here are easy to arrange.
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