Jersey: rekindle your sense of freedom post-lockdown
If you need to blow the cobwebs away after a summer spent indoors, you can't do much better than Jersey. This is a little island with a big spirit, and it's just a short flight from most major UK cities, making it an ideal place for a refreshing post-lockdown getaway. Peaceful harbour towns, hidden coves, and sweeping beaches make social distancing far easier than on the mainland, and even a short break is enough to restore the senses and turn little moments into lasting memories.
The island has been ready to welcome back visitors since the start of July, and direct flights are now running again from London (Gatwick, Heathrow, and Luton), Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, and Southampton. Things are a little different now: quieter and safer, with plenty of new measures in place to ensure the wellbeing of you, your loved ones, and the island community.
Late summer is quiet enough that you can head off the beaten path and live like a local, whiling away the days with beach BBQs, outdoor dining, wild swimming, and picnics packed with local produce supplied by the island's finest caterers. Visitors later this year will be rewarded with an explosion of rich autumn colours, quiet coves bathed in golden light, a good number of pubs with open fires, clear skies for star-gazing, and the rare magic of exploring a ruined castle in the autumn mist.
Those champing at the bit for some last-minute sun will need to adhere to new safety guidelines to travel over the next few weeks, but as long as you remain sensible, the island is yours to explore:
- Take a free Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test on arrival in Jersey airport, then stick to hiring a car and dining outdoors. Results are normally processed in 24-36 hours. This option is recommended if you are hiring a car during your holiday, as you’re discouraged from using public transport until a negative test result is returned, or
- Provide proof of a negative test result from a recognised lab no more than 72 hours before arriving in Jersey. If you bring this, you’ll be able to set off on public transport, dine indoors and shop to your heart’s content, or
- Self-isolate for 14 days
Here are our favourite ways to savour a short island break in Jersey, all of which will give you the peace of mind that you're staying safe and helping local communities.
Let the island's artisans pack you a picnic, and dine out in a woodland valley or hidden cove
Not yet confident enough to dine in a restaurant? Jersey National Park has partnered with Jersey Hospitality to launch #picnicinthepark, a unique project designed to support local businesses and encourage visitors to explore the island's pristine countryside. Independent cafés and restaurants are creating pre-packed picnic baskets full of local seasonal produce, which you order in advance and take away to your favourite hidden spot on the island.
Large towns such as St Helier have plenty of al fresco dining options and a continental-style café culture that makes social distancing simple. We recommend dropping by Relish, a popular local delicatassen that serves fresh baguettes and luxury pâtés that are best savoured on a bench by the sea shore.
Visit in the next few months to wander the atmospheric ramparts and ruins without the crowds
With smaller crowds, the island's natural beauty can really take centre stage. Visit Jersey has created five self-guided road trips that you can download for free to learn about the myths and legends of the island's rugged interior. You'll feel the lick of salt wind on your skin on dramatic coastal headlands and hear the crunch of scarlet leaves under your feet as you wander country lanes, hopping between sights like Devil's Hole, Witches' Rock, and the Bathing Pool of the Fairies.
Autumn visitors can enjoy a self-guided walk through the Forgotten Forest Arboretum, which is the best place to see the fall colours, while the island's more famous heritage sights are also far more atmospheric without the crowds. Don't miss the chance be one of the select few wandering round Mont Orgueil, Elizabeth Castle, or the windswept lighthouse at La Corbière.
Grab some catch-of-the-day seafood and have a BBQ on the beach
It is impossible to resist the pull of the sea in Jersey: the coast is never more than a 10-minute drive away, and there's little that's more photogenic than a sunset barbecue in the golden light of late summer. Faulkner Fisheries has outside tables on the sun-warmed rocks of the headland, with sweeping views across the sands at St Ouen's Bay, and families can beachcomb for shells and sea glass while savouring al fresco lobster and oysters. Pods of wild dolphins are a common sight just beyond the breakers, and keen surfers can head out on a guided Surfari with Laneez, a legendary local surf school that can help you find the best spots to catch a wave as well as taking care of transport and board hire.
Get a taste of history in a cosy pub garden, with heritage ciders made to a 200-year-old recipe
Cider is best enjoyed in the sunshine, so it is fortunate that temperatures in Jersey remain balmy well into autumn. Though nowadays the island is better known for its potatoes, cider was once its main export, and Jersey still celebrates its apple-growing heritage with a melee of soft sparkling ciders from local orchards. Recipes use hand-picked local apples and nothing but, distilled and fermented with vintage machinery, and the resulting beverages are distributed to pubs and farm shops across the island. Tip back a pint or two in a pub beer garden, where tables are well spaced out and new measures are in place to ensure your safety.
Lap up the most beautiful views of our galaxy under the island's vast and unpolluted skies
Over the past few months, Britain has fast become a nation of stargazers, as clearer skies, less light pollution, and the need to slow down and take stock have all encouraged us to look to the night sky to uncloud our minds. Jersey is one of the best places in the UK to see the Milky Way, so we recommend taking a blanket up to the rugged hills of the north coast, where you can set up camp at Groznez, a romantic clifftop ruin that's now a stellar spot for stargazing. Plenty of cosy cottages dot the surrounding countryside, with incredible views stretching right across the Channel.