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Getting to know Jersey

Posted by Deborah Pira on 5 July 2021

Jersey may seem like a small island, but it is extremely varied and those of us who live here become very proud of our own particuilar favourite places. Maybe you already know the island well and have decided exactly where you would like to live, or maybe you are new to our beautiful isle and need a little help in making this decision. I hope this helps!

The Island is made up of 12 areas called Parishes. Our island capital is in the Parish of St Helier. Our main shopping and commerce centre is here as well as a vast amount of restaurants, bars, hotels and just about everything else you could ever need. There are 2 rather wonderful markets, museums, a castle, a library, cineworld, and many sporting and entertainment facilities. We also have 4 lovely Parks here and a very stunning beach. Roughly 34.2% of the total population of Jersey live here and if you are more used to city life, you will love our not so little metropolis. If it’s good enough for Superman! (he comes from Jersey you know).

Some people say West is best. This is of course a matter of opinion, but lets tackle this area next. The Parish of St Ouen is situated in the North West area of the island. It is reputed to be the most traditional of the parishes, being the farthest from St Helier and is the largest parish on the island. You may think that it is impossible to get lost in Jersey, but there are still some places where you can feel totally far from the madden crowd!, this is one of those places. It has some wonderful rugged areas, a massive surfing beach with sand dunes, and even a racecourse. The inhabitants of the parish are frequently nicknamed “St. Ouennais” and there are still plenty of original Jersey families here that go back many centuries. There is a good sized village area with everything you need for daily life. Some people never leave the parish. It’s a beautiful place, however, as you read on you will find that I love every place in Jersey, so make up your own minds where you like best!

St Peter truly is a Western Parish. The airport is located here, so if you have to fly away frequently, this may be the place for you. St George’s preparatory School is also here and there is a big Co op and an Iceland store in the village. If you don’t live here already, you may laugh at the locals for saying “I can’t possibly go all the way to the other side of the island”…. I give you a maximum of about a month before you are saying the same thing! There is also a really good garden centre here, always good to have one of those nearby, and a couple of tourist attractions to keep the family happy. One of my favourite bits is St Peter’s valley, it is very pretty and there are some lovely woodland walks, and a couple of really nice pubs too.

Drive past the airport and you will come to St Brelade. This is a very popular parish. It has the second largest shopping area, so if you are anti going into town, this could be your personal haven. It has a few sublime beaches, and St Aubin, even though it has a St in front of it, is actually part of St Brelade. St Aubin has a very French look to it, with lots of lovely restaurants and watering holes. I have to admit, my favourite beach is in this part of the island, but I am not going to tell you which one, you will have to explore them all for yourself! St Brelade’s bay itself has become quite a swish little area with some beautiful hotels and health clubs. It is always a good place to visit. Lets not forget Corbiere, you have to go there to watch the sunset, it is incredible and totally unforgettable.

Lets make our way to the centre of the Island. You will find St. Lawrence here. If you want to be in the middle of everything, this is it! There are a couple of lovely parks for the children to play, or for the grown ups to enjoy. St Matthews Glass Church is definitely worth a visit and the Hamptonne Country Life Museum and Jersey War Tunnels are a must see. I have to tell you my personal favourite. It is the Glencoe auction held here once a week. If you want to see a snippet of old Jersey life, put on your wellies and come on over! There are lots of great houses hidden in these country lanes so enjoy exploring.

We are now heading North, well North West to be accurate. Lets talk about St Mary. I know lots of nice people that live there so that’s a good start. It is a quiet country parish where they make cider, wine and chocolates at La Mare vineyards, another good reason to live there! Greve de L’Lecq is a stunning beach, always good to visit, even in the depths of winter. If you hear the distant sounds of shots on the beach, don’t panic, the pistol shooting club is not far away, maybe you would like to join them, I hear it is a lot of fun. It is a lovely parish with lots of little lanes that often open up to unexpected vistas. There is a lot to explore here, don’t worry about getting lost, that’s part of the fun.

St John is the most Northern Parish on the island. The cliffs offer amazing views of the other islands and France. It is a place to stand and feel the breeze on your face, yet another breathtaking parish! There are obviously lots of cliff walks to enjoy and many tractors riding by, this is quite a rural area. There is a small village with a café, pharmacy, butchers, pub, doctors, Church, States Primary School and an M & S food store. I have to mention Bonne Nuit bay, this is a lovely little fishing harbour and beach which is accessed by a winding hill. Buy an ice cream and watch the little boats bob about, a great way to relax.

Trinity borders St John and is another very rural Parish. The Durrell Wildlife Park is here and the Eric Young Orchid Foundation. This Parish is full of beauty and also boasts the highest point in the island where you can look out and see France and most of the other islands. Bouley bay is here, it is another example of a gorgeous Jersey bay, especially used by fishermen and scuba divers. It is reached by the Bouley bay hill, this is the venue for the Jersey hill climb, an event not to be missed. The Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society is also in Trinity, the music festival, Jersey Live is held there once a year. This parish is full of lovely homes and lovely people!

St Saviour is the next Parish we come to if we are driving from Trinity. It is a very popular Parish mainly due to its location, close to town and close to the main schools in the island. Even though many people live here, it still has lots of beautiful countryside and hidden rural places. It is mainly an inland parish, but does actually have a little bit of beach at Le Dicq, something I just learned today! Government House is in St Saviour, this is the home of The Queen’s representative in Jersey and she stays here on Royal visits to the island. If it’s good enough for the Queen!..say no more

St Martin is in the East of the Island. Many of the Island’s famous potatoes are grown here and the coastline has yet more stunning cliff paths and some beautiful bays. Rozel is another fishing type bay with some great eateries and some rather naughty geese who frequent the beach! St Catherine’s almost looks like it is joined to France on a clear day and has a really good café. The breakwater can be a bit windy by the end, so be prepared! There are a couple of dolmens in the Parish and Mont Orgueil castle can be found at Gorey, which is part of St Martin. This is another wonderful Parish to live in, but as you know, I think they are all wonderful!

Grouville is the next door neighbour to St Martin, they both share bits of Gorey. Gorey village is lovely, it has a wonderful feel and a great sense of community, not to mention a good array of shops and many enticing restaurants. The Royal Jersey Golf course is located here and the beaches in this Parish are all fabulous, and mostly quite quiet. Take a ride along the coast road and see for yourself, lots of stunning houses too! If ever you venture off the coast road, you will find a lot of beautiful countryside down the Grouville lanes. This Parish epitomizes the “Beach and Country” theme!

Last, but certainly not the least, is St Clement. This may be the smallest Parish but you know what they say about the best gifts, they all come in small parcels! It is home to some of the most popular beaches in the East and the coastal landscape here is some of the most unusual and most beautiful that you are ever likely to see. At times, it looks a little like the moon and then a few hours later like the Caribbean. As you drive along the coast road, it is hard to decide where to take a break. Many people live here, it is an easy quick ride into town, or even a walk, and there are plenty of food shopping opportunities and sporting activities.

I hope you have enjoyed my little tour of Jersey. There is plenty to explore here and a huge variety of landscapes for such a small island. I have travelled all over the world, and lived in a number of places, but I have to say there is no place like home. Home for me is Jersey, if you already live here, I am sure that you know what I mean, and if you don’t, I know that you will come to love it too.

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