Mr and Mrs 50 Plus have been off gallivanting again. Below Kathryn tells us all about their recent Jersey Weekend Break …
Up until a couple of weeks ago I had never been to any of The Channel Islands. After our recent trip to Jersey for a weekend break, I’m pretty sure we’ll be going back soon however. Jersey really is a delightful place and the perfect size for a mini-break. Not that I’d be averse to a longer stay. In fact we both said to each other how much we’d like a ‘proper holiday’ there one day.
A Relaxing Jersey Weekend Break
I had no idea how picturesque and vast Jersey’s beaches are. Jersey has over 50 miles of coastline believe it or not. That total includes 12 major beaches and numerous other bays and little coves. St Aubin’s Bay is one of the most popular and you can easily see why. It’s a lovely sandy beach which runs for three miles along the south coast of Jersey between St Helier and St Aubin. The golden sands on St Brelade’s Beach are popular too and St Ouen’s Bay on the more exposed West Coast is perfect for surfing. Not my cup of tea but but hey I’m more than happy to sit and watch surfers with a summer cocktail in hand.
We had hoped to go to the famous Jersey Lavender Farm. Disappointingly for us though (well me more precisely!), it hadn’t yet opened for the season. The pictures online of the beautiful purple fields are stunning and I can only imagine how glorious the scent is. We were told that The Oyster Box was the place to go for high-end seafood. It was absolutely chocka when we walked past, so book if you do want to go.
Walking and driving along the coastline, we saw numerous wartime bunkers and poignant reminders of the last war. The Jersey War Tunnels have a fascinating history, it’s got to be said. Stretching over a kilometre in length, they need to be seen to appreciate their vastness. The fact they can hold tanks gives you an indication of their size. In the exhibition you get a real idea of how life was in Jersey during the Nazi occupation. The real life stories tell a history of ordinary people living under extraordinary circumstances. A fascinating museum and well worth a visit!
Hotel de France
We stayed in the splendid Hotel de France. It’s a truly magnificent building and we had a lovely large south-facing Spa Room with a sunny balcony in the newer part of the hotel. The room rate included visits to the Ayush Wellness Spa and Health Club so naturally we went along for a swim. The hotel has a lovely big pool, a sauna, steam room, a jacuzzi and a plunge pool. The water jets in the hydrotherapy pool gave my achey neck and shoulders a good old pummelling. As I’d been suffering with pain and other issues since having a trapped nerve in my neck just before our trip, it was a welcome relief. It was a real shame though that we weren’t able to use the Spa Relaxation Room. It turns out that that room is only for people who are having beauty or other spa treatments. Never mind, it gives us a good excuse to go back.
The Hotel de France has two restaurants. We had dinner on the first night in the bistro-like Garden View Restaurant. It’s a relaxed, casual place with excellent food and friendly, chatty staff. Saffrons, the fine dining with an Indian twist restaurant was completely booked-out. If you intend staying at the hotel and want to eat there then perhaps give them a call and book beforehand. We just assumed they’d have room for us as we were guests.
Our Jersey weekend was gloriously sunny which was a real bonus. The unseasonably warm weather meant that we could sit and have a cold glass of wine al fresco – a rare treat for the end of March. It also meant we could spend a few hours chilling and completely switching-off. (Something that’s often hard to do when you run your own business.)
The Ferry to Jersey
One thing I was more than pleasantly surprised by, was the actual ferry journey to Jersey. We travelled with Condor Ferries on The Condor Liberation and had seats in the Ocean Plus Lounge. The reclining seats were big and comfy with a tray rather like a plane seat but way, way better! We had panoramic views over the sea the entire journey and it was a revelation to me. The Liberation is a fast ferry (a high speed trimaran in posh-speak) so the journey-time is considerably shorter than you’d expect. The Duty Free Shop was packed full of goodies and we came away with an awful lot of genuine bargains!
We both enjoyed brief our visit to Jersey so much that we’ve already decided that we want to go to Guernsey next year now. Jersey’s a scenic, laid-back island which somehow combines the best bits of France and The UK. If you are looking for somewhere a bit different to chill for a lazy weekend, then Jersey’s the place for you!
Condor Ferries operates a year-round service to the Channel Islands from Poole with its fast ferry Condor Liberation, alongside a conventional ferry service from Portsmouth. To book and check current prices, visit condorferries.com or call 0345 609 1024.