A collection of published features ( from The Times, Tatler, The Mail, You magazine, Life Magazine, Vegan food and Living, Londoncalling.com.) Some shots from fashion shoots, travel, food and lifestyle articles. All features written by me - Sara Colohan. I work in London as a writer and producer
Jersey: The small island with the big personality!
From castles and dolmens to coastal towers and maritime history, the island offers a rich tapestry of experiences just waiting to be discovered.
Jersey is part of the British Isles, but it’s certainly got its own unique identity. Just 14 miles from the French coast and 85 miles south of the English coast, it’s independent and self-governing, with its own financial and legal systems. It’s the biggest of the Channel Islands, but it’s only 5 miles long and 9 miles wide. If you are lucky enough to visit, these parameters will seem incredible. The diversity on this oasis is surprising, but there are certain constants, like the glorious white sandy beaches, the warm microclimate, delicious food, and the remarkable heritage sites.
Steeped in history, Jersey has heritage sites from Neolithic times to the 15th-century Elizabeth's Castle and, more recently, a vast maze of Nazi war tunnels built while the island was occupied by the Germans during World War II. This unique country is a well-blended mix of cultures and styles from both France and the UK, and it feels like someone very cleverly cherry-picked things from both countries that work alongside each other. Most streets and roads have French names, but the architecture and infrastructure are very British. They have spectacular cheese, meat, and fish in large, bustling, fresh, French-style markets where everyone speaks English and sterling is the currency.
The capital St. Helier hosts French markets in the square where French traders come with local Normandy produce, and you can soak up the lively atmosphere in the splendid Victorian Fish Market or Jersey Market in the centre of town. Don’t worry, you don't have to cook while you are visiting. You can treat yourself to lunch and dinner every day, and you won’t run out of excellent places to dine. Start your day with a coffee at The Merchants by Jersey Market. It’s a cafe, event space and gallery showcasing local artists where they serve London’s legendary hipster coffee, Dark Arts. (www.themerchants.je) Need breakfast? Locke’s will make perfect eggs ‘anyway’, sourdough bread with homemade jam, and the fluffiest pancakes you’ve ever seen. (lockesstories.com)
Jersey is not only a haven for food enthusiasts but also a treasure trove of heritage sites. There are several places to check out in St. Helier, and one highlight is the fully restored, gaslit Victorian House within the Jersey Museum. You can walk through this beautiful house and learn the story of a Victorian family in financial crisis who fled to France to start a new life. On the ground floor of the Victorian House, there’s also Trade Roots, an exhibition that examines the evidence of the island’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade. (www.jerseyheritage.org)
Gifted to the National Trust in 2003, having been neglected for a period of 20 years, 16 New Street has been meticulously repaired by the Trust in order to reinstate its elegant Georgian features. Wander through the house and enjoy immersive tales of life in Georgian Jersey. Remember, everything is in such short proximity that you can go from one Jersey gem to another in minutes.(www.nationaltrust.je)
King Street is a busy, pedestrianised high street with lots of independent shops and several department stores. Founded in 1837, Voisins Department Store is the oldest family-run department store in Britain. There’s also de Gruchy, another cornerstone of the town's main shopping area.
The Porter’s Store is located on Wharf St. (St. Helier). It’s a stylish, hidden gem worthy of a visit if you like well-crafted cocktails served with flare. For dinner, try Samphire. The decor is stylish to match the seafood-heavy menu. You could be forgiven for thinking you are in one of London’s finest Mayfair establishments.
Gorey, St. Brelade's, and St. Aubin’s are just a short twenty minutes by bus from the capital and all have something special to see. Gorey boasts a stunning sandy beach, excellent restaurants (in particular Drifters@Gorey), and the towering mediaeval Mont Orgueil Castle, offering panoramic coastal views, secret rooms, and a witchcraft exhibit.
St. Brelade’s Bay is an island highlight, not just because it provides a more intimate and sheltered beach experience. The bay is flanked by the Brelade’s Bay Hotel and The Biarritz Hotel, catering to a range of budgets.
The Biarritz is the best value as it has the same incredible views and direct access to the sea (albeit down quite a few steps!). It offers pristine rooms, self-catering apartments, breakfast and dinner options, and is brilliantly positioned to give you easy access to anywhere on the island, as there’s a bus stop outside. (www.biarritzhotel.co.uk)
I didn’t eat there as there were so many other places on my list to try, including the excellent, neighbouring Oyster Box. This was a culinary highlight, with fresh oysters, a vast selection of fresh seafood, a well-thought-out wine list, sea views, and impeccable service. (oysterbox.co.uk)
Remember, most quality restaurants close from 1400 to 1800 daily, so don’t leave it too late to get lunch; otherwise, you might be forced to have a luxury afternoon tea instead! Afternoon tea is a cherished tradition on the island, with prestigious venues like The Savoy Hotel in St. Helier, Summerville Hotel in St. Aubin’s, and L’Horizon in St. Brelade’s offering deluxe experiences. Longueville Manor, a five-star historical manor house hotel, stands out with its spa, private yacht charters, and award-winning afternoon tea. www.longuevillemanor.com
For a poignant and educational experience, visit the WW2 Jersey War Tunnels. Prepare for approximately two hours of walking through 1940’s Jersey as you visit the huge underground tunnels created by the Nazis during the war. These tunnels offer a glimpse into occupied Jersey, complete with a hospital and remnants of German military presence, all discarded by the end of the war, and the heartbreaking story of all the locals who were deported to camps in Germany. There is wheelchair access.(www.jerseywartunnels.com)
I didn’t get time to visit Plemont, one of Jersey’s wildest and most dramatic beaches, situated in the northwest corner of the island and surrounded by towering cliffs. It’s remote, less developed than the other spots, and a favourite with swimmers. Ten minutes down the road is Greve de Lecq Beach, with its distinctive red sand.
Rozel is an idyllic, sleepy little harbour on the north-east of the island. Climb stone pathways to the four-star boutique hotel Chateau la Chaireand have coffee on the grounds (chateau-la-chaire.co.uk). If you are staying in Rozel, the stylish Rozel Pub and Dining(rozelpubanddining.co.uk) is your only choice to dine and drink. Luckily, it’s well established and has been serving the community for over 10 years.
VisitJersey to find out what’s on.
Rooms at The Biarritz Hotel start at €104 per night