From castles and dolmens to bunkers and Martello towers dotted around the coastline, there’s a little piece of Jersey’s history everywhere you go. Explore the story of Jersey on this five day itinerary.
- Castles and fortifications.
- Explore our war tunnel and bunker network.
- Neolithic age dolmens.
- Remnants of the Battle of Jersey.
Your day of discovery starts with breakfast in the bay. Kismet Cabana works with local suppliers to create a culinary celebration of street food cuisine from around the world. Did we mention the view over Ouaisné Bay? Stunning.
Transport: Driving | Walking.
1. Ice-age walking tour.
One of the most important Ice Age sites in Europe, the Jersey Heritage Ice Age Island Trail weaves its way from Ouaisné Bay to St. Aubin’s Village, via the hunting grounds of La Cotte De St. Brelade, passing through Portelet Bay and the heavily fortified Noirmont point. Palaeolithic cave-living hunter gatherers were Jersey’s earliest residents (250,000 BC).
St. Aubin’s Village is home to a number of restaurants and cafès so a perfect pit stop opportunity to grab a bite to eat to watch the waves – and the world go by.
2. La Hougue Bie and Museum.
La Hougue Bie is a magical and truly memorable experience. The name is derived from the old norse of the Vikings ‘haugr’ meaning a mound and byr. The site is also bound up with a medieval legend of a dragon and a knight. La Hougue Bie is home to one of the ten oldest buildings in the world with the standing stones and burial chambers dating back to 4000 BC, the Neolithic period when many communities settled in Jersey. Local charitable enterprise Beresford Street Kitchen manages the tea room on site, where they provide training and employment opportunities for people with learning disabilities and autism. Cake with a conscience, surrounded by history.
Discover two castles, one preserved and one in ruins, on your second day discovering Jersey’s story. Mont Orgueil Castle offers stunning views overlooking the Royal Bay of Grouville as well as over the French coastline, while Grosnez Castle’s ruins flex your imagination and give stunning, panoramic views from the headland.
Transport: Driving | Walking.
1. Mont Orgueil Castle.
Mont Orgueil Castle, or Gorey Castle as it is also known, has cast its imposing shadow over the beautiful fishing port of Gorey for more than 800 years. One of the finest examples of a medieval fortress in existence, Mont Orgueil is also a symbol of Jersey’s national identity and independent character. Delve into networks of staircases, towers and secret rooms to discover hidden treasures and gruesome tales. Climb to the top of the castle for breathtaking views over the French coast.
2. Grosnez Castle.
Grosnez Castle is a ruined 14th-century stronghold in St. Ouen, situated at Grosnez in the north-west corner of the island. Philippe de Carteret defended it against the French when they held half of Jersey between 1461 and 1467, but it has been a ruin since the mid-16th century. Today, the ruins are open to the public and free to access. Make sure to find the concrete steps that lead from the rear of the castle to an automated signal station which boasts fantastic views across to the other Channel Islands.
Explore Jersey’s story from the iconic Elizabeth Castle which sits on a small islet in St. Aubin’s Bay, to the Maritime Museum just by St. Helier harbour that delves into Jersey’s seafaring history. Finish your day off in one of the most historic and popular pubs in Jersey, the Pierson.
1. Elizabeth Castle.
Walk across the causeway at low tide or let the castle ferry, locally known as the ‘Ducks’, transport you across the bay and back in time to Elizabeth Castle. Climb the battlements, explore the turrets and bunkers and discover the Hermitage where Saint Helier is thought to have lived around 550 A.D.
2. The Maritime Museum.
Discover Jersey’s maritime past in this uniquely interactive museum. Set by the historic harbour of St. Helier, the Maritime Museum is all about seafaring, navigation and the awe-inspiring elements. Through interactive exhibits you can feel the force of a gale, understand the tides and learn how to design and float a ship. Whilst on site you can also visit the Occupation Tapestry Gallery that tells the story of Jersey’s wartime past during WWII.
3. Peirson Pub.
Nestled in the corner of the Royal Square, in the centre of St. Helier, The Peirson Pub, named after Major Francis Peirson is one of the most famous pubs in Jersey. Enjoy a real ale from the tap with a spot of lunch, in a busy and buzzing environment, surrounded by historical reminders of the Battle of Jersey in 1781. Tomorrow you will discover towers that were built as a result of the Battle of Jersey. For now, soak up your historic surroundings, and maybe another real ale.
A tidal story.
As an island, Jersey is constantly shaped by its huge tidal range. Enjoy a guided tour from History Alive! that tell the story of the Battle of Britain and the Martello towers that guard the coastline. Take your trip one step further and stay in the famous Seymour Tower situated two miles off the coast that’s cut off by the tide twice daily.
Transport: Walking | Driving.
1. History Alive!
You can’t help but notice that the island’s coastline is dotted with varying grand towers. Jersey’s coastal towers were built between 1779 and 1837 to defend the island following the Battle of Jersey.
Bring battle history back to life by booking a guided tour with History Alive! which involves interactive guiding, technology and props. Your expert guide Marc Yates, will take you on a journey of discovery of Jersey’s rich history.
2. Stay overnight in Seymour Tower.
Staying overnight at Seymour Tower is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Completely surrounded by sea twice a day and situated two miles offshore, Seymour Tower offers a fantastic base for exploring Jersey’s marine wilderness at low tide and the unique experience of being truly cut off from it all.
War, what is it good for?
Get a deeper look into Jersey’s history at the Jersey Museum where the island’s story is told from 250,000 years ago to present day. Enjoy an interactive bike tour by downloading the Geotourist app and grab an Evie bike to discover the island’s Occupation trail. For a more in depth look into Jersey’s wartime story, visit the Jersey War Tunnels.
Transport: Cycling | Walking.
1. History, drama and poetry at Jersey Museum.
This fascinating museum provides history from 250,000 years ago, when the first people arrived in Jersey and continues through the centuries to explore the factors that have shaped this unique island and the people who live here. Find out why Jersey remained loyal to the English Crown despite being so close to France; listen to Jèrriais being spoken and learn about the island’s traditional farming industry.
World-renowned poet Victor Hugo called Jersey home for a number of years and the museum tells the story of his Jersey chapter. There is also a beautifully restored Victorian house at the museum and, as you enter the house, you enter the drama of a Victorian family in crisis. An educational experience indeed.
2. Evie Bike Geotourist trails.
Download the Geotourist app, grab a dockless EVie bike and explore the Occupation Trail. The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by German forces in WW2. The five-year occupation came to an end on 09 May 1945 – Liberation Day, an event which left an extraordinary legacy including an annual Bank Holiday where the Channel Islands continue to celebrate their Liberation. If you want to learn more, Jersey War Tours offer guided tours including visits to sites not open to the public and a bunker tour. Book in advance to avoid disappointment and immerse yourself in our history.
3. Jersey War Tunnels.
Heartache, hardship and heroism; the real story of wartime Jersey. The Jersey War Tunnels tell this story in the words of the people who were there. An underground tunnel complex, built by slave labour under German command, houses this truly unique exhibition which also includes a war trail and garden of reflection. New additions to the attraction include an Escape Room where you solve puzzles and break codes to find the key to freedom and the Love Bird Pottery Studio where you can paint your own ceramics and textiles.