In Jersey you’re practically tripping over historical sites and ancient finds to fill your holiday with. You’ll be amazed at what you can pack into a long weekend on the island. Touch down and set off on a voyage from 250,000 years ago through thousands of years discovering paleolithic peoples, medieval castles, eighteenth century battle sites and tales of an island under occupation.
- One of the most important Ice Age sites in Europe.
- One of the ten oldest buildings in the world.
- Explore a medieval castle.
- Discover the Jersey War Tunnels.
- A sunset dinner overlooking St. Ouen’s Bay.
Let's start at the beginning.
Jet into Jersey and jump straight into your historic holiday. Settle into a spellbinding stay by choosing one of the island’s most unique places as your base. From forts to farmhouses, immerse yourself in the past and find your perfect bolthole.
On your first day, you’re starting where it all began. Discover Jersey before the seas rose to create the island we know today. When Ice Age hunters roamed the plains that now lie below the waves.
1. In the footsteps of mammoths.
Step back hundreds of thousands of years into the past with Jersey Uncovered on their guided tour ‘Follow in the Footsteps of Mammoth Hunters’. Discover Le Cotte de St. Brelade, a time capsule cave holding 250,000 years of stories. A Paleolithic (or early Stone Age) site that’s been recognised as one of the most important Ice Age sites in Europe.
2. Dolmen and dinner.
After your tour, continue the journey around the coast to Les Mont Grantez a Neolithic passage grave, or dolmen, built around 4000 BC. Take in the stunning views from your elevated position across St. Ouen’s Bay as you soak up the mystical atmosphere these ancient sites exude. You’ve probably worked up a healthy appetite by now so it’s time for dinner. Head down to Grève de Lecq Bay where you’ll find the cosy Le Moulin de Lecq pub. This charming tavern is a former watermill with parts dating back to the 12th-century where you can enjoy a warm welcome and delicious meal within it’s storied walls. If you’re feeling up for one more adventure before bed, and the skies are clear, pop up to 14th-century Grosnez Castle for a spot of stargazing.
Neolithic to medieval.
1. La Hougue Bie Museum.
Start day two by discovering La Hougue Bie – a veritable treasure trove of history. Before you dive into your discoveries, take time to enjoy a hearty breakfast at the delightful La Hougue Bie Tearooms on site. Once you’ve broken your fast, you’ll discover that the compact grounds you dined in are home to a Neolithic passage grave which is one of the ten oldest buildings in the world. Unlike many other dolmens, you can stand inside its chamber and feel the atmosphere of this profoundly sacred space. La Hougue Bie is also home to a recreation Neolithic longhouse, the largest Celtic coin hoard found in Western Europe, a 16th-century chapel and a German command bunker built during the island’s Occupation in WW2 which now tells the story of the forced workers brought to Jersey during the war. It truly is a concentrated capsule of island history.
2. Mont Orgueil Castle.
From La Hougue Bie, it’s just a short journey down into the quaint harbourside village of Gorey for an afternoon of medieval explorations. If you’re ready for lunch, take a seat with arguably the best view in Jersey. The Jersey Crab Shack sits just across a green from the majestic Mont Orgueil Castle with views across The Royal Bay of Grouville. Devour a menu packed with local produce crafted into delicious plates of food. You’ll be beaming by the time you’ve dined. After lunch, pop across the road to explore the castle. Scale the heights of the highest battlements from which you can see France on a clear day. Explore the network of staircases, towers and secret rooms to discover gruesome tales and hidden treasures.
3. Dinner with a view.
Spend the evening feasting on some of the finest island flavours with a dreamy view of 400 year old Elizabeth Castle. The Grand Jersey hotel sits in St. Aubin’s Bay overlooking the castle and has a colourful history of it’s own. One of the most fashionable hotels when it was built in 1891, like many large building, Grand Jersey was commandeered by the Germans during the island’s Occupation in WW2. Today you can take a seat on the Terrace for dinner to enjoy the view. If you’re after a slightly different flavour you’re on the right track at the Old Station Café where they serve up a tempting taste of Thailand. Amazing, authentic Thai food is one of the island’s best kept secrets, so don’t miss it. As the name suggests, the Old Station Café used to serve as a train station before the island’s rail service ceased in 1936. Whether you dine at a grand old hotel or a historic train station, the views of Elizabeth Castle will make your evening go down in history.
Battlefields and bunkers.
On your final day, journey from an invaded island in the 18th-century to the 1940s when Jersey was occupied by German forces during WW2. It’s time to explore the history that awaits in the island’s capital, St. Helier. Discover stories of skirmishes in squares to tales of a liberated island. Go underground at the Jersey War Tunnels and bid farewell to your voyage of discovery with dinner and a show on the wild west coast while savouring a taste of island life.
1. St. Helier's history.
No St. Helier experience would be complete without a visit to the Victorian Central and Beresford Street Markets. Enjoy a decadent petit déjeuner at La Bouche, a quirky café at the heart of the Central Market. Explore St. Helier’s streets and lanes with a local expert who can impart all the fascinating facts waiting to be discovered. From the Battle of Jersey of 1781, waged in the Royal Square, to Liberation Square where islanders gathered on 09 May 1945 when the island was liberated after five years of occupation, there’s so much to discover. The island’s capital wears the marks of its past for all the see. Stop off for a swift drink at The Cock and Bottle in the Royal Square and look out for the bullet holes from the Battle of Jersey still visible in the walls of the Peirson pub next door.
2. The Jersey War Tunnels.
It’s time to delve into the island’s wartime story at the Jersey War Tunnels. Grab a light lunch at the onsite café before you head underground. Built by the occupying German forces, using slave labour, to withstand Allied air strikes, the tunnels were converted into an emergency hospital in 1943. Today they house a thought provoking, immersive exhibition telling the story of what life was like in Jersey during the Occupation.
3. A reflective sunset dinner.
As you come to the end of your historic holiday in Jersey, head west to experience one of the greatest shows in the island – sunset while you dine. Midway along the expansive sea wall you’ll discover El Tico Beach Cantina. A familiar landmark on the St. Ouen’s sea front for over 60 years, El Tico had a major refurb in 2009 after standing empty for years. The glorious reopening ushered in a new era of beachside dining for this family owned eatery in their sleek Art Deco restaurant. Tuck into tempting plates of local produce as you’re transported back to the present day while reflecting on your epic island break.