Wednesday, 18 May 2016

A Whistle Stop Tour of Jersey

I made the short 1-hour flight to Jersey for two days this weekend with some colleagues for a part-business, part-pleasure trip to take in what this beautiful little island has to offer and I was seriously impressed.

St Brelades Bay

We arrived at breakfast time to glorious sunshine and our first port of call was St Brelades Bay; a vast sandy beach with breath-taking views. 

St Brelades Bay, Jersey
St Brelades Bay, Jersey

We had a stroll along the sand and were four of only a handful of people on the beach. We stopped and had a coffee at The Wayside Cafe whilst watching the beach slowly come to life with families setting up plot for the day, couples walking their dogs and adventurers setting up boats to get out to sail. An inviting proposition.

Our next stop was the Durrell Wildlife Conversation Park X, a huge wildlife and conservation park with an impressive array of animals to view in a natural-inspired habitat. Set over 32 acres, this would make a great family day out with adults priced at £14.50, children at £10.00 and under four’s free. We visited on a particularly special day too; a Durrell Dash was taking place, think Park Run or Race For Life, and there was an almost festival-feel to the park, with street food stalls, a live band and entertainers and plenty going on.

Jersey-born Superman and The Tudors actor, Henry Cavill had taken part in the race too and was happily posing for photographs in exchange for a donation to the running of the park. Naturally we obliged and this was just an added bonus of a great morning. 

Meeting Henry Cavill, Superman

Rozel Bay

Next we drove the short distance to the picturesque little area of Rozel Bay. A small cove of sand and pebbled beach, where children played happily in the sand and a throng of people queued outside The Hungry Man food kiosk, and sat eating their lunch overlooking the bay. We opted for lunch at an intimate little restaurant overlooking the bay, The Navigator.

Rozel Bay, Jersey
We were late in arriving for lunch and the chef happily accommodated us, and a few things had sold out so we all ended up opting for the cod dish of the day.

The dish proved to be utterly delicious. Pan fried with a golden brown crispy skin, the cod was fresh, flavourful and just cooked beautifully. It was served on a bed of Jersey Royals, and roasted tomatoes, green beans, olives and capers in just a drizzle of oil and a parsley pesto-like sauce. Just gorgeous.

Cod at The Nagigator

Not content with the one course, I opted for the Apple and Calvados Parfait which was served with a delicious apple in the guise of an apple filled doughnut, deep fried in batter and dipped in cinnamon and sugar - fantastic. Offset really well by the calvados infused parfait which was cool and refreshing. 

Apple and Calvados Parfait, The Navigator, Jersey

Between the ladies we also had a Little Pot of Heaven – a dark chocolate mousse topped with crunchy amaretti biscuits and a selection of sorbets and all were very happily received. 

Little Pot of Heaven, The Navigator, Jersey

Where to stay – The Club Hotel and Spa

Having been up since four AM, we took the post-lunch lull as an excuse to check into our hotel, The Club Hotel and Spa in St Hellier, the capital.

The hotel is simply and subtly attired but incredibly comfortable and we found the staff very helpful and accommodating too.

My room, a double, boasted a queen-sized bed topped with memory foam that proved an idyllic sleeping haven later that evening. Elemis Spa products were provided in the bathroom with bath robes and slippers as well as a well-stocked mini bar. When we returned from dinner that evening too, our beds’ had been turned down and two homemade pieces of shortbread made it into a pot, ready for a delicious morning snack.

I took advantage of our down time by checking into the hotel's spa facilities. Two pools - both freshwater and saltwater, a sauna, steam room and salt cave are some of the facilities afforded here but for me, I was after a massage. A week of little sleep due to my toddler being poorly, meant my muscles were aching and the 1-hour long energising Aromatic Fusion Massage was just fantastic. I actually found myself drifting off to sleep towards the end, that's how relaxing it was. This massage cost £68.00 - money well spent, and the spa had a menu of other health and beauty treatments available.

Jasmine and I enjoyed an apres-dinner cocktail at The Bohemia following our meal and before bed; another place where staff were helpful and the ambience was appealing.

After a restful sleep, we enjoyed a continental breakfast at The Club including an array of fruits, yoghurts, cereals, cold meats and cheese, toast and spreads. There was the option for something cooked for a little extra, but after our indulgence on Sunday evening, the Continental suited us. 

An overnight stay at The Club starts from £89 per room.

Food at The Oyster Box

We enjoyed a beautiful three-course evening meal at The Oyster Box, back at St Brelades Bay, which I would thoroughly recommend to anyone visiting Jersey.

Myself, and my colleague Jasmine enjoyed a fantastic scallop starter - pan-fried and delicious, with a golden crisp outside and soft, perfectly cooked on the inside. A true taste of the sea. The scallops were served with crispy pancetta, fresh peas and some micro-herbs that tasted a little minty and every morsel was delicious. 

Scallops with Pancetta and Peas, The Oyster Box, Jersey
Izzy enjoyed a beautifully rich and unctuous Seafood Bisque and Sam had a simple, yet seasonal asparagus dish, served with a homemade Hollandaise. A great start to the meal. 

Seafood Bisque, The Oyster Box

Asparagus and Hollandaise, The Oyster Box

For the main event, I chose a Jersey special, Jersey Chancre Crab, with a simply dressed salad and served with a side of beautifully buttered Jersey Royals. The freshness and flavour of the crab was sensational, and even though it was a decent sized crab, it felt a lovely light meal too. 

Jersey Chancre Crab, The Oyster Box, Jersey

Jasmine opted for the fish and chips - haddock in this instance and she was impressed. Izzy had the crab linguini which looked stunning - dressed in chilli, coriander and some chives on top, it instilled some real food envy from me.

Crab Linguini, The Oyster Box, Jersey
Sam our resident seafood and fish-avoider, opted for the burger, which came with bacon and cheese, some fresh chips and a rocket salad. Again she was impressed. 

Burger, The Oyster Box, Jersey

The Oyster Box had a great selection of alternative dishes should you not wish to enjoy the local catches too and even includes a surprisingly good selection of vegetarian options.

Our desserts here were quite phenomenal. We each had one but chose just two different options and both were fantastic. Sam and I had a mint and dark chocolate marquise, served with a little salted caramel Jersey ice cream and a shard of tempered dark chocolate. It was like a richer, denser After Eight taste, and was a really refreshing finish the meal.

Dark Chocolate and Mint Marquise, The Oyster Box, Jersey

Izzy and Jasmine, once again elicited food envy from myself and Sam; choosing a pistachio creme brulee, which was incredibly. Vivid green in hue and served as an individual portion, rather than the usual ramekin affair, the brulee was soft, light and high on delicious pistachio flavour, whilst the burnt caramel added another dimension. Served with a sharp raspberry sorbet to set the whole thing off. Really well done.

Pistachio Creme Brulee, The Oyster Box, Jersey

Jersey War Tunnels

We had a meeting in the afternoon before our flight back to London, so spent an hour relaxing at the hotel before heading to the Jersey War Tunnels. We discovered that Jersey had been the only place in the British Isles to have suffered being under occupation and that islanders had fled to the mainland of the UK with only a few hours’ notice before the arrival of German soldiers onto the island.

The War Tunnels offered a really interesting insight into island life during this occupation, and a great contrast of perspectives. A worthwhile attraction on the island and entry is only £12.00 for adults and £8.00 for children.

Hedge Veg – Jersey Royals

After our meeting we took a drive along the north of the island before heading to the airport and took advantage of the honesty boxes of Jersey Royals dotted along the way to bring some home. A fair exchange -2lbs of freshly picked potatoes for £2.00 and I’ve already been experimenting with them, inspired by a wonderful foodie experience in Jersey.

Jersey Royals, Hedge Veg
Jersey is a true combination of beautiful beach, harbour and seaside scenery, juxtaposed with lush green hills and cliffs and a booming farming and agricultural landscape. It made a stunning setting for our whistle stop tour and in only two days, I felt we barely touched the sides.

It’s a gorgeous place and it’s not hard to see why it has been voted as Trip Advisor’s ‘Best Island in the British Isles’ for two year’s running in the Travellers’ Choice Awards.

I have vouched to return with Glen and Bridget and take in more of what Jersey has to offer – the walking tours, Elizabeth Castle and La Mare Wine Tasting are all extremely attractive propositions, as is a few days, or even a week spent trying more of the delicious local produce and spending time on the delightful bays of Jersey.

Visit Jersey has all the information you could possibly need if planning a trip to Jersey. Visit at

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