Beautiful island with a wartime tale, cheeky orang-utans and a flavour of France is just a 30-minute flight away

Rozel Bay - Rozel is a small fishing port at the north east of the Island.
Rozel Bay - Rozel is a small fishing port at the north east of the Island.

A stunning coastline, beautiful beaches, picturesque villages and a maze of wonderful country lanes to explore - you can discover all this on an island just a 30-minute flight away - and you can follow Bedford Blues there soon.

Located 14 miles from the coast of Normandy, Jersey is the most southerly of the Channel Islands and records the best sunshine in the British Isles, and it is the perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors.

Sumatran orangutan, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

Sumatran orangutan, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

Just nine miles by five miles, with 360 miles of roads, a network of 47 miles of Green Lanes and 100 miles of cycle routes, exploring this island in the Bay of St Malo can be relaxing and fun.

Famous as a tax haven today, Jersey has had its fair share of turmoil in centuries past and this heritage can be discovered at a number of visitor attractions.

The Jersey War Tunnels, for instance, tell the story of the island’s occupation after it was invaded by the Germans during the Second World War, when many people left their homeland.

The coastline around the whole island is a feast for the eyes, with vast beaches, rocky coves and wonderful nature reserves. History and heritage is in bountiful supply - the 13th century Mont Orgueil Castle which protected Jersey from French invaders for more than 600 years is a fine example and a must on the list.

Pier overlooking Elizabeth Castle

Pier overlooking Elizabeth Castle

From the dramatic cliffs and harbours of the north coast, to the sweeping St Ouen’s Bay to the west, each turn in the road brings more delights for the visitor.

For a long weekend stay, driving around the island is the perfect way to capture a real flavour of the island - but be ready to travel more sedately than at home.

Jersey has a speed limit of 40mph, and some areas are less, and the ‘A roads’ are criss-crossed by a wealth of pretty country routes.

French names may abound, but you can drive on the left here and you’ll need to get a Paycard which sorts any parking fees where charges are made.

St Ouen's Bay, Jersey.

St Ouen's Bay, Jersey.

Highlights of our weekend were a tour of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust where a baby orang-utan did a tree show just for us, a delicious lunch of homemade fish pie at Le Braye cafe on St Ouen’s Bay, and seeing so many pure red squirrels!

We were also guests of Jersey Tourism at a lunch hosted by Jersey Rugby Club at their ground at St Peter’s when Plymouth Albion were the visiting team - rugby fans can make a weekend of it on February 14 when Bedford Blues take on the Channel Islanders.

During our visit, we stayed at the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel, on the Elizabeth Marina at St Helier, offering wonderful views of the Elizabeth Castle and St Aubin’s Bay. We had to make the difficult choice of dining in the Waterfront Brasserie or checking out the capital’s trendy bars and restaurants - fortunately we had time to do both and enjoyed some truly delicious local fare.

You can spend Sterling on the island although Jersy has its own currency and change is usually given in those coins and notes. English is spoken but if you visit the right places you can still hear the language of Jerrais, a blend of Norse and Norman French.

Our 30-minute flight to St Helier was from Gatwick with EasyJet.

For more about the island, travel and accommodation, visit www.jersey.com