Jersey is only 9 miles across, but it has the kind of beaches you’d see on a picture-perfect postcard – each with a distinctive character all its own. From baking sunspots to shady shores; from sweeping sands along panoramic coasts to the vibrancy and colour of quiet quaysides, Jersey’s beaches will entice, inspire and restore you. Locals in the know tend to have a look at the weather before picking their preferred beach. Choose a beach on the opposite side of the island to the direction of the prevailing wind; this will shelter you and give you a much better beach experience.
St Brelade’s Bay
Want to take your sandals off and sink your toes into soft, golden sand? St Brelade’s Bay, voted the UK’s third best beach by TripAdvisor, is the perfect place for barefoot strolling. This long stretch of south-facing beach is steeped in sunshine all summer, making for long, hot days and magical, late summer sunsets. When the tide is low, you can walk the entire stretch from the sixth century Fisherman’s Chapel at the western end, to the Ouaisne nature reserve. Fancy a nibble while you’re taking in the ocean views? St Brelade’s Bay has a variety of great restaurants and hotels. Water sports are big in the bay thanks to the safe and relatively shallow waters – so it’s the ideal choice if you’re into pretty much any aquatic adventure.
A lovely, fun fact for any dinosaur fans and history buffs is that at the base of the cliffs near the Old Smuggler’s Inn on the easterly end of the bay, you can see the fossilised remains of mammoth bones. A local story went that mammoths were driven off the cliffs there, in order to be eaten for meat – however we’re not sure how much of that tale is truth or poetic license! Regardless, it’s certainly worth a wander around at low tide. We’d also recommend a meal at the Old Smuggler’s Inn while you’re there, as it has a delicious menu of freshly caught seafood, sizzling steaks and vegan delights to build you up after hitting the waves.
If you like to break up your beach visit with visiting other places of interest, St Brelade’s church dates from the 11th century, and has an actual medieval chapel, making it completely unique in the Channel Islands. It’s well worth a look round as it’s strikingly beautiful in a very simple way. Likewise, just near St Brelade’s beach is another little gem: the Winston Churchill Memorial Gardens. They have plenty of seats to enjoy the many colourful flowers and bay views from, so it’s a great extra bonus to any beach trip.
Great all-rounder. Something for everyone. Close to restaurants. Lots of activities. Busy in the high season.
Greve de l’Ecq
On the north coast of the island, this is a little treasure of a beach. Fancy rock-pooling for crabs, or exploring cliffs and a huge cave? This is your beach. Because the cliffs behind the beach are quite high, there is quite a bit of shelter from the sun. This won’t suit you if you want a fully exposed place to sunbathe all day long. On the other hand, if you can tolerate only so much sun, or have young children’s SPF to think about, this shadier option is a solid choice The presence of a German bunker and Napoleonic barracks on the top of the cliff also make it interesting to those who like to mix up their beach visit with a bit of local history. Some excellent cafés and pubs are dotted nearby, with a variety of delicious food and drink to enjoy. Oh, and there is a secret beach – known by locals as ‘Little Greve’, that’s tucked away in a small cove out of sight. In fact, you can only get to it if you swim or kayak to it…making Greve our top choice for those who like adventure with their sunscreen.
Beach with bonuses of history and mystery. A favourite for kids and those who prefer a shady option in the late afternoon. Regular buses from St Helier. Easy parking. Toilets. Lifeguards.
Known locally as St Brelade’s quieter neighbour, Beauport is probably Jersey’s most beautiful beach. A word of caution, though, as it is only accessible via a trek down a steep path, so is unsuitable for people with accessibility issues. Beauport is very much a ‘beach only’ beach as it lacks the facilities and dining options of St Brelade. However, for those wanting to feel part of nature, it won’t disappoint. ‘Stunning’ and ‘unspoilt’ are words commonly used to describe it, and visitors are drawn to its clean, aquamarine waters, rugged cliffs and golden sands. The beach benefits from a south-facing position and sheltered landward side, which make it a summer sun trap and ideal for those who just want to lounge on the sand. Most who use it bring their own picnics as there aren’t nearby cafés or restaurants – but don’t forget a good picnic blanket as the sand is fine and has a habit of finding its way into sandwiches!
Not easy accessibility. Stunningly beautiful. No lifeguards or facilities. Dog friendly. Memorable for stunning natural beauty.
St Ouen’s Bay
We can’t help but mention this gorgeous beach, as it’s our home on the west of the island. It’s Jersey’s longest stretch of sand at 8km and is so vast that you’ll feel small – but in a good way! This beach has so much to offer. Its westerly position makes it a key vantage point for the most theatrical, panoramic sunsets and ocean views you could imagine. These are the ideal backdrop to a long walk, beach barbeque or even a cricket match, and they really contribute to a feeling of being in an exotic holiday destination. In fact, the view is so spectacular that people have been known to take a dining table, white tablecloth, full dining set and even a candelabra to really make an occasion out of a summer evening; now that really is beach dining! And because of the sheer size of the beach, it’s very easy to find a spot from where to enjoy it all without feeling that you’re crammed in alongside others.
For those of you who like action, St Ouen’s Bay has a world-renowned surfing scene, thanks to the waves of the Atlantic coast. The sheer length of the coastline here means there’s plenty of room to practise your moves, or surf with the pros. A major tip for those of you inclined to run around barefoot: at low tide, watch out for weaver fish. These creatures have a spike sticking up from their backs and lie under the sand so you might not see them quickly enough to avoid being stung. Beach shoes, or if you’re swimming then jelly shoes or wetsuit boots, can come in really handy!
It’s always lovely to stumble upon something unusual, and there are lots of historical ruins dotted up and down the beach. Some are former military installations from the Nazi occupation of World War II, others much older. One well-known, and more whimsical, landmark, is an Art Deco building from 1935 – a concrete folly shaped like a stone boat that you can stay in (it sleeps four). The sand dune nature reserve right next to the beach is worth a mention too. We can thoroughly recommend its amazing (and rather terrifying) runs down – and exhausting walks up – its immense sand dunes. If you’ve got children, exploring the dunes is the stuff of lasting childhood memories.
While many visitors to St Ouen’s beach prefer to bring their own meals, it’s easy to find somewhere to enjoy some wining and dining. Our very own Jersey Pearl Café is a welcoming and wonderful place to come for delicious, traditional food, generous portions and lots of local warmth. Although we’re (ever so slightly) biased, we’d love to give you a memorable Jersey welcome if you feel like dropping in.
Easy accessibility. Miles of beach to explore. Dog friendly and plenty of parking. Memorable for the most beautiful sunsets and thrilling surf…and Jersey Pearl St Ouen!