Little-Known Cultural Gems
Most people come to Jersey and visit the War Tunnels, Mont Orgueil Castle or the lighthouse at La Corbiere. These Jersey sites are magnificent in their own way, and certainly well worth a trip as you won’t see anything like them anywhere else. However, what isn’t widely known are the many tucked-away treasures that Jersey offers that are also truly one of a kind. These special places are scattered all over the island and are the hidden delights that can make a trip in a moment.
La Hougue Bie
Based in the parish of Grouville, this is one of Europe’s largest and bestpreserved Neolithic ritual sites, which impressively predates Giza’s pyramids at 3500BC. The site was first excavated in 1925 during Europe’s archaeological heyday, just three years after Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen. Its 18.6 metre passage chamber is covered by a high earth mound and was an important ceremonial and burial site. The site itself sparks the imagination. A great place to take children to help them understand the past, a visit here will bring ancient history to life.
Unmissable, especially if you have children with wild imaginations – it’s the perfect place for historic re-enactments!
La Route de la Hougue Bie, Grouville JE3 9HQ, Jersey
Found at La Hougue des Geonnais, La Pouquelaye de Faldouet, and thirteen other sites across Jersey, the earliest of these super-cool Neolithic remains dates from 4800BC. There is much speculation about the dolmens’ exact use, but they seem to have been important symbolically and may have been used to celebrate the passing seasons. Whatever the truth, they’re a fantastic visual feast and popular with children and grown-ups alike.
Instagram opportunity with ancient monuments as the backdrop and fun for all ages.
There’s something satisfying about the fact that you can only visit Seymour Tower at low tide – like your trip here is a kind of secret that you and the island have! Built in 1782 as part of Jersey’s coastal defences, the tower stands on a craggy tidal island called L’ Avarison located a full 2km east of the Jersey shoreline. Jersey Heritage arrange guided tours and you can even stay overnight (with a guide) – and enjoy the stunning spectacle of seeing the tide race in. The stay is only possible when the sea and weather conditions align, so contact Jersey Heritage to find out more. Of course, you don’t have to stay there to walk out to it during low tide, however, because the Jersey tide comes in fast, it’s always advisable to know your timings. A truly amazing experience.
A one-of-a-kind monument, but only stay there if you are happy with basic conditions.
La Grande Route des Sablons, St Clement, Jersey
St Helier Market
Known to locals as ‘the market in town’, locals have bought and sold food on this site since the days of Edward I. Today, the market is absolutely thriving and is the island destination for fresh fruit, veg, fish and meat, with a variety of deli and special interest stalls, shops and cafés. The market itself is picturesque, arranged around a pretty central fountain that – at 15 feet high – makes for impressive holiday snaps. There’s a tradition of throwing money into the fountain, which is taken so seriously that every year it raises around 5K for charity! We think the market is well worth a visit for delicious local food and a colourful slice of local life.
This is a foodie heaven that’s an absolute must for flavour-seekers.
Halkett Place, St Helier, Jersey.
Archirondel Tower and the Driftwood Café
These are indeed two different venues, but you’ll need to know about the café if you choose to stay at Archirondel Tower! This red-and-white painted landmark on Jersey’s eastern coast was built in 1792 to garrison artillery soldiers. Today, it has room for up to 10 people to stay (dogs are welcome), but there is no running water or toilets. For that privilege, you’ll need to visit the Driftwood Café – just 100 yards away – which offers 24-hour access to showers and loos. Located on the beach, there’s plenty for children to enjoy, from rock pooling and fishing for supper to pretend games of ‘let’s defend the island from invaders’. It’s a truly memorable experience and a great holiday memory to make.
A great choice for impressing the children on holiday.
La Route de la Cote, St Martin JE3 6DY, Jersey. Tel: 01534 833304.
Channel Islands Military Museum
Located in a German military bunker, once part of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall defences, the museum is a fascinating insight into Jersey during World War II. The island was occupied for 5 years and the museum hosts many artefacts from the time including Nazi uniforms and weapons, ration tins and even Nazi propaganda written in English. The museum brings to life what it was like to live in Jersey during the Occupation, and how difficult it was for local inhabitants. A moving and informative trip – and something to think about. After your visit, you might like to cross the road to the Jersey Pearl Café and Terrace, for a refreshing afternoon tea.
History buffs love the museum, which gives a real insight into Jersey’s experience of the Second World War.
La Grande Route Des Mielles, St Ouen, Jersey JE3 2FN, Jersey 07797 732072.