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The largest of the Channel Islands might only measure some 14km (9 miles) from tip to tail but this lush little island just off the French coast is bumper-packed with activities to enjoy.

From its spooky war tunnels to its VAT-free shopping, beautiful beaches and medieval castles, a holiday in Jersey has something for everyone. Food fans will lap up luscious gourmet weekend breaks in Jersey, where a raft of restaurants serve local specialties such as succulent home-grown oysters.

Beach bums, meanwhile, are well looked after in Jersey, too. The island’s southern coast is blessed with lovely golden sands, stretching from lively main town St Helier to the picturesque port of St Aubin. The lesser-known northern coast, studded with hidden bays and mysterious sea caves, is perfect for adventure lovers seeking to get off the beaten track on their weekend break. 

From foodies to families, Jersey staycations cater to all types of traveller. Sink your teeth into the island’s varied history, tuck into Michelin-starred meals or hit the beach for a helping of sun, sea and sand.

Best things to do on a weekend break

The island’s tiny size means you can pack a lot into a weekend break in Jersey. Base yourself in capital St Helier and explore the town’s warren of cobbled streets. Then, walk across the tide-washed causeway to visit Elizabeth Castle, a striking 16th-century citadel standing guard over St Aubin’s Bay.

About 15 minutes’ drive from the capital is fishing village Gorey, where you can shuck oysters with the producers, or head north to sip crisp Jersey wine with home-grown snacks at family-owned La Mare Wine Estate.

If the weather’s fine, make sure to sunbathe on one of the island’s stunning beaches, and then spend lively evenings sipping and supping in St Helier’s swanky marina.

Best things to do for families

From lip-smacking Jersey cream teas to toddler-friendly, soft sand beaches, Jersey’s family-friendly attractions are plentiful.

Bring bathing suits and explore the south coast on Jersey’s little train, or venture out to meet silverback lowland gorillas and other exotic wildlife at the Jersey Zoo, which houses the breathtaking collection of naturalist Gerald Durrell who was recently immortalised in the hit TV series The Durrells.

When it’s time to let off steam, kids of all ages will love playing in the vast grounds of Samarès Manor, while parents will want to ramble in the botanical gardens, created here in 1920 by shipping magnate Sir James Knott.

Best beaches in Jersey

Stretching from ritzy St Helier to picturesque St Aubin, Jersey has some of the Channel Islands best beaches. The Royal Bay of Grouville is a paradise for watersports fans, while St Brelade Bay’s café-lined boardwalk, glittering blue waters and fun activities – ranging from windsurfing to sand-karting – are a magnet for active families.

Couples and adventurous families who want to get off the beaten track should hike out to discover beaches on the island’s rugged northern coast, where towering cliffs offering dramatic views over secret bays with hardly another soul in sight.

Best restaurants and bars in Jersey

From Michelin-starred havens to cosy gastro pubs, Jersey has a smorgasbord of exciting food options to suit all tastes and budgets.

For the best brunch option head for El Tico, a beach-front cantina serving succulent seafood in surfers hangout St Ouen’s Bay. Sophisticated drinks venue Ce Soir is your best bet for those sundowner cocktails and for great-value evening treats check out The Thai Dicq Shack, where food is top-notch and you bring your own booze.

If you have money to burn make a beeline for Michelin-starred Bohemia, where gourmet treats, including tender lamb with artichoke and Chardonnay puree, are guaranteed to tickle your tastebuds.

Best attractions in Jersey

Take a vintage shuttle bus from St Helier to visit The Jersey War Tunnels, a warren of underground fortifications built by locals who were used as slaves when Germans occupied the island during World War II. Apart from the spooky tunnels, there’s also a fascinating museum where the tragic story of Jersey’s occupation by the Nazis is told via archive footage and original artefacts.

From here, it’s an easy drive through lush countryside to La Corbière, the world’s first concrete lighthouse. Built in 1872, this iconic tower is the best place in Jersey for snapping the sunset.

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