Just one hour’s flight from London and 14 miles from the Normandy coast, Jersey is the most southerly of the British Isles.
As the largest of the Channel Island archipelago, it is also the most high profile, famed as the home of the BBC TV detective series Bergerac and the doe-eyed Jersey cow. First annexed from the French mainland around 8,000 years ago, the island has endured a tumultuous history. Originally inhabited by Neolithic tribes, it has since been invaded by the Vikings, attacked by the French and occupied by Hitler’s forces (albeit briefly) during the Second World War. However, the most significant event in its history took place in 1204 when England’s King John lost Normandy to the French and the island’s feudal rulers (Seigneurs) were forced to choose whether to pledge allegiance to France or remain loyal to the English Crown. The islanders chose the latter, lured with the promise of special privileges, including freedom from UK taxes and the ability to govern themselves – both of which still stand today. “The unique relationship that Jersey has with the Crown dates back 800 years” says Blue Badge Guide Hugh Gill. “There are not many places in the world can make such a claim of outstanding loyalty and dedication to their monarch.”
Although small, Jersey has a surprisingly diverse landscape, with cliffs to the north, vast sandy beaches and salt marshes to the west and a succession of pretty fishing towns and bays to the south and east. Step inland and you will soon find yourself negotiating the island’s network of narrow country lanes, offering a winding route past quiet villages, farms and woodland, with red squirrels, great-spotted woodpeckers and barn owls among the resident wildlife. Surrounded by clear blue waters, Jersey’s rocky coastline is a paradise for marine life, including a wide variety of fish and shellfish that can be found on the menus of the island’s seafood restaurants. Jersey oysters are a particular treat, along with the famous Jersey Ormer (a smaller relation of the a