All information in this blog post is correct as of the publishing date, 18.10.19.
A holiday during the autumn is the perfect time for everyone, from those who want to avoid the busy peak season but still enjoy good weather and families who want to have a mini-break and get outdoors before it gets too cold. Jersey is the ideal destination in the autumn, as the climate is milder and there is still a lot of great things to do for all ages.
Book your Jersey holidays for a seasonal getaway, and read on to find out what awaits you when you visit the island during the autumn, from where’s best to admire the stunning colours on the trees to the variety of exciting events which take place around the island every September, October and November. You’ll soon find there is something for everyone and plenty of fantastic accommodation available too!
For the Woodland Walks
Heading away from Jersey’s breathtaking coastline and going inland brings you to the rural heart of the island with its wooded valleys and picture-perfect autumnal scenery. Your children can play in the crunchy leaves and collect shiny conkers while you admire the rich hues on the trees. To see the very best of the seasonal colours in Jersey, go for a woodland walk in St Catherine’s Woods and St Peter’s Valley or have a leisurely stroll around Val de la Mare Reservoir and through the Forgotten Forest.
St. Catherine’s Woods is a beauty spot in the east of the island, and the signposted walk takes about one hour. Watch out for the stepping stones, streams, mature trees and rope swings! The route is relatively flat – but the stepping stones make it difficult if you have a pushchair – and make sure you bring good footwear as the paths can get slippery with mud and fallen leaves. The woods here are a great place to see red squirrels, mushrooms and birds. Another good spot for seeing the local flora and fauna of Jersey is St Peter’s Valley, located not far from the Jersey War Tunnels. The young wood comprises of beech, ash, sycamore, oak and sweet chestnut and is the perfect place for short walks – especially if you have your dog with you!
Jersey’s largest reservoir is Val de la Mare, which is fringed with gorgeous tones of red, yellow, orange and brown in autumn. The full walk around the reservoir is nearly 3 miles and you can see owl-nesting boxes on the way as well as enjoying views of the calm reservoir water and St Ouen’s Bay. We’d also recommend exploring the arboretum found at the top of the reservoir. Known as the Forgotten Forest, there are several unusual species of tree found there which are stunning to see in autumn.
For the Autumn Wildlife
In addition to the exotic animals you can see at Jersey Zoo all year round, there are plenty of native animals and birds to see too. The mild climate and natural habitat of the island have meant there is a diversity of wildlife you’ll be surprised by, and autumn is a great time to see it. Jersey is home to red squirrels, which thrive in the various woodlands as the larger grey squirrel wasn’t introduced to Jersey. On one of your woodland walks, you may be lucky to glimpse the timid creatures scurrying around the branches – an exciting sight for any nature lover!
The island is also home to breeding seabirds and a stopover for migratory visitors in autumn and winter, so when walking on the coastline, you may want to have a pair of binoculars with you to see the feathered wildlife. Some of the birds you are likely to see in Jersey during the autumn months include little gulls, arctic terns, razorbills, Manx shearwaters, bluethroats and Richard’s Pipit. Have a look at our birdwatching guide for the birds to see and the best spots on the island.
Seeing dolphins in the wild is on the bucket list for many and the waters around Jersey are home to a pod of bottlenose dolphins. Book yourself onto a RIB ride trip with Jersey Seafaris and you may be lucky enough to spot seabirds, bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, harbour porpoise and seals. Trips to Ecrehous are the most popular for seeing dolphins, and October is one of the best months to see them being active in the sea.
If boat trips aren’t for you, you can find some interesting sea creatures amongst the rocks on some of Jersey’s beaches. In the south-east of the island, the beaches of Le Hocq and La Rocque have some of the largest tidal movements in the world – Jersey nearly doubles in size every day! – and at low tide, the sea reveals a rocky terrain perfect for exploring. Put on wellies and grab a net to wander the miles of tidal pools and look for crabs, sea snails and anemones hiding under the rocks, but keep an eye on the tide coming in, as it is fast!
For the Festivals and Events
Autumn may feel like the off-season with fewer tourists holidaying on the island, but Jersey still has loads of fantastic events to check out when you’re visiting. One of the most popular festivals is the annual Tennerfest that lasts the whole of October and a week into November. Restaurants around the island take part in the festival, which gives them a platform to promote their business and locals and visitors alike can sample menus from just £10.
Other unmissable autumn events are La Faîs’sie d’Cidre (17th – 18th October 2020), a cider festival which allows visitors a glimpse of the traditional cider making in Jersey and takes place at the Hamptonne Country Life Museum, and the Black Butter Festival (22nd – 24th October 2020). This is a free event which takes place at The Elms, a National Trust farm, and welcomes everyone to have a go at making Jersey’s famous black butter conserve. These two festivals take place in October in conjunction with when the Jersey orchards are bursting with fruit.
Oktoberfest is celebrated all over the world, and Jersey doesn’t miss out. Oktoberfest takes place at The Merton Hotel on the 18th and 19th October, and includes a German-themed buffet featuring bratwurst, beer soup and black forest torte, live entertainment and plenty of beer! The chance to wear traditional dirndl for girls and lederhosen for boys is not to be missed!
If food isn’t what has drawn you to a holiday to Jersey, but rather the stunning landscapes found on the island, you may be interested in the Festival of the Tides, taking place from the 26th October to 2nd November 2019 (2020 dates announced soon). The week will see exceptionally low tides, revealing a fascinating seabed on some of the island’s beaches. The festival includes exciting guided walks and kayak tours over the seabed, a chance to see the bioluminescent creatures light up the sand, foraging for seaweed and a chance to walk to the hard to get to Icho Tower and P-Marks around Seymour Tower. The festival is a fantastic experience to discover a part of Jersey that is rarely seen.
As well as exploring the natural beauty of Jersey, you can also explore some of its heritage with an evening tour of the World War II bunkers and tunnels which are not open to the public, from October to December. Researchers Phil and Kimberley will show visitors how Jersey was turned into an impregnable fortress and you can learn about the Occupation of the Channel Islands. Tours need to be pre-booked and it is recommended you wear a coat and walking boots for the rough, damp terrain in the tunnels.
For the Family Halloween events
For families visiting Jersey, as well as those who love all things spooky, Halloween falls in the middle of autumn and around October Half Term breaks. There are loads of fantastic Halloween events taking place, which welcome those holidaying on the island along with residents. The Halloween Spooktacular event at aMaizin’ Adventure Park is back from 26th October to 3rd November 2019 (2020 dates announced soon) with the Haunted Maze, Terrifying Tractor Trails, Creepy Cottages and much more that is sure to send chills up your spine!
Jersey Zoo is getting involved with the scares too, with their Boo at the Zoo event on the 31st October 2020, 12 pm to 4 pm. At the family-friendly event, you can explore the zoo after dark when the animals are asleep. There are several activities to try, from the Trick or Treat Trail, a magic show and you can wander the Extinction Graveyard to learn about species from the past. There will also be a talk about the island’s bats and visitors are welcome to come in fancy dress!
The Merton Aquadome will be hosting the island’s best Halloween party on 31st October, which will include use of the indoor and outdoor pools! There are flume rides and a surf machine, activities for the children, fire dancers and live music from Lauren Ivy and the Engine. There will be a buffet available too, and tickets are £20 per person.
The darker evenings of autumn also provide the perfect opportunity to visit some of Jersey’s haunted locations! Mont Orgueil Castle is one of the world’s finest examples of a medieval castle and being over 800 years old, it’s no surprise there are rumours of haunted shadowy spots! There is also the Well of Death, a deep Venus pool below the cliffs of Sorel Point, aptly named because of the sirens which would lure ships onto the rocks and execute sailors who made it onto the shore.
Bouley Bay is one of Jersey’s most famous haunted locations. The spooky stories comes from a giant black dog which is said to roam the hills around the bay, and the legend has a few origins; smugglers who used the bay spread rumours about a dog to keep people away and older reports say a sighting of the dog would warn local fisherman to stay on land because of a coming storm!
For a Cosy Night In and Indoor Attractions
Stargazing at Grosnez Castle is exciting, and the little light pollution on the island provides you with clear views of the Milky Way and meteor showers in autumn, but if staying out in the cold in the evening is not for you then the autumn months provide plenty of opportunity for staying in and having a relaxing night with loved ones. The self-catered accommodation available on Jersey means you can snuggle up on the sofa for a movie night, with some delicious hot chocolate and autumnal treats.
If the weather is just too cold or wet to go out exploring, you can find activities indoors to do, too. As well as having a go at pumpkin carving in your holiday accommodation, you can make the most of Jersey’s indoor attractions, including the Military Museum in St Ouen, the Jersey War Tunnels in St Lawrence, the Maritime Museum and Jersey Museum & Art Gallery in St Helier and Mont Orgueil Castle in St Martin. If you don’t have your car with you in Jersey, there are regular buses between the towns and villages around the island to get you to these attractions.
And if being cooped up inside is sending everyone a little stir-crazy, then why not head to Jump Jersey, a large indoor activity centre in Les Ormes? Children – and adults – can let off some steam in the Trampoline Park, where there are challenging Ninja Warrior Courses, a Foam Pit and Airbag plus a Total Wipeout Machine! For toddlers, there is a Soft Play Area, suitable for children up to 1m in height and Adventure Toddler for children up to 1.4m in height. Jump Jersey is also home to 18 climbing walls of various heights and difficulty. Participants must be over 5 years of age and over 1m tall to have a go.
With so many things to do, indoors and outdoors, on your holiday to Jersey, you’ll see why it is the perfect destination for an autumn break, and you’ll no doubt be interested to come back at other times of the year to experience everything Jersey has to offer!