All information in this blog post is correct as of the publishing date, 17.12.19.
Your winter Jersey holidays won’t be missing anything except sunbathing as the largest of the Channel Islands is a wonderful year-round destination. There is the great outdoors, history to explore and delicious food to devour at the top restaurants. It may be small, but Jersey doesn’t shirk on the number of attractions, trendy coffee shops and breathtaking scenery, so you are sure to have a packed holiday no matter when you travel there. If you haven’t holidayed in Jersey in the winter before, we have put together a guide on what to expect on a winter break, from which attractions will be open to the best food available.
Jersey’s mild weather is much like the rest of the British Isles, and in winter you can expect to experience some grey days with rain but also be blessed with blue skies and crisp, cool air. When the temperature is a bit warmer, traverse the rugged coastline along the paths, and when it gets a bit too cold, you can head indoors to an attraction or a café for a warming drink! Being a winter holiday, you’ll want to pack waterproofs and all your woolly essentials!
Exciting Indoor Attractions
Jersey has a few indoor attractions open in the winter season if you like staying warm and dry, and visiting gives you the opportunity to learn about the heritage of the island. You can find which places are open at Jersey Heritage, who manages several of the historical and heritage sites in Jersey. Go back thousands of years to when people first arrived in Jersey at the Jersey Museum & Art Gallery which is open daily from 10 am to 4 pm in the winter season. The Jersey Museum retells the history of the island, touching upon the inspiring events that have shaped the island and its people.
It is no surprise that maritime life has had a big impact on life in Jersey. The Jersey Maritime Museum next to St Helier Marina delves into how the relationship between island and sea has developed over the years through a series of interactive displays. You will be able to learn about Jersey’s sailors and famous ships, discover how to design and float ships and immerse yourself in the songs, myths and legends about maritime life surrounding Jersey. The museum is open every Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm in the winter season.
Mont Orgueil is one of Jersey’s most popular attractions and opens from 10 am to 4 pm every Saturday from January to February, then open Friday to Monday from 7th February until 17th March, when it opens daily. The castle is an imposing structure and has been part of many key events in the island’s history. When you visit, you can explore the network of staircases and secret rooms to discover hidden treasures – and some gruesome tales! You won’t want to miss standing on the battlements to admire the view of the distant French coast and other highlights include the curious Wheel of Urine, Dance of Death statue and Witches in Hell.
Family-Friendly Outdoor Attractions
Though some of Jersey’s attractions have restricted opening days or are closed in the November to March winter season, you still have plenty to choose from, especially if you don’t mind spending a bit of time outdoors! Jersey Zoo is open every day except Christmas Day and is the perfect place to spend the day as a family. There are several animals, birds and reptiles to see, a chance to learn about the conservation work the zoo does and you can join an experience to meet the gorillas, be a keeper for a day or have an encounter with the meerkats!
When the children are needing to blow off some steam, the place to go is the aMaizin! Adventure Park. The award-winning attraction has over 30 activities to do from go-karts and crazy golf to the Barnyard and indoor play area. All the activities at the park are included in the entrance fee, so you can spend as long as you want there and have a go on all the activities – twice! The park is open Tuesday to Sunday in the winter season, from 10 am to 5.30 pm.
Jersey is home to some of the world’s best beaches; long stretches of golden sand and quiet pebbled coves. A walk along St Brelade’s Bay or neighbouring St Aubin’s Bay is going to dust off the cobwebs. Seeing the flat sands stretch before you on a brisk walk, with St Aubin’s Fort and Elizabeth Castle in the distance, will leave you feeling refreshed and onwindy days you will be able to enjoy the big waves as they come crashing down onto the beach. A good spot for storm watching on the Jersey coast is La Corbière Lighthouse in the south-west corner of the island. At low tide, you may be able to reach the lighthouse, but it is safer to stay on the mainland and watch the waves crash on the rocks from a distance. Bring your camera with you to capture some atmospheric shots of the waves!
If you want to escape to a peaceful spot on the coast, go to Fliquet Bay on the eastern coastline, an unspoiled spot that boasts unparalleled views out to sea and is extra special at sunrise. It’s going to be cold so early in the morning but wrapping up and sipping on a Thermos of something hot as you watch the sun climb up in the early hours of the day will be a memory worth making. And for watching the sunset, go to St Ouen’s Bay. The beach takes up most of Jersey’s west coast and seeing the sun dip below the horizon is another magical experience that will not be forgotten in a hurry!
After the busy Christmas and New Year period there is nothing better than relaxing from a massage or facial treatment. Jersey has award-winning hotels and wellness centres offering spa deals you can easily book in for when you’re on holiday. Ayush Wellness Spa is a spa at the Hotel De France and focuses on promoting physical and emotional wellbeing. ‘Ayush’ means long healthy life in Sanskrit and you are sure to leave the spa feeling revitalised. The range of Ayurvedic therapies and spa treatments can be included in full and half-day packages or you can choose seasonal spa days, such as a body exfoliation, foot ritual and facial in winter, as well as access to the infinity pool, hydrotherapy pool, sauna and steam room.
At The Royal Yacht Hotel is the luxurious Spa Sirene, an adult-only spa which offers fantastic facilities to complement treatments, all following a nautical theme and using natural formulas in the products. There is a sauna, salt steam room, experience showers and vitality pool, with a range of treatments including hot stone massages, body exfoliations, manicures and pedicures and full-body massages. You can choose a package for a full or half-day or just opt for a singular treatment depending on how much you want to indulge on holiday.
L’Horizon Spa at the L’Horizon Beach Hotel and Spa near St Aubin is located right on the seafront and boasts gorgeous sea views, which has made it a favourite for visitors and locals. There are extensive facilities which put tranquillity at the forefront; you can relax in the various treatment rooms, swim around in the indoor pool and watch the waves from the jacuzzi or relax in the sleep room. You can choose from several spa day options, from afternoon tea to hen parties and mother-to-be treatments, all of which will leave you feeling satisfied and blissful; the perfect way to spend time in Jersey!
During the winter season, seafood is big on the menu! Oysters, clams, cockles, fresh fish and more are at their best in the winter months and so many of Jersey’s top restaurants will be serving up the seasonal seafood until you can’t eat anymore! When on your Jersey holidays, having dinner out at one – or more! – of the island’s best restaurants should be part of your plans, to sample the delicious gourmet food.
Number 10 in St Helier is a family-run restaurant from local chef Joseph Baker, serving modern British and European food. There is a big focus on seasonal local produce, and the menu changes regularly, but you can expect a mixture of seafood, meat and vegetarian options available when you visit. In the basement is Bar 10, a cocktail and wine bar to check out for pre or post-dinner drinks!
For a relaxed dining experience with stunning sea views, head to Mark Jordan at the Beach in St Peter. The award-winning restaurant produces quality British and seafood dishes, including oysters, fish, meat and vegetarian. You won’t want to miss out on dessert either with options including homemade sorbets, white chocolate and lime namelaka, date pudding and an extensive cheese board. There is also a child-friendly menu so the little ones will be able to enjoy the meal just as much as you!
Overlooking one of the best beaches in the British Isles – St Brelade Bay – is the Oyster Box. A beachside-chic restaurant, they offer the finest seafood and fish available, and the menu is designed to suit every taste. They cater for all diets and dietary requirements including vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free. At the Oyster Box, the highlight of the menu is the Jersey Rock Oysters, and you can pick how they are served such as with shallot vinegar on ice, with spicy chorizo butter or champagne butter sauce, or with Worcestershire sauce, bacon, tomato and Gruyère cheese.
Families may avoid holidaying in the winter months as there are fewer events to take part in when compared to the summer, so you might be surprised that there is still an action-packed agenda for the ‘offseason’ in Jersey. After Christmas in Jersey is over, it’s time for the New Year and all the celebrations that go with it!
There are New Year parties where you can kick off 2020 in style at Grand Jersey, which has a Great Gatsby theme and a four-course meal, or at the ‘Greatest Show’ party at the Rocco Suite in the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel with a three-course meal included. At L’Horizon Beach Hotel & Spa, The Crystal Room is going to be transformed into a Las Vegas casino for the New Year party, with a four-course meal, show-stopping entertainment and plenty of casino tables.
If you are visiting Jersey early in 2020, there are several events and exhibitions on, including tours of the island. Every Friday in January and February, the Behind Enemy Lines Walking Tour is taking place in St Helier, where you can learn about the German Occupation of Jersey. If you don’t fancy walking, why not book a private guided minibus tour? History Alive! offers full or half-day tours and you can choose where to visit depending on your interests such as military history, geology and archaeology. The tour vehicles can accommodate up to 7 or 16 people, depending on group size.
Winter is one of the best times to head to an art gallery to admire the exciting work on display. The Harbour Gallery, Studio 18 Art Gallery and Victoria Art Gallery are just a few in Jersey where you can find beautiful pieces from local artists, some of which also hold workshops where you can try your hand at various arts and crafts. At CCA Galleries International located on Hill Street in St Helier, there are two exhibitions which may interest you when on your winter Jersey holidays. Nicole Farhi: Life and Limb is an exhibition of sculpture by Nicole Farhi, who studies the body focusing on hands and folds of the body, with the exhibition opening until 31st January. Following that is Limited Edition Prints by Eminent British Artists, running throughout February, and features an outstanding collection of work from artists such as Peter Blake and Damien Hirst.