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Wordtravels

Jersey Travel Guide

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Jersey ©

Largest of the British Channel Islands, Jersey is the most southerly and renowned for its mild winters and long hot summer days. This tiny island in the English Channel, measuring nine miles by five (14km by 8km), was in antiquity part of mainland France. Small it may be, but it has had a great influence over the ages, giving the world the Jersey dairy cow and the ubiquitous knitted sweaters known globally as 'jerseys'. Today it offers a wealth of history and sheer scenic beauty, sporting well-kept fields and an unspoilt coastline of majestic cliffs, exposed bays, sandy beaches and rocky coves. Inland the island is criss-crossed by a network of 'green lanes' where walkers, horse-riders and cyclists have precedence over cars.

Norman farmhouses, narrow winding lanes, French street names, gourmet cuisine and tidy fields reflect the island's French connections, but in all other respects it remains resoundingly British. The capital, St Helier, is a pleasant town of squares and pedestrianised streets where shopping is made more attractive by the fact that the Channel Islands have low rates of duty and no V.A.T.

As you stroll the streets listen for the noonday gun fired from picturesque Elizabeth Castle, overlooking St Aubin's Bay, and call at the fascinating Maritime Museum. Other not-to-be-missed sightseeing attractions on Jersey are the poignant German Underground Hospital at St Lawrence, and the Jersey Zoo, founded by Gerald Durrell, which is more a haven for endangered species than a regular zoo. Those lucky enough to visit in August will catch the world-famous Battle of the Flowers parade, held regularly since 1902, when everyone good-naturedly pelts each other with flowers in the street as fantastic floats decorated with millions of blooms go by.

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