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‘Seafood and eat it’ became the mantra of Amanda Statham and family on a holiday to Jersey, where the food scene’s hotter than a jalapeño
The largest (nine miles by five miles) and most southern of the Channel Islands feels a lot farther-flung than a four-hour ferry ride from Poole thanks to its palms, golden beaches, pretty French-named harbours and gourmet restaurants.
We checked in to the utterly charming St Brelade’s Bay Hotel. Set back from the seafront in five acres of flower-filled gardens overlooking St Brelade’s sandy beach, it’s a mix of faded French glamour and chic Hamptons style. My sons (Sonny, 10, and Sol, 6) loved the heated outside pool; I loved the enormous spa and our elegant family suite.
A lot. We hit Jersey Crab Shack, just down the road from our hotel (easily identifiable by its cheery red and white picnic tables), and tucked into finger-licking good crab tacos, chilli fried squid, truffle chips and spider crab, which the kids, let loose with shell-crushing utensils, attacked with glee.
We feasted on crispy crab cakes and steaming bowls of plump moules mariniere and thin salty fries at Feast restaurant in Gorey, a French harbour village in the shadow of medieval Mont Orgueil Castle.
Fine-dining at Greenhills Country House Hotel’s two AA rosette restaurant in rural St Peter’s Valley was another highlight. Menus, created by chef Lukasz Pietrasz, are really a love letter to the island’s best produce; think firm flakes of Jersey turbot fillet with lobster ravioli, globe artichoke, crab bisque, samphire and tarragon oil.
For a more laidback vibe, we headed to beach shack Kismet Cabana at Ouaisne Bay and tucked into street food (order the intensely flavoured Sri Lankan curry) and listened to live music while the sun set.
A rib boat adventure with Jersey Seafaris is a must for access to places you can’t discover on foot, like eerie Devil’s Hole Cave. We bought a Jersey Heritage island pass and visited La Hougue Bie, one of the oldest buildings in the world (6,000 years old) and climbed the turrets of the impressive Mont Orgueil Castle. Don’t miss a tour of La Mare Wine Estate to sample local vintages and handmade chocolate.
Swimwear - you’re never more than 10 minutes from the sea in Jersey!
Sipping Champagne and shucking oysters barefoot in the Royal Bay of Grouville during a sun-soaked tour of the Seymour Shellfish’s oyster farm with owners Shannon and John.
You don’t have to visit a restaurant to eat well in Jersey. Pick up a portable barbecue, some handmade sausages from Brooklands Farm and seafood from The Jersey Catch, then drive to Plemont Beach for a delicious barbecue sheltered by caves.