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The charms of the Channel Islands include idyllic countryside views, spectacular bays and coves, little in the way of traffic and abundant outdoor activities. The largest island in the region, Jersey, is within easy reach of the UK, at only a short flight or ferry ride away. Here, visitors can drive to the Jersey War Tunnels, a former German underground hospital, with the Channel Islands having been the only British territory occupied by Germans during WWII.
Jersey has over 350 miles of well-maintained, paved roads with good signage so visitors will find it easy to get to and from places with their own vehicle. However, some roads are narrow with twists and turns along the way so caution needs to be taken.
Driving licences: an International Driving Permit or a UK driving licence is required to hire a car and drive in Jersey.
Which side does Jersey drive on: the left.
Cities and towns: 20mph (32kph) to 30mph (48kph)
Open roads: 40mph (64kph)
Motorways: 40mph (64kph)
Alcohol limits: 0.08 per cent, the same as the UK limit. Police may fine or imprison anyone caught driving over the limit.
Driving age: 17 years; 21 years for car hire.
Seatbelts: are compulsory for all persons in a moving vehicle. Passengers 14 years or under must sit in the back and wear a seatbelt. Small children must be secured using a suitable child restraint.
Mobile phones and GPS: driving and using a mobile phone at the same time is not allowed. However, using a hands-free kit in conjunction with a mobile while driving is permitted. GPS can be used to navigate the island but it must be programmed while the vehicle is not in motion.
Cost of fuel in Jersey: both unleaded and diesel petrol are marginally lower in price here than in the UK.
Car hire and fuel payment: petrol stations and car hire companies accept credit cards as payment.
Insurance: third-party insurance is included with car rental, but taking out excess insurance to safeguard against minor damages is recommended.
Traffic and parking: traffic should not be a problem, but built-up areas are best avoided during rush hour. Parking on a yellow line is not permitted. Shops, post offices and supermarkets sell parking pay cards to visitors for use when parking on the street.
There are a number of reliable taxi operators providing on-call services for tourists on the island. Luxicabs and Liberty Cabs are reputable companies, with the former offering 24-hour services and the latter known for its great customer service. Fares start at £2.40 and are more expensive at night and on Sunday and public holidays.
Buses or coaches can be used to get around the island. The main operator for the public bus service on the island is Connex, whose fleet of buses comprehensively run to all the towns and parishes at frequent intervals. Jersey has over 19 bus routes and all buses leave from Liberation Station in St Helier. Information on departures and timetables is available at the station, at many bus stops and at the Jersey Tourism Office. Single journey fares cost between £1 and £2, while a five-day pass costs between £10 and £14.
Those who wish to take the ferry from mainland UK to Jersey are able to do so via Condor Ferries. This is a particularly good option for those who wish to bring their own vehicle to Jersey as the company also has vehicle ferries. Ferries to Jersey sail from Poole and Portsmouth in southern England. Both fast ferries and conventional ferries make the connection almost every day of the week. A fast ferry from southern England takes around 5 hours, with the fare for a car and two adults beginning at £70 one way.
Jersey Airport is located in Saint Peter Parish on the western part of the island, less than five miles west of the capital, Saint Helier. The main carriers here are British low-cost carrier Flybe and the Channel Islands airline Blue Islands. Flybe has a number of regular flights to major cities in the British Isles, including London and Manchester, as well as to Geneva in Switzerland. Blue Islands flies to London and Manchester, but also to Geneva and Zurich. British Airways, EasyJet and Aurigny Air Services are three other airlines that fly to Jersey from the UK. In the summer, Jersey Airport receives over 40 flights, regular, seasonal and charter, from the British Isles. A direct flight from London to Jersey usually takes around 50 minutes. Flight fares during the busy season of May to September usually hover around £50.
There are a ton of sights to see and things to do on the island of Jersey. Learning about the history of the island is a worthwhile activity due to the quality of the museums and the richness of the heritage here. A good place to start is the Jersey War Tunnels. The tunnels served as a German underground hospital during WWII but are now the home of a WWII museum, with Jersey having a five-year history as a German occupied territory during the war.
Jersey's old fortifications are must-sees due to their spectacular settings. Elizabeth Castle is especially beautiful because it sits on a rocky islet in St Aubin's Bay. Also spectacular to behold is Mont Orgueil Castle, which is set on top of a hill overlooking Gorey Harbour. Both castles were Jersey strongholds against invaders for years.
Jewellery produced on the island is of high quality. Shopping here can be a particular delight. A visit to well-known island jewellers such as Jersey Pearl, Catherine Best and Jersey Goldsmiths offers visitors the chance to choose from the exquisite local collections.
Jersey is popular with holidaying families. The family-friendly Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, a beautiful zoo and parkland founded by author and naturalist Gerald Durrell, offers an ideal day out for all ages. After a zoo visit, cooling off at Aquasplash water park should be next on the family itinerary.
Saint Helier to Saint Aubin– a drive on the coastal A1 highway is easily done and offers great rewards. The highway stretches across the harbour, from the capital, Saint Helier, to the beautiful port town of Saint Aubin.
Vingtaine du Nord– this beautiful drive hugs the Vingtaine du Nord north coast. In the area are stunning natural scenery and a number of historical attractions.
Circle the interior – drive to the island's interior to take in idyllic farms and villages, and see a side of Jersey that many self-drivers miss.
New Year's Day (1 January)
Good Friday and Easter Monday (April)
Jersey Jazz Festival (early March/April)
Early May Bank Holiday (7 May)
Liberation Day (9 May)
Spring Bank Holiday (4 June)
Summer Bank Holiday (27 August)
Jersey Battle of Flowers Grande Parade (October)
International Air Show (September)
Christmas Day (25 December)
Boxing Day (26 December)
The climate of Jersey, where summers are cool and winters are mild, is temperate. The mild climate is, in fact, one of the reasons why Jersey is a popular holiday destination. The warmest temperatures of the year can be experienced in August, but even then temperatures average at 14 to 19°C so can still be quite cool. January, meanwhile, sees the lowest temperatures, ranging from 4 to 7°C. The cooler months are when rain tends to fall the heaviest, so a visit during the summer months is ideal.
With its proximity to the British Isles, Jersey is an easy-to-reach holiday spot for UK travellers. However, despite its nearness to home and similar culture, it is worth knowing a few travel tips before going.
Jersey contact numbers
Country code (+44)
Fire – 112
Police – 112
To report an accident to the police – 0800 555 111
Irish Embassy – +44 745551
Jersey has an official currency of its own, the Jersey pound (JEP, £). However, banknotes and coins from the UK can be readily used here as the Jersey pound is in currency union with the British pound. Those with foreign money can exchange cash at exchange bureaux and banks, or they can withdraw local money from ATMs, which are available in urban areas on the island. Leading credit cards as well as travellers' cheques are widely accepted.
Health and safety
Jersey is safe, especially when compared to the neighbouring UK and France. The crime rate is generally low. However, common sense measures such as avoiding dark streets at night should be employed. Should medical assistance be needed, hospitals in St Helier and other major towns are of high quality, with emergency treatment available to UK citizens for free.
Nationality can be an issue with the locals of Jersey. It is not advisable to assume everybody here is British. Locals may consider themselves British if they have UK heritage, French should they have a French background and so on. Jerseyman or Jerseywoman, however, are acceptable terms.
Visas for Jersey
Jersey is a British crown dependency, so travellers from Great Britain, Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the other Channel Islands do not need a passport to enter. Other EU nationals need to present a valid national identity card in order to enter.
The voltage used in Jersey is the same as that used in the UK: 220-240 Volts, 50 Hertz. Sockets accept plugs with three elongated, rectangular pins arranged in a triangle.
Businesses: 09:00 to 16:30 or 17:30, Monday to Friday
Shops and supermarkets: 07:00 or 08:00 to 18:00 or 22:00, Monday to Saturday
The official language in Jersey and the most widely spoken language on the island is English. However, due to its French heritage, French is also spoken by many residents in their day-to-day business. Some locals even speak a Norman French language called Jerriais. Due to the number of Portuguese migrants, Portuguese is fast becoming a widely spoken language on the island.
Portuguese/French - English
Ola/Bonjour - Hello
Disculpe-me/Excusez moi - Excuse me
Nao compreendo/Je nes comprends pas - I don't understand
Como se chama?/Comment vous appelez vous? - What is your name?
De nada/De rien - You are welcome
Onde e… ?/Ou sont… ? - Where is… ?
Obrigado/Merci beaucoup - Thank you very much