Ginny Weeks discovers the island’s top-notch foodie scene and fascinating history

Despite being only 9 miles long and 5 miles wide, Jersey is a microcosm of rich heritage, laid-back culture and stunning landscapes. The mixed heritage of the island offers something totally unique – from the French street names to the English castles – and it seems to mesh together in a quite wonderful way.

Jersey is independent from the UK and forms the largest part of the Channel Islands. It’s actually much closer to France (14 miles) than to the UK (100 miles) and Jersey French is spoken, although English remains the most common language. The island is self-governing with its own financial and legal systems but it does use the Pound sterling as currency, alongside the Jersey pound.

Planning a weekend in Jersey is a real challenge; the more I ask friends and colleagues about the island the longer my list of recommendations gets. Finally I whittle it down and go for a foodie theme. Here’s what I got up to:


After a slightly hairy flight over to the island (the fog was so thick that the plane had to be landed by computer) we sat down to dinner at the Michelin Star Ocean restaurant, headed up by chef Mark Jordan. One look at the award-winning menu and we knew we were in for a treat. We devoured a selection of dishes washed down with matching wines – Jersey scallops with pancetta, Jersey beef fillet with roasted vegetables and citrus fillet of cod with caper butter and crab, finished with pistachio cake and chocolate mousse. My partner commented that it was the best beef dish he’d ever had.


Following an early morning gym workout (in an attempt to be healthy) we tuck into a ‘light’ breakfast of smoked salmon and eggs followed by fresh coffee and pastries and soak in the sunny view over the hotel gardens and pool. Afterwards, we pop outside for a stroll along the cliff tops to catch a glimpse of the golden sands of St Ouen’s Bay. Already the sunshine is baking hot.  

St Aubin harbour is an elegant place with tall, chic houses, glittering yachts, smart streets and friendly little coffee shops. The harbour water is turquoise blue and locals mill around running errands and walking their dogs. Leisurely tourists cycle by on vintage styled bicycles past supercars and stalls selling Jersey milk ice cream. It’s a lovely place to spend a couple of hours strolling around in the sunshine and taking in the Anglo-French feel.


We join a mixture of glamorous regulars and tourists for lunch on the outside terrace at Mark Jordan at the Beach, chef Mark Jordan’s more relaxed sister restaurant to Ocean. The golden sands of St Aubin’s Bay stretch out for miles and it’s so hot we move under the canopy for some shade, with a cold glass of prosecco in hand.

Nibbles arrive and they are pure genius – we particularly love the anchovy and cucumber rolls and tomato bread. Next to the starters – creamy poached Jersey oysters with cucumber beurre blanc simply melt in the mouth and the free range Scotch egg with homemade piccalilli is crunchy and delicious with just the right level of tang.

It’s time for a glass of muscadet to compliment our fish mains which are: crispy fishcake, wilted spinach and herb hollandaise and a really superb whole grilled plaice, caper, prawn and cockle butter with Jersey Royals.

Somehow – pure gluttony perhaps – we manage to order a pudding each: a pear tarte Tatin with vanilla ice cream and chocolate fondant with raspberry sorbet to finish. Both were superb.

Time to enjoy a walk across the bay to St Helier and back, stopping to look at the gunsites and wartime fortifications on the way. Some of the beach is taken up with sand racing – a particularly popular sport on the Channel Islands – where adults and children alike race cars, motorbikes and small vehicles around a sand racetrack. It’s really great to watch.

After an enjoyable drive around the edge of the island, stopping off to explore coves and beaches, we find a deserted spot on St Ouen’s Bay beach to enjoy the evening sunshine with a picnic. The huge Nazi-built Atlantic Wall provides a warm concrete backrest from which to gaze out to the waves.


Alongside the defense fortifications and concrete bunkers built in WWII, one of the most famous Nazi constructions is the large underground network of tunnels in the centre of the island now known as the Jersey War Tunnels. Originally intended as a munitions barracks but later converted into a hospital, the tunnels are still as they were and provide a harrowing insight into island life under occupation. It’s easy to spend a few hours walking through the maze of tunnels which feature the original operating theatre, storerooms and telephone exchange, alongside an excellent exhibition detailing the different sides of war, from occupied life to the liberation of the Channel Islands.    


Several recommendations later, we choose the Crab Shack, famous for its excellent seafood, for our last meal on Jersey. We order two delicious chilli and lemon crab linguines and sit and take in the view over Gorey harbour and the majestic Mont Orgueil Castle (conveniently, our next stop).

For our final stop on the island we wander through the many levels, secret rooms and gardens of the Medieval Mont Orgueil Castle and enjoy the views across to France. It’s a wonderful way to round off what has been a brilliant introduction to the island. I will definitely be back soon.

If you like to holiday on British islands, take a look at a Weekend on the Isle of Man, a Weekend in Ventnor, and a Weekend on Tresco. Keep up to date with our monthly weekend guides in the magazine.


The Atlantic Hotel
Ginny Weeks stayed at The Atlantic Hotel, a small art deco hotel overlooking St Ouen’s Bay in west Jersey. With its secluded location and cliff top viewpoint the hotel provides wonderful views of the coastline, alongside fabulous eating in its Michelin-starred restaurant Ocean. Prices for an ocean view room start at £200 per night, including breakfast and full use of the swimming pools and leisure facilities.

Jersey is a 30-minute flight from London and has connections throughout the UK airport network. Travelling by fast ferry from Poole to Jersey takes around six and a half hours. Coast travelled with Easyjet, which flies from several London airports to Jersey. For general tourist information, see

If you like to holiday on British islands, take a look at a Weekend on the Isle of Man, a Weekend in Ventnor, and a Weekend on Tresco. Keep up to date with our monthly weekend guides in the magazine.