Are you planning a trip to the Channel Islands? The archipelago off the Normandy coast consists of five islands: Alderney, Guernsey, Herm, Jersey and Sark. The largest of the islands is Jersey, which is just nine miles by five miles and boasts more than 50 miles of stunning coastlines. The island’s relatively small size means that you get the best of both worlds: you have the capacity to explore every mile of this beautiful little island, yet you will never be bored – there are plenty of beaches to explore and things to do on Jersey.
Jersey’s coastline is packed with beautiful beaches: a dozen main beaches and countless small bays and coves, just waiting to be explored. When planning your list of things to do in Jersey, make sure you leave a good few days to find your own perfect beach.
To the south….
Jersey’s southern beaches are particularly popular among tourists, due to their safe, shallow waters. Head to the main beaches, or go a little off the beaten track to find your own private cove.
St Aubin’s Bay is one of the most popular beaches in Jersey. Spanning three miles between St Helier and St Aubin on the south coast, the sandy beach is perfect for swimming and has the benefit of easy parking and plenty of cafes and kiosks.
Another favourite is St Brelade’s Bay, the south-facing beach lined with seafront restaurants and cafes. At low, tide, St Brelade’s Bay connects to Ouaisne Bay, which, with its south-westerly position is wilder than its neighbour, but offers stunning walks through the pine-tree-lined headland and protecting sea wall.
As always, a little effort can be richly rewarded, and our favourite beaches on the south coast of Jersey are no exception. Beauport seems to have its own climate, the beach a natural suntrap with aquamarine water and golden sands – a just reward for a steep walk from car park to beach and a trek over pebbles. Likewise, Portelet Bay is a hidden gem. Protected from the sea breeze by cliffs, and with its safe, turquoise water, the exquisite beach is worth the steep steps that you need to climb down (and back up!). There is a good pub at the top, where you can enjoy a drink and a snack as your reward for climbing.
To the north
If scuba diving is on your list of things to do in Jersey, head to the north, where the tide has carved caves and deep rock pools just waiting to be explored. The northern cliffs drop dramatically to the beaches, providing welcomed shelter to the bays and beaches, but meaning that you need to time your beach trips at low tide; at high tide, you run the risk of running out of beach or, in the worst-case scenario, being cut off.
At Bouley Bay, you will find a fantastic scuba diving school, where you can hire equipment or get lessons. The steep pebble beach is ideal for explorers and adventurous swimmers, but not so good for families with small children, who may want to head to the nearby Bonne Nuit, where you will be guaranteed a good day as well as a good night, with a bit of sandcastle building, a snack at the fantastic beach café and fun paddling (the steep gradient of the beach means it’s not ideal for swimming).
At low tide, head to Plemont Beach, which is, you guessed it, accessed by a lengthy series of steps. Once you reach the beach, your perseverance will be paid off with stunning caves and fascinating rockpools. On calm, sunny days, swimming is safe, while on windier days, Plemont Beach is a favourite spot for surfers.
For a Mediterranean holiday experience, spend a day (or more) at Rozel Bay. The sweet fishing village is crammed with quaint cottages and quirky beach huts. Swimming isn’t great, but when the tide is out, you will be presented with pristine white sand. Plan your trip for lunchtime, when you can take advantage of the broad choice of waterfront eateries.
To the east
Beaches along the eastern coast are the perfect way to start your day, soaking up the morning sun, swimming, fishing and exploring. Be aware that east and north-east facing beaches tend to lose the sun in the afternoon, which can make them distinctly chilly. However, with a delightful mix of sand, pebbles and rocky outcrops, these beaches have a little bit of everything and at least one of these eastern beauties should be on your itinerary of things to do in Jersey.
Archirondel is full of surprises: rocky at high tide, as the tide ebbs, you will be greeted with expanses of sand and calm, shallow waters. The sun goes in the late afternoon, giving you plenty of time to explore before retreating to warmer corners of the island.
La Rocque Harbour is a favourite secret beach, tucked away and south-east facing, with myriad rock pools to explore. It is easy to get cut off at high tide, so stay vigilant be sure to retreat in plenty of time. Grouville Bay, also known as Long Beach, is a favourite among locals and tourists alike. Easily accessible and with it’s the Mont Orgueil Castle providing a magnificent backdrop, Grouville offers vast stretches of sand, a playground, and plenty of kiosks and cafes.
To the west
Restless tourists will be spoilt for choice for things to do in Jersey. Exposed to the Atlantic swell, the west coast is packed with opportunities to explore beaches, discover rugged coastal paths, or indulge in a spot of kiteboarding, windsurfing and surfing.
The rugged St Ouen’s Bay is the main beach on the west coast. Swimming is occasionally, dangerous, and the beach’s exposed position means that it can be windy, but it makes up for its wildness with divine sunsets and picture-perfect golden sands. As you walk along the coastline of St Ouen’s bay, you will see the bunkers and artillery positions that formed a critical part of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall during WWII; a chilling reminder of the terrible times the island had to endure.