Cathy is a writer/broadcaster based in Jersey, Channel Islands (Great Britain). Author (so far) of four books & a radio presenter/producer!
Closer to France than Britain
Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands and lies in the English Channel around 14miles / 22km from the coast of France (Normandy), and 100miles / 161km from the south coast of England. The other main Channel Islands are Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm. The Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey are British Crown Dependencies which means they are part of the British Isles but not the United Kingdom. Jersey has been self governing since the 13th century.
Jersey - Channel Islands
The small, some might say tiny, island of Jersey was until recently probably best known for one thing - Jersey cows, and the rich milk they produce. Thick, rich and creamy, it makes the most deliciously wonderful ice-cream.
That low level notoriety is changing though. If you are a movie fan and have enjoyed the 'Superman' film you'll be intrigued to know that our latest internationally renowned 'Man of Steel' - Henry Cavill - hails from this little island.
So, if you decide to check out Superman's 'native world' you'll be pleased to know you don't have to make the trip to the planet Krypton. Jersey is a lot closer, and while you may not spot Henry strolling along one of its beautiful beaches, you will discover it has much more to offer that placid, golden coloured cows.
There's the world renowned wildlife park / zoo specialising in the preservation of endangered species and named 'Durrell' after its founder (Gerald Durrell). The Jersey Battle of Flowers is an internationally acclaimed carnival which annually bring thousands of visitors to this small island off the coast of Normandy. It's held on the second Thursday of August each year with a grand parade of 'floats' - specially constructed vehicles and trailers, every inch of them covered in fresh (and sometimes paper) flowers, designed to perfection. There's music, dance, colourful costumes and celebration which goes on long into the evening as the main Day Parade gives way to an illuminated Moonlight Parade and the day ends with fireworks!
Jersey also has some of the best beaches in Europe, and a laid back holiday atmosphere which travellers and visitors have been enjoying for centuries. You might just fancy sand and sea for the day, making castles and sand pies with the kids and swimming safely. Or if the surf is up you might want to head for St Ouen's Bay in the west, or stroll along St Catherine's Breakwater off the east coast, where you can often quite clearly see the coast of France in the distance.
The historians and archaeologists tell us that Jersey has been an island for 8,000 years and there are ancient dolmens and standing stones dating back beyond Norman times, historic castles and 18th century Martello towers. As an island, the maritime legacy is fascinating, but it's Jersey's most recent history - as one of the few parts of Britain occupied by enemy forces during the Second World War - which provides the greater part of its historic landscape. The Channel Islands, Jersey included, were occupied between 1940 and 1945 and there are several museums and other visitor attractions charting the life of the island, and the islanders, under 5 years of Nazi occupation. The Jersey War Tunnels is just one place to visit but you don't have to go far to be reminded of this quite recent history - the physical evidence is all around including gun emplacements and memorials. If you're waiting for a bus at the harbour in the main town of St Helier, you may well find yourself in Liberation Square, right next to the Tourism office, admiring a sculpture of rejoicing islanders on May 9 1945. The day is still celebrated every year as 'Liberation Day'.
Small but perfectly formed
The island of Jersey might be small - just 9miles by 5miles(14kms X 8kms) - but that means everything is in easy reach - beaches, countryside, cliff paths for walking and enjoying the beautiful sea views....and much more.
Another interesting fact - Jersey grows and shrinks twice a day as the tide ebbs and flows in excess of 40 feet.
When you've finished visiting the galleries, museums or attractions, or done with climbing to the summit of the two magnificent castles (Mont Orgueil in Gorey in the east of the island and Elizabeth Castle set on a small island in the bay near to the island's capital, St Helier), or had enough of the excellent shopping, however enjoyable, you can always take a short drive, or cycle into the countryside where you will see those famous Jersey cows. If you're lucky, you may find yourself in a lane, waiting for a herd of them to cross the road in front of you on their way from grazing to milking and discover for yourself their infinite curiosity as they stop to look at you - Jersey cows are charmingly inquisitive!
You may wish to end your day in one of Jersey's many restaurants which have made the island a renowed gastronmic destination for fine wining and dining (seafood being the speciality). Or you might choose to simply sit back on a sun-drenched beach with a big icecream made with full fat Jersey cream, promising yourself that the diet will start when you get home!
And, who knows, you may JUST be lucky enough to spot a certain Mr Cavill strolling down that same beach - if he happens to be visiting 'home'. Or, if he's not on vacation but 'working' you may JUST catch a glimpse of him heading into a telephone box for a quick change into his alter ego!
Cathy Le Feuvre (author) from UK on July 11, 2013:
Jersey is still fabulous! I love it, obviously!
Thanks for the vote up !!
Peter Geekie from Sittingbourne on July 10, 2013:
It is some years since I last visited Jersey and found your article pleasantly jogged my memory.
I had forgotten about the great seafood and can always use that as an excuse to return.
Voted up and interesting
Kind regards Peter