Top 21 Things to Do in Jersey, Channel Islands inc 10 that are Free!

By on Published: June 15, 2017 | Last Updated: July 5, 2020 in Europe, UK with 6 Comments

Top 21 Things to Do in Jersey

Jersey, in the Channel Islands, is the most southerly part of Great Britain.

Known for its rural heritage, delightful beaches, beautiful walking and interesting history, the island has a fascinating mix of English and French influences, which render it quite unique.

Jersey also happens to be my “home” … well the place where I grew up and lived until I was 18 and where my family still lives today.

Fair to say, therefore, that I know this island pretty well and so, in homage to my homeland, here’s my list of the 21 best things to do in Jersey, including 10 that are absolutely free… well, you didn’t think I’d forget you budget travellers did you?!


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#1 Bird Watch at Jersey Wetland Centre – FREE

A wonderful National National Trust project, the Jersey Wetland Centre is an amazing bird hide located near St Ouen’s Pond Nature Reserve.

With some great educational material, bird identification charts and free binoculars, the centre sits within a dune mound and gives you the perfect place to observe the many local bird species.

With 16 viewing windows situated at a range of different heights, adults, children and visitors with disabilities alike, are able to enjoy a unique perspective out over this incredible wetland area … for free!

 

#2 Visit Jersey Zoo

Channel Islands, Jersey, Zoo

Founded by world-famous conservationist, Gerald Durrell, Jersey Zoo is a world leader in managing animal breeding programmes for release back to the wild.

With its base in Jersey, the organisation helps many other teams develop the skills and tools they need conserve species in the wild around the world.

Jersey zoo also communicates important conservation messages to their visitors as well as globally through ground-breaking preservation and research projects.

All this really does show how Jersey Zoo is much more than a zoo (in the traditional sense) and the beautiful grounds and wonderful wildlife collection in the park make it well worth a visit.

It’s definitely one of the most fun things to do in Jersey – great for kids and adults alike.

 

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#3 Hit the Beach – FREE

It’s rumoured that Jersey has over 30 beaches and even as a local, I’m not sure that I’ve been to them all!

But whatever the exact number, it’s true the island has a lot of sandy stretches and beautiful bays, which are perfect for relaxing on, walking along, swimming from or eating at. 

This definitely heading to a few of them one of the best free things to do in Jersey.

You can check out my list of the top 5 beaches in Jersey for the full lowdown or else just head off exploring yourself and you’re sure to stumble upon at least one before too long!

While the north coast of Jersey has some pretty little harbour bays, it’s the west side you want to head to for a surf.

Otherwise, St Brelade’s Bay on the south coast is a perennial favourite with lots of watersports on offer, while the Royal Bay of Grouville in the east of the island is well known for its sandy stretches and impressive castle backdrop.

And my favourite beach? It has to be the hidden cove of Beauport – I dare you to find it!

 

#4 Rent a Paddle Board

There’s nothing quite like paddle-boarding around Jersey’s crystal clear waters on a wonderful sunny day and luckily, with a huge amount of shoreline to choose from, you’ll can easily escape the crowds if this is your plan.

My top tip for paddleboarding in Jersey is to assess where the wind is coming from on the day you want to head out, and then choose the opposing coast.

If the wind is coming from the south or west, I’d head to the northern beach of Bouley Bay where you can rent paddle-boards as well as snorkelling and even scuba-diving gear from the Adventure and Dive Centre here.

If the wind is blowing from the north or east, then head to St Brelade’s Bay or Ouasine, where board rentals and beautiful sandy shores can be found.

But whichever you head to, I know you’re going to love it; because when it comes to stuff to do in Jersey, this is definitely up there with my favs!

 

#5 Walk to a Castle – FREE

From grand 12th century structures to crumbling headland ruins, Jersey has a heap of historic castles just waiting to be explored … and photographed.

While you have to pay to enter many of them, walking up to and around them is totally free and to be honest, this is when they are at their most impressive.

Otherwise, buying a Jersey Heritage Pass, is a great way to save on the entrance costs.

Top picks definitely include Elizabeth Castle and Rocco Tower, which both sit out at sea and can only be accessed at low tide on foot.

Otherwise, Mont Orgueil, also known as Gorey Castle, and Grosnez are 2 of my other favourites, which you can more easily walk around.

It really is hard not to be impressed by any of these 4 ancient structures and heading out to see at least one of them is definitely one of the top free things to do in Jersey.

 

#6 Take a Surf Lesson

We covered paddle-boards and it’s probably worth mentioning at this stage that you can also enjoy some brilliant kayaking in Jersey too (St Catherine’s is the best spot!).

However, if you really want to get immersed in the Atlantic Ocean that laps Jersey’s west coast, it’s really worth trying your hand at, or improving your existing skills, by taking a surf lesson.

The long stretch of St Ouen’s Bay has several surf schools to choose from, as well as board rentals shacks.

The best waves are generally to be had in September / October time, but you can also enjoy the surf in the warmer summer months, which absolutely makes this one of the best things to do with the family in Jersey.

So what are you waiting for?

Pull on a wetsuit and get out there!

 

#7 Explore the Historic Town Squares – FREE

Jersey has a fascinating history of battles, independence and occupation, and 2 of the best places to discover more (for free) are Liberation Square and the Royal Square, both situated in St Helier.

The Royal Square boasts the local parliament building, courthouse and has been a central meeting point of Island life for centuries.

It was also the scene of the dramatic Battle of Jersey fought in 1781.

Bordered by some lovely restaurants and pubs, this is a great place to feed the pigeons or relax alfresco.

Liberation Square is much newer and was created in 1995 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the island’s liberation from occupying Nazi German forces during the second world war.

It features a beautiful fountain and a super statue depicting the momentous occasion of freedom, which was officially marked by the flying of the British flag from the nearby Pomme D’Or Hotel.

 

#8 Check Out a Museum

And while we’re on the history subject, some of the best places to visit in Jersey are the island’s museums.

With several to choose from, choose the one that interests you most and be prepared to learn a thing or two as part of an incredible half-day activity.

If you’re travelling with children, then Jersey’s Maritime Museum, with its interactive displays, is a great one for the family.

Otherwise, history buffs should head to the Jersey War Tunnels.

Formerly an underground Nazi hospital, during the years the island was occupied in World War 2, the exhibitions at this award-winning museum (which cover what life was like in Jersey at this time) are seriously impressive… and interesting.

There’s also the Jersey Museum, Hamptonne Country Life Museum, the Steam & Motor Museum and La Hougue Bie Museum to choose from.

When it comes to what to see in Jersey, at least 1 museum should make it onto this list.

 

#9 Sample the Local Produce

With a strong farming and fishing heritage (think Jersey Royal potatoes and Jersey cows), the island is a foodie paradise.

There are lots of great restaurants where you can sample locally foraged foods and delicious seafood, but if you’re on a budget I recommend sticking to the farm shops.

These small local businesses are often great places just to wander around for free and view all the locally grown and produced treats – just look out for the Genuine Jersey logo!

Holme Grown, Rondels and Lucas Brothers are all excellent farm shops examples.

Otherwise, the Central Market and the Fish Market in St Helier are also great for getting some goodies and don’t forget the honesty boxes.

These quaint roadside stands sell produce direct from the field – often the one right behind the stall – and you simply pick up your veggies and drop your money in the box!

Doesn’t get fresher than that!

 

#10 Discover a Dolmen – FREE

Having been populated since Neolithic times, when Jersey was actually not an island, but a high piece of land connected to France, evidence of early human civilisations scatters the island.

Never is this more apparent than in the dolmens, which are stone monuments built in the Neolithic times and remaining until this day.

Similar to mini Stonehenges, these passage graves dot the island and provide a fascinating insight into life in this pre-history era.

Extensive excavations across the sites have helped archaeologists, the world over, piece together an extensive knowledge of this period in human history and visiting such ancient structures today, for free, is absolutely one of the best Jersey things to do.

 

#11 Hike the Northern Cliff Paths – FREE

The island of Jersey really does have some excellent walking trails, across many different landscapes, and definitely makes hiking one of the best free things to do here.

You can actually circumnavigate the whole island via walking tracks, but if you’re not feeling that energetic, I’d stick to the northern cliff paths that provide the best views and trails, in my opinion.

As the path undulates between quaint little bays, you’ll get sweeping coastline views all the way over to nearby France and pass beautiful flora and fauna on the way.

The stretch between Bonne Nuit and Bouley Bay is probably my favourite, although if you can, walking to Rozel is also worth it for your chance to spot red squirrels in the nearby woods.

 

#12 Enjoy a Round of Golf

Channel Islands, Jersey, Golf

Sport fans needn’t miss out in Jersey with watersports, tennis courts and gyms aplenty.

Perhaps a favourite for those on holiday however, is a spot of golf, which you can certainly enjoy on the island thanks to the several courses here.

With most boasting fabulous backgrounds, and the fresh sea air all around, enjoying a round of golf is a way to take in Jersey’s beautiful views too.

 

#13 Step Back in Time at a National Trust Open Day – FREE

Much of Jersey’s heritage has been fantastically protected and restored by the local National Trust branch, who often run free open days that allow the public access to some of the island’s oldest and most unique buildings.

Check out the Jersey National Trust website for more details, and if you can time your visit to coincide with one of these great, family-friendly, free days, it’s definitely worth doing so.

 

#14 See the Orchids

Channel Islands, Jersey, Orchid

Wild orchids bloom in Jersey during the month of May and seeing them in the fields is a wonderful treat.

Heading to Le Noir Pre, in the parish of St Ouen, is the best place to spot them.

Otherwise, at all other times of the year you can visit the world-famous Eric Young Orchid Foundation.

Here they create and develop fine new orchid hybrids, so it’s the perfect place to get your flower fix there.

 

#15 Picnic in Howard Davis Park – FREE

One of Jersey’s most beautiful parks, Howard Davis, is situated in St Helier and is a delight to walk around or enjoy a picnic in.

With stunning rose gardens, a children’s playground, a little cafe and a formal bandstand, you can also catch some free live music here during the summer months.

Definitely one of the best things to see in Jersey, Howard Davis Park is well worth a visit for that leisurely stroll or to sit on one of the many benches and take it all in.

 

#16 Adventure Out on a Rib Ride

Jersey, Boat, Seafaris

Enjoying an adventure afternoon on a Rib is one my top picks for what to do in Jersey.

When friends come to visit me here, this is definitely something I always try to arrange for us.

With several companies offering packages to spot dolphins, visit off-shore islets and wildlife-rich coastlines, it’s Jersey Seafaris that get my vote every time.

A wild old ride, this is one way to get your adrenaline fix when on the island.

 

#17 Follow a Cycle Trail – FREE

Jersey has a great network of local cycle trails that run all over the island and are easily followed via numbered routes and clear signage.

This is a great way to get off the Island’s beaten track and explore some country views or peace and quiet in some rather narrow back lanes.

Many of the trails utilise the Island’s Green Lane system, which are roads that give priority to cyclists and pedestrians with speed limits for vehicles of only 15 mph.

 

#18 Day Trip to Another Channel Island

Channel Islands, Sark, Boat

Much as I love Jersey, there’s no denying that one of the best things to do while here is to day trip to one of the other Channel Islands.

From Guernsey to Herm and my favourite, Sark, there’s a few good ones to choose from. if you want to venture further afield, you can also take the boat to the French historic city of St Malo for the day too.

RIB companies like Seafaris visit some of these destinations, otherwise local ferry company Manche Iles ply the routes, more regularly in the summer.

 

#19 Snap a Sunset at the Splash – FREE

The Splash aka The Watersplash is a best of a Jersey institution – a surf club, bar, restaurant and nightclub that sits on top of one of Jersey’s best beaches.

Located in the west of the island, it’s famous for its Sunday sessions, often accompanied by free music, and is the perfect place to watch a sensational Jersey sunset where a glowing sky sits above the vast and expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean.

 

#20 Taste a Local Ale

Channel Islands, Jersey, Beer

Jersey being part of Britain, there’s plenty of pubs to choose from and many sell the island’s own beers too.

From the lovely Liberation Ale to the delicious craft Stinky Bay IPA, there’s several to choose from and many locals watering holes service them.

All you need to do is order one, support the local industries by doing so and enjoy!

 

#21 Hit Up a Traditional Beach Cafe

And following on from the local beer tasting, no trip to Jersey would be complete without heading to a traditional beach cafe to taste the island’s fresh fish or milk in your coffee.

Eternally popular with locals is the trad Hungry Man, situated at Rozel Bay, but El Tico along St Ouens, The Lookout in St Helier or Crab Shack at Gorey also have their loyal customers!

 

How to Visit Jersey on a Budget

Channel Islands, Jersey, Cow

Getting to Jersey

Flying from the UK can be done cheaply through the airline EasyJet.

Check out Skyscanner for some great deals. Otherwise, catch the Channel Islands Ferry – Condor – from France or Guernsey.

 

Getting Around Jersey

Walking is free or there is a good local bus service – Liberty Bus – which has a very cost-effective set of Hop-On Hop-Off passes.

Sadly Uber hasn’t reached Jersey yet, so you’d be better to hire a car if you’re looking for some independence when it comes to transport.

 

Eating in Jersey

Supermarkets such as Waitrose and the Coop are found on the Island, but if you want to buy local for your picnic, then look out for roadside stalls and farm shops as a more ethical option.

When it comes eating out, there is a great BYO Thai restaurant at Bonne Nuit Bay or Portelet Bay Café is another good one with great pizzas and beach views.

 

Staying in Jersey

Campsites are the cheapest accommodation option on Jersey with Rozel Camping Park and Beuvelande Camp Site both getting good reviews.

Otherwise, there is a hostel available within the delightful grounds of Jersey Zoo (which gets you free entry too) or self-catering lodges at Les Ormes.

Another great option, especially if you’re travelling as a group, is to rent out a Jersey Heritage property, like I have done at Archirondel Tower.

 

5 Packing Essentials for Jersey

 

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Hope you’ve enjoyed my list of the top 21 things to do in Jersey including 10 that are free!

Have you visited this tiny island?

What did you enjoy doing there?

Tell me all in the comments box below…

 

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About the Author

About the Author: Creator of Big World Small Pockets, Stephanie Parker is a budget travel addict! Originally from Jersey in the Channel Islands, Stephanie backpacks the world collecting tips, advice and stories, to share with a smile .

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There Are 6 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Sue Hardy says:

    Walk across the causeway to Corbiere Lighthouse
    Enjoy the calm in St Brelade’s Church, and see the wall paintings in the Fishermen’s Chapel
    Stroll through the heather on Portelet Common
    Visit the Island at Portelet at low tide…
    View the French coast from Victoria Tower
    Shiver under the waterfall in the cave at Plemont – a good idea on a hot day!
    Search rock-pools at La Rocque or Le Hocq to discover small sea-creatures
    Visit the Manx Loaghtan sheep on the cliffs near Sorel
    See the willow crapaud (toad) on the roadside in the valley below Hamptonne
    I could go on!

    • Steph says:

      Such wonderful suggestions Sue, thank you so so much. Other readers will be delighted to learn of these great suggestions and you’ve already got me thinking about a sequel post! I guess the moral of the tale is that there’s tons of super free things to do in Jersey!

  2. Jersey Film Festival Aug 5th – 10th
    outdoors in Howard Davis Park
    Free Admission

    • Steph says:

      Oh wow Kevin, that’s amazing! I thought the Film Festival was paid – my bad! If not it’s defintiely one of the best free things to do in Jersey! I used to love attending – open air evenings in the summer are hard to beat here. Thank you for the heads up and reminder! 🙂

  3. Come to the Jersey Festival of Words (Sept 27th to Oct 1st) and attend all the free events.
    http://www.jerseyfestivalofwords.org

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