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Like many other people, I spent several family holidays in the Channel Islands in the 1950s. And again, like many people I never went back.... when the Acklams Brochure arrived highlighting their holidays to the Channel Islands, it was too good an opportunity to miss! Rather than having to pick either Jersey or Guernsey (difficult decision) I decided on one that stayed on both islands and also included a day trip to Herm.

I had a wonderful time - it brought back so many happy memories. The islands have changed in many ways, but in others they are still unchanged with a slow pace of life. They still keep their Norman French place names and a form of Norman French (Jèrriais) is still spoken in the northern rural parts of Jersey.

If you have never been, they are definitely worth adding to the list!


The Channel Islands are a small group of islands off the coast of Normandy. They are self governing territories of the British Crown. The Bailiwick of Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey (which also comprises of Alderney, Sark and Herm) have their own government, police force and laws. They issue their own currency and stamps.

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The Islands have been settled since the Stone Age and there are still many prehistoric barrows, cairns and menhirs.

In the C10th they were annexed by the Normans and became part of the Duchy of Normandy. After the Battle of Hastings when William, Duke of Normandy, was crowned King of England, they became a possession of the English Crown.

King John lost Normandy to the French King in 1204. The Channel Islands elected to stay as self governing Islands under the protection of the English Crown. They were granted their own Government, freedom from taxation and no conscription unless England was under serious threat.

Being very close to the French Coast, they were very much disputed territory between France and England and the threat of invasion from France was a serious threat for centuries. Castles were built along the coast to give protection to the harbours. Vale Castle and Castle Cornet were built on Guernsey. On Jersey, there were Mont Orgueil and Grosnez Castles with Queen Elizabeth Castle built later in response to devolpments in cannon warfare.


The increasing threat of Napoleon in the C17 resulted in a massive building programme of forts and defensive Martello (or loophole) towers around the coast of the Channel Islands. Many of these can still be seen.


The Islands were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by the Germans during World War Two. The Germans invaded the Islands in 1940. As part of the Atlantic Wall, they built a series of defensive concrete bunkers, gun placements and observation towers around the coast. The Channel Islands were one of the most heavily fortified parts of Europe, with over 900 concrete structures. Many still remain.


The Occupation was a very harsh time for the Islanders. Many lost their jobs and many were deported by the Germans. Fishermen were accompanied by German ‘chaperones’ and had to surrender most of their catch to the Germans. Food was strictly rationed. Any resistance to German rule was harshly crushed. Food was always scare and, after five years of Occupation, many of the population were close to starvation.

The Islands were liberated on 9th May 1945 and there are Liberation Monuments in both St Helier and St Peter Port commemorating this. Now many of the German fortifications sites are museums. These include the German Underground Hospital in Guernsey and the Jersey War Tunnels.

After the war, the economy was still mainly agricultural, with Jersey Royal potatoes and Guernsey tomatoes the main crops and exports. The potatoes are still grown, and honesty boxes are often seen outside farm houses.


Many of the greenhouses that once covered Guernsey have either disappeared or are derelict. A few are still used to grow flowers.

Dairy farming is important with many fields used to grow fodder for the cows. You can tell the difference as Jersey cows have black noses and Guernsey cows have much paler noses.

With its tax free regimes, the islands became the haunt of the very wealthy as well as finance and off shore companies.

Land and space is at a premium and there are strict residency regulations. Only jobs that cannot be filled by Islanders can be advertised off the Islands. These are usually on short, non renewable contracts. Only the super rich are able to buy a house without having a job.

There is little new housing development on Guernsey. That on Jersey is very much very much expensive and exclusive housing developments.

The finance industry probably accounts for 50% of GDP. Tourism comes second. The clean sandy beaches are the main attraction.


The Islands are also regularly visited by large cruise shops bring thousands of visitors.

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Roads are good. The maximum speed limit is 35mph, apart from the green lanes where it is reduced to 15mph. These are very narrow rural roads, often one car width and walkers and riders have precedence.



There are also lots of wild flowers and at the end of May verges were covered with bluebells and the white flowers of three cornered garlic.


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To keep this shorter, I have written more detailed travel articles on some of the sites and have linked them to this trip report..

Saturday - Home to Reading via Royal Leamington Spa

One of the advantages of Acklam Holidays is they offer free home pickup on many of their holidays, so once I have locked the door, I am their responsibility! I was picked up and taken to the exchange point at Doncaster Services on the M18.

We were taken to Royal Leamington Spa, where we had nearly three hours to explore the town and get some lunch. The coach drop off park is adjacent to the shopping area and the very attractive Jepson Gardens. Along the River Leam, these are a lovely place to drop out on a sunny day with a picnic.

It is a very attractive town with a lot of splendid Georgian architecture. It has a good shopping centre with a lot of smaller family owned shops as well as the usual chains. I headed to the Royal Pump Rooms and Baths which is the Tourist Information Centre and also has an art gallery and a very good museum about the town and the development of the Spa. Across the road is All Saints’ Parish Church which was built in the C19th to cope with the rapid population growth and is one of the largest parish churches in the country.


From Royal Leamington Spa, we headed to the Holiday Inn Reading South for the night. This is a large, modern building just off the motorway. You know what to expect with the chain hotels and this was no exception. It was a large but minimalist designed room with pale walls, pale wood furniture and grey furnishings. It was clean, comfortable and quiet. The serve yourself buffet evening meal was unexciting. Breakfast was better.
Sunday - To Guernsey and the Peninsula Hotel

After Breakfast we drove to Poole for the Condor Ferry to Guernsey. It was a pleasant modern craft and fortunately the crossing that took three hours was very smooth!


Approaching Guernsey we sailed between Harm and Sark with its tall cliffs and small offshore island of Breqhou owned by the Barclay brothers and dominated by their massive Castle, which looks totally out of place and a symbol of their self importance.


Landing at St Peter Port, it was a very long walk from the ferry to the terminal building and to pick up our large suitcases. We were met by a coach and taken to the Peninsula Hotel for a three night stay.


The Peninsula Hotel is at the north of the island overlooking the lovely sandy La Grande Havre Bay. Beyond are Ladies Bay and Chouet. I have fond memories of Chouet Bay, where I first learnt to swim.


There were lots of wild flowers growing along the verges, particularly bluebells, the delicate white flowers of three cornered garlic and robust yellow alexanders.


After a briefing session with the hotel manager and hotel tour rep (which was mostly a list of rules) it was off to our rooms.

Unfortunately being a coach party, we were all given rooms a the back of the hotel rather than those at the front with the sea view. I had a very good view of the dining room roof. Be warned there is no porterage, so you have to carry your suitcase, which can be a long walk...

It was a pleasant room with a huge double bed, however, both mattress and towels felt as if they had seen better days. A bonus was the biscuits and hot chocolate with the tea and coffee. There was an over the bath shower and the toilet was in a separate room. This was very snug and it was difficult to open and shut the door once in there.

Meals were very regimented and excruciatingly slow, even though we had preordered dinner the previous night. They were OK, but a bit boring. The buffet breakfast was better, although there was a lack of both fresh fruit and serving staff.

Reception wasn’t always staffed and the staff were young and lacked experience and local knowledge. Overall I felt the Peninsula Hotel wasn’t as good as it thought it was and a bit overrated. It did however win hands down on its location! I was able to go out for a walk direct from the door around La Grand Havre Bay and also to Rousse Tower on the headland.

Monday - A half day coach trip of the Island and Castle Cornet

In the morning we did a half day coach trip of the island. The bus driver was very knowledgeable and we learned a lot about the history and culture of Guernsey.

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From the Peninsula Hotel, we headed to L’Ancresse Bay. This took us past Vale Pond Nature Reserve which is an important site for nesting birds. This is on the site of a marshy tidal channel that originally divided Guernsey into two islands - the flatter north east corner from the rest of the island. In 1804, the then Lieutenant Governor dammed and drained the waterway. Money raised from selling the reclaimed land was used to build military roads linking up the loophole towers and headland forts. The top part of the road to St Peter Port is still called La Route Militaire.

We passed Vale Church, still with its original two Norman doorways .

On the the left and overlooking Grane Havre Bay was L’Ancresse Common with its golf course, Les Fouaillages Neolithic Burial Chamber and the Millennium Stone on the top of the hill. This was dug up from Pembroke beach and placed here.

We made a brief photostop at the long sandy L’Ancresse Bay, with its loophole tower, one of 15 to be built around the island in response to the Napoloeonic Wars and Fort le Marchant on the headland. The massive anti-tank wall around the beach was built by the Germans during the Occupation.




We then drove south through St Sampson, the main shopping centre for the north of the island and overlooked by the walls of the medieval Vale Castle.

The road followed along Belle Greve Bay to St Peter Port. An electric tram way ran along the shore and the tram shed complete with its rails is now used as the bus depot. The road continues past the financial area, with their very modern glass and marble buildings.

We had a brief stop in the harbour area by stone marking where British Forces landed in 1945 and the Liberation Monument. This is constructed of 50 pieces of blue Guernsey granite marking the 50 years since Liberation. The inscription on the back wall records the important events leading up to the Liberation.



We left St Peter Port on Val des Terres, which was originally a fisherman’s track and the steepest road on the island. The present road was built in 1931 as an employment project. It is one of the few roads on the island not lined with strip development housing.


At the top it goes past Fort George which was built in 1818 as overflow accommodation for soldiers at Castle Cornet. This was sold to developers and little remains of the fort which is is now a very expensive up market housing development. The Chateau de Village was a large Manor House that is now a nursing home.


A bit further on were the gates to Sausmarez Manor, with a very brief glimpse of the house. Parts date back to the C13th, although the frontage is pure Queen Anne style.

The next stop was at the Little Chapel, a work of labour and love by Brother Déodat in the early years of the C20th. It is a remarkable building with walls decorated with pieces of broken china, pebbles and shells. I had thought it might be ‘tacky’ but it wasn’t. It was delightful and well worth visiting.



Next was Torteville, at the south west corner of the island. In the C17th, this was one of the poorest parishes. The church was almost derelict with no money to repair it. The parish priest asked the government for financial help to rebuild the church. Rebuilt in 1818, this is the newest church on Guernsey and the only one with a round tower.

Beyond is Pleinmont Point which is one of the best places to see just how extensive the German defences were during the Occupation. As well as the Observation tower, plotting building and gun, there are the remains of shelters, ammunition bunkers and concrete lined trenches.



It was then up the coast to La Roquaine where some of the group had a lunch break at the showrooms of Guernsey Pearl.

After a very large breakfast, I rarely bother with lunch, surviving on a pack of oatcakes and an apple. This means I dont have to ‘waste’ time eating and can spend it all seeing something of the place we have stopped.

This included the remains of a Roman ship housed in a small building next to the shop.

This caught fire and sank in St Peter Port harbour around 280AD. It was made from heavy oak timbers fastened by massive iron nails. It is the largest and most intact example of its type and one of the oldest European sea-going ships found outside the Mediterranean.


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Rocquaine Bay has one of the highest tidal ranges and there is a substantial sea wall to prevent flooding.



Fort Grey is a Martello Tower surrounded by a defensive wall, built on a tidal island in the bay. It is affectionatley nick named the ‘cup and saucer fort’ for obvious reasons.

This was part of the defences built in the early C19th. Martello Towers were like the loophole towers but bigger and often had a defensive wall round them. It could only be entered using a ladder to climb over the walls. t had a large caronnade on top of the tower, surrounded by 24 smaller guns on the battery. It was used as an anti-aircraft battery in World War Two. It is now a Shipwreck Museum with an arched gateway through the walls. I just had time to walk out to the tower, but not go inside.


Back on the coach, we now drove along the north coast with its series of large sandy bays of Vazon and Cobo, back to the Peninsula Hotel.




We then had the choice of dropping out at the hotel or going back to St Peter Port with the coach. I decided to do this and spent the afternoon wandering around the harbour area and visiting Castle Cornet.

This was built in the early C14th to defend against possible French attack after King John had lost Normandy to the French King. With the advent of heavy artillery, additional batteries and bastions were built for cannon. It was extended in the C18th with additional accommodation for troops. It was used by the Germans during the Occupation who added additional gun batteries for anti-aircraft guns as well as magazines and air raid shelters.

With four museums, there is plenty to see and I enjoyed the visit. There is no recommended route around the castle, so I just wandered using the map in the leaflet with my ticket. The views from the top of the castle of St Peter Port and the coast of Guernsey and also across to Herm and Sark are wonderful.

All the buildings were labelled . Don’t bother with the guide book which is superficial. There is more about the social history and some of the personalities connected with the castle than the castle itself. Chose a dry day as the castle is exposed and the only shelter is in the museum buildings.



By then it was time to catch a bus back to the hotel. Guernsey has a very good and frequent bus service with a standard rate of £1.25 per journey. The bus stop was just a short walk from the hotel.
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Tuesday - Trip to Herm

We were collected by coach and taken to St Pater Port for a day trip to Herm.

Having last visited Herm at the age of about seven, I was really looking forward to the trip. You can see the island from St Peter Port with its lower and sandy southern end and higher and rocky north end.


Herm has a resident population of about 60, with an extra hundred seasonal workers. Most of the housing is now rented out as self catering property to holiday makers.

Travel Trident Ferry run regular daily service which takes around 20 minutes. It is worth getting a seat on the top deck for the views.

Being high tide we were able to land at the harbour.


There is a walking trail around the island. I set off following the path north past the long sandy Fisherman’s Beach and Bear’s Beach, before cutting across Herm Common to Shell Beach.


Shell Beach is a long expanse of gritty sand made up of tiny particles of shells. I seem to remember the beach was covered with shells. No longer. There were just a few shells along the high tide mark.


From Shell beach, I continued along the coastal path climbing up over the hillside to Belvoir Bay.


My intention had been to continue along the path round the rugged north coast. However there was one very steep bit with badly maintained steps climbing up the hillside. I decided discretion was needed and returned to Belvoir Bay and took the steep track that climbed up to Manor Village at the top of the island.

This is a cluster of houses around the Manor House and the tiny St Tugual’s Church, dating from the C11th. This is a very plain and simple building with some very attractive modern stained glass. One depicts Noah and his ark with two Guernsey cows (recognisable by their white noses). There is little to see on Herm, so the chapel is regarded as a major tourist attraction!



It was low tide when we left, so the ferry took us off Rosiere Steps back to St Peter Port.

The sun had shone and it had been a lovely day - just as well as there is no shelter and it would have been a miserable day if it had rained!

Herm is delightful and despite the large numbers of day visitors, it is still possible to lose the crowds. The wild flowers and particularly the three cornered garlic were wonderful.

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Wednesday - To Jersey and the Merton Hotel

We were picked up after breakfast to be taken to St Peter Port for the short ferry ride to Jersey, again with Condor Ferries, and the sea was calm for us. Jersey was an equally long walk from the ferry to the terminal building where we picked up checked luggage. We were met by the hotel tour rep and taken to the coach for our hotel.

The Merton Hotel is a very large and very stylish hotel in St Peter Port. The large glass domed reception and lounge area was stunning. In fact the hotel is so large we were handed a map by reception so we would be able to find our way to our rooms, the different restaurant and bar areas. Even so I still managed to get lost.

It may not have had the superb location of the Peninsula Hotel, but more than made up for that with the staff and food. Staff were always smiling and quickly recognised us. Nothing was too much trouble. Not only did Reception print off bus timetables for me, they also printed off the route to the bus stops and showed me a picture on google maps. This was appreciated as I hadn’t realised that many stops were just marked by a painted BUS on the road and often did not have a shelter or bus stop sign. The hotel was close to buses into the centre of St Helier and also to Gorey.

The food was excellent. Breakfast and dinner were both self service with so much choice it was difficult to know where to begin. There was plenty of fresh fruit at both meals There was always a joint and the beef and lamb were both local meat and delicious. Jersey new potatoes were also served. It was just as well we didn’t stay any longer as I would have been unable to get into my clothes with the choice of very good deserts...

I had a huge suite on the third floor with a very comfortable bed with down pillows and duvet. There was a separate bunk room (the hotel caters for a family groups and there are a lot of activities aimed at children). The bathroom had both bath and large walk in shower with very fluffy towels. The only complaint was there wasn’t much of a view...

We had a briefing session with the hotel tour rep who gave us a very good map of St Helier and explained some of the places we might want to visit. She recommended Howard Davis Park just down the road from the hotel. After the briefing I went for a walk round the area and into the park. It is a lovely place with flower beds, grass and trees.


The Park has an interesting history. The land was bought by Thomas Benjamin Frederick Davis who gave the park to the people of Jersey in memory of his son Howard, who lost his life in world War One.

At the bottom of the park by St Luke’s Parish Church is a Jersey War Graves Cemetery with forty one graves marked with wooden crosses. Some have a name, but many are ‘Known only to God’.


Thursday - Full day coach trip of the Island

Unfortunately the weather let us down today. Instead of sunshine there was steady rain and low cloud. Taking pictures from the bus was almost impossible (hence the poor quality of many of the pictures) and it wasn’t much better when outside the bus. We didn’t see Jersey at its best... The coach driver wasn’t as knowledgeable as the Guernsey Driver and was more interested in pointing out where various famous people had lived .

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After being picked up from the hotel, we had a brief stop in St Helier by the Liberation Monument before continuing along the coast past Queen Elizabeth Castle, hardly visible in the mist. We passed Coronation Park, given to the people of Jersey by Florence, Lady Trent, for their ‘exercise and wellbeing’.


Next to it is St Matthew’s Church, the Glass Church, a plain rather boxy C19th building. This would be unremarkable but for the glass work of Rene Lalique to commemorate Florence’s husband Jesse Boot, founder of Boots Chemist.


The coach then took us up St Peter’s Valley through the rural centre of the island to St Ouen.

This was a lovely rural drive up a wooded valley.


We passed a large warehouse and also Le Moulin de Quetive, the only surviving water mill on the island



There were fields growing Jersey Royal potatoes and even fields of daffodils. Many houses had honesty boxes by the gate selling potatoes or other produce.

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We passed Catherine Best windmill. This dates from 1837 and has been restored to house the Catherine Best jewellery workshop and studio.

Our first photo stop was at the ruined C14th Grosnez Castle at the north west tip of Jersey, out past the race course. Standing on 200’ cliffs, the castle not only provided a defence against French attack, it was also provided the local population with a place of refuge. There was no water supply in the castle and by the C15th it was no longer used and a ruin.




There are also the remains of a German Observation tower and bunker on the headland. But now it was raining harder, so it was back to the coach.


From Grosnez, we headed south along the long sweep of St Ouen’s Bay. Local farmers used to collect seaweed from the bay to fertilise their potato fields. The long straight road is referred to as the Five Mile Road, although it is only three miles long. On the land side is Les Mielles Nature Reserve, a wetland area with reedbeds, fen, wet meadow, dune grassland and the largest area of natural open water in Jersey.

By now it was raining steadily and photograhy through the coach window was increasingly difficult...


We had a brief and wet stop at Corbiere for pictures of the lighthouse reached by a tidal causeway at low tide and the German fortifications.


Known as Strongpoint Corbiere, they defended the south west of the island from enemy attack, especially as the long sandy beach of St Ouen’s Bay was regarded as very vulnerable. A tall lookout tower was built along with bunkers and casements.



The clasped hands on the headland is a memorial the the rescue of all the passengers and crew when a French catamaran travelling from Jersey to Sark sunk on rocks near the lighthouse.


Back in the coach, the next stop was St Brelade’s Bay with a sandy beach lined with houses and attractive gardens along the front.



At the far end of the bay is a small harbour overlooked by the Parish Church and tiny Fisherman’s Chapel with medieval wall paintings.

The rest of the group found a cafe for lunch while I spent a worthwhile hour visiting the church and chapel with its medieval wall paintings.



By now it was raining even more heavily so the rest of the afternoon was seen through a very wet window. Not only was photography impossible, we couldn’t see much through the winsdows either... We drove through St Aubin’s with its small attractive harbour, used to film Bererac, before driving across the centre of island past the lovely St John’s Manor, one of the most striking properties on Jersey. This was sold recently for an unspecified sum. Billy Butlin is buried in St John’s Parish Church.

We continued along the north of the island through Trinity with Jersey Zoo. The intention had been to make a few short stops at some of the beaches along the north and east coasts. We did manage a glimpse of Archirhondel with its striped Martello Tower. (On Jersey there is no attempt to distinguish between loophole and Martello Towers, they are all given the generic name Martello.)



In the end we ended up at Ransoms Garden Centre at Faldouet, a couple of miles outside Gorey.

The rain had eased off enough for a short stop at Gorey with its harbour and medieval castle, which I planned to visit next day.


Gorey was one of the most important harbours in Jersey with a row of shops and restaurants along the quayside.



There are attractive flower gardens along the front.


The concrete keel is a symbol of C19th shipbuilding in Gorey.



It was then time to return to the hotel, and it was still raining...
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Friday - Free day, visiting St Catherine, Mont Orguei Castle, the Glass Church and St Aubin

At least the rain had stopped this morning, but it was still a dull and overcast day. Top of the list was Mont Orgueil Castle in Gorey. I decided to stay on the bus to the end of its route, not just for the ride but also to see St Catherine, a small settlement around a granite breakwater. The bus had a five minute turn round; just long enough to take a picture of the breakwater.


This was built in the mid C19th as the northern arm of what was intended to be a massive naval station as there were concerns about a renewed war with France. Spiralling costs and improved relations with France as well as the discovery the new harbour was silting led to the project being abandoned.

Rather than getting off by the harbour in Gorey, I asked the bus driver to drop me off above the town, by the upper entrance to Mont Orgueil Castle. It saved the climb up the long flight of steps up from the harbour.

The castle dominates the town and is a marvellous example of a medieval castle with curtain walls, defensive gateways, lots of spiral staircases and a massive keep.


The castle was built in the early C13th after King John had lost Normandy to the French. The Channel Islands were very much disputed territory between the two countries. The castle changed hands several times over the next hundred years. With the increasing importance of cannons in warfare, the castle was transformed into an artillery fortress over the next two centuries with gun ports and batteries for heavy artillery.

When St Helier became a more important harbour than Gorey, Elizabeth Castle was built on a tidal island guarding entry to the harbour and the Governor moved his residence there. Gorey was no longer needed although it was used as a political prison for many years.

I joined a guided tour which was helpful as it began to explain the history and reason for the layout of the castle. The residential rooms are especially confusing having changed and been added to over the years. There are plenty of information boards around the site. Along with the informative guide book, they do help explain how it has changed over the years. There is no set route round the castle and it would be easy to get lost. ( I had visions of adventurous children never being found again by their parents.)

There are a lot of stairs to climb but the views from the top down onto the castle and Gorey are worth the effort.



After Gorey I had intended to catch the bus back to St Helier and visit Elizabeth Castle, but decided I was castled out by then. Instead I caught a bus to St Matthew's, the Glass Church, we had passed the previous day. This is a popular stop for half day trips of the island. Although a coach party arrived just after me, they didn’t stop long.

The outside of the C19th church is a rather uninspiring boxy building. The inside more than makes up for this with the beautiful examples of Rene Rene Lalique’s glasswork. After her husband died, Florence, Lady Trent asked Lalique to decorate the church in his memory.

The inside is stunning and completely unique with glass font, glass fronted balcony, glass altar with glass cross above and four full sized angels in the Lady Chapel. It was definitely worth seeing.



I then caught the bus onto St Aubin with its tiny harbour. This is popular with visitors as the TV series Bererac was filmed here in the 1980-90s.

Parking restriction mean coaches can’t stop here. St Aubin’s bay is one of the longest sandy beaches on Jersey and settlement sprawls along the length of the bay. Being close to St Helier, it is also one of the busiest beaches. There is even a road train that runs between the two, complete with commentary.


St Aubin’s Fort was built on a tidal island in the bay in the mid C16th and preceded the building of Elizabeth Castle. It is an example of the transition from medieval to artillery fortress.

It continued to be used until, the end of the C19th and was occupied by the Germans in the Second World War. Jersey's Sea Scouts now use the fort as a headquarters, storing their sails and other equipment in a German bunker built into the fort. Although it is accessible at low tide by causeway, it is closed to the public.


The older settlement is around the harbour. Protected by two long breakwaters, this dries out at low tide.





It is worth exploring the narrow cobbled streets behind the harbour, especially Rue du Crocquet.



Rather than catching the bus directly back to St Helier, I decided to continue on to the airport for the ride. This is a large modern building, but the original Art Deco building can still be seen.



All in all, a good day, even if we didn't see much sunshine.
Saturday - St Helier and Ferry back to England

We were due to be picked up from the hotel at 1pm to catch Condor Ferries back to Poole. It was a bright sunny morning, so I had an early breakfast and walked into St Helier, an easy 15 minute walk.

St Helier is home to roughly one-third of the population and is the commercial and shopping hub of the island.

The shopping area is pedestrianised with many large and impressive shops.




Surrounding streets are lined with terraces of equally impressive houses.



16 New Street is in the care of the National Trust, Jersey. Built in the 1730s it is the finest Georgian House to survive in St Helier. It has been carefully restored and is now open three days a week for a glimpse of life in Regency Jersey. Unfortunately it isn’t open on Saturdays, so I had to admire from outside.

The Central Market on Halkett Place is still in the original Victorian Market Hall built in 1882..


It has its glass ceiling supported by cast iron pillars and a central fountain. It has an impressive selection of fruit, vegetable and flower stalls along with bakers and cafes.



As well as the ferry terminals, there is a large marina, surrounded by modern apartment blocks.


Close to this is the square with the Liberation Statue, commissioned to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Liberation from the German Occupation. Two groups of Islanders and the Liberator dressed in army fatigues , are releasing a flag.


High on the hillside are the walls of Fort Regent, built in the early C19th as additional protection against the French during the Napoleonic Wars. Little is left now as the centre of the fort is now the site of Jersey’s largest leisure, conference and entertainment venue. The roofs of rhe buikldings can be seen above the outer walls.


On a tidal island in the bay is Elizabeth Castle. This was built at the end of the C16th in response to increasing use of cannons in warfare . St Helier was rapidly growing in importance as a harbour and was vulnerable to attack by ships carrying cannons. It was the residence of the Governor. Surrounded by a curtain wall it now contains barrack blocks of different ages as well as gun emplacements from the German Occupation.


The best views are from the sea on the ferry.


It is reached by a half mile long tidal causeway. At high tide , it is accessed by duck boats.

It was always high tide when I was in St Helier. I couldn’t find any information on the web about frequency of duck boat service so in the end decided to give Elizabeth Castle a miss, especially as I’d visited Castle Cornet on Guernsey as well as Mont Orgueil Castle.

Head back to hotel, we were due to be picked us up at 1pm. We stood outside and waited and waited. The coach apparently had got ‘stuck in traffic’ which could be bad around St Helier at lunchtime. It eventually arrived at 1.30, by which time we were all panicking big time. We made check in with three minutes to spare...

Again, it was a very calm crossing and we got back to Poole around 7pm. The ferry terminal is very civilised and provide a bus between ferry and terminal building.

It was about an hour’s drive to Salisbury where we were booked in to the White Hart Hotel for the night. This is a lovely old coaching inn in the centre of the city. We had preordered our dinner and this was quickly served to us. There had been plenty of choice and it was a good meal.


The hotel had great character with sloping floors and creaking floorboards. It had a lovely old fashioned feel to it and hasn't been 'made over' into a bland corporate identity. It is getting a bit shabby in places with chips to the furniture, but that all adds to the shabby chic feel. We needed to watch out for steps up or down into bedrooms.

I had a single room at the back of the hotel, which was very quiet. It was a bit snug, especially the long narrow shower room. The shower was excellent, although the towels weren’t as thick as they could have been. The synthetic pillows on the bed were a bit unforgiving. It was fine for a one night stay but may have begin to feel claustrophobic after a few days.

Breakfast was self service in a large room overlooking a courtyard. There was plenty of choice and service started early.
Sunday - Salisbury and back home

OIne of the advantages of teh White Hart Hote3l, is the early breakfast - from 7.30 on a Sunday. I ws in breakfast early and with a 10am departure, had time to explore some of Salisbury. It is a very attractive city with a lot of old buildings from timber frame to Georgian in style.


The main shopping area is pedestrianised with a good mix of shops with many small family shops as well as the chains.

The Cathedral is surrounded by a large walled close lined with attractive buildings of all ages.


The Cathedral was open for an early service in the choir, which meant I was able to slip in and quietly wander round. It is a splendid early English building with wonderful carving especially on the west front.



Another bonus was driving along the A303 with its view of Stonehenge silhouetted against the skyline.

We had a brief stop at Dobbies Garden Centre near Rugby on the way back. We were given the choice of either Leamington Spa again or the garden centre. As the weather forecast was for rain at midday, the majority decision was the garden centre did seem to be the more sensible choice.

It was a mistake as in the end it didn’t rain. The cafe was chaotic with staffing and till problems, but there was an instore Waitrose for supplies. There were the usual range of clothing places but little in the way of gifts or crafty items. Many of the pot plants looked neglected and were expensive. All in all, a lack lustre experience and the toilets were heavily used and in need of a refurbishment.

It was a good run back to Doncaster Services where a minibus was waiting to bring me home.

I thoroughly enjoyed the holiday, despite the less than good weather in Jersey. The Islands have a completely different feel to the rest of the UK. Despite the go-getting finance and tax haven sectors, they still have a laid back and old fashioned atmosphere. Guernsey and Jersey also feel different too. There is more for the visitor to do and see on Jersey.

Guernsey is possibly more staid and determined to maintain its old fashioned values. Strict residency regulations have kept population numbers steady and there is little modern housing development. Old houses are rebuilt. Jersey is possibly more entrepreneurial and some of the old farms have been bought up and are now very expensive and exclusive developments.

The Occupation affected all Islands and memories are long. The remains of Napoleonic and German Occupation are still everywhere.

The islands still attract large numbers of holiday makers, and there were a lot of French.

You don’t need a car as there is a very good and cheap bus service covering all the island.

I’m glad I went back. I hardly scratched the surface and there are still so many things I didn’t manage to see. Hopefully it won’t be as long to my next visit....

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