The streets of St Helier, Jersey's capital, hold a host of hidden delights: sophisticated shops, fascinating museums, historic landmarks, attractive parks, varied nightlife and a mouth-watering selection of restaurants, along with a leisurely pace of life sure to put you in holiday mode.
Jersey Museum & Art Gallery is an ideal introduction to the island, where you can uncover stories of Jersey's colourful history from the ice Age to the German Occupation during World War II. Find out about Jersey's link with the English Crown despite the island's close location to France; listen to Jerrais (Jersey-French) being spoken; learn about the island's traditional farming industry and watch absorbing archive footage of the early years of tourism.
The interactive Maritime Museum occupies a 19th century warehouse and brings to life Jersey's role as a seafaring state through the stories of Jersey people. Also on site is the Occupation Tapestry Gallery, a community work of art depicting islander's personal memories of World War II and their experience of living under German Occupation.
Built on a rocky islet in St Aubin's Bay, Elizabeth Castle has defended Jersey for over 300 years. You can take the amphibious Castle Ferry or walk out along the causeway at low tide. Climb the battlements dating back to the 1590's when Sir Walter Raleigh was Governor of Jersey; explore the grounds which gave refuge to King Charles II during the English Civil War; and uncover the bunkers which were re-fortified to command the sea approaches to Jersey during World War II.
Jersey has many public parks with two of the most popular found within St Helier. Les Jardins de la Mer forms part of the Waterfront area and the gardens boast uninterrupted views across St Aubin's Bay. The centrepiece is a circular water maze and other features include a maritime woodland, rockery, shingle beds and extensive lawns. Howard Davis Park is another popular park within St Helier with sprawling lawns and walled-in rose gardens featuring over 1,600 roses.
Havre de Pas is the closest beach to the centre of St Helier. Sheltered and south facing, there's a tidal pool, lido and Victorian architecture along the coast road. It's particularly popular with families in the summer months and a safe place for swimming. Additionally, Jersey Marine Lake at West Park, is one of the largest marine lakes in the UK and is a great place to enjoy swimming and watersport activities.
St Helier is the main focal point for shopping on the island. The centre's pedestrianised streets, which include King Street, Queen Street, Bath Street and Halkett Street, feature a mix of familiar High Street stores as well as good selection of independent shops and boutiques. You may also like to take a stroll around the characterful Central and Beresford Markets. Both are lively, full of colours and enticing aromas, and home to a wide range of local produce, crafts and goods. Don't forget Jersey has no VAT, although it does have a Goods and Service Tax (GST) which currently stands at 5%.
St Helier boasts a huge variety of restaurants, cafes and bars, and being surrounded by the sea, it will be of no surprise to learn that seafood is a feature on many menus as well as flavoursome local produce. The range of eateries within the town ranges from family-friendly and al fresco bistros to gastropubs and Michelin-starred fine dining. There's also a choice of traditional pubs, funky bars, live music venues and nightclubs too. Entertainment for all the family can be found at the Waterfront Centre, which has a multi-screen cinema and fantastic leisure complex with swimming pool and slides.
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