Staycation travel: Most southern point of Britain might also be the most wonderful
With foreign holidays off the agenda, we took a trip to somewhere that still feels like a foreign holiday but doesn’t require a passport.
The Channel Islands, a group of islands in the English Channel, are located off the coast of France.
Despite their close proximity to our European neighbours - just 14 miles offshore - Guernsey and Jersey are Crown Dependencies, with a relationship to our country that stems from the sovereignty of the British Crown.
Their close connection to the UK means they are included in the UK’s common travel area, meaning no requirement to carry a passport - and more importantly that Brits can travel and take holidays there.
With foreign travel limited, others were rushing to book their staycations in Cornwall.
But we hopped on a Condor ferry from Poole, while restrictions were relaxed last autumn, and took full advantage of casting our staycation net right to its furthest point.
For not only did Jersey greet us with its wonderful beaches, stunning scenery and nature - the island was quiet and we were able to take full advantage of its glorious countryside.
Jersey, the biggest Channel Island at about 47 square miles, is 87 miles south of the UK and is considered the southernmost of the British Islands.
We checked in to arguably the island’s top hotel - the Atlantic Hotel, in Le Mont de la Pulente, St Brelade.
The hotel recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and its hospitality is well known, receiving rave reviews and making it one of the island’s most desirable places to celebrate any occasion. It also has a string of awards under its belt.
And its location sets it apart – set within beautifully landscaped gardens overlooking the sweeping golden sands of St Ouen’s Bay.
Our family - myself and my partner plus our two young children - were welcomed warmly into the hotel, despite the obvious pitfalls of bringing two young children to such an elegant venue.
The staff were exceptional, catering for our needs by putting us in an interconnecting room, allowing us the space needed to really enjoy
a break, and seeing to it that our threenager’s demands were met without fuss.
The food at the hotel was beautiful - full breakfast that really set the whole family up for the day - followed by exquisite dinners cooked by top chef Will Holland.
While a bit on the chilly side to enjoy the outdoor pool, which in warmer weather would be so tempting, we also enjoyed using the hotel’s indoor pool.
One of the benefits to social distancing rules, is that we were required to book our slot to avoid others, and as such had the whole pool to ourselves - a real treat for a family of four and a highlight that will stay with the kids for a long time to come.
But as touched on above, the hotel’s greatest asset is its location. From our base we were able to enjoy and explore the island and its rich history, then return to the warm embrace of the Atlantic Hotel.
And Jersey really does have a rich history, its location meant that it has been a valuable island outpost, fought for by the English and French, as well as being occupied by German forces during World
War II. We spent the day at Mont Orgueil Castle, a medieval fortress, perched high on a rocky outcrop at the Royal Bay of Grouville.
A day spent exploring the castle and its grounds, plus looking out across the Atlantic towards France, was a great dose of history.
Thankfully the sun shone for our adventure, and was made even more magical for the family by an array of knight costumes and some ice-cream.
Another day trip saw us appease the younger members - and we enjoyed a fun-packed day of family adventure at aMaizin! Adventure Park in St Peter.
Think the greatest park you could take your kids to, and you’ll be halfway there. Trampolines, go karts, sand kitchens, soft play, petting farm, slides, swings, toboggan, gold mine - it’s all there. Something
for all weathers and all ages.
But for our family, the true highlight of Jersey was its beaches. Miles of golden sand, backed by awesome scenery, a few surfers out on the waves. The sun glinting from the Atlantic waves.
Each night we watched the sunset, full of Jersey’s delicious food, hospitality and heritage, while the kids paddled in the sea and ran along the beach.
Jersey is how you dream a stay in Cornwall would be - except better. The fresh air, the beaches, the countryside and the sunsets.
Ferry services run from Poole with Condor, and take four hours and 30 minutes, a comparable time to the traditional airport check in and flight time to usual European
holiday destinations. And with restrictions making it illegal to leave the UK without a reasonable excuse - 2021 is the year to explore Britain, and the most southern point of the British Islands might also be the most wonderful.
All passengers (adults and children aged 11 and over) travelling on board Commodore Clipper from the UK or France must provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test result conducted within 72 hours of departure. The result should be from a PCR or lateral flow test and the certificate presented at check-in. Home tests are not acceptable.
From May 21, there will be no requirement for testing for travel on Condor’s high speed fleet, such as sailings from Poole.
For more go to condorferries.co.uk/help-info/travel-safelyconfidently
Fares start at £30 one way foot passenger, or £175 for a car with two passengers or £237 for four.
To book go to condorferries.co.uk, or call 0345 609 1026.
ARRIVALS TO JERSEY
The Government of Jersey requires you to complete a Safer Travel registration in the 48 hours prior to your arrival.
On arrival government staff will test you for coronavirus.
For more information go to gov.je/Health/Coronavirus/Travel/Pages/CoronavirusTravelAdvice.aspx
Prices start from £200 per room per night on a B&B basis.
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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