Jersey, UK: Where to Stay, Eat, and Explore on a Budget
by Chiara Torelli
Between the United Kingdom and France lie the picturesque Channel Islands. Of Henry Cavill andJersey Ice-Cream fame, Jersey, the largest of them, offers splendid beaches, scenic cliffside walks, and the urban comforts of larger towns. Whether you’re heading out for a weekend away, or planning on staying longer, Jersey is sure to amaze you.
Beware of island prices though: most accommodation, restaurants, and attractions aren’t wallet-friendly. Let’s explore how to make the most of Jersey on a budget!
To start us off, let me recommend www.quidsin.com, a local deals website offering vouchers, allowing you to experience Jersey at a reduced price. You’ll find deals for restaurants, hotels, tourist attractions and trips, amongst other exciting things, so QuidsIn could be your first stop when considering any of the following…
Places to Stay
For beautiful views and peace, many people drive camper vans down to beaches like Saint Ouen,Ouaisne, and Long Beach, or along the Routes du Nord, de St. Catherine, or Le Brun. You can rent camper vans from 150£ a day from Jersey Camper Hire.
If you prefer tents, Bay View Camping has beautiful views of the Royal Bay of Grouville. Rozel Camping Park, with its views of the French coast, and Beuvelande Campsite, are two more up-market campsites and have both been awarded 5 gold stars by the AA. For a more peaceful experience, I recommend the Daisy Cottage Campsite and Retreat, a relaxed and cosy hide-away 2 miles from Plémont Beach, one of the most stunning in Jersey.
There are a couple of fun hostels in Jersey. The Jersey Accommodation and Activity Centre hostel (JAAC), in Gorey, is the perfect starting place for your adventures. Otherwise, the scenic Durrell Wildlife Hostel, next door to the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Park, is another great option for travellers on a budget, albeit a little far from town.
Many home-owners are reluctant to leave their houses and pets unattended, preferring to see them looked after by travellers like your kind selves. Two trusty websites to help you find your house-sit are www.housesittersuk.co.uk, and www.trustedhousesitters.com. I do recommend registering as a member, so you can be verified and home-owners know you can be trusted.
Couchsurfing is an ideal option for those travelling alone or in small groups. There are over 514 hosts to choose from in Jersey, whose homes and favourite haunts you will be invited to share. Hosts and guests on Couchsurfing are verified and referenced, helping to keep everyone safe.
The standard bus fare in Jersey is £2.20 – debilitating if you’re planning on travelling all day! Luckily, there are a few options:
Contactless Payment on Board
Paying with a contactless credit or debit card on board the bus reduces the price to £2.
With this rechargeable bus card, you pay £1.60 per journey instead of £2.20. Get your card in Liberation Station, and recharge it in person or online.
Jersey Day Passes
These passes allow you unlimited travel for 1, 2, 3, and 7 days:
1 Day – £8 / Family – £18
2 Days – £15 / Family – £31.50
3 Days – £21 / Family – £42
7 Days – £30 / Family – £60
The 1 Day Individual and the 1 Day Family passes can be purchased onboard the bus, but the rest must be purchased in advance from Liberation Station.
The downside of bus travel is the scarcity of late-evening and nighttime services.
What and Where to Eat?
Beach Shacks and Cafes
Most beaches are surrounded by casual food shacks and cafes. These are often reasonably priced (unless you’re at St. Brelades Bay) and yummy. My personal favourites include Kismet Cabana, at Ouaisne Beach, and Le Braye Restaurant and Big Vern’s Diner in Saint Ouen. The scenic Dicq shack, next to Havre des Pas, is more expensive, but the portions are huge and delicious – treat the starters like tapas and you’ll be set! They don’t serve alcohol, so buy your booze at the corner shop just up the road. Quick note: my favourite is the garlic chicken starter.
Barbecues and Picnics
Jersey’s beaches are the perfect settings for barbecues and picnics. You can buy cheap BBQ sets and food from Iceland. The food selection is also good at the COOP. Bring your haul down to a beach of your choice and barbecue away! Picnics can be enjoyed on the beach, or on a walk through the woods, the dunes, along the cliffs – anywhere your imagination takes you.
Many restaurants offer sharing platters, or other deals, allowing you to satisfy your stomach and your wallet! Personal favourites include AirMex, near Liberation Square, whose sharing deal means 3 hungry tourists can eat for £20 in total; Sumas, in Gorey, where the breakfast is copious and reasonably-priced; and the Tamarind Curry House, which offers the best curry on the island.
Keep your eyes on QuidsIn for good restaurant deals, and remember Pizza Express: you can google search for vouchers and enjoy a delicious meal deal.
Tennerfest is an annual food festival, during which, for six glorious weeks, partner restaurants all over the island offer menus starting from £10, with £12.50, £15, and £17.50 options. Restaurants will be incredibly busy, so remember to book, and make sure to enquire whether the restaurant in question is a partner in Tennerfest.
Things to do
Jersey Heritage Passes
For fun and interesting activities, have a look at the Jersey Heritage website, which has plenty of events, deals, and special projects to keep you entertained. Individually, the attractions can be pricey, but Heritage Passes offer you unlimited access to 4 Jersey Heritage sites for the price of 3, and are valid for 7 days.
Jersey Heritage also suggests a series of self-guided tours, exploring Jersey’s landscapes and historical sites. Highlights include the Ice-Age walk, the Dolmens and Passage Graves walk, and the walk to the Corbiere Lighthouse.
Jersey Zoo is renowned for its association with famed naturalist, zookeeper, and conservationist Gerald Durrell, who established the zoological park in 1959. It is now operated by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, and this ethos of conservation and education really comes through in its layout and management. Before going, make sure to check the timetables of the Keeper Talks and feeding times to maximise your experience.
A full-priced adult ticket is £16. Despite the price, the zoo is well worth a visit, and if you manage to time your stay with a “Durrell at Dusk event” (only in summer), you can visit after closing time for half the price.
Jersey’s botanical gardens, in the Samarès Manor grounds, offer a beautiful garden, Manor House, and museum experience. The price is also attractive: tickets are £9.75 for the gardens, an additional £3.95 for the Manor House, and include a free return visit if you request a Complimentary Ticket! For a group of 10 or more, the price goes down to £7.54 per person.
There are many boat tours and water sports companies throughout Jersey. Most offer a range of activities, such as banana rides, RIB (very fast boat) tours, kayaking tours, surfing lessons, and diving experiences, but they will probably be expensive. Wait for a good QuidsIn deal to come by, or rent a few kayaks and take yourself out! For guided tours, I recommend Jersey Bus and Boat Tours. I learned a lot about the island from a born and bred Jersey bean.