With Valentine's Day around the corner and Mother's Day not too far off that, lots of you will be looking for cheap weekend breaks to go away on with your loved ones. When it comes to holidays, many of us look abroad for our yearly dose of beaches and sunshine, but we often forget about the gems we have closer to home. In December, I went to Jersey (a UK Channel Island) with my mum; it was the perfect early Christmas present! This post is largely photos, but also a reminder that you don't have to jet off to a paradise island when we already are one! We stayed at the Grand Jersey hotel, situated a 5/10 minute walk from the bustling hub of St Helier town and right opposite a gorgeous beach with a view of Elizabeth Castle. It's a fabulous location for anyone looking for a short break (I think there are quite a few lovely hotels around this small area); there's a spa, town, beach, historical activities and a littering of delicious restaurants to choose from. What more would you want?!
Jersey is a bit of a foodie's dream. As a lover of food, I was in heaven. Just around the corner from the Grand Jersey you have spectacular restaurants such as Cafe Spice (traditional Indian food with portion sizes so big you won't be able to eat for days), Aromas (a popular, small restaurant with top class food) and Dorans (a larger restaurant with a fantastic early bird menu). On the last night we went to Victoria's (the Grand Jersey's own restaurant), but we were moved into the grander settings of Tassili's due to a wedding party using the usual restaurant space. The five-star Grand Jersey homes both of these restaurants; Victoria's being more of a brasserie while Tassili features fine dining (a 3 AA Rosette restaurant!). We also had breakfast in Victoria's every morning...it's safe to say we could've been rolled into town every day!
Spending a few days shopping in St Helier's vast range of street shops and department stores, we also took a day out to use the spa facilities at the Grand Jersey. We both had a back massage and facial (an offer going on at the time), while my mum opted for an additional pedicure which looked gorgeous! The spa itself features the treatment rooms, a relaxation room (comfy chairs, cakes, all of the tea and dimmed lighting as you wait for your treatment or prolong the indulgence afterwards), a gym, swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. The showers by the sauna/steam room/pool had the most fancy settings I have ever seen. A gorgeous lavender-infused mist poured out alongside jets of warm and cold water; settings included things like 'tropical storm' and 'light mist' which offered different power-levels for the jets of water as well as an array of temperature combinations.
We spent another day at Durrell Wildlife Conservation park. Being a chilly, December day, we pretty much had the park to ourselves, so we took our time strolling round the grounds saying 'hi' to all the animals. Durrell's is only a short bus ride away from St Helier and is a fantastic day out (whether it be for families or a date). I fell in love with the Andean bear (who decided to majestically pose at the end of his branch), while my mum cooed over the baby gorilla playing with his Dad and developed a new-found love for bats!
There is so much to do on this little island (evening entertainment includes the usual bars, live music and cinemas) that it really does make for a magical, relaxing break. The winding cobbled roads make the whole place seem like a little French village, and whilst it does have some homely familiarities (it's a British island after all), it's distant and different enough to feel like break from our stressful, busy lives and a step back in time. Another plus is that the Channel Island has an incredibly rich history (fab for history nerds like myself!), although many of the attractions and castles are closed until March time.
Would you consider going to Jersey for a short break this year? Have you been there before?