By: Abi Parkes, Herald Express on 16/08/2012
Relax and enjoy the sights
We could be in Barbados," chirped the snack shop woman as we sat down to tuck into our Jersey ice cream .
And she was not wrong. But this little haven of sunshine and delicious creamy goodness is virtually on our doorstop in the south west.
A mere hop, skip and jump away - or rather short drive and ferry ride with Condor Ferries.
Jersey is the most southerly of the Channel Islands, offering a cosmopolitan sample of the continent yet maintaining a traditional holiday feel without the fuss of foreign coins and languages.
The outlook from so many of Jersey's beaches offers picture postcard white golden sands and turquoise waters.
As you sit and soak up the coastal beauty, the fresh water is calling for you to dive in and cool off. And if the gulf stream behaves itself, this is a climate where you can do just that.
If it's a beach break you're after then you won't be disappointed. It has miles of coastline with a good mix of quiet coves and long sandy stretches.
Sitting just 14 miles off the north coast of France this special island is the sunniest place in the British Isles with an average summer temperature of 20oc.
Steeped in history and a favourite for UK holidaymakers, it is easy to explore being just 45 square miles, but with enough variety and entertainment to tick plenty of boxes for a family holiday or couple's getaway.
But it has so much more to offer than its beaches with green fields and woodlands, sand dunes and heaths - it has abundant habitats for wildlife and its paradise for walking and enjoying the great outdoors. There is 100 miles
of cycle routes on the coast and through the rural lanes to enjoy.Unsurprisingly it is a foodies' delight, with its famous dairy products from the world - renowned Jersey cows.
Seafood is a must,with such restaurant picks of the bunch as the Oyster Box situated overlooking St Brelades bay.
It has an enviable position where you can soak up the sea views from its large windows. It specialises in seafood ethically caught with local line caught fish, hand-dived scalops and plenty of fresh produce from the island.
Its menu has delicious and simple options with lobster,plenty of fish dishes and of course oysters.
The garlic lobster served simply with fresh Jersey royals was heavenly, followed by raspberries and washed down with more Jersey ice cream. All you need is a spectacular sunset and your holiday dreams are complete.
Tip-top service makes sure it is definately worth a visit. But, to be honest, you are never far from a great dish in Jersey. From beach cafes to Michelin-starred fine dining,country pubs to picnics, there are plenty of pit stops to
test those taste buds, and if you've got room you can always make time for tea with a wide selection of establishments offering tempting afternoon and Jersey cream teas.
We enjoyed some great value three-course menus for as little as £12 per person, with excellent quality and portions on offer.
To burn off all the good food you have got to get out there and see the sights, and there are plenty to choose from. From its imposing castles to the gunning placements of more recent wars, you're never far from a visual reminder of the
island's colorful past. It played a crucial part in naval victories and was important to English defence and prosperity opening up key trade routes.
In 1940 the Channel Islands were the only part of Great Britain to be occupied by the Germans, and until their liberation five years later its people faced difficult times.
Among the places where you can discover this story is Jersey War Tunnels, an underground museum evoking powerful memories from the islands inhabitants and the conditions they faced. This is just one attraction which you can enter as part of the
Jersey Pass scheme. This 'passport' gives free entry to numerous places along with special offers and discounts and is available for different durations starting from two days for £39. Other attractions which it will give you entry to include
Durrell wildlife park, a conservation centre set up by Gerald Durrell in 1959, Jersey Lavender Farm, and family attractions such as Aquasplash and aMaizin Adventure Park. There are plenty more historical sites to fascinate too.
Mont Orgueil Castle on the east coast was a medieval stronghold protecting from French invasion for more than 600 years and was also a former home of the governor of Jersey. In its shadow sits Gorey village which has a quaint fishing feel and offers
a fine choice for a spot of lunch. Wherever you stay its easy to get around but the capital of St Helier makes a good base with plenty of evening entertainment and shopping on your doorstep. The Radisson Blu is situated on the waterfront just a stone's throw
from the Harbour. a short stroll from the town centre and has all the facillities you would expect for a four star hotel. Staying in a sea view room you will have a beautiful vista of neighbouring Elizabeth castle and St Aubin's Bay. Enjoty cocktails and tapas