If there’s one thing that’s true as a parent it’s how high maintenance travelling with your family can be.
I have the exact same panic each time I pack for the three of us to go away, whether it’s for the week or the weekend, to Spain or the south coast, to a five star hotel or an AirBnB: I always end up with a pile of bags containing everything but the kitchen sink, a messy house and a head of hair on the verge of being torn out. Is the hassle of packing and preparing for a trip really worth the effort?
OF COURSE IT IS!!
A Weekend In Jersey
The three of us have just got back from a mini-break to Jersey and this time the packing situation was even more high-maintenance as we’d chosen to go by ferry rather than fly. It’s super easy to hop on a plane to Jersey but out of season our local airport, Luton, doesn’t fly there, so we thought for a bit of a different adventure we’d go by car and sea. Plus, when travelling with two kids the extra boot space of the car really helps, and from experience taxis on the island can be super expensive so I thought it would be a good way of saving dough this time around.
This was to be my second trip to Jersey and the children’s first. My good friend Néva moved there last year with her husband’s job and I first visited with my boyfriend back in an unseasonably stormy October 2017: after spending that weekend eating good food and stomping around glorious beaches I couldn’t wait to return with the kids.
And I’m so glad I did. We had the absolute greatest adventure!
There are so many things to do and places to see in Jersey.
Our journey began the night before: we’d opted to get the early morning fast Ferry, the Condor Liberation, from Poole to Jersey, which would get us to our destination for lunchtime. So we drove down to Poole straight from school on Thursday evening to stay in a Premiere Inn family room at their Holes Bay hotel, which was surprisingly comfortable and right next to the port.
The next morning we were up bright and early to scrape the frost off the car and check-in to the ferry terminal. Some of the fondest memories from my own childhood are travelling by ferry to go and stay with friends in France, and I was really excited to share this experience with my own kids. Despite making the rookie mistake of not turning my car alarm off properly – I enjoyed the embarrassment of having my car registration called over the tannoy – this was a really great journey. We had fantastic reclining seats right at the front of the ship and though there was a little bit of chop in the middle of the Channel we had great fun. Especially when the children discovered the soft play kids area and I found duty free ;)
Snaps from the ship: leaving port on the Condor Liberation, on board and making a stop for passengers in Guernsey
We stayed in the Havre De Pas area of St Helier, in Néva and Matt’s lovely beachside apartment. I had SO MANY people on Instagram ask how to stay there – it is absolutely gorgeous and they are fantastic hosts – but it’s their private home. I’ll see if I can convince them to AirBnB their spare room!
There are so many things to do and places to see in Jersey. Néva lives very close to the Lido in St Helier: it was obviously too cold to go there this time but we took a dip there back in October (still freezing but very cool!). The beaches are obviously the biggest attraction of the island and are all beautiful and sandy – we’ve visited Havre De Pas and St Breleade as well as Le Braye and they’re all gorgeous. I can’t wait to see them all again in the summer: Quicksilver runs a surf school in Jersey and I really want to get the children signed up.
We spent our Saturday at Tamba Park, a fun-filled mini-theme park full of things for kids to do. Some of the attractions were closed as it was so cold but we still managed to have a blast: we rented mini electric boats and puttered around the lake, had a go in the outside adventure playground and wandered around the REAL LIFE dinosaurs (Hux: “don’t be silly mummy, they’re just pretend”).
One of the best things about Jersey is, of course, the food. With the kids, we enjoyed eating at Jersey Crab Shack in St Brelade (amazing Oysters) as well as The White Horse in St Helier which has a beautiful garden overlooking the sea which will be wonderful in summer. We also ate at a fantastic pub/restaurant called The Treehouse (also in St Brelade): the food was unfussy and solid but the place had a gorgeous conservatory and A SOFT PLAY. 10/10 for that alone. We had brunch at El Tico in Le Port too, another beautifully situated spot.
Néva and I went on a girl date on Friday night to the Michelin-starred Ormer where we dined on their 7-course tasting menu with accompanying flight of wines. It’s was beautiful, really really good, and the setting slap-bang in the middle of St Helier is cosy and stylish. I can’t wait to take Shaun back there in the summer.
One point I will make about restaurants in Jersey is that they all require booking: they get very busy so a reservation is a must.
Our journey home was a little different to what we’d expected. Due to rough seas our fast ferry, Liberation, had been cancelled so we were swiftly re-booked on to the larger 12 hour overnight ferry and allocated a cabin. The kids were so excited to sleep on the ferry so this was all good with us!
The kids went to sleep at their usual time, slept the entire journey and we disembarked at 6.30am: we were only an hour late to get to school the next morning so it was a great (and exciting!) way to travel. We had one of the luxury cabins that was at the top and front of the ship and felt quite a lot of movement – at least I did, anyway – so if you’re slightly sensitive to the movement of the sea I’d say it’s probably best to ask for a cabin further down and backwards.
We had the absolute loveliest weekend in Jersey and I really can’t wait to return in the summer. Whether you’re travelling by sea or air it’s such an easy place to get to and is so safe and child-friendly. See you soon, Néva and Matt!!
Condor gave us tickets so we could try their Jersey ferries – we’d recommend them as a great way to travel to the Channel Islands.