Jersey has one of the largest tidal ranges in the world, and at low tide the island nearly doubles in size. The tidal gyre doesn’t just create an ever-changing backdrop as the island turns from turquoise bays to rocky ‘lunar’ landscapes at low tide, it also creates low water habitats for rare sea creatures like ormers, related to abalone and prized as a delicacy in many cultures. Jersey is the furthest north they’re found. Be careful - Jersey's fast tides are dangerous so never explore at low tide without a guide or expert.
JERSEY AND JERSEYS
The island used to be famous for its woollen trade - with knitting one of Jersey’s main industries. It was so popular that men were banned from knitting in Jersey during the peak fishing season of August to September. Because of the popularity of Jersey wool, knitted jumpers came to be called jerseys, after the island, the first recording of a jumper being called a jersey is in 1837.
TEN MINUTES FROM THE SEA
Jersey’s nine miles long by five miles wide, that’s smaller than Greater London. Yet despite our small size, Jersey has one of the highest numbers of cars per person in the world and over 500 miles of roadway including our 15 mph Green Lanes. It means that wherever you are in the island, you’re never more than ten minutes away from the sea.
THE JERSEY COW
Explore Jersey on foot or by car and you’ll see our Jersey cows in fields across the island. But did you know the Jersey cow is the second most popular cattle breed in the world? The pure bred Jersey cow originated from the island and Jersey cows can now be found as far afield as India, South America, USA, Australia and New Zealand. Our cows are famous for their rich and creamy milk, so don’t miss the chance to try some real Jersey ice-cream while you’re on the island.
Although prices are sterling and traders do accept UK money, the island has its own Jersey notes and coins, including a pound note. Look out for Jersey notes in your change or from ATMs and take a closer look - as well as a security watermark of a Jersey cow, you’ll see Queen Elizabeth smiling on our banknotes.
Jersey people are colloquially known as crapauds (toads in Jersey French) by other Channel Islanders. The rather unfortunate name has nothing to do with national character we’re told, the official reason is that Jersey has toads and Guernsey doesn’t. Look out for the statue of a crapaud at Charing Cross in the centre of St. Helier.
Charles II spent several years in exile on the island and it was in Jersey in 1649 that he was proclaimed king. In recognition of the island’s help, King Charles II gifted several parcels of land in the colonies to the island’s Bailiff, Sir George Carteret - one of them became the state known as New Jersey. It’s been calculated that Jersey would fit 189 times into New Jersey - 95 times if the tide is out.
Look closely at many of the older houses in Jersey, and you may notice a stone that juts out of the house’s gables. It’s known as a witch’s seat, and islanders believed that providing a seat for passing witches to rest on would prevent them from falling foul of evil spells.
Want to learn more about Jersey? OurStay's guide to the Channel Islands recommends the best things to keep your family happy and busy as well as the top places to stay for your next UK family holiday.