St. Ouen's Bay

Situated 14 miles from France yet loyal to the British Crown, Jersey is the southernmost point in the British Isles and a truly unique island full of interesting attractions, beautiful sights, friendly locals and world class food.

Jersey's attractions and gastronomic excellence ensure that foodie fans and culture vultures are well catered for, with Michelin-starred restaurants, quirky beach cafes, Second World War relics and international conservation parks all offering a thoroughly enjoyable and varied holiday experience.

For those who want to seek thrills, spills and activities, there is a wealth of options both in the sea and on the land, from surfing, kayaking and scuba diving to golf, blokarting and cliff-walking.

History

The Channel Islands were originally part of a land mass which included France and England. Over the course of multiple ice ages, sea levels rose and dropped many times cutting off the higher rocks, leaving islands. Jersey finally became and island for the last time 8000 years ago, 2000 years after Guernsey.

The first settlers were farmers from Brittany in France, settling around 700 AD. The Normans made the greatest impact on the Channel Islands when they were annexed to the Duchy of Normandy in 933 by William Longswood, Duke of Normandy. When William the Conqueror gained the English crown in 1066, the Channel Islands became part of the Anglo-Norman realm.

Jersey Sand Dunes

In 1204 King John, of England, lost Normandy back to the French, the islanders had to choose either to be loyal to Normandy or remain loyal to the English crown. They chose the latter and gained rights and privileges which are still current today, including freedom from UK taxes. The constitutional relationship with the UK is the product of 900 years of custom and usage and is not affected by changes of government in the UK. This relationship has been confirmed by successive Royal Charters that have secured the independence of the Island's judicial system from the English courts.

Over centuries the island has fought off many invasions. In 1781 the last French attack took place, when French troops attempted to take over the island under the leadership of Baron du Rullecourt. However, a young English officer, Major Peirson, led the local militia to victory at 'The Battle of Jersey' in Jersey's Royal Square, in which sadly both officers were killed.

In 1940 the Island was again attacked, this time by the Germans. During WWII the Channel Islands were the only part of Great Britain to be occupied by the Germans. This lasted for 5 years until Liberation on 9th May 1945. Many people left the island prior to the occupation, and others were deported during this very difficult period.

The island became a haven for holidaymakers during the decades the followed, well known for its warm weather, long hours of sunshine, and a uniquely continental yet British atmosphere.

Some of the above text has been kindly provided by Jersey Tourism