I took a £24 flight to a tiny island with gorgeous sandy beaches and didn’t need a passport

The stunning Plemont Bay in Jersey with a freshwater waterfall, hidden caves and rock pools to explore. -Credit:BirminghamLive
The stunning Plemont Bay in Jersey with a freshwater waterfall, hidden caves and rock pools to explore. -Credit:BirminghamLive

For us landlocked Brummies getting to the beach is quite an effort - especially a sandy one with turquoise waters. Many of us have spent hours driving to Cornwall, Devon, and Wales to experience those ‘best beaches’ so you can imagine my delight when I found myself at a stunning seaside spot after a 45-minute flight.

So, just three hours after leaving my house in Tamworth, I was walking along the beautiful St Brelade’s Bay on the southwest coast of Jersey. White sand between my toes and crystal blue waters ahead with sun rays beaming down.

Overseas but not completely foreign - a continental feel, where they speak English but the road names are French. This place is unique.

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Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands, but only nine miles by five miles, and although it’s just 14 miles away from France, it’s a British Crown dependency which means you don’t need your passport and you don’t need to clear border security when you return home. EasyJet, which has added several European routes in 2024 from Brum, operates the direct flight twice a week. The cost was £24 with a small luggage allowance but more than enough for a few days away.

St Brelade’s was just the beginning, my research revealed many more stunning beaches to explore. The island's picturesque coastline is often compared to exotic beaches worldwide - even the Caribbean.

As we walked along the lush green fields of Jersey potatoes after a scenic bus ride from the capital St Helier - I turned the corner and there it was - the most breathtaking view of stunning Plemont Bay and its freshwater waterfall. I watched as waves crashed across the rocks and noticed the warnings dotted around signally the potential dangers of high tide.

Then, as I took pictures and chatted with fellow tourists, I realised that within a few hours, it would be transformed into a gorgeous sandy beach with hidden caves and rock pools to explore. There’s a lovely little café at the top, near the beach entrance as well as well-maintained public toilets.

Jersey is part of the British Isles, but its position nearer to the coast of France gives it its microclimate, which means it's typically warmer and sunnier than the south coast of Britain - and you won't need a passport to go there if you're a UK resident.

During my visit, I stayed at the Club Hotel & Spa in St Helier, and it couldn’t have been a more perfect spot for exploring the island (and then relaxing in the spa after those clifftop hikes). The staff at the boutique spot were super helpful in recommending places to visit, and a handy guidebook in reception listed all the attractions along with the bus services to get you to your chosen destination. It’s a 10-minute walk from the hotel to Liberation Station and you tap to pay as you go. It’s no wonder the services were well-used with locals and tourists.

Aside from the stunning beaches and coastline walks, what stood out to me was the delicious and fresh produce - from potatoes to oysters, and scallops to Jersey black butter. I’d never heard of this before but you may have seen it on the Islands to Highlands series with James Martin. Like the TV chef, I went along to the La Mare Wine Estate in St Mary to find out more.

The island’s only vineyard, which also featured on this year’s series of The Apprentice, produces six grapes, three red and three white including the famous Pinot Noir. Established in 1972, La Mare produces about 20,000 bottles of wine a year, as well as Jersey cider, apple brandy and the unique black butter which just to clarify is not normal butter - it’s a sort of apple sauce.

The tour is incredibly interesting and you can feel the passion of all the staff from Tim the MD, to the chocolate maker and our lovely host Chantal who admits it’s more of a hobby for the seasonal months - complementing her work as a wine expert for British Airways.

From breakfast in our hotel to brunch at nearby Locke’s and dinner at tapas restaurant Botana, I was impressed by the quality of food on this small island. And our hotel offered the creme de la creme. Bohemia has just retained its Michelin-starred status for the 18th year in a row and its fourth year running under chef Callum Graham. In December, Bohemia was also awarded a place in The Hardens Best UK Restaurants 2024.

The tasting menu features everything from the humble potato to roasted veal and Jersey white crab meat, every course a taste sensation. While Bohemia feels more laidback than other Michelin-starred restaurants I’ve visited, it is extremely special. But if you want a more casual experience and less formal menu you can eat in the bar and terrace and catch a few rays at the same time.

As I enjoyed my final fix of Jersey oysters before the short ride back to the hotel I vowed to return to this calming oasis, away from the chaos of everyday life back home. After all, it’s just a 45-minute flight away.

*Rooms at the Club Hotel & Spa start from £129 in Winter and £209 in summer.