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Exploring St Helier in Jersey The Channel Islands

By 2nd February 2013Articles

Whilst visiting the Channel Islands, a journey to lovely St. Helier is something you’ll want to add to your agenda. Its moderate weather, historic architecture and enjoyable cultural activities make it a stop you won’t want to miss.

St. Helier in Jersey

St. Helier is one of twelve parishes on the island. It’s the capital of Jersey, the larger of the Channel Islands off the coast of Normandy. Named for the sixth century Saint Helier, a Belgian hermit martyred by Saxon pirates, the present day church dedicated to his memory was built in the 11th century. It stands on the site where an even older structure once stood, which hundreds of years ago was much nearer the sea. Only window arches remain from the parts of the building built before the Norman Conquest, with various other parts of the architecture dating to the 12th, 13th, 15th and 19th centuries. The church currently holds three services each Sunday in addition to a mid-week Eucharist.

Next door to the church is the States of Jersey building, which houses the parliament and government offices of the island. Jersey is a British Crown dependency, which means it is self-governing, not officially part of the United Kingdom, and has been so since the 1200s.

Also adjacent to the church is the marketplace called the Royal Square. Here the Battle of Jersey was fought against the encroaching French in 1781. A statute of George II, that predates the battle, is still the marker used to measure distances on the island. The Georgian harbour and the 19th century military roads, along with new modes of sea transportation, allowed Jersey’s agricultural economy to thrive. The need for wider roads led to a redevelopment of the town centre in the 19th century, one that altered the ancient character of the town and gave its centre a far more Victorian flavour.

The Jersey Opera House, located on Gloucester Street, is an early 20th century structure with a magnificently ornate façade and a chandelier of over 10,000 pieces. Once a cinema house, it began to alternate movies and live theatre during the German Occupation, when it was impossible to get new movies. In 1959, it became solely a live theatre, and the building underwent significant renovations in the late 20th century.

The Societe Jersiaise, located on Pier Road, is a museum dedicated to sharing about the local history of the island, especially its natural and archaeological history. The museum houses a collection of over 70,000 photographs.

The Central Market and the Beresford Market are both lively places to shop and a unique element of Jersey’s history and culture. While the old marketplace was housed in the Royal Square, the “new” marketplace in the centre of town has now been there for over 200 years. Covered in its Victorian era dome, the stalls present an array of flowers, food, baked goods and local produce. The nearby dairy shop provides some of Jersey’s famous cream, milk and butter. Other nearby shops sell antiques, needlework, spices and herbs. The nearby Beresford Market, originally built in 1841, is a well-stocked fish market where you can find salted codfish – a deep part of Jersey history – as well as all kinds of local and more exotic seafood.

Once you’ve enjoyed some historic sights, taken in a play and done your shopping, you may just be in the mood to relax and rest. St. Helier offers many beautifully landscaped parks and gardens, perfect for a stroll, a picnic or some family playtime. Open green spaces, formal gardens, cafes, playgrounds, terraced gardens, water gardens and gentle woodlands are all part of the St. Helier landscape. Flowers are especially in abundance in the spring and summer. St. Helier recently won the Best Parish in Bloom award, a regional part of the yearly Britain in Bloom competition, and every August, for over a hundred years, visitors have enjoyed the Jersey Battle of the Flowers festival, complete with music and parades.

St Helier Luxury Hotel, the Grand Jersey

Grand Jersey offer guests an exceptional experience providing the ultimate in comfort and glamour with sumptuous bedrooms, sophisticated restaurants, exclusive Champagne Lounge and the luxurious, award-winning Spa.

Grand Jersey also features the Park Suites – a dedicated business centre with private cinema, meeting rooms and event spaces.
Whether you’re visiting Jersey for a short break, summer holiday or business, you are assured of a wonderful stay.

The team is committed to the highest standards of service and excellence in everything they do which is why this luxury hotel is one of only two on the island to be awarded five stars. The hotel couldn’t be better situated overlooking the majestic St Aubin’s Bay and within a few minutes walk of the beach and shopping in Jersey’s capital, St Helier.

The Hotel Spa at Grand Jersey was recognised as UK Residential Spa of the Year in the Professional Beauty Awards 2009 and 2010 with judges pointing to the exceptional combination of treatments and its devotion to sensory bliss. The Spa offers the ultimate cocooned experience, with a range of treatment suites, exclusive ESPA treatments, indoor heated pool and experience showers.
Grand Jersey has an array of restaurants and bars including Victoria’s brasserie, The Champagne Lounge and Michelin Star restaurant, Tassili. Tassili’s 3 AA Rosette modern British menu, with a decadent Jersey twist, is the platform for the very best of Jersey’s local and seasonal produce.

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