There is nothing quite like taking in deep breaths of fresh air while exploring a beautiful natural landscape. The UK is spoiled for choice when it comes to breathtaking natural environments but we would argue that the island of Jersey, in the heart of the Channel Islands, has some of the finest walking trails in the country. Whether you are an avid hiker or consider yourself to be a novice, walking in Jersey is an experience that you will quickly fall in love with.
Regardless of the weather conditions, putting on your favorite walking shoes and experiencing off the beaten path hiking trails is an unbelievably rewarding experience, particularly if you are visiting a destination that is blessed to have a myriad of untouched natural landmarks. This is exactly how we felt during our trip to the Channel Islands when we spent a few days exploring Jersey.
When it comes to the best things to do in Jersey, heading outdoors is undoubtedly the best way to experience the true beauty on this island.
Walking in Jersey, Channel Islands
From walking along the promenade in St. Helier to the gorgeous breakwater at St. Catherine’s Bay, Jersey is inundated with man-made paths that will encourage almost every type of traveler to explore the island on foot. At the other end of the spectrum, Jersey is proud of the plethora of natural walkways that will leave those with a little more adventure plenty of inspiration to explore these hidden gems.
Measuring only nine miles wide by five miles, the diverse Jersey terrain offers challenging routes for every style of hiker. With over 48 miles of coastal paths to enjoy, there is certainly no shortage of options for all travelers.
If you are planning on visiting Jersey with every intention of enjoying the great outdoors, you are definitely taking a trip to the right location.
From coastlines carpeted with gorse and wildflowers, to peaceful wooded valleys, quiet tree-lined lanes, reservoir walks and rugged beach trails (Visit Jersey)
Let’s take a look at all four corners of the island, because let’s face it, if you are planning a visit to the Channel Island and looking for the best things to do in Jersey in winter or summer, you can be sure that you won’t have to travel far given the size of this island. But remember, don’t let the size fool you because there is A LOT to see and experience in Jersey!
Jersey’s East Coast – Walking in Gorey
Rather than starting in the typical heartbeat of Jersey, St. Helier, take the short drive over to the east coast to the idyllic village of Gorey and explore this gorgeous area.
Whether you are an avid historian or simply want to enjoy the picturesque scenery, our recommendation is to take advantage of the free parking lot a little outside of the village and then walk along the coast back towards the center.
The views across the English Channel are spectacular but your eyes will frequently be amazed by the waves crashing against the shoreline and the blissful sight of the harbor with a collection of vessels that are ready to hit the open waters to find the catch of the day.
But don’t think that your walking excursion is over when you reach Gorey because there is plenty more for those looking to enjoy a little more strenuous activity. Grab a bite to eat in the village before hiking to the summit of Mont Orgueil Castle.
The views overlooking the fishing port are incredible and when you reach the summit and admire a scene that has been present for over 800 years, you quickly realize just how incredible this part of the island really is.
Walk the North Coastline
If you are ready for a little more adventure outside of anything that resembles civilization, we recommend heading to the north coast of Jersey to experience the epic landscapes. The plethora of steep cliffs, rugged coastline, hidden bays and untouched natural beauty ensures that the north coast is a real gem for those looking to capture amazing memories while walking this part of the island.
The perfect place to start your adventure on the north coast is by the ancient ruins of Grosnez Castle, located in the north-west corner of the island. This 14th-century ruined castle is well worth visiting to capture a piece of Jersey history but the real beauty here can be found as you start strolling along the coastal paths.
Be careful as the wind can get pretty blustery here but this is part of the ultimate experience as you enjoy scenery unlike anywhere else on the island. For those of you that have experienced the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland, this has a very similar feel but unique enough to ensure visitors will love both!
Walk along the cliff path all the way to Plemont Bay. The views overlooking this bay are spectacular as you approach an area with toilets and a cafe. On a clear day, you will have the opportunity to peer across the English Channel and admire the coastline of France.
After enjoying a light snack in Plemont Bay, continue your journey to enjoy Jersey’s piece de resistance – the gorgeous beach at Grève de Lecq. When you arrive at this beach, take the downhill walk to the beach and immediately feel like you are relaxing on the French Riviera. This is one of Jersey’s most popular beaches during the summer months but regardless of the time of year you visit, it’s a breathtaking landmark on the island.
West Coast – La Corbière
If you don’t mind experiencing the wild elements that frequently hit the Jersey coastlines, particularly during the winter months, head over to the south-west coast and take a hike along the path towards La Corbière lighthouse.
In term of wild, rugged coastlines, there is nothing quite like St. Ouen’s Bay on a blustery winter’s day. One thing is for sure, you will earn quite the appetite after spending a couple of hours strolling along this spectacular coastal trail.
You will certainly be ready to sample some of the best restaurants in St. Helier on your return, or perhaps a local coffee shop such as Locke’s Coffee & Grub to warm up your insides.
As you head towards La Corbière lighthouse, you will quickly realize why this is one of the most photographed landmarks on the island of Jersey. Spend some time admiring the waves crashing against the rocks and appreciate how nature plays such an integral role in shaping the natural environment we cannot help but appreciate.
The really adventurous hikers will take the coastal path all the way from La Corbière up to the north-west corner that we referenced earlier and Grosnez Castle.
At around 12-13 km, this will likely take anywhere from 3-4 hours but perhaps allocate a couple more hours to really enjoy the experience as you will be stopping several times to snap a few photographs of the idyllic landscapes around you.
Explore the South – St. Helier Walking Trails
When you think about Jersey, you could be forgiven for immediately thinking about the main town on the island, St. Helier (that’s if you had any idea about Jersey at all!). So, it would be remiss of us to write a post about the best walking trails on the island without mentioning the real heart and soul of this island.
It goes without saying, there are plenty of amazing restaurant, coffee shops, attractions and historic landmarks to be found in St. Helier but for those of you that have no interest in retail therapy and simply want to enjoy the outdoors, there is plenty of walking to be found in this town that will lead to a myriad of amazing sights.
Take a stroll along the harbor front and admire the views across the bay to Elizabeth Castle. Be sure to check out the collection of vessels that are docked and let us know if for a few seconds you thought you were in Monte Carlo with the plethora of ritzy looking boats.
Continue walking and you will eventually arrive in the village of St. Aubin. Many locals opt to use a bicycle to make this trip but we would argue that your own two feet are just as accustomed to taking this gentle stroll between the two locations.
If you are interested in heading inland away from the coast, there are plenty of options available that will leave you intrigued and wanting more. For example, Les Jardins de la Mer loop starts at the Waterfront harbor area in St. Helier and as you head west, you will climb the pedestrian path towards First Tower before rising above the town and passing through the valley of Vallée des Vaux.
Jersey may not be the first place you think about visiting for natural beauty but I am 100% convinced that after you visit the first time, you will be raring to book a return trip. The beauty of visiting this part of the Channel Islands is that you create an itinerary that has a blend of relaxation and adventure. With Jersey being so small, it’s easy to experience a little bit of both every day if you wish.
Experiencing the best walking trails around Jersey will certainly open your eyes to a breathtaking natural landscape. If you are visiting in the heart of winter as we did, don’t let the weather stop you from exploring.
In fact, we would argue that you should embrace the conditions and hit those coastal paths to admire the rugged beauty that left us wanting so much more.