Saint Helier, capital city of Jersey
Saint Helier treats visitors to an interesting blend of French and English influences, a lovely coastal landscape and a mild climate. The capital of Jersey is only 4.1 square miles, and it includes both idyllic rural areas and urban amenities that make visitors feel quickly at home.
There are a handful of memorable landmarks in the capital. One of the most noticeable is the obelisk on Broad Street, erected in honor of St. Helier’s most popular constable, Pierre Le Sueur, in 1855. All distances in Jersey are measured from Royal Square’s gleaming statue of George II, and Liberation Square centers around a sculpture of islanders raising a British flag. The sculpture was created in 1995 to commemorate the island’s liberation from the Nazis in 1945.
St. Helier is a very green parish, and nearly a dozen gardens and parks welcome visitors throughout the city. A children’s playground and raised walls of vibrant flowers greet visitors in the formal Parade Gardens in the city center, spacious lawns allow plenty of room for sports and picnics at the People’s Park, and a charming Mediterranean terraced garden grows at La Collette. A long, unbroken stretch of sand spans the distance between St. Aubin’s Harbor and St. Helier Harbor, and beach-goers flock there in the summer to soak up the sun.
Tourists and locals alike find much to enjoy at the Central Market. First opened in 1882, the indoor market is filled with fresh produce and flowers, and much of its charm comes from its ornamental fountains and Victorian architecture.
St. Helier Harbor’s Maritime Museum reveals the island’s history of seafaring through interactive exhibits. Visitors learn how to design ships, feel the full force of a gale and immerse themselves in the stories and songs of the sea as they learn about Jersey’s legends and myths. The museum also includes the award-winning Occupation Tapestry, a twelve-paneled tapestry made by locals to tell the story of life there during World War II.
At the Jersey Museum and Art Gallery, visitors can listen to spoken examples of Jersey French, discover why the island remains loyal to the British Crown and view fascinating footage of life on the island during the early years of tourism. The Art Gallery is filled with the works of Claude Cahun, a leader in the Surrealist movement.
La Hougue Bie is one of the finest passage graves in Europe. The prehistoric mound is topped with a medieval chapel, creating a spiritual and tranquil atmosphere in a beautiful setting. Visitors can actually walk into the passage grave’s chamber and discover the place of worship’s heart. The on-site Geology and Archaeology Museum is a treasure trove of axes, coin hoards, spears and swords, and the nearby command bunker is home to a memorial to the islands’ slave workers during the Second World War.
For over 600 years, Mont Orgueil Castle protected the island against the French invasion. The network of secret rooms, staircases and towers leads to many hidden treasures, including holographic portraits, life-size wooden soldiers and dark cellars filled with witchcraft exhibits.
Other highlights to explore in and around St. Helier include the Jersey War Tunnels, Elizabeth Castle, the Pallot Steam, Motor and General Museum, the enchanting Gardens of Samarès Manor, Reg’s Garden, the Jersey Lavender Farm, Jersey’s Living Legend Village, the Channel Islands Military Museum, the working mill at Le Moulin de Quetivel, the Noirmont Command Bunker and the Eric Young Orchid Foundation.