It is an island closer to France than it is to England – and yet it is part of the British Isles.
It is home to miles of tunnels built during World War II – but by German soldiers, not British soldiers.
It has lower taxes than the UK and its own financial rules.
The island of Jersey, located in the English Channel, is only five miles long and nine miles wide, but it has plenty for visitors to see, according to Amanda Burns, chief executive of the Jersey Tourism Agency.
“We’re packing a big punch,” Burns told CNBC by phone. “Really exciting … the geological uniqueness of the island through history and heritage,” she said.
Located about 120 miles from England – and 14 from France – Jersey attracts visitors who travel to the island via ferry or a short trip.
Although mainly English is spoken, Jersey has its own language, which is not used anywhere else in the world. Jerriais, sometimes known as “Jersey French,” has evolved over several centuries and is still used on the island.
A recent tourism campaign highlighting Jersey’s quirks has made the island’s European influence a magnet.
“Britt with curiosity…(ish),” is how the campaign describes the island – “the air of British familiarity gives way to an intriguing continental feel.”
Visitors are also encouraged to explore Jersey food, such as island potatoes, called Jersey Royals.
Potatoes can only be bought in Jersey or mainland Britain. Although there is no official connection to Britain’s royal family, the Jersey Royals have a Protected Designation of Origin, or PDO, which is a label introduced by the European Union for food products. Which has the strongest links with the place where it was made. Since Brexit, the potato has been put into a similar British programme.
Jersey Royal potatoes are only available in Jersey and the UK mainland.
Source: Visit Jersey
Jersey business owner Marcus Calvani founded a company on the oddly shaped Jersey Royals that does not pass sales standards – he makes vodka with them, bottled under the name Fluke.
“It takes 11 kilos to make one bottle of Jersey Royals,” Calvani said. “It has a nice mouth feel…kind of silky and sticky. The weird thing you get from it is a little watermelon and vanilla on the nose.”
Calvani borrowed the name from the potato’s original nickname: Jersey Royal Flock, named when farmers were experimenting with growing vegetables in the early 1800s, after the decline of their cider orchards. The bottles will be available at upscale department store Harrods later this year, priced at £50 ($61) per bottle.
Is Jersey part of the UK?
The short answer is no – but it is a “Crown dependency”.
- The relationship is shown on British royal family website as follows: “There are three insular regions within the British Isles which are known as dependencies to the Crown; and these are the Pelewick counties of Jersey and Guernsey which constitute [the] Channel Islands and Isle of Man. The Crown Dependencies are not part of the United Kingdom, but are the self-governing possessions of the British Crown.”
- The Channel Islands formed part of the Duchy of Normandy in the 11th century – Normandy was a region in northern France – ruled by Henry I from 1106. Today, Queen Elizabeth II is referred to as the Duke of Normandy on the islands.
- Jersey is self-governing, and has its own rules and administrative regulations. Although it is not part of the United Kingdom, the British government has a responsibility to defend it as well as maintain international relations.
Jersey became a possession of the Crown in 1290, shortly after the construction of Mont Urgell Castle, on the east coast of the island.
Burns described it as “a kind of Hogwarts castle,” referring to the fictional Hogwarts school of witchcraft and witchcraft in the Harry Potter series. It is located above Gorey Harbor, which Burns described as “a stunning and iconic site.”
The 800-year-old Mont Urgell Castle in Jersey, with the Moorings (the Blue Building) in the foreground.
Source: The Moorings, Jersey
There are also ancient sites on the island, and in July, the Prince of Wales was named the patron of the Lacote de Saint Brillide, a settlement in southwest Jersey that was inhabited by Neanderthals up to 250,000 years ago.
More recently, the Germans occupied Jersey during World War II – the only part of the British Empire that the Nazis controlled – who built Underground tunnels Travelers can visit.
The tunnels were created to protect the Germans from Allied air raids, and parts of them are open to the public between March and October.
Another oddity of the small island is the hilarious competition between its east and west sides, according to hotelier Iselin Jones, who runs it with her husband Matthew. The Morings Hotel and Restaurantnear the castle of Mont-Orgell.
The harbor is in Saint Aubin, Jersey in the southwest of the island.
Source: Visit Jersey
“The island is pretty much divided into east and west, so either people love the east or people love the west,” she said. “The natural environment is really different. The West is very different [about] The barren sand dunes are wide open… while in the east there are gorges and much more wooded areas.”
St Owen’s Bay, which stretches over most of the west coast, is popular with surfers, while Plemont Bay, in the north, reveals a sandy beach at low tide.
Jersey, which gets much more sun than the mainland, attracts families wanting a beach vacation and seniors looking for a relaxing stay. Burns said Visit Jersey is also keen to attract “moment makers,” or young visitors who tend to document their travels on social media.
Jersey is famous for its seafood, such as lobsters and oysters that are seen here in St Owen’s Bay.
Pierre Longnus | Photo Bank | Getty Images
They are reaching an “ambitious audience,” Burns said. “The size of this audience is much larger, but in fact, the competition is also much more intense.”
Fluke’s Calvani, which operates several food and drink outlets in Jersey, said the types of travelers coming to Jersey are changing.
“We’ve seen some younger, short-stay, urban visitors,” he said. “And I think they like it: they eat well, they go to a spa, they play a bit of golf…spend two or three nights and then come back to [city] flat.”
JB’s Brewhouse, a brewery and smokehouse barbecue, is a Calvanie restaurant that attracts visitors from further afield.
“Americans who come to JB find it very interesting that we smoke like Texas cowboys, but we eat very young Jersey cows,” he said.
Business owner Marcus Calvani runs JB’s Brewhouse, in St. Helier, Jersey, a bar and restaurant that sells Texas-style barbecue.
Source: Be Served Group
Burns said younger visitors also like to visit the Faulkner Fisheries, started by Jersey resident Sean Faulkner in 1980, for summer barbecues. With local scallops, lobsters and oysters.
On the west coast of the island Atlantic Hotelpart of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group, of which Chef Will Holland is a celebrity, having appeared on British TV cooking shows.
Portelet Bay Café serves pizza and seasonal dishes for those taking the trek down the cliffside. St Helier, the island’s largest city, is home to Restaurant Bohemia, which has held a Michelin star for 17 years.
Jersey is often seen as a tax haven – residents only pay 20% income tax, compared to up to 45% in the UK
The island also has a “high-value accommodation plan” for those who “comfortably” earn more than £725,000 (about $875,000) a year, according to Jersey government website. For those in the program, income above this level is taxed at 1%.
There is also no business tax payable in many sectors, although exceptions include financial services companies, which are taxed at 10%, and utility companies, which are taxed at 20%. This contrasts with the UK, where corporate tax is currently 19% for all businesses.
Jersey cows are famous for the rich, creamy milk they produce.
Matt Porteous | digital vision | Getty Images
The finance industry employs about a quarter of the island’s working population, according to the business agency Locate Jersey.
However, the cost of living “can be high compared to other countries,” according to the island’s government website. The average home price on the island was £660,000 in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the UK average of £277,000. According to jersey stats.
Costs are an issue for Calvani, who provides housing for some of his employees.
The marina is in St Helier, the financial center of Jersey. The island is known for its tax incentives for residents and businesses.
Ian Getings | open moment | Getty Images
“We just brought in three new employees from Kenya,” he said. “These guys have had a great education, and great years of experience [but] Accommodating them is the main problem.”
After working with the likes of Disney during stints in the US, he said he views Jersey as a huge “theme park”.
“You have two gates to get in, at the airport and the harbor…bed and breakfasts and hotels, and you have a major retail center in St Helier. [and] Fans of attractions.”
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