Having two-year-old twins can be tough. They tend to run off, giggling, at the slightest opportunity – and in opposite directions. That’s not a problem on this beach. We are in St Brelade’s Bay, Jersey, where a vast expanse of spotless sand slopes gently to an absurdly turquoise sea. On this sunny summer afternoon, there is barely another soul here. The girls can run to their hearts’ content. They won’t bump in to anyone or fall and hurt themselves.We’ll catch them soon enough, whichever way they go.
And what could be better fun – for parent or child – than leaping over the waves as they break softly on the shore? Ah, simple pleasures. Jersey has them in spades and by the bucketful.
Great scenery, gorgeous beaches, fine food, friendly locals and handsome towns. It’s all so neat and tidy and nothing is further than half an hour away.
You’re close to the French coast here, too, so it feels “foreign”, but you spend British currency and drive on the correct side of the road. My wife came by boat, with lots of help on board from Condor Ferries staff, so we had a car.
I flew in on a cheap easyJet flight from Southend, Essex.
In truth, we didn’t need transport; you can get a bus almost anywhere and the fares are a bargain.
We were lucky with our base in St Helier. The Club Hotel and Spa is handy for the shops and attractions, but has the best restaurant in town.
The tasting menus at Bohemia – seven courses for £89 – are an extravagance well worth the investment.
There were at least two courses (from the pescatarian menu) that I’d choose as my last meal before facing a firing squad in the morning. Bring on the bullets, I’ve had the pan-fried Brittany turbot with mussel sauce! The girls were welcomed with open arms and the maitre d’ was rewarded with the sight of two toddlers licking their plates clean. Not something you see too often in a Michelin-star eatery.
Who can blame them? The fish and chips from the children’s menu was up there with the best I’ve ever tasted – and I’ve tasted a few. If they take such care with the kids’ fare, you can bet the mains will be quality.
Our rooms were super-comfy and the service outstanding. Nothing was too much trouble.
Across the bay is Elizabeth Castle.You can walk to this 16th-century fortress at low tide, but we caught the puddle duck boat which is happy on the causeway or at sea.
Sadly, it was the only time the elements beat us – it was no weather for puddle ducks – but just the journey there and back was experience enough.
Back in the car, we chugged across the island, along winding, country roads, to Jersey Zoo. Animal lovers like us have qualms about zoos, but this one was set up by writer and naturalist Gerald Durrell and remains true to his conservationist instincts.
There aren’t the big beasts such as lions and elephants that make you feel so sad when you see them in confined spaces.There are gorillas and orangutans, but they are part of a breeding programme aiming to prevent their extinction in the wild.
It went down a treat with my family and other animals.The girls loved it all, of course. Especially the lizards and the poison frogs.
Flights to Jersey are available from airports across the UK. Rooms at the Club Hotel & Spa in St Helier start at £129 per night B&B (theclubjersey.com).