10 things you might not know about Jersey...
The largest of the Channel Islands, Jersey is celebrated for its beautiful, diverse scenery, its beaches, hidden valleys and ancient castles. But here are 10 things about the island that are not so well known...
1. Jersey's thriving cultural scene includes top-flight opera and drama at the St Helier Opera House, wide-ranging visual and performance programmes at the Jersey Arts Centre, and a full calendar of events throughout the year, including the Boat Show, Jersey Live Festival, the Battle of Flowers, Jersey International Air Display and Liberation International Music Festival.
2. The island boasts a huge range of fantastic places to eat, including numerous Michelin-starred restaurants. Seafood restaurants are particularly popular, with the waters surrounding Jersey producing top quality shellfish.
3. Jersey’s rich history dates back to 250,000 BC and it has played many roles over the millennia, from strategic Viking stronghold to valuable island outpost, fought for by the English and French, as well as being occupied by German forces during the Second World War.
4. The island, which is very similar in shape to Australia, measures just nine by five miles. It has 400 miles of road, with speed limits varying between 15mph and 40mph.
5. The island is divided into 12 districts, or parishes: St Helier, St John, St Martin, St Mary, St Ouen, St Lawrence, St Peter, St Saviour, St Brelade, St Clement, Grouville and Trinity. Each has a parish badge, which evolved to commemorate the royal visit of King George V and Queen Mary in 1921.
6. The official language is English though many of the street names are French and about 3 per cent of the population speaks a French patois called Jèrriais. Jèrriais has been in decline over the past century but efforts are now being made to keep it alive.
7. The largest hoard of Celtic gold ever found in Jersey was discovered in a field in Grouville in 2012 and is still being taken apart piece by piece.
8. The iconic Jersey cow originated on the island. One of the oldest herds in England is owned by HM The Queen. It was established at Windsor by Queen Victoria from cattle given to her by the Jersey Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society.
9. Durrell Wildlife Park, created by conservationist Gerald Durrell in the 1960s, is widely recognised as a leader in the field of animal conservation. Its current ambassadors include English actor Henry Cavill, otherwise known as Superman, and Milo Parker, who played Durrell in ITV's drama series, The Durrells.
10. Most of the residential property, along with the best beaches and the airport, is in the west of the island, though the east is also popular for its fabulous views of the French coastline. A three-bedroom house in Jersey can cost anything from £350,000 to over £1m.