The Channel Islands are situated off the coast of the Normandy region of northern France. As a result they have a unique cultural history incorporating French and Norman influences to what is a UK crown dependency. Drawing the best aspects of both British and French cultures, set against some stunning landscapes and coastal resorts, the islands have a great appeal for visitors and holidaymakers, especially to the main island of Jersey and its capital St Helier. Housing over 30% of the island's population, the town also has many of the most popular sights and attractions and the St Helier hotels are well placed for guests to enjoy them.
The sunny weather and superb beaches of Jersey were always going to be attractive to British holidaymakers, and although the island has its own language of Jerriaise, English is the official language and understood by everyone. The attraction then is the familiarity of British life and culture with very obvious continental influences i.e. the best of both worlds, and this is more evident in the capital than anywhere else. Classic seaside resorts with all the attractions of live shows, pubs and clubs are typical of many British resorts but with all the subtle and not so subtle differences in the currency, place names, activities and sights.
The major attractions of Jersey which best illustrate the differences include Mont Orgueil Castle, an incredible mediaeval fortress which has stood the test of time better than any such structure on the British mainland. The other key difference is in the tunnels and gun emplacements which tell of German occupation during World War II, the only British soil to suffer this fate. The tunnels and underground bunkers are major attractions now and there are many museums in which the incredible history of the island can be explored further. Visitor information on the main attractions will be available from the St Helier hotels.
Mont Orgueil Castle is typical of the period from which many buildings and structures on the island date and there are many such mediaeval treasures to uncover. Most of the buildings in St Helier are subsequent replacements however to accommodate historic trade and commerce and date from Regency and Victorian times. They are of course none the less attractive for that and there are numerous grand St Helier hotels from the period.
Many of these traditional hotels are on the seafront and reflect that all encompassing Victorian pastime of a trip to the seaside. As stylish and sophisticated as ever, these hotels have been brought up to date with all the contemporary features, facilities and hospitality expected from any top hotel.
In addition to the classic grand old establishments in the town there are St Helier hotels which are more typical of resort hotels, with all inclusive activities and facilities for a family holiday. These may include swimming pools, kid's clubs and nightly entertainment shows and will certainly have a selection of good restaurants and lounge spaces. Other hotels will be smaller, often family run properties which will offer great value for money and all the essential features to enjoy a welcome break by the sea.
The town has an impressive array of shopping opportunities, with the added benefit of no VAT on products and many excellent restaurants in which to enjoy the bountiful local produce. Arts, crafts and antique shops are popular and there is a Victorian vegetable market. There are many bars too and some of the old traditional inns make terrific St Helier hotels for those who like the ambience and character of a good local pub, with home cooked food and comfortable well appointed accommodation.