Not so much as a ripple disturbed the water, the buoys marking the channel hardly bobbed at all and, like a crisp day in a ski resort, the sky glowed a brilliant cornflower blue.

Almost 30 miles across the water, the islands of Guernsey and Sark were so in focus I could make out the contours of their cliff faces and see the white cottages which dot their coastlines. To the east, a finger of France reached out towards us.

I was in Jersey with my partner Tom, standing on the tip of one of countless jutting headlands on the gnarled northern coastline of the largest Channel Island.

Here at Devil’s Hole, the cliff wraps around a 200ft-deep chasm, named in the 18th century when the figurehead of a wrecked French ship was salvaged here, and crowned with a pair of horns by a local sculptor.

After drinking in the views, we tipped our woolly hats to the bull-like sculpture that guards this beauty spot – a replica of the original figurehead – and traversed the gorse-lined path three miles back to Grev de Lecq bay, where we’d parked our hire car.

Over a hundred miles of footpath trace Jersey’s coastline and thread through its rural interior of parishes, potato fields and dairy farms. In summer, popular routes become choked with tourists but today we had only the hush of the sea and the intermittent squeak of oyster catchers for company – a bonus of visiting in the off-season.

Jersey may not seem an obvious choice for a winter getaway. Known for its golden beaches and warm summers, you might wonder what’s left once the deck chairs have been folded away.

But winter offers a whole new world of uncrowded shores and cosy pubs, which beckon on wintery afternoons.

We concluded our coastal walk with mulled wine beside a roaring fire in Grev de Lecq, initiating a trend of fireside refuelling that continued through the weekend.

At St Aubin’s Bay on Jersey’s smoother southern shore, we danced around the shallows trying to prize oysters off the rocks, before resigning to the log fire in The Old Courthouse Inn and ordering a plate of crustaceans from the kitchen.

At Portelet Bay we watched the sun set over the offshore tower before tucking into a Sunday carvery. And at St Ouens Bay, on the West Coast, we strolled along the four-mile beach, watching surfers cruise down winter’s waves, before sipping hot chocolate with fresh Jersey cream in a sea-view bistro.

Even our hotel, in the main town of St Helier, provided a perfect winter retreat. Set in an old stone building and draped in ivy, The Revere’s aged wooden beams and permanently crackling fire created a wonderfully cosy atmosphere.

For added ambience, we booked into a four-poster room, complete with tapestried drapes, inviting armchairs and a bottle of bubbly on arrival.

Perfectly placed for exploring St Helier’s cobbled streets, and just a few paces from its sweeping beach, we could have easily managed without our hire car and spent the weekend perusing the town’s markets, boutiques and independent cafes.

But on a drizzly Sunday afternoon, wheels put the islands’ rainy day attractions at our disposal. After debating whether we should spend time with the newborn gorilla at the Durrell Wildlife Centre or retreat underground to the Second World War tunnels and museum, we did both – the beauty of visiting an island that measures only 46 square miles.

Looking back down on Jersey as we took off for the 40-minute flight home, we managed to pinpoint most of the places we’d visited.

Milder than England, as charming as Cornwall and with a touch of French finesse, this compact island provided the perfect package for a warming weekend away.

  • Double rooms at The Revere start at £80 per night, or £100 for a four-poster room. They also do regular deals during the winter with additional free nights included. For more information, call 01534 611122 or visit
  • British Airways operate five flights a day from Gatwick to Jersey, costing from £43 each way. Flight time is under an hour.
  • For more information about Jersey, visit