St. Helier’s quaint cobblestone streets and bustling city squares sit against a backdrop of the blue waters of the English Channel and the 16th-century Elizabeth Castle. The town’s antique harbours are lined with pubs and cafés where you can let your worries drift away with the cool ocean breeze.

    The capital of the island of Jersey, St. Helier is well-known for its award-winning museums and attractions which reflect its seafaring history and the harrowing story of Jersey’s 5-year occupation by the Germans during WWII. Now a tranquil UK beach destination, St. Helier is a hub of luxurious relaxation and a hidden gem of history, art, culture and seafood. 

    What are the best things to do in St. Helier?

    1

    Elizabeth Castle

    Enjoy picturesque panoramas and military history

    Elizabeth Castle is one of the most important and breathtaking sights in Jersey. The fortress is located just off the coast of St. Helier and is accessible both by foot (during low tide) and by ferry. The ferry ride takes about 15 minutes.

    You can explore the 16th-century walls and enjoy stunning views of the sea and Jersey coastline from above. For history buffs, there are centuries worth of memorabilia and fascinating displays in the Regimental Museum of the Royal Jersey Militia inside the fortress. Visit Elizabeth Castle on a Sunday for a rare look back in time as historical interpreters recreate the garrison of 1781 during the Battle of Jersey.

    Location: St Aubin’s Bay, St. Helier, Jersey JE2 3NU, Jersey, UK

    Open: March–November: daily from 10 am to 5.30 pm

    Phone: +44 1534 723971

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    photo by Dan Marsh (CC BY 3.0) modified

    2

    Jersey Museum and Art Gallery

    Start your St. Helier adventure at this centre of art and culture

    Just a minute’s walk from Liberation Square, the Jersey Museum and Art Gallery is the perfect spot to start your adventure in St. Helier. The Museum doubles as a visitor centre for tourists and is home to exhibitions showcasing the culture, history and artwork of the Jersey Isle.

    There’s something for everyone inside the beautifully restored 19th-century museum. From artefacts of Jersey’s ancient residents to memorabilia from the world wars to modern artwork celebrating the lively island’s culture, there’s no better place to put your St. Helier holiday into context. Don’t miss the award-winning film, The Story of Jersey, which plays throughout the museum’s opening hours.

    Location: The Weighbridge, St. Helier JE2 3NG, Jersey, UK

    Open: Hours vary by season

    Phone: +44 1534 633300

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    3

    Maritime Museum and Occupation Tapestry Gallery

    Brave the high seas at this interactive attraction

    The Maritime Museum and Occupation Tapestry Gallery on St. Helier’s historic Old Harbour allows you to explore the history of Jersey’s maritime culture firsthand. It’s a great visit after a seaside stroll and presents exhibits that you can see, touch, hear and even smell.

    Popular with families, you can climb aboard a rocking ship’s cabin, learn about seafaring life through song and personal stories, operate old sailing machinery and more. You’ll also get to see the award-winning Occupation Tapestry made by the people of Jersey to commemorate the 50th anniversary of their liberation.

    Location: New North Quay, St. Helier, JE2 3ND, Jersey

    Open: hours vary by season

    Phone: +44 (0)1534811 043

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    photo by Elrond (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    4

    Liberation Square

    The seaside centre square of St. Helier

    Liberation Square is the gathering place and landmark that brings together St. Helier’s city centre and the Old Harbour and marina. Home to a shopping centre, restaurants and pubs yet just steps from the water, it’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the bustling Jersey capital.

    This circular city square is famous for its large statue and fountain in its centre. Sculpted by Philip Henry Christopher Jackson, its islanders and billowing flag are a solemn reminder of Jersey’s occupation during the second world war as well as a celebration of its resilience.

    Location: St. Helier, Jersey JE2 3QA, Jersey, UK

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    photo by wikimedia.org (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    5

    St. Helier Beach

    Relax on sandy shores and enjoy views of Elizabeth Castle

    The UK may not be known for its beaches, but this sandy stretch just past the St. Helier marina is like a little piece of the Mediterranean. St. Helier Beach is clean and well-kept, making it a great place for walks during low-tide and dipping your toes when the water comes in.

    Bring a towel and a picnic and enjoy views of Elizabeth Castle across the bay. On sunny days, St. Helier Beach makes for a great photo spot, as the sun illuminates the colourful townhouses on the pier and the ships’masts in the Old Harbour. Nearby restaurants and cafés, as well as public facilities, make this beach a carefree and relaxing place to spend an afternoon.

    Location: St. Helier, Jersey, UK

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    photo by Pymouss (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    6

    Statue of the Toad

    Take a selfie with the toad, a fun monument for all ages

    The Statue of the toad (also known as ‘toad on a column’) is a fun and quirky statue in the centre of St. Helier where Charing Cross becomes Broad Street. Watching over the busy shops and restaurants that surround it, the grumpy toad is a must-selfie stop for shoppers, families, and locals as they make their way through town.

    The toad is not just a playful monument; this amphibian (known as a Jersey crapaud) is also the national symbol of Jersey.

    Location: Charing Cross, St. Helier, Jersey JE2 3RX, Jersey, UK

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    photo by Jerzy Kociatkiewicz (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    7

    Parish Church of St. Helier

    Stop in to see the glistening Blue Madonna

    One of 12 ancient parish churches of Jersey, the Parish Church of St. Helier has been a local place of worship for nearly a millennium. Located between Royal Square and Liberation Square, it's a cultural and historical monument as well as a functioning church.

    The Parish Church of St. Helier has an active community and is known for its musical performances. Weekly choir and organ performances are common during Sunday worship and daily walkthroughs give you the opportunity to see precious works of art like the striking Blue Madonna and intricate stained glass.

    Location: Church St, St. Helier, Jersey JE2 3NN, Jersey, UK

    Phone: +44 1534 720001

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    photo by Danrok (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    8

    Royal Square

    Home to Parliament and the Royal Courts of Jersey

    Bustling with life day and night, Royal Square in St. Helier is not only home to Jersey’s municipal buildings like Parliament and the Royal Courts but also some of the most popular local restaurants and pubs. The square is also lined with benches and trees, making it a popular spot to do a bit of people watching with a cold drink.

    Royal Square isn’t without its photo ops, either. You’ll find an ornate golden statue of King George in the centre as well as some bullet-pocked walls dating back to the German occupation.

    Location: St. Helier, Jersey UK

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    photo by Danrok (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    9

    St. Helier Marina

    Boats, bars, and stellar ocean views

    St. Helier Marina is the best place in the city to enjoy the fresh ocean breeze while hopping from bar to café. It's located just off the city centre and Liberation square. Home to ships of all kinds, you’ll be wowed by historic sailboats and modern luxury yachts.

    Walk to the end of the pier and enjoy panoramic views of the sea and the colourful city behind. When the tide is low, you can even walk to Elizabeth Castle from the marina.

    Location: St. Helier, Jersey, UK

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    photo by Dan Marsh (CC BY 2.0) modified

    10

    Jersey Public Fish Market

    Enjoy the local catch of the day

    A seafood lover’s dream, the Jersey Public Fish Market is where you can buy, taste and pose for a picture with the freshest catch in town. You can find the fish market in the city centre just north of Royal Square. Navigate various stalls of seafood vendors and shop for fresh fish caught daily. Other stalls sell food and drink to order so you can stop for a bite or taste a little of everything.

    St. Helier’s fish vendors serve with a smile and are always willing to help explain their catch, give some cooking tips and even pose for a picture. Try the fresh oysters with a squeeze of lemon for a delicious local treat.

    Location: Beresford St, St. Helier, Jersey JE2 4WX, Jersey, UK

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 7.30 am to 5.30 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +44 1534 448180

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    photo by Danrok (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    Benjamin Gorman | Contributing Writer

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