|The island of Jersey provides elegant VAT free shopping in delightful old streets
around the island.
Jersey is a bailiwick, a British Crown dependency, and forms part of the Channel
Islands. The island has been inhabited for several thousand years and evidence
of bronze and iron age settlements has been found, along with Roman and Viking
Just 87,000 people live on Jersey and the island has a thriving tourist industry.
The majority of residents and visitors are relatively wealthy and the shopping
is plentiful and reflective of a certain degree of affluence.
Jersey lies between the coast of Normandy, France, and the south coast of England,
and its economy has traditionally been based on fishing and agriculture, though
improved transport links and its low taxes have attracted various different
forms of investment in recent decades.
The island is just 118.2 sq km (46 sq miles), meaning that nowhere on the island
is very far from anywhere else. It is worth staying in St Helier and hiring
a car for a few days to see the best shopping on offer. The island issues its
own currency, which circulate alongside UK banknotes and coins.
St Helier, the only town, is the main shopping centre on Jersey, with two large
department stores - De Gruchy's and Voisin's quirky, specialist shops
and high street brands. Many of the main shopping streets, including bustling
King Street and neighbouring Queen Street, are pedestrianised, providing a pleasant
shopping experience for browsers.
Those looking for stylish clothing boutiques, gentlemen's tailoring and designer
labels should head for Halkett Street, while the ornate, Victorian market offers
the best of local food and drink. St Peter Port's High Street has both Jersey
stores and UK brand names side by side.
Jersey is a great shopping destination for jewellery, photographic and electronic
equipment, which are often cheaper than the UK because VAT is deducted. Other
luxury items available at low prices include lingerie, spirits, wine, contact
lenses and perfume.
The island is full of jewellers and it is worth making special trips to some
of them, including the most exclusive, Hettich, Jersey Pearl, and Catherine
Best, which produces unique jewellery in the Channel Islands and is located
in a converted windmill in St Peter.
More traditional items to bring back from a trip to Jersey include woollen
goods, local produce such as butter and cider, seafood from the Jersey Fish
Market and pottery from Jersey Potteries in Gorey.
Other retail highlights around the island include the Bergerac Wine Cellar
in St Helier, selling good new and vintage wines, La Mare Vineyards, which offers
Jersey Apple Brandy, wine, cider and lavender items, and the interesting Printed
Word Bookshop and Jersey Museum Gift Shop in Trinity.
In the evenings, head for the many excellent seafood restaurants dotted around
the island, serving a range of dishes including traditional dishes such as Jersey
Royal potatoes, cabbage loaf, les mervelles and bean crock. The island has numerous
cosy pubs for whiling away the hours after the shops have closed.
Jersey has a warm climate, a safe, old fashioned, stylish air and pretty towns
and cities that offer cafes and wide, pleasant shopping streets, making it the
ideal place to browse for bargains and interesting one-offs.