Jersey

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), September 22, 2006 | Go to article overview

Jersey


Imagine an island with beautiful beaches, a warm climate, no motorway hold-ups and no VAT.

Sounds too good to be true? Well, it's called Jersey. Once the honeymoon destination of choice for countless British newlyweds, it's best remembered by many of us as the setting for 1980s TV crime show Bergerac.

Although it's hardly renowned as a hotbed of crime, John Nettles' character, Sgt Jim Bergerac of the Bureau des Etrangers, found more than enough to keep him busy on the holiday island - chasing villains in his red Triumph Roadster.

The series ran for a decade, and it must have been a struggle for the producers to find a continuing supply of new locations on the island of just 46 square miles and 90,000 people.

Indeed, a popular car sticker among Jersey folk at the time apparently was 'My house hasn't been used for Bergerac'.

The island has much more to offer than spotting the Bergerac location - though that pastime has doubtless been revived by TV re-runs and the recent DVD release.

Its location, off the coast of Normandy, give it a climate considerably warmer than that of mainland Britain, and the beaches are less crowded too.

That's partly because of a decline in tourism since more exotic locations became more accessible, and although driving into St Helier - the island's only real town - is as frustrating as accessing a mainland city, getting around is generally much more pleasant.

We should explain that the lack of motorway jams, however, is because there aren't any motorways.

As well as beaches, there are many sites of great historic interest, dating back to the Iron Age and up to the Nazi occupation - notably the rather sinister underground hospital built for the German military.

Much more cheerful is the famous Jersey Zoo - now known as Durrell Wildlife - the world-famous zoological gardens founded by Gerald Durrell and a home to many rare and endangered species.

And then there's Living Legend, comprising an elaborate novelty golf course, craft centre and the remarkable Jersey Experience, in which visitors are transported in a virtual giant submarine and guided through the history of the island by Captain Nemo, played by that man John Nettles.

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