The small fishing village of Gorey is one of Jersey’s best-known locations. Situated on the island’s eastern coast, Gorey spans the parishes of Grouville and St. Martin and is the definition of picture perfect. The houses are awash with pastel colours, appearing vibrant in the sunshine and sitting against a backdrop of a lovely harbour and castle. The views out across the ocean are fantastic, and you can even catch a glimpse of the French coast when the weather is clear.
Gorey is a hotspot for restaurants and other eateries, meaning it caters exceptionally towards visitors and is certainly not a place to miss if you’re looking to sample some authentic Jersey cuisine. During my visits I always try range of other activities, both in and around the village. One of the largest events in Jersey – the annual Fête de la Mer – takes place in Gorey during August. In addition, taking a stroll through the village can be an experience in itself, with the atmosphere being friendly, relaxed and French-like.
A Beach Fit For A Queen
If the weather is kind, be sure to take the time to relax on the clean, white sands of Long Beach. Set within the Royal Bay of Grouville, this beach stretches along the entire south-eastern coast, with its northern fringes ending right on Gorey’s doorstep. The bay gained its royal title after a visit from Queen Victoria in 1859, who renamed it after being so taken by the beach’s beauty.
Long Beach is great for all manner of seaside activities, with the sparkling waters warming to more than comfortable temperatures towards the end of the summer season. This makes it great for swimming, and it is perfectly safe to do so, meaning the beach is popular among families with children. The tides in the region are quite large, however, so it can be a bit of a walk to the water’s edge at low tide.
In the summer months, I recommend trying facilities like water skiing, wakeboarding, banana rides and speedboat trips. There are more besides, so you’re unlikely to find yourself stuck for things to do. And while the beach can get busy at peak times, there is more than enough room for everyone, and you are sure to find a peaceful spot if you’re willing to walk a short distance. If you’re feeling peckish, why not grab ice cream or a burger from the beachside cafe’s and kiosks. Free parking is available, along with public and disabled toilets.
The village of Gorey is also blessed by having a large common – Grouville Common – which covers 160 vergées of sandy heathland, to the south of the village. Much of the area is owned by the Royal Jersey Golf Club, however small sections are free to be explored. The golf course is notable for having produced a fair amount of talent over the years, with the renowned 20th century golfers Harry Vardon and Ted Ray growing up on the course, going on to win numerous championships. Before the golf course existed, Grouville Common had a variety of uses, including horse-racing, military training and even duelling.
Stepping Back in Time
A trip to Gorey would not be complete without a visit to the fabulous structure which dominates the landscape – Mont Orgueil Castle. This 13th century medieval building sits at the far end of the village harbour, looming impressively above the houses beneath. The castle has a rich history, having been Jersey’s primary defensive structure for many years, before being used to house prisoners up until the 17th century. It then played an important role in the English Civil War, with Royalists using the castle to re-take Jersey from Parliament control in 1643.
Nowadays, its purpose is a far more peaceful one, being open to tourists on a daily basis for much of the year. As one of the finest examples of a medieval castle around, it can be incredibly interesting to explore the building’s labyrinth of staircases, hidden rooms and towers. Some of the best things to do within the castle walls are to view the large witchcraft exhibit, climb the turret to the medieval ‘Wheel of Urine’ or take in the glorious views from the battlements. Be sure to take your time on the path leading up the castle too, as this historic access route is a great place to see some of Jersey’s green lizards basking in the sunshine.
Gorey’s relationship with seafood and cuisine is legendary on the island, so why not combine your visit to the village with a trip to one of the very best eateries on offer – The Bass & Lobster Foodhouse. This contemporary restaurant puts a strong emphasis on local produce and good service, offering a variety of delicious dishes, with their seafood selection undoubtedly being a highlight.
A visit to Gorey is therefore unlikely to disappoint, with things to see or do at any time of year. Its tourist-friendly atmosphere is complimented by its great dining opportunities and beautiful, fishing village aesthetic, making it one of the top destinations in Jersey.
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