Things to do in St. Helier, Jersey
The town of St Helier is named after a Belgian hermit who came to live on the rocky islet known as the Hermitage which can still seen in the harbour. He founded a small village in the sand dunes, which eventually became known as St Helier.
A party of Viking raiders attacked the island in 555AD and St Helier was beheaded. According to the legend, he picked up his own head and walked away.
The feast day of this patron saint is celebrated each year on 16 July with a pilgrimage to the Hermitage.
An abbey was built in 1155 in L’Islet and this later was replaced by Elizabeth Castle, named after the English Queen by Sir Walter Raleigh who at that time was the Governor of Jersey.18th century. The harbour was built, funded in part by £200 from George II, whose gilded statue can now be seen gracing Royal Square.
This is the zero milestone from which all points on the island are measured.
As the town expanded, land was reclaimed and settled by English immigrants who built colonial style houses. The mild microclimate of the rural island favoured early produce and the island thrived on agriculture, which it still produces today.
Present Day St Helier
St Helier is considered the gateway to the Channel Islands, with its working port and nearby regional airport.
St Helier is a prosperous financial centre and popular VAT-free shopping destination for visitors looking to buy perfume, spirits and luxury watches.
The old town is a wonderful blend of English and French history, with narrow pedestrianized streets, many of which bear French names.
The statue in front of the Pomme d’Or hotel shows the islanders raising the British flag in Liberation Square.
Things to Do in St Helier
Enjoy shopping in the family-owned shops along King Street and sample delicious seafood in the local restaurants. The Central Market is a Site of Special Interest with its Victorian ornamental fountain and cast iron structure, built in 1882.
The Georgian townhouse at 16 New Street is a local museum run by the National Trust for Jersey. It contains many exhibits of local interest.