Jersey packs a punch when it comes to outdoor swimming. The 48 long miles of beautiful coastline, coupled with some of the largest tides in the world, makes for the perfect environment for an exciting swimming break. Plus, it’s only 40 minutes from London.
On Jersey, you’re never more than ten minutes from the sea. And on an island this small, the clean sea air surrounds you. There’s also plenty of diversity around the coast, too: on the southern shores you’ll find golden beaches and clear, shallow waters, while the west coast is famed for its refreshing Atlantic waves.
Jersey native Sally Minty-Gravett MBE considers the island a perfect destination for outdoor swimmers. As a seven-time Channel crosser she knows sea swimming like no other, calling the ocean her “spiritual home.”
Sally’s also well acquainted with the best wild swimming spots around this captivating island—she’s been teaching and coaching swimming on the island since she was 14.
“Our seawater is very clear and pure,” explains Sally. “We’re very privileged in Jersey to have such a choice of beautiful beaches and bays—I love them all!”
For experienced swimmers, there’s no end of spots for sea swimming on Jersey’s wild coastline. Plémont is a must-visit on the island’s northern coast, a stunning bay surrounded by rugged cliffs, while on the west coast, St. Ouen’s Bay attracts incredible waves from the Atlantic for an invigorating swimming experience.
Less-experienced swimmers will also find plenty to discover in the waters of Jersey. At popular family beaches like Grève de Lecq, lifeguards are on hand during the summer months to keep swimmers of all ages feeling safe in the water, so you can focus on soaking up the stunning coastal views.
Proximity to the water at all times, and the compactness of the island, means that in one day you can take in several wild swimming spots, Sally says. “If the wind changes direction, you can just change bay—there’s always somewhere you can swim.”
Sally’s top sea swimming tips
For anyone taking their first dip in the Atlantic waters around Jersey, Sally offers her best ocean swimming tips.
- First off, keep your eye on the weather. “Check the winds and tidal situation—especially here in Jersey,” says Sally. Though the island does experience a mild climate, it’s always better to know the conditions before you get in.
- “Know your limits,” adds Sally. Understand where the safe waters and currents are, and simply ask if you don’t know!
- As with all other outdoor swimming, be prepared before you go in with layers and dry clothing to put on afterwards—Sally also recommends socks, woolly hat and gloves if you tend to get chilly.
- While outdoor swimming can be invigorating, it’s always safety first. Use a high-vis tow float, and swim in groups or with a buddy.
- Finally, the top tip for beginners: “don’t stay in too long!”
Outdoor swimming events in Jersey
Jersey is the ideal place to embrace outdoor sport, whatever the weather—with a mild summer and some exhilarating winter weather, you’re bound to feel refreshed after a dip in the waters.
“Even in the winter, it’s exhilarating,” Sally attests. “That tingle you get after you come out is wonderful, it just does you good.”
For such an active island, it makes sense that on a normal year, the events calendar is packed with things to do. As the autumn draws in, some sports are making a comeback, including swimrun.
Breca Swimrun host their next swimrun event this year in Jersey on 5 September 2020, where teams can explore up to 20km of the island’s beautiful coast, enabling you to take in all the wonderful and varied ocean swimming Jersey has to offer. As well as a standard course, this year Breca are debuting an exciting Relay Race format, perfect for beginners to swimrun.
Looking further ahead, there are plenty more sporting events to come in 2021. If you’ve missed out on this year’s Breca event, have no fear; they’ve already confirmed next year’s date as 4 September 2021.