THE inflatable assault course looked fun at the time. But as I staggered from the finishing line, pipped to the post by a pre-school toddler, it was clear I really should have known better.

I was enjoying a sunny day out at aMaizin Adventure Park – the largest farm park in Jersey on the west of the island –where our daughter was having the time of her life.

Offering indoor and outdoor fun with animals, tractor rides and dozens of activities, the park is designed for all the family.

We took it in turns to try the toboggan slide, while I almost broke my ankle trying to master the giant jumping pillow.

Suffice to say, it was time for a break and we were in just the right place for that. Jersey really is an island for family fun.

We stayed on the island over the bank holiday, having set sail from Poole on a smooth midday crossing with Condor Ferries.

Condor operates a year-round service connecting the UK, Guernsey and Jersey and the port of St Malo in France, carrying more than one million passengers and 200,000 passenger vehicles on its services.

We sailed on Condor’s Liberation, a state-of-the-art high speed car ferry – the first of its kind to operate in Northern Europe since its introduction in 2015.

Having dozed off on the way there, I woke to the sound of an excited four-year-old yelling it was time to get back in the car.

We were staying at the Merton, a five-minute drive from the port in St Helier. Good job, as I was starving. With a choice of six restaurants, cafes and bars, there is something to suit every taste: The Belvedere for breakfasts, dinners and Sunday lunch, while we dined in Bonetti’s on our first night, featuring a menu packed with Italian classics. American diner Jersey Joe’s is great for youngsters, offering burgers, milkshakes and ice cream sundaes and you can catch up with the latest sports action at the Commentary Box Sports Bar or enjoy afternoon teas, bar snacks and evening piano entertainment in The Lobby Bar.

The hotel sports its own Aquadome - a pool and leisure club, where you can enjoy snacks and refreshments at Cascades.

The Aquadome is billed as an exciting subtropical paradise with slides, fountains, sauna and steam room, plus a heated outside pool, and we spent every morning there during our stay.

You can experience the thrill of surfing at the hotel with the FlowRider™ Surf Wave, but my dodgy ankle was the best excuse I could muster when pushed to try it out. I can swim, but my days of trying to balance on a board are behind me.

Back on terra firma, next up was a day at Jersey Zoo. As an animal lover, I was slightly concerned that seeing wild animals in captivity would be a pretty miserable experience. You’ve got to keep the kids happy, though, so I kept an open mind.

I needn’t have worried. Four miles north of St Helier, the zoo is a picture perfect way to glimpse some of the rarest animals on the planet in stunning surroundings.

The site began as the first ever conservation-themed zoo founded by the world-renowned conservationist and author Gerald Durrell and the trust has gained a worldwide reputation. It’s both a vital conservation body and an incredible experience for visitors to Jersey and Durrell’s animal haven is the natural place to discover some of the world’s most incredible creatures.

Whether you’re after fun, tranquillity, knowledge or a place to soak up the sunshine, the 32-acre park boasts valleys, woodland and some of the world’s rarest animals including Sumatran orang-utans, Andean bears and Montserrat orioles, rescued from beneath the smouldering volcano.

Madagascar lemurs and tiny lion tamarinds from Brazil roam free in woodland, while other exhibits include a walk-through aviary and a cloud forest housing otters. coatis and howler monkeys. The Trust is home to 1,400 mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians and over 130 endangered species. I really enjoyed the butterfly house while our little one loved feeding time with the gorillas.... no surprise, really, she sees that every evening at home with me.

Talking of grub, Jersey is a great island for foodies with families and there are several pubs with fabulous soft play areas – something there’s not enough of back home.

Pubs on the island with soft play areas include Portelet Inn, Priory Inn, Farm House and Tree House, but we tried Les Fontaines Tavern in St John. Dating back to the 17th Century, and affectionately known to the locals as ‘The Northern Office’, Les Fontaines is a fine, traditional family pub.

Original granite features and oak beams contrast with the modern mezzanine gallery with its vaulted wooden ceiling, while the outside patio has spectacular views of the north coast and France. Our youngster tried out Pirate Penelope’s indoor play centre before finishing off in the garden playground after our hearty meal. And as quickly as my steak went down, our short break was at an end.

We crammed in so much but didn’t get the chance to test drive Tamba Park and Samares Manor, which came recommended. Both have cafes serving food and offer entertainment for children.

We’ll leave those for our next trip to the Channel Islands. Rest assured, we’ll be back – but I won’t be tackling an assault course next time.


We have teamed up with Condor Ferries to offer our readers a special discount for travel this summer.

Book a return trip with your car to Jersey or Guernsey on any Condor sailing from Poole or Portsmouth and receive a 10% reduction off published fares.

The offer applies to all bookings made between 01 and 22 June 1 and June 22 and for travel from July 1 to September 30, 2019.

Simply log onto and enter promotion code WTREADER in the ‘Your details’ section when booking and receive the discount.


Merton Hotel, Belvedere St Saviour, Jersey JE4 9PG, Channel Islands

Hotel: + 44 (0) 1534 724231 Reservations: +44 (0) 845 800 5555

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