The Jersey Collection; Portelet Bay

Portelet Bay, Jersey, Channel Islands.

Portelet Bay is a secluded cove located on the South-West coast of Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands. The name Portelet means “little harbour” in Jerrais, Jersey’s own largely dis-used language, but it is much more than just a harbour. If you are planning a trip to Jersey, make time to visit this beautiful spot if you want to experience a unique place unlike any other on the island.

Portelet is an amazing Jersey bay, but it is less used than other beaches on the island. Not as many tourists hear of Portelet but primarily it’s because of the steep walk down to the beach front. Shrouded in wild greenery and trees, to reach the bay you must tackle a tough path down, as well as many steps. As a result, Portelet is unfortunately not suitable for those who struggle to get around and the bay has no disabled access. If you decide to hike down, Portelet is worthy of the journey. A large, open stretch of golden sand awaits those who make the effort, as well as stunningly clear turquoise water. The position of the bay on the island means that it is a suntrap, perfect for sunbathing. The beach is also sheltered from winds by towering granite cliffs on either side, which give it the feel of an enclave.

View of Janvrin’s Tomb on L’île au Guerdain, Portelet Bay, Jersey, Channel Islands.

Swimming is understandably popular here and is generally safe, but the bay does not provide a lifeguard service. As a Marine Conservation Society Recommended Beach, Portelet is also great for snorkeling and the water is quite shallow at low tide. Plenty of sea creatures flock here, and if you go out on the ocean in a boat or kanoe you will often catch dolphins larking around. The bay is also a very popular anchorage spot. If you are not a swimmer, Portelet has a plethora of other things to see. There are rock pools to explore and the cliffs backing the bay are distinctly orange as they meet the beach, as well as teeming with plant life.

Perhaps Portelet’s most recognisable feature is the mini island, L’île au Guerdain, that sits a short stretch into the ocean from the sands. The bay is split in two by a sandy walkway leading to it at low tide, which is covered by water as the sea rolls in. Not only is L’île home to trees and plants that have sprung up over the years, it also houses Janvrin’s Tomb. This is a Martello tower that was built during the Napoleonic Wars in the 1800s. It is referred to as Janvrin’s Tomb because a tomb was erected on the mound in the 1720s as the burial place of Philippe Janvrin, who was a sea captain forbidden from coming ashore because there were concerns that his ship may be carrying the plague. He died on board his ship (not from the plague) and he was buried on L’île because his body was not allowed to be brought inland. His remains were apparently later brought to St Brelade’s to be re-buried but there is no official trace of this. This site makes Portelet a must-see for any history buffs, and L’île is a fantastically intriguing place to explore – just be aware of tide times, although if you do happen to get cut off, it is easily feasible to swim back to shore.

View of Janvrin’s Tomb on L’île au Guerdain, Portelet Bay, Jersey, Channel Islands.

Portelet is just up the road from the turning to Belcroute Bay, and to the West of the bay you can find Portelet Common. This area forms part of Jersey’s National Park, and is great for hiking and finding island wildlife. With great ocean views, the Common also has great historical significance. The remains of a woolly mammoth, a rhinoceros and a neanderthal man have been located here. To the East of the bay is the Noirmont area, and Portelet is only around the corner from beautiful St Brelade’s Bay and Quaisne Bay.

If you are using public transport to get around the island, Portelet Bay can be reached by the 12A bus route. If driving, Portelet has a free public carpark at the top of the overlooking cliffs. Dogs can happily come too, as they are allowed all year round but must be kept on leads at high season. Facilities can be found at Portelet Inn, which is a famous island pub at the top of the trail down to the beach, or at Portelet Bay Cafe, located right on the beach-front.

At the top of the trail down, Portelet Bay, Jersey, Channel Islands.

Portelet Bay is an unusual bay on Jersey’s gorgeous coast that is very memorable for so many reasons. As travel is – albeit, slowly – beginning to open up to a lot of people, dont forget to include Jersey on your bucketlist! It is a stunning island that will capture your heart, and Portelet is one of many places to start exploring! If you’re heading here or have been before, let me know in the comments what you thought!

View of Portelet Bay from the overlooking cliffs, Jersey, Channel Islands.

5 thoughts on “The Jersey Collection; Portelet Bay

  1. Jersey has some awesome bays it’s great getting around the island to see them and the bus service its so much better then it was years ago. Portelet is lovely and there is some lovely walks around there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? 💙 And yes, the bus service makes it very easy for people to explore 😊


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