St. Saviour, Channel Islands

Photo: Longueville Manor
Photo: Longueville Manor

Where are you spending your spring break this year? You could join the beach party in Cancún or Miami. You could combine volunteerism and ecotourism in Guatemala or Nicaragua. You could even extend your break to take an epic trip to Cambodia, Laos, or Sri Lanka. Or you could disappear to a place no one would ever think of looking for you.

Except for the Brits and a handful of Bretons, the Channel Islands aren’t on anyone’s radar. The archipelago, in the English Channel, is a group of self-governing British islands. England and France battled over the eight islands for centuries. They ultimately combined resources to defeat the Germans, who seized the islands during World War II.

Today, forts, like Mont Orgueil and Fort Grey, are the only reminders of the islands’ turbulent history. Instead, the islands are known for their wild beaches, lavish gardens, and mouth-watering seafood. On Jersey, the largest and southernmost island, spring is already promising to make an early appearance. Hundred-year-old sycamore trees are budding. The grass is turning bright green after soaking up the winter rain. Plus brightly colored flowers are just waiting for a few days of continuously high temperatures to pop out of the ground. Longueville Manor is the perfect place to watch spring bloom.

Longueville Manor is a 14th-century Norman manor house that has been turned into an elegant hotel. As soon as you pass through the gates and catch a glimpse of the ivy-covered stone house, you know you’re in for a treat. No detail has been overlooked on the gorgeous property or in the restored building. Scented candles, fresh fruit, and board games—to pass the time during a quick spring shower—await you in your individually decorated bedroom. You have a view of the extensive gardens, with the Victorian kitchen garden and a little lake, in the distance. While a stone terrace leads to the heated pool and the Cottage Garden (the spa).

You had planned on relaxing at the spa, sipping fresh garden-mint tea, or visiting nearby St. Helier Beach as soon as you arrived, but the manor’s gorgeous grounds make you change your plans. Instead, you follow the Nun’s Walk, a jogging trail through the woodlands, where you see the manor’s bee hives and red squirrels, Jersey cows and fields of Jersey Royal potatoes. Smoke billows from an old crypt, which is now a smokehouse. You wrap your scarf around your neck as a cool breeze pushes you forward, but within minutes, you’re shedding it as sunshine peeks between the oak trees. Spring has finally, definitely arrived.

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