Christopher Gray has a short but very sweet break on the island of Jersey, now merely a hop, skip and jump away, thanks to new flights from Oxford Aiport.

The new direct flight from Oxford Airport to Jersey makes a visit to the largest and loveliest of the Channel Islands as quick and easy as a shopping trip to London.

As someone who had never previously been there, I travelled there for a two-day break.

I was able to appreciate the beauty of the varied scenery, the impressive range of tourist attractions, the warmth and civility of the local people, and – of primary concern where I am concerned – the fabulous flavours and freshness of the local food.

My culinary experiences ranged from the perfect simplicity of a £3.20 crab sandwich at the Hungry Man café overlooking picturesque Rozell Bay to the £65-a-head tasting menu – featuring foie gras, ravioli of local lobster, lamb’s sweetbreads and caramelised orange tart, among other delights – prepared by award-winning chef Richard Allen in the Tassili fine dining restaurant at St Helier’s Grand Jersey Hotel.

This was the imposing establishment, twice visited by the present Queen, I was lucky enough to be staying in, its best rooms with fine views across St Aubin’s Bay.

Features include a private cinema and a lavishly equipped spa, with treatment rooms, saunas and swimming pool, where I managed 30-or-so lengths each morning and evening of our visit.

Apart from the Jersey cow, the Jersey potato and – possibly – the Jersey TV cop Bergerac, the thing most people know about the island is that it was occupied during the last war by the Germans. I found out so much about this in a not-to-be-missed visit to the Jersey War Tunnels, a kilometre of underground passages hewn from solid rock, which houses a moving memorial to those dark and hungry days.

There was more on this theme, too – and much else besides – at the Jersey Museum in St Helier, which until the end of the year has a fascinating exhibition of clothes and other memorabilia connected with Marilyn Monroe from the collection of local man David Gainsborough Roberts.

In this 50th anniversary year of Jersey Zoo – now named the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust – no visitor should miss its many captivating residents.

I particularly enjoyed the nose-picking gorillas and the winsome white-handed gibbon couple George and Hazel.

The glorious display of flowers at the Eric Young Orchid Foundation is another sight for anyone with a love of nature.

The flight home was a breeze. Lifting our luggage from the taxi, we marvelled to think that it contained two juicy lobsters we had been been given at the Jersey Fish Festival less than three hours earlier by Louis Jackson, boss of Jersey’s Fresh Fish Company, whose customers include Oxford’s Mogford group of restaurants.

Their taste that night was a wonderful memory of the island.

FACT FILE: l For information on Jersey, visit or call 01534 448800 l Christopher Gray stayed as a guest of The Grand Jersey. Double rooms from £150 including breakfast. See or call 01534 722301 to book.

l Visitors can book flights and holidays from Oxford to Jersey with Discover Jersey. Departures are every Saturday until September 5 and seven-night packages inclusive of travel and accommodation from £269 per person. Visit or call 0844 415 6653.

l Hertz Car Hire offers cars from £37 per day. Call 01534 636666 or see