IT is more than 25 years since the detective drama 'Bergerac' was last broadcast in its Saturday night primetime slot on BBC, but still the first thing most people commented on when they heard I was heading to Jersey is whether I would be visiting "the Bergerac house".

The sleuthing exploits of John Nettles may live long in the memory, but sadly the landmark property - owned by the detective's father-in-law in the series, and known in real life as Windward House - was demolished in 2012.

Oddly enough though, our arrival to the largest of the four Channel Islands in April coincided with a new foray into popular culture for the island, with the release in UK cinemas of 'Beast'. The film was inspired by the case of real-life 'Beast of Jersey' Edward Paisnel, a serial rapist and paedophile who terrorised the island for a decade until his arrest in 1971.

It is hard to imagine how a crime spree like that must have rocked the laid-back tranquility of the Jersey. If anything it has the feel of a cross between Midsomer Murders and Agatha Christie, with a generous splash of Gallic charm thrown in.

More than anything, Jersey is a profoundly relaxing place to visit. It has a perfect combination of sweeping, golden sandy beaches, salty sea air and a balmy continental climate. Its towns are picture postcode beautiful and cycling is a joy.

With this in mind, we hired a pair of leisure bicycles and helmets from the Jersey Bus Tours outlet in St Helier one Sunday morning and made our way to the neighbouring beauty spot of St Aubin.

Jersey boasts 96 miles of signposted official cycle routes and 48 miles of so-called ‘Green Lanes’ - 15mph country roads where cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians have priority. Between St Helier - the capital - and St Aubin, the cycle path is off-road, effectively on the pavement, but also follows a route segregated from pedestrians along a wide footpath meaning there is no battling for space.

The flat, five mile (8.4km) journey takes in spectacular views of Jersey's beaches, landscape and luxury seafront housing. It is the perfect way to work up an appetite before a long, lazy Sunday lunch in St Aubin.

After browsing some of the local shops and galleries we headed to the Old Court House Inn, overlooking the harbour, and over the following three hours of champagne cocktails, wine and a three-course lunch of avocado toast, cannelloni and a hefty cheeseboard swiftly got to work cancelling out any calories burned - including any expired on the (notably slower) cycle back.

One of the most striking sights in Jersey is Elizabeth Castle. Sitting high on a rocky islet in St Aubin's Bay, the 16th Century fortress dominates the beachfront in St Helier and can be reached on foot during low tide or by the amphibious Castle Ferry during high tide.

We set off mid-afternoon from our hotel, the Grand Jersey, directly opposite the castle, to take in the panoramic views from the top. The site was once home to Sir Walter Raleigh, served as a refuge for King Charles II during the English Civil War, and was modernised with guns, bunkers and battlements by the occupying Nazis during the Second World War. Now it is one of the island's most popular historic attractions and the perfect spot to enjoy a cold beer and an ice-cream in the sun overlooking a turquoise sea.

Confidently reviewing the low-tide and dismissing chuckled warnings from the tourist office staff that the sea "comes in quick", we departed on foot across the causeway. This turned out to be a mistake when, around five minutes later, I found myself trudging ankle deep in seawater and returned to our five-star hotel in jeans sodden to the knees. Not a good look.

Dried off and showered, we set off for the Jersey Museum and Art Gallery. Exhibitions chart the island's history from 250,000 years ago, when the first people arrived on the island, to how it came to be a 'dependency' under the English Crown but separate from the UK, and the history of its famous dairy industry and the iconic Jersey cows.

More recently, however, its ground floor has undergone an overhaul courtesy of the Tiffin Group, which own other restaurants and cafes on the island. The result is Tiffin at the Museum, which serves brunch, afternoon tea, lunch and dinner, both indoors and from an al fresco terrace space beneath hanging baskets and fairy lights. It is a nice spot, tucked away from the bustle of the main town square, and I rounded off the day with a veritable mountain of battered fish and chips and a sticky toffee pudding.

For the last leg of our three-day visit we headed west, to St Brelade and the blissful L'Horizon spa hotel. The sleepy seafront resort arguably boasts the finest beaches on Jersey. It is much quieter than St Helier, whose town centre in the evening is a hive of hip bars, restaurants and hotels, but if peace and relaxation is what you are after this is the place to stay.

From a zen-inducing massage in the spa to a glass of wine or afternoon tea on the beachfront terrace, and beds that induce a coma-like slumber, L'Horizon was the perfect end to the trip.

For the final night we jumped in a taxi and headed up the coast from St Brelade to the island's "surfer's paradise" of St Ouen's Bay, where the Tico Beach Cantina draws a youthful crowd. Sat on its own, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, el Tico patrons dine and eat at long picnic-style tables beside floor to ceiling windows offering the best view of the spectacular waves crashing outside. If you so desire, you can hire surfboards and wetsuits from The Surf Yard at El Tico and give it a try.

Or you can just order a "sundowner" cocktail and enjoy the view, which is what we did. After tucking into an enormous plate of nachos, seafood linguine and ice cream sundaes, we called it a night and bid goodbye to our skinny jeans - and goodbye to Jersey.

Helen McArdle was a guest at the Grand Hotel Jersey in St Helier (prices from £118 per night) and L'Horizon hotel in St Brelade (prices from £221 per night), both part of the Handpicked Hotels group.

To view latest prices and book online please visit

Direct flights with Easyjet from Edinburgh start around £60 return

Flight prices were £60 return from Edinburgh on 14 April.