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If you believe the best things in life come in small packages you will simply love Jersey, because at 13km by 8km (8mi by 5mi) it is only slightly bigger than Florida's Walt Disney World. Largest of the Channel Isles located off Britain's southern mainland, it is blessed with a warm and sunny climate, pretty countryside bound by sandy beaches, hamlets and tiny ports around a coastline which beckons with seafood restaurants second to none.

Geographically closer to France than Britain, this semi-autonomous state has nearly 100,000 residents, all of whom enjoy a prosperity experienced by few other countries. Income tax is a flat 20 percent, there are no sales taxes of any kind and there is employment for everyone, including youngsters who are recruited before leaving school. For visitors all this wealth is reflected in an orderly environment, well-maintained public and private properties, first-rate services and bargain-rate shopping.

Day trips from Britain's mainland are extremely popular as shoppers crowd into the island capital of St Helier where most major stores have branches. All advertise prices at least 10 percent lower than at home. There are more savings on tobacco and liquor and it is claimed that pub drinks cost less than anywhere else in Europe.

An efficient bus service from the capital will get you to all parts of the island, and directly to visitor attractions. One route takes you to the Jersey Pottery where you can watch artists at work. Even without tax their creations are fairly pricey, but if you are in the market for something special this is where you'll find it. If not, come anyway. The pottery is a treat to see and the attached seafood is one of the island's finest.

Conservation is taken very seriously in Jersey. Motorists quickly become aware of signs denoting Green lanes where traffic is limited to 15 miles (24km) per hour. Usually tree-shaded, in lovely country regions, Green Lanes are great for walkers and cyclists.

The Channel Isles were the only part of the Britain to be occupied by Germans during the Second World War. Now the Channel Islands Military Museum displays British and German militaria, as well as civilian exhibits from the occupation. And across from Liberation Square in St Helier, the Occupation Tapestry is a poignant memorial consisting of 12 two-metre panels telling the story of Jersey's occupation in remarkable detail. It is the largest community arts project ever undertaken on the island.

Probably the most famous visitor attraction here is the Jersey Zoological Park, devoted to the preservation of gravely endangered animal species. Started by the world-renowned Gerald Durrell almost 30 years ago, it is located in a delightful 9ha estate. The zoo is headquarters of the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust. To this end endangered species are brought for breeding under ideal conditions, while their home environments are rehabilitated. Eventually, the animals' zoo-bred offspring are returned to safe habitats in their country of origin. Award-winning compounds provide natural environments for family groups of animals. Most entertaining are the enormous gorillas and orang-utans, whose antics are disturbingly human. Most endearing are probably the tiny marmosets and pretty golden lion tamarins. Other residents include sleek snow leopards and cheetah and Przewalski horses from Central Asia. Even tiny toads. A very moving plea for his cause is given by the late Gerald Durrell in an audio-visual presentation in the Princess Royal Pavilion.

GETTING THERE: Jersey is reached by air services from many cities within the UK. A fast catamaran car ferry travels between Poole, Dorset and Guernsey and Jersey in about four hours.