Church On St Helena Island

Lush rolling hills, forested mountains and verdant plantations.

Remote and far-flung, the tropical island of St Helena is a paradise, partially trapped in a time-warp and largely untouched by the outside world.

Follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, Captain Cook and the Duke of Wellington by adventuring to Britain's second oldest remaining overseas territory. A tiny speck out in the Atlantic Ocean, 1200 miles from the west coast of Africa, the rugged island of St Helena is so remote that it was only in 2017 that air travel became possible, opening up this relatively unknown volcanic outpost to tourism. Discovered by the Portuguese in 1502, the island was used for centuries by ships as a trade-route stopover, and it is here that Napoleon spent the final years of his exile. The house where he lived is now a museum. Other prisoners of war included a revolutionary Zulu king and over 5000 Boers, during the Second Boer War.

Whilst the coastlines are rocky and dramatic, further inland you'll find lush rolling hills, forested mountains and verdant plantations. Indeed the island is also famous for its coffee, said to be amongst the best, and most expensive in the world. Napoleon was apparently a fan.

There are several tours available on the island, or you can hire a car if you prefer to explore independently. In the charming capital of Jamestown, discover a legacy of fortifications and historic buildings, as well as the fascinating St Helena museum, colourful gardens that belonged to the East India Company, and St Paul's Cathedral. Gin tasting is all the rage at the moment, but what about Tungi Spirit? It's made locally here in St Helena, along with rum and the delightfully named Midnight Mist coffee, and you can try them all (as well as juniper gin!) at the local distillery. For spectacular views of the town and sea beyond, climb the 699 steps of Jacob's Ladder. Preferably before sampling the spirits!

Out of town visit Plantation House, home of the Governor and also St Helena's oldest resident, Jonathan, a giant tortoise who has been trundling around for 187 years. Hiking is incredible here too, with a multitude of trails winding through wild mango forests and ancient deserts, rewarding hikers with waterfalls and a whole host of endemic plant and bird species that are a huge draw to nature lovers. Diving and snorkelling are superb here, with wrecks, reefs and caves to glide past, and whales and dolphins are often spotted from the shore.

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