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Jonathan the tortoise, St Helena

10 top things to do on St Helena

There is so much to enjoy on St Helena! Here we round-up the top 10 things not to be missed when visiting, or living on St Helena.

Capture a panorama of St Helena from Diana’s Peak

St Helena is a hiker’s paradise, its rugged landscape meaning some of the top coastal spots can only be reached on foot. Amongst the 21 ‘Post Box’ walks, designed by the St Helena Nature Conservation Group, is Diana’s Peak. The highest point on the island, the Peak measures 2,700 ft (823m) and lies within the Central Ridge Natural Conservation Area.

Walkers can trek over all three of the island’s highest peaks: Mount Actaeon, Diana’s Peak and Cuckold’s Point; each offering dramatic views across the whole of St Helena, and the perfect opportunity to capture a panoramic picture of the island.

Dianas Peak Panorama St Helena

Take in the marine life on a boat trip

A morning boat trip from Jamestown is a great way to start the day, with the chance to see dolphins playing around the boat and birds soaring overhead. Those who visit during August and November might glimpse visiting humpback whales and calves as they migrate through the St Helena waters.

If you’re visiting the island during the summer months of January to March you also have a once in a lifetime chance to swim with both adult male and female whale sharks.

Boat Trip to see dolphins on St Helena

Dive into the crystal clear Atlantic waters

Those who are PADI certified can experience a true St Helena adventure by exploring the wonders found beneath the waves. The crystal blue Atlantic waters are home to numerous wrecks, 10 endemic fish and many other incredible marine life.

Dive site habitats vary from rocky reefs with caves and areas of boulders to cobbles and sand, all teeming with marine life and all within easy reach of the wharf in Jamestown. Sea temperatures vary from 66 to 75°F (19 to 25°C) and visibility can range from 16 to 130 feet (5 to 40m) with peak visibility being from December to May. Dives vary between 40 and 130 feet (5 to 30m+) and offer a range of diving opportunities.

Diving on St Helena

Take a selfie with Jonathan the tortoise after a Plantation House Tour

A tour of Plantation House, the Governor of St Helena’s residence, is a must for three simple reasons:

  1. It is a chance to see a huge part of St Helena’s history and walk the halls of the island’s Governors.
  2. It is the only time anyone is allowed within the grounds to get a closer look at the tortoises and grab a selfie with the oldest animal in the world, Jonathan the tortoise.
  3. It comes with a complimentary cup of St Helena coffee!

Tours are every Tuesday at 11am. Drop into the Tourist Office to book yours today.

Plantation House, St Helena

Go on a historical tour of St Helena

Take an island tour with any number of our tour operators to visit the Napoleonic sites: the Briars Pavilion, Longwood House and Napoleon’s Tomb; Halley’s Mount, the Boer Cemetery at Knollcombes, St Paul’s Cathedral, Plantation House, High Knoll Fort, Ladder Hill Fort and St James’ Church.

Historical Tour St Helena

Marvel at the night sky

St Helena is located 16 degrees south of the equator and virtually every constellation in the sky is visible at one time or another during the year.

The island is steeped in astronomical history and one of the few places where both The Plough and the Southern Cross can be seen in the sky at the same time. Visitors can marvel at the Magellanic Clouds, and the galactic centre of the Milky Way.

St Helena Astronomy

Enjoy a cup of St Helena Coffee

St Helena’s Coffee is Bourbon Arabica that was introduced from Yemen by the East India Company in 1732. There are three coffee plantations on the island. Bill and Jill Bolton of Rosemary Gate plantation decided their coffee plantation’s primary purpose was to supply the island with fresh St Helena Coffee and operate The Coffee Shop located at the Jamestown wharf.

St Helena Coffee

Plant a tree at Millennium Forest and take in a Wirebird tour 

The Millennium Forest was once referred to as the Great Wood with a Gumwood stronghold in the Longwood area. It was home to a variety of birds, plants and insects, but settlers introduced animals such as goats that destroyed the land, which as a result it became semi-desert. The Millennium Forest project was launched in 2000 and the St Helena National Trust (SHNT) was entrusted with the responsibility of restoring it to its former forestry stronghold.

Over the past seventeen years, the forest has been visited and planted by islanders, RMS, Navy and cruise ship visitors, each leaving their mark on the island. Today it is one of the best and most beautiful spots to watch the operations of the St Helena Airport.

The Wirebird Chardrius sanctaehelenae or St Helena Plover, is the island’s only endemic bird.  One of their nesting sites is Horse Point which is located next to the Millennium Forest therefore a quick trip to see them is a must when at the Millennium Forest.

Millennium Forest, St Helena

Climb Jacob’s Ladder and collect your certificate at the Museum of St Helena

Jacob’s Ladder connects Jamestown and Ladder Hill with 669 steps. A Grade 1–listed staircase, the steps are around 30cm high and the same wide having a 1:1 slope. The Ladder was lit up for the first time on 21 May 2000 by Governor Hollamby.

Those who take on the challenge of the 699 steps are welcome to purchase a certificate of memorabilia from the Museum of St Helena, located at the foot of the Ladder.

The Museum of St Helena was officially opened on 21 May 2002, the island’s quincentenary. It houses relics from different eras on the island and is well worth a look around for any visitor.

Jacobs Ladder & Museum, St Helena

Order a St Helena dish

From the ever popular fishcake to pilau, tucking into one of St Helena’s signature dishes is a unique experience. Choose from a variety of restaurants, pop in and request any dish with a St Helenian twist. You won’t be disappointed.

St Helena Fishcakes

4 Responses

  • Denise Hipgrave

    All except the diving. Must come back and do it all over again,

  • Eleanor

    Everything except the diving, although I did snorkel. Great top 10.

  • Beat Eichenberger

    A lot, but not all ten – I have to come back!

  • Fish

    A dream place to visit.. But the new flights seems so expensive 🙁

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