Take a tour of Plantation House
Plantation House, one of St Helena’s landmark historical attractions and home to Jonathan the tortoise, has been re-opened to the public for behind the scenes tours.
The house was built in 1792 as a country estate for the Governor of the East India Company, and is known worldwide as the home of the St Helena Governor along with the oldest living animal in the world, Jonathan.
With the arrival of Her Excellency, Governor Lisa Phillips in April 2016, the decision was taken to open the historical attraction once again to the public. House tours take place on Tuesdays at 11am and give a full showing of both the ground and first floors of the residence. Lasting approximately one hour, tour guide Joyce Williams walks visitors through the 200 years of history of Plantation House.
Of course a visit to Plantation House isn’t complete without a sighting of the four tortoises, and visitors are escorted to Jonathan’s viewing corridor before retiring for St Helena coffee or a cup of tea in the new coffee shop, where souvenirs are also available for purchase.
The Library at Plantation has been referred to as ‘the heart of the house’ with iconic bookcases holding over 2,000 volumes, including the parchment Roll of Governors. The Library was built by Sir Hudson Lowe around 1816, and now, on Wednesdays from 10:30am to 2pm, the Plantation Library is open for visitors to browse through the large volumes of books. Coffee and tea is available next to the fire place, lit in colder weather, under the carved marble mantelpiece.
Governor Phillips said: “I am delighted to be able to open up Plantation House to visitors and St Helenians. It is a beautiful house with so much history and intrigue. The house belongs to the people of St Helena. I am just a lodger. But being the first female Governor who has lived in it, I wonder what the Governors of hundreds of years ago might think! Times have changed and opening the doors of Plantation House is just one way in which I am trying to change the island…for the better.”
Plantation House tours are available for a minimum of three and maximum of twelve people. The one hour Plantation House tour costs £10 for visitors with complimentary tea/ coffee. Entry to the Library costs £5 per person including tea/ coffee. Funds are invested back into St Helena Government to improve services. Bookings should be made via the Tourist Office.