Places to Visit
St Helena has a wide variety of fascinating locations. Jamestown, the island’s capital, can keep you occupied for much of the day. Venture further afield and you will discover the many reasons why St Helena was such an important location for so many years. Indeed, you can track the whole history of the British Empire on this single island.
For many visitors one name is linked to St Helena – Napoleon. The French Emperor was exiled here from 1815 until he died in 1821. The Napoleonic properties – Longwood House, the Briars Pavilion and Napoleon’s Tomb – can be visited. More information about the Napoleonic properties is available here.
Plantation House is the residence of the island’s governor…as well as that of Jonathan, the world’s oldest living animal, a giant tortoise who is around 180 years old. There are occasional tours of the house, although the paddock (where the tortoises live) is open during daylight hours. More information about Plantation House is available here.
A war memorial displaying names of islanders who lost their lives in World War II and a plaque listing names of those who lost their lives on the RFA Darkdale.
Some of the island’s endemic plants can be seen here, including the rediscovered island ebony.
Island records dating from 1673.
Built in 1829, as an inclined plane, which was used to haul manure up from town and send goods down. The ladder is 600ft high and has 699 steps. Once you have completed the ladder, make sure you buy your souvenir certificate from the museum.
St James Church
The oldest Anglican church in the southern hemisphere dates from 1774. Built near the site of the original Portuguese chapel and replaced earlier churches.
The Museum of St Helena
Beautifully restored in a late 18th century building – opened 21st May 2002 to mark St Helena’s 500th anniversary.
This delightfully named channel, walled and concreted and no doubt continuously improved at every period of history, is presumed to follow the line of the original stream which watered the valley of Jamestown. The run was paved with stone in 1857 and was built with a dual purpose – as a sewer for the town and to accommodate the water course. It offers an alternative view of Jamestown.
A delightful waterfall located at the top of James Valley. A trail has recently opened through the wild mango and scrub giving access to the foot of the waterfall. The trail starts from Drummond’s Point on the Barnes Road track. The flow over the fall is seasonal. It is possible to continue up the Barnes Road pathway to reach Francis Plain.
In the Country
St Helena Distillery
The St Helena Distillery is located in Alarm Forest. Discover the delights of Tungi spirit, White Lion rum, Midnight Mist coffee liqueur, and the island’s own ermuda Juniper flavoured gin. See how they are made.
The Castell Collection
The Castell Collection is located at Princes Lodge, and the collection consists of a very interesting and vast collection of old lithograms and prints of St Helena. Pre-arranged viewings are essential with an admission of £1.
St Paul’s Cathedral and Cemetery
Built in 1851, surrounded by burial places for Anglicans, past governors, bishops, clergy as well as military personnel dating back hundreds of years and other religious denominations.
Prince Andrew School
The only comprehensive school for 12-18 year olds on the island. Visits are by arrangement only.
Diana’s Peak National Park, The Central Peaks
Diana’s Peak rises 823 metres above sea level and is the highest point on St Helena. It is here in the national park that many of the island’s endemic plant species find refuge. The endemic blushing snail also lives here. On a clear day the views from the peaks is magnificent.
The site of Boer Prisoners of War camp, once previously surrounded by three barbed wire fences and guarded outside by patrolling soldiers. The two main camps were Deadwood and Broadbottom which contained some 6000 prisoners, although the commandants were allowed to live outside the camp in comparative freedom, with few restrictions being placed on their movements. Initially the prisoners lived in tents with cedar trees planted between the tents to act as wind breaks. Some of these windblown trees still survive today. Deadwood is also home to the island’s only endemic bird, the wirebird.
Almost 5 000 gumwood trees were planted as a conservation initiative to mark the millennium. You can help to make this forest the great wood it once was by planting a gumwood tree. For more details call the St Helena National Trust office. Tel: +290 22190
Boer Cemetary, Knollcombes
Cemetery of the Boer prisoners that were imprisoned on St. Helena and died between 1900 and 1902 during the Anglo Boer War in South Africa. There is also a Baptist chapel whose cemetery has the grave of St Helena’s first local governor, Hudson Janisch.
High Knoll Fort
The present fort dates from 1874 on the site of the original citadel that was built in 1798. It was built as a redoubt for the island’s population in the event of an invasion. High Knoll Fort commands superb views across much of the island. The fort is open occasionally for guided tours – please contact the Tourist Office for details.
Site of Edmund Halley’s observatory who arrived in 1673 to map the stars of the southern hemisphere. Provides great views of Longwood.
Site of Dr. Neville Maskelyne’s observatory. He came to to island in 1760 to study the transit of Venus over the sun’s disk. He was later Astronomer Royal.
Sandy Bay Beach
Interesting geological features as well as buildings of historical interest, including our only accessible lime kiln.
St Helena’s Active Participation in Enterprise (SHAPE). Opened in late 2008, this centre is the headquarters of a new initiative which employs people with disabilities to produce local, quality crafts. All money made from sales is put back into the enterprise, thus making it self-sustaining.