A Spotlight on St Helena by Emma Thomson, Travel Journalist

Wednesday, 14th March 2018

Destination Specialist

jonathan the giant tortoise st helena emma thomson

Back from her trip to St Helena with Discover the World, award-winning Travel Journalist Emma Thomson shares a collection of her favourite snapshots…

Meet Jonathan the giant tortoise who wanders the grassy grounds of Plantation House, home of the governor. At 186 years old, he’s believed to be the oldest animal on the planet, but he still finds time to romance another resident tortoise called Fredericka – or Fred, no one’s quite sure!

longwood house st helena emma thomson

Longwood House

Following his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to Longwood House from 10 December 1815 until his death on 5 May 1821. It’s rumoured the green paint in the parlour – which released arsenic into the air when it got damp – may have poisoned him. Now a museum owned by the French government, its rooms have been redecorated as they were during Napoleon’s residence.

napoleans tomb st helena emma thomson

Napoleon’s Tomb

Napoleon’s Tomb is one of the Seven Wonders of St Helena. He asked to be buried on the banks of the River Seine in Paris. He almost got his wish: his tomb now lies in ‘Sane’ Valley on St Helena. His body no longer lies beneath, it was exhumed and shipped back to France in 1840, but it’s still a lovely quiet spot filled with flowers.

4x4 adventure st helena emma thomson

4×4 Adventure

St Helena may look like a ring of impenetrable volcanic rock from the sea, but her interior is a lush swathe of fern-filled forests and flax-covered hillsides – all ideal for hiking. The island is laced with twenty-one trails, so strap on your boots and start exploring. This view is of the iconic Lot’s Column.

jacobs ladder st helena emma thomson

Hiking Jacob’s Ladder

The giddying view from the top of Jacob’s Ladder – 699 steps that spread from Jamestown to Ladder Hill Fort. It was originally a horse-powered pulley system used to haul goods up the hill, including manure from the town stables so the local farmers could spread it on their fields. The current version dates from 1871. No traveller to the island can leave without attempting the climb – it’s much harder than it looks! Complete it and you qualify for a certificate from the St Helena Museum in town.

 All images © Emma Thomson

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