St Helena – it’s the tallest, biggest and oldest!

February 6, 2014 in Tourism

From the tallest, biggest and oldest; St Helena is an extraordinary location that flaunts some of the world’s best-kept travel secrets. In this blog post we’ll take you on a journey exploring St Helena’s superlative signs, linking to some of our favourite past blog posts.

Credit to Marc Lavaud (

Credit to Marc Lavaud (

Remote life
This small British island territory is home to a population of around 4,000 and is one of the remotest places on earth, in fact it’s the second most remote inhabited island in the world! The nearest land is Ascension Island – 703 miles to the North West. The island is 1,200 miles from the south-west coast of Africa and currently five days’ travel by sea from Cape Town. Slow travel at its best!

Even getting to St Helena is unique. Until the island welcomes its first airport in 2016, the only regular means to reach the island is a relaxing voyage on board one of the last working Royal Mail ships in the world, a 155-berth cargo-passenger vessel. It’s a magical voyage to this stunning South Atlantic Island.


Island’s highest point
Diana’s Peak stands at an impressive 823m above sea level, the National Park is home to exotic flora and fauna, including many endemic species.

Diana's Peak

Diana’s Peak

World’s rarest tree
The endemic Bastard Gumwood tree until recently was the world’s rarest tree with just one known specimen. An intensive recovering programme by St Helena Government and St Helena National Trust has enabled over 200 plants to be reintroduced. The island is also home to at least 40 other plants unknown anywhere else in the world.

The She Cabbage is protected from becoming extinct

The She Cabbage is protected from becoming extinct

Oldest resident
Jonathan the tortoise resides on St Helena in the gardens at Plantation House, the home of the island’s Governor. Thought to be the oldest living reptile on the planet, he was born circa 1832 and rumour has it that he was on the island at the same time as Napoleon!

Tortoise at Plantation2

Oldest Anglican Church in the Southern Hemisphere, St James’ Church
This beautiful church dates back to 1774 and is a prominent feature in Jamestown. A visit inside will reveal plaques and tablets depicting the fascinating history of the island.

St James 3

Remote distillery
St Helena is home to the most remote distillery in the world producing ‘Tungi’ – a local spirit made from prickly pears, Jamestown Gin which uses Juniper, White Lion spiced rum and coffee liquor, Midnight Mist. The island’s coffee is also amongst the most prized and highly sought after in the world. Coffee was introduced in the 1700s and the island’s isolation means the coffee has remained pure.


Remote running
Running 42.2km is a feat unto itself but sometimes it is about the destination, not just the journey. Each June St Helena hosts what must surely lay claim to be one of the most remote marathons in the world. This challenging far-flung event involves a route that winds past some of the island’s key attractions, including High Knoll Fort, Diana’s Peak and Plantation House.

Festival of Running 2013 013

Wish you were here?