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Jamestown

Photo © Gelli

Travel Guide Africa Saint Helena Jamestown

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Introduction

Main Street on a Sunday afternoon, utterly dead

Main Street on a Sunday afternoon, utterly dead

© All Rights Reserved Gelli

Jamestown is the capital of Saint Helena and has a population of roughly 1000. It is a harbour and was founded in 1659 by the East India Company. The town has some great buildings, in British Georgian era colonial architecture. Many other buildings are built out of locals materials such as volcanic rocks. The town is the administrative, cultural and commercial centre and functions as a port as well. Jamestown is also the main transportation hub of the island and is located between some large steep cliffs. The town is not able to grow any further as it is already densely populated even though the population has declined during recent years. Strangely enough, because of its location at sea level and between the cliffs, the temperatures are notably higher than elsewhere on the island.

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Sights and Activities

Jamestown has a colourful history and is home to a number of significant buildings:

  • Plantation House (built 1792) is the grand former plantation owner's home, currently used as the Governor's official residence.
  • Longwood House is the humble spot that Napoleon spent his last days of exile.
  • Saint Paul's Cathedral (built 1851), the most significant religious building on the island.
  • 'The Castle' (built 1708), the current seat of government.

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Getting There

For more information about getting to Jamestown it is best to see the description at the Saint Helena article.

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Getting Around

The town itself is small and easily navigated on foot. It is very hard to walk out of Jamestown though. The city is in a deep canyon coming from the highlands down to the shore, and there are three roads out, one up either edge of the canyon and the third, Barnes Road, an old track that leads to Francis Plain, perched on a plateau 500 metres above Jamestown. The other way to get to the highlands is via the vertiginous Jacob's Ladder, an extremely tall 699-step staircase, built as an inclined plane to bring goods in and out of town. Walking on the roads out of town would mean sharing narrow switchbacks with cars, lots of dust, and no pavements. If you walk, even once you climb Jacob's Ladder, you still aren't halfway to the green spaces at the top, and have to walk through the beautifully named, but not so beautiful to look at, Half-Tree Hollow. A rental car or the bus are much better options.

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Eat and Drink

The two main hotels in Jamestown, The Consulate and Wellington House both offer dinner if booked a day ahead, and they will also ask you to choose what you wish to eat when you book. The Consulate also offer lunch time braai's with a changing menu.

Other options include:

  • Anne's place in the Castle Gardens have a changing menu depending on availability, but offer large portions of seafood, steaks, and other local specialities, as well as all day breakfasts. It's the largest restaurant on the Island and is popular with visiting yacht crews.
  • The Orange tree oriental restaurant offers decent Chinese and Asian dishes, though it is the most expensive place in Jamestown. Book ahead, in case they are full (weekends) or closed (weekdays).
  • Donny's place has recently reopened after a refit and serves a variety of dishes with outside seating
  • Sally's sandwich bar offers a selection of sandwiches, salads, soups, pasties and pizza's. She is open daytimes, plus Friday and Saturday evenings for pizza's only
  • The Coffee Shop offers breakfasts, toasted sandwiches and wraps, as well as being a good place to try Saint Helenian coffee.
  • Ardee's Cafe, in the Market is open during market opening hours and also offers takeaway
  • Cyril's fast food (in a window by the arch) is a basic takeaway open some lunchtimes and evenings only.

In addition, there is a burger van and an ice cream van outside the Castle, whilst Spar supermarket offer pies and pasties plus a daily takeaway lunchtime special.

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Sleep

  • Huxtable Accommodation, Napoleon Street, Jamestown, ☎ +290 24342, e-mail: info@sthelenahuxtable.com - Four independent flats in the centre of Jamestown. Details, prices and full contact information on the website.
  • Consulate Hotel, Main Street, Jamestown, ☎ +290 2962, e-mail: con.hotel@cwimail.sh - The Consulate Hotel is the largest lodging facility on the island. It has a restaurant and bar, and all bedrooms are en suite. The front porch under the wrought-iron balcony is a fine place to sit with a Savanna cider in hand and watch the world pass by in central Jamestown.
  • Wellington House Hotel, Main Street, Jamestown - The Wellington House Hotel is in a beautiful, cobalt blue Georgian building located on the main street in Jamestown. Rooms are comfortable, boarding options are available, and a bar can sell alcohol to guests. Bathrooms are not en suite.

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Keep Connected

For more information check the description at the Saint Helena article.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

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Contributors

as well as Peter (11%), Hien (4%), hasbeen (2%)

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This is version 8. Last edited at 10:55 on May 29, 17 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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