On our recent trip to Antarctica we had the privilege of also visiting the Falkland Islands. A double decker bus, red phone booth, and the British accent were all there to greet us so for me, it was like stepping back out into country England. We only had a few hours on shore but, it was one of our favourite stops on the cruise.
The Falkland Islands are a British Overseas Territory and while their foreign affairs are handled by the UK Government, the colony is self-governing and financially self-sufficient. The majority of the population lives in Stanley, the capital, with some smaller settlements scattered across the East, West, and outer islands.
Most of Stanley can be visited on foot. If you’re arriving by cruise ship like we did, your starting point will be the visitor information centre located between the Public and East jetties. Following this road along the waterfront will take you past the cathedral and whale bone arch, town hall, bank, police station, and the museum.
The museum has several rooms containing items and information regarding the history of the Falklands including a wealth of information regarding Argentina's invasion of the small settlement in 1982. There is also a really cool coin collectable store in the same area in one of the outbuildings that is worth checking out for a souvenir.
Past the museum, the footpath continues to wind its way along the shoreline where you can visit the monuments of Liberation, the Royal Marines, and the Memorial Wall. The Jhelum shipwreck is also up this way but, due to its condition, we’ve been told it is in the process of being moved away from its current location.
Our favourite place in Stanley however was the supermarket. Justin stocked up on Heinz Baked Beans and I found myself a family size bag of Malteasers! Winning!
Outside of Stanley, visitors can go in search of wildlife or immerse themselves in the rich history of the islands by visiting the battlefields of the 1982 conflict between Britain and Argentina. Boat tours can also be arranged for whale & dolphin watching if you have the time.
West Point Island
This was our first point of call at the Falklands where we were able to spot Black-browed albatross and Rock-hopper penguins. The island is privately owned by the Napier family and is used mostly for sheep farming though, we can't say we saw any sheep...
Inheriting its name from the HMS Carcass, this little island was a pleasure to visit. Other than another opportunity for penguin spotting (we saw Magellanic and Gentoo penguins), we were also treated to an afternoon tea and they had LAMINGTONS!!
Getting to the Falklands
The most common way of visiting the Falklands Islands is by cruise ship but, you can also go by plane. Flights are available once a week from Santiago, Chile, once a month from Rio Gallegos, Argentina, and direct from the UK.
If you don’t have a luxury cruise liner to get you to each port like we did, you can take a domestic flight (firstname.lastname@example.org) to the other islands or use the ferry service (www.workboat.co.fk).
You can also hire a car, taxi or private guide to drive between settlements. There is no public bus service on the Falklands.
Eating & Drinking
You’ll find many fabulous treats on the main island but, we enjoyed some fish and chips washed down with a cold cider. Couldn’t get much more British than that!
However you choose to do the Falkland Islands you will not regret visiting this warm and friendly community. To find out more about our Antarctica Adventure, read more here; www.globalrunaways.com/runaway-to/adventures-in-antarctica
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