East Falkland is the largest island in the Falklands archipelago. It is home to the international airport at Mount Pleasant and the capital Stanley, which is also the biggest ‘urban area’ – playing host to almost three quarters of the Falklands’ entire population. Despite this and being given city status in 2022, Stanley is a tiny, peaceful and sleepy settlement, reminiscent of an old English countryside village from a bygone era. The fish and chips shops, pubs, churches and distinctive red post and telephone boxes are unmistakable signs of the population’s ties with Britain, while an enormous whale bone arch and the ‘Penguin News’ press office help serve as reminders that the bright lights of London are over 12,500 kilometres away.
East Falkland is also home to a huge variety of flora and fauna, with the world’s largest ‘accessible’ king penguin colony at Volunteer Point, probably the most notable single location. Here, over 4,000 individuals can be found huddled around the central nesting area or ambling their way along the beach. It is a 2.5-hour bone rattling 4x4 ride each way from Stanley, but the reward is undoubtedly one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on Earth.
The island was also the main focal point for the war between Argentina and the UK in 1982. While Stanley was captured and held by the Argentines for 10 weeks (essentially the entire duration of the war), the longest and possibly most famous battle actually occurred at Goose Green, near Darwin, located on the isthmus between the northern part of the island and the south – commonly referred to as Lafonia. The strategically significant spot for Britain’s reclamation of the island now makes for a fascinating stay for those interested in learning about the battle and its impact on the war as a whole.
Where to go when - our guide to East Falkland
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