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Britain – with a VERY big twist! Inside the British island that’s one of the most isolated places on Earth… though you can still get a good Sunday roast there (served with curry sauce)

We are deep in the South Atlantic Ocean, roughly halfway between Angola and Brazil in one of the most isolated places on Earth.

‘It’s rush hour,’ says my guide, Aaron, as a single car passes by.

Until then, about 1,200 miles from the nearest mainland, we’d had the remote British Oversees Territory’s twisty roads almost entirely to ourselves, with uninterrupted views of chameleon-like landscapes that seem to switch in the blink of an eye from rocky plateaux to verdant valleys full of banana trees and bamboo thickets.

At Painter’s Palette, mineral deposits stain the cactus-strewn landscape the colours of a healing bruise.

Further on, clifftops offer sweeping sea views. Waves whip across black-sand beaches.

Splendid isolation: Sarah Holt travels to St Helena in the South Atlantic, which is 1,200 miles from any mainland

Most of the time no one else is about. Solitude is easy to find on St Helena, as you might expect on an island that’s about ten miles by five, with a population of 4,400.

Yet this distant British outpost is about to get new flights from Cape Town in South Africa, beginning in December (currently they are only from Johannesburg).

My modern, comfortable hotel, the Mantis, is in the island’s tiny capital, Jamestown, squeezed into a narrow valley.

After a recommendation from a local, I make the 1.5-mile walk up the hillside to a lookout called Munden’s Point to watch a blazing sunset.

I’m all on my own, again — and it’s the same on a hike to South Point, where the fuzzy felt hills and speckles of gorse remind me of Wales, with more sheep than people.

Even a visit to Napoleon’s tomb, one of the island’s most popular tourist attractions, proves to be crowd-free.

Sarah stays in St Helena’s tiny capital, Jamestown (pictured), which is ‘squeezed into a narrow valley’

Pictured: Diana’s Peak, the highest point on the island of Saint Helena at 2,684ft (818m)

St Helena is around 1,200 miles from the nearest mainland, between Angola and Brazil

The former French emperor was deported to St Helena in 1815 after defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, and he remained here until his death in 1821.

The pathway to his former tomb in Sane Valley leads past towering Norfolk pine and eucalyptus trees, with bees, crickets and croaking frogs providing the soundtrack.

The tomb is empty, as Napoleon’s body was returned to France in 1840.

St Helena is not a lonely place.

In Jamestown, people wave and say hello, sometimes stopping to chat. Their accents remind me of boarding school British one minute and Jamaican the next.

It’s called ‘Saint Speak’ — off is pronounced ‘orf’, for example, and h’s are often omitted from ‘th’ words, turning ‘thing’ into ‘ting’.

 The remote island is about ten miles by five, with a population of just 4,400

Pictured: The 699 steep steps of the Grade I listed Jacobs Ladder, which lead to Jamestown

St Helena is British, but with a twist. Popping into The Consulate, one of Jamestown’s oldest hotels I get chatting to Lucy and the topic turns to food.

‘Ask anyone what they eat on a Sunday and they’ll say roast,’ she says. So far so similar, I think, before she adds: ‘And curry.’ ‘On the same plate?’ I ask.

‘Yes, roast pork, chicken or beef and curry, with carrots and roast potatoes.’

St Helena’s currency is sterling, but images on the coins differ to those back home.

Above is Plantation House, the permanent residence of the Governor of St Helena

Sarah visit the tomb of Napoleon (pictured), the French emperor who died in exile on the island in 1821

Jonathan is the world’s oldest land animal at 191 years old 

On the 5p, for example, there’s a picture of St Helena resident ‘Jonathan the tortoise’, the world’s oldest land animal at 191 years old.

You can see Jonathan on a tour of Plantation House, a Grade I-listed building with 280 acres of grounds that’s the permanent residence of the Governor of St Helena.

Jonathan, all 200kg of him, wanders about on the front lawn.

Waters around St Helena brim with marine life. On an RIB (rigid inflatable boat) trip, more than 400 pantropical dolphins suddenly surround our boat, leaping, diving and tumbling by.

Between January and March, visitors can swim with plankton-eating whale sharks. From June to December tourists can take whale-watching trips, too.

Britain with a twist, for sure. Peace and quiet (and solitude) in the middle of an ocean teeming with life.

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