Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands, is named for Lord Stanley, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies when the town was founded in 1845 (Canada's Ice Hockey Stanley Cup is also named after one of his relatives). Stanley was once a major whaling port as well as a vital harbor to repair ships passing through the Straits of Magellan before construction of the Panama Canal.
Falkland Islands – Been There

Stanley may be tiny, but it's got plenty of spirit

Photo by Marketa Jirouskova

Falkland Islands – Been There Stanley may be tiny, but it's got plenty of spirit

Stanley is the largest town on the Falkland Islands and, with a population of just over 2,000, is one of the world's smallest capital cities. As you would expect, the community is close-knit.

Chris Moss
Chris Moss Travel Writer

The houses in Stanley huddle together on a dozen or so streets, as if in fear of the elements. They look like the homes of pioneers, eccentrics, dreamers. At the Stanley Arms, I order a pint and chat to the microcosm. I meet a historian, a judge, a gold miner, a salmon expert, a St Helenan office worker, a Chilean chef and Arlette, who runs a guesthouse.

Arlette introduces me to her daughter, Glynis, who I see working at the Post Office the next day. I see the judge in his robes standing outside a building having a smoke. If it all sounds a bit like Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood, well it is, but with an exotic and distinctive South Atlantic twist.

In the evening, I have a tasty dinner of Patagonian toothfish at Lafone House. Arlette, my friend from the pub, is the owner of this spacious yet homey B&B. She is a fabulous cook – she has won the island’s Best Catered Accommodation Award – and wine buff. For desert, we have a delicious pie filled with a native berry called, cutely, diddle-dee. Most meals at Lafone House evolve into parties. That night she has a film crew staying and a lone yachtsman arriving late in the night. For a tiny town there always seems to be a lot of action.

Arlette has been to Argentina, Chile, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Over brandies, she tells me about growing up in the Falklands. “We did not have television until the early 1990s and so you made your own entertainment, which would always involve something outside. Riding horses was something I enjoyed doing as we had little transport in the 1950s and 60s, so it was a way of getting around, especially in the camp. We would ride for eight hours just to go to a dance on one of the other farms,” she says. “We were free spirits.”

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Thatcher Drive in Stanley is named after the British Prime Minister who was considered the driving force to retake the Falklands Islands after the Argentine invasion of 1982. Although it is not a public holiday, the islands also celebrate every January 10 as Margaret Thatcher Day, the anniversary of her visit in 1983 when she was awarded "the Honorary Freedom of Stanley and all Townships and Settlements throughout the Falkland Islands". Photo by Jochem Wijnands

Jochem Wijnands

Jochem Wijnands

Nikon D3

Aperture
ƒ/9
Exposure
1/320
ISO
4000
Focal
24 mm

Thatcher Drive in Stanley is named after the British Prime Minister who was considered the driving force to retake the Falklands Islands after the Argentine invasion of 1982. Although it is not a public holiday, the islands also celebrate every January 10 as Margaret Thatcher Day, the anniversary of her visit in 1983 when she was awarded "the Honorary Freedom of Stanley and all Townships and Settlements throughout the Falkland Islands".