The town has a lively, quirky atmosphere and a warm welcome for visitors. It revels in its British heritage, including red telephone boxes, post boxes and six distinctly English pubs. A lot of Stanley's houses and shops are colourfully painted timber buildings with roofs in 'wiggly-tin' (the islanders' term for corrugated iron). 85% of the island's population of just under 3,000 citizens live in Stanley.
Discovered and mapped by the Portuguese in the 16th century, Stanley's attractions as a place to settle were its sheltered harbour and access to abundant fresh water and peat for fuel. It was a haven for sailors and ships on long passages around Cape Horn, or in search of the rich pickings of the Southern Ocean.
Stanley quietly flourishes these days, much smartened up. There's even a smattering of good restaurants, including one run by a Michelin-starred chef. Local ingredients are of extremely high quality, with fresh fish and seafood, and organic meat reared in the islands' clear air.
A star attraction for visitors is the little Falkland Islands Museum, run by the islands' own National Trust and located in the historic dockyard area. The museum promotes awareness of the history and heritage of the islands and safeguards it for the future. There are galleries covering social life (such as locals' radio and an early telephone exchange), maritime history (Stanley was an important port of call for intrepid seafarers, explorers and engineers, and something of a ships' graveyard for vessels who could go no further, including Brunel's magnificent 'SS Great Britain' - which ended her career as a warehouse near Stanley docks, was scuttled in 1937, recovered and brought to Bristol in 1970), the island's extensive natural history, the islands' role in the exploration of Antarctica, and the 1982 war with Argentina. There is a lot to see and absorb.
Much of the islands' social history revolves around the rural communities of 'the Camp', the Falklanders' term for everywhere on the islands that isn't Stanley.
There is a post office catering for philatelists with special Falkland Islands stamps, and craft shops selling locally-made woollens from high quality local yarns.
The 1982 Falklands War is strong in the memory of many islanders and is suitably commemorated.