Caribbean Tourism

Barbados

The National Trust

The National Trust runs an Open House programme of visits to interesting private houses on Wednesday afternoons from January to April every year (B$15, children 5-12 half price, B$6 for members of foreign National Trusts, see below, Boyces Garage do a tour plus entrance for B$35, T4251103. A National Trust Heritage passport is available, pick up a free...

The Easter Rebellion

The 1816 Easter Rebellion was an uprising by slaves who thought (incorrectly) that William Wilberforce had introduced a bill in the English parliament granting slaves their freedom. It was thought by the slaves that the Barbados plantation owners were denying them this freedom. Despite destroying a large acreage of cane fields, no owners or their families...

Excursions

Being the most easterly island and extremely difficult to attack, there are few defensive forts on Barbados. Instead the great houses of the sugar growing plantocracy give the island its historic perspective and most of its tourist attractions. Many parish churches are also impressive buildings. The island is not large but it is easy to get lost when...

Culture

Literature: Two Barbadian writers whose work has had great influence throughout the Caribbean are the novelist George Lamming and the poet Edward Kamau Brathwaite. Lamming’s first novel, In The Castle Of My Skin (1953), a part-autobiographical story of growing up in colonial Barbados, deals with one of the major concerns of anglophone writers: how to define...

The West Coast

The mass development of the west coast was carried out only recently. The beaches are easily eroded and can be covered with broken coral after storms. Pre-war, the area was regarded by the local Bajans as unhealthy. They preferred to go for their holidays to the east coast. Nowadays, the road north of Bridgetown on Highway 1 is wall to wall hotels. Highway...

Southeast Coast

The area around Six Cross Roads was where the Easter Rebellion of 1816 took place (see Easter). You can visit one of the great houses (Oughterson Plantation House is no longer in operation). Sunbury Plantation Turn north at Six Cross Roads for Sunbury Plantation. Some 300 years old, the house is elegantly furnished in Georgian style, much of it with...

The South Coast

Oistins Oistins, the main town in the parish of Christ Church, was named after Edward Oistine, a plantation owner in the area. It was important in colonial times as the place where the ‘Charter of Barbados’ was signed in 1652, giving the island to the Commonwealth Parliament. It is now the main fishing port. Christ Church parish church overlooks the town...

The Scotland District

St Nicholas Abbey Just to the northwest is St Nicholas Abbey which is approached down a long and impressive avenue of mahogany trees. Dating from around 1660, it is one of the oldest domestic buildings in the English-speaking Americas (Drax Hall, St George, open occasionally under the National Trust Open House programme, is probably even older). Three...

The Garrison Area

Cross the Careenage by the Charles Duncan O’Neale Bridge (one of the bus terminals and market area are just to the west) and follow Bay St around the curve of Carlisle Bay. You will pass St Patrick’s Cathedral (Roman Catholic), the main government offices with St Michael’s Hospital behind it before reaching the historic Garrison area. From here you can...

The Centre

Northeast of Holetown and reached from St Simon’s Church are Turners Hall Woods, a good vantage point. It is thought that the wood has changed little to that which covered the island before the English arrived. The 50-acre patch of tropical mesophytic forest has never been clear-felled (although individual trees were often taken out). You can walk over the...

The Atlantic Parishes

The five-mile East Coast Rd, opened by Queen Elizabeth on 15 February 1966 affords fine views. From Belleplaine, where the railway ended, it skirts Walker’s Savannah to the coast at Long Pond and heads southeast to Benab, where there is Barclays Park, a good place to stop for a picnic under the shady casuarina trees. A walk up Chalky Mount has been...

St Lucy

The road north of Speightstown is mercifully free of buildings and there is a good sandy beach on Six Men’s Bay. Go through Littlegood Harbour and notice the boat building on the beach. The jetty you can see is at Harrison Point. You are now entering the unspoilt (apart from Arawak Cement Plant) parish of St Lucy. Almost any of the roads off Highway 1b will...

Bridgetown

The capital, Bridgetown, is on the southwest corner of the island. The city itself covers a fairly small area. It is busy and full of life. There are no really large buildings except Tom Adams Financial Centre, which houses the central bank. The suburbs sprawl most of the way along the south and west coasts, and quite a long way inland. Many of the suburban...

Shopping

Prices are generally high, but the range of goods available is excellent. Travellers who are going on to other islands may find it useful to do some shopping here. If coming from another Caribbean island there are strict controls on bringing in fresh fruit and vegetables, because of the mealy bug infestation. The best stocked supermarket is JB’s Mastermart...

History

There were Amerindians on Barbados for upwards of a thousand years. The first Europeans to find the island were the Portuguese, who named it ‘Os Barbados’ after the Bearded Fig trees which grew on the beaches, and left behind some wild pigs. These bred successfully and provided meat for the first English settlers, who arrived in 1627 and found an island...