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    home >> barbados >> st michael >> sightseeing & tours

BARBADOS - Sightseeing tours

The Inner Bridgetown Tour.


Broad Street Broad Street, as already mentioned, is Bridgetown's main street, filled with banks, department stores and duty free shops. There are also many interesting statues and buildings, including Nelson's imposing presence and the adjacent Parliament Buildings, the War Memorial and the Public Library. The National Trust has described this zone as a protected area, requiring preservation due to its typical architecture. The Trust is actively investigating areas of interest that are in a state of poor repair, with the aim of ensuring that they are upgraded and maintained as part of our heritage.

The Old Eye Hospital, (once the home of the Chief Pilot whose job it was to guide all warships in and out of the Carlisle Bay,) falls into this category.


Across the bridge from Broad Street is Independence Square, a car park by day and popular meeting place at night, especially for political rallies. If by chance you get approached by an over enthusiastic car washer, be firm if your car is clean! If you make use of his services the usual charge is BDS $5.


The bus station faces Independence Square, and is a constant hustle and jostle of buses and commuters going back and forth. A vital link for any visitor wanting to travel around the island under their own steam.


Situated south of St. Mary's Church, these buses serve all north bound routes.


This is Bridgetown's oldest public market and here you can browse around the stalls for anything from fresh produce to clothing. The old time market atmosphere creates a typical Caribbean scene.


Caribbean Cricket

The Garrison home to the Barbados Turf Club

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This market is situated next to the bus station, a good place to wander through colorful stalls selecting locally grown fruit and vegetables. Test out your ability to understand the local dialect, email us on return and let us know how you got on!


Around 1628 approximately 300 Dutch Jews, escaping religious persecution in Recife, Brazil, settled in Barbados. These were the Dutchmen who introduced sugar to the island, they were experienced and knowledgeable and made the sugar industry one of the most successful in the world. Following extended civil rights in 1831 the Jews were given the right to vote or be elected as members of the House of Assembly. By then they had built a reputation for being successful in business and commerce and Swan Street, where many of their popular shops and businesses were situated, was latterly called Jews Street. The Jewish Synagogue built in 1654 was a beautiful building, an impressive spectacle surrounded by five cemeteries and large overhanging trees. The original building was destroyed by 'the great' hurricane of 1831 and the present building was erected in 1833. In the early 1900's the practicing Jewish community dwindled, the building fell into disrepair and was sold in 1929. In the 1980s, after the building had become derelict, the local Jewish community launched a restoration programme to rejuvenate their synagogue. With its beautiful Gothic arches and splendid interior it is now a Barbados National Trust protected building and an active synagogue. Visitors are welcome.

NelsonIn pleasant contrast to the rapidly modernising Broad Street, visitors can step back in time and visit the statue of Horatio Lord Nelson situated at the very top of Broad Street. It was erected in 1813, some three decades before the London version. Locals proudly believed that they were the first to put up such a monument, however they were in fact the third, after Montreal and Birmingham. Sculpted in bronze by Sir Richard Westmacott, it is considered an excellent likeness of the British Admiral. Despite the growing feeling in recent years against glorifying our past colonialism, Horatio is a reminder of our varied history. He now backs Broad Street, facing the War Memorial which was erected to commemorate the courageous Barbadians who fought in World War 1 . Unveiled in 1925, the names of our dead are inscribed on bronze panels. Another panel was added in 1953 to honour those who lost their lives in World War II. The nearby fountain, called the Dolphin Fountain, was installed in 1865 to hail the arrival of piped water into Bridgetown. The garden itself and the enclosure came slightly later, the earliest work beginning in 1882.
PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS Our neo-Gothic style House of Assembly dates back to 1871, some 240 years after Parliament was established in Barbados. The clock and bells were imported from England in 1875. Magnificent stained glass windows represent the English monarchs from James 1 to Queen Victoria. It is interesting to note that Oliver Cromwell is depicted on one of the stained glass windows, in spite of strong Royalist support during the English Civil War.


The National Trust has listed St. Michael's Cathedral, the Masonic Temple and Cathedral Square as places worthy of preservation due to their historic and architectural interest.


Opposite Parliament Buildings you will find the interesting little harbour called the Careenage. It is spanned by two bridges which create an inner and outer basin. The Charles Duncan O'Neal bridge is named after the father of modern democracy in Barbados. The Chamberlain bridge is named after Joseph Chamberlain, the great Colonial Secretary who saved the West Indies at a time in their history when they were threatened by beet sugar, which was produced and still is in Europe. His name goes down in history for the financial aid he secured for our county that enabled it to recover from the disastrous hurricane of 1898.

The Careenage got its name because schooners were able to "careene" and have their bottoms cleaned and painted. For some three hundred years the Careenage housed and sheltered these small ships loaded with cargo and passengers. Today the schooners have been replaced by luxury yachts and cabin cruisers.

Along the dockside you can still see some of the original massive warehouses, those that remain are now protected by the Barbados National Trust. Some house shops, cafes and restaurants, a delightful place to watch the world go by.

The Inland Tour from Bridgetown. >

QUEEN'S PARK Just five minutes walk from the hustle and bustle of the town brings you to Queens Park. Adjacent to the Park is the main building of the Ministry of Agriculture, with its Gate House facing the old Queens College. It is famous as the official residence of the General that commanded the Imperial Troops stationed in Barbados in 1906. When the Park was handed over to The Parks and Beaches Commission in 1970 it was in a terrible state of repair. The buildings and trees had been badly damaged by the 1955 hurricane and little had been done to restore it. The Commission took up the gauntlet and with energy and enthusiasm restored the buildings that now house an impressive exhibition hall and theatre. Trees were cleared and replanted and the park has been transformed into a pleasant haven where locals and visitors can seek shade under the baobab tree and escape from the hot midday sun. There is a restaurant in the park and plenty of benches where you can sit and enjoy the lovingly restored fountains and flower gardens. QUEEN ELIZABETH HOSPITAL On your right as you pass Queens Park you will find the road that leads to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. This is our main 24 hour accident and emergency hospital, opened by Queen Elizabeth in the 60's. Visit their web site:-
Eastward along Constitution Road lies the picturesque suburb of Belleville. Eleven tree lined avenues are flanked by Barbadian style Victorian villas. Designed as a residential area in 1880, today Belleville has been taken over by lawyers, doctors, dentists and advertising agencies.


From Belleville you can head to Two Mile Hill where you will find Ilaro Court, the official residence of the island's Prime Minister. This stately home was designed in 1919 by Lady Gilbert Carter, the American wife of Sir Gilbert Carter, the governor of Barbados from 1904 to 1911. The solid coral stone structure combines luxurious architecture with a wealth of beautiful antique furniture. It was purchased by the government in 1976 and its grounds are opened to the public for charitable events.


This is a world class conference facility which was exclusively designed with state of the art technology. It was opened in 1994, and can accommodate any size of group, up to as many as 1,200 people, in a theatre style arrangement. There is also ample floor space for large exhibitions.

Built in 1760 and carefully and loving restored by the National Trust in 1997, it is now the headquarters of this valued organisation. This traditional Great House, once in the middle of a sugar plantation, is a showpiece for the Trust's collection of antique furniture.

The Highway 7 from Bridgetown to Hastings Tour.
THE ESPLANADE Situated on the waterfront with its own bandstand and a splendid view of the still waters of Carlisle Bay, the Esplanade is an ideal spot to walk and watch as the sun sinks behind the numerous luxury yachts moored off shore.

( List of places of interest on Esplanade to be added.)


Approached by a sweeping semi-circular driveway, bordered with a variety of tropical flowers and shrubs, the government buildings enjoy an excellent panoramic view of Carlisle Bay. There is also an impressive life size statue of Sir Grantley Adams. Although the building is a modern, functional building the setting gives it a certain attractiveness. YACHT CLUB

Sunset over the Yacht Club Opposite Crofton's House (legend has it that George Washington stayed here on his visit to our island shortly before he became the first American President) is the Yacht club, now a private club. It was once the official residence of the officer commanding the Royal Engineers. Today, locals enjoy a game of tennis, go for a sail or simply relax under the shade of the trees prior to a little dip in the calm, warm ocean.


The Barbados Museum, once a military prison, is one of several buildings that make up the historic St. Ann's Garrison area. The oldest part of the building was constructed around 1820. It is a fine example of Georgian architecture, with a pleasant courtyard used for cultural activities and a café shaded by trees. The two wings at the rear were built in 1817 and the main block completed in 1853. The prison was leased to the Barbados Museum and Historical Society in 1933. The Museum has a number of galleries which depict the island's rich, fascinating and diversified history, including a Children's Gallery, a Map Gallery and a Temporary Exhibition Gallery. The Barbados Museum is ever evolving, taking an active role in numerous activities organised to bring our history to life. Here you can experience West Indian life dating back to the 17th. century and before, with artifacts used by the Amerindians, the early inhabitants of the Caribbean islands. There are also books, maps, photographs, genealogical records, and archival documents, collections of china, glass and silver, as well as African, European and Creole decorative arts, plus several rooms furnished in the style of an eighteenth century plantation house. If you have archaeological interests why not volunteer to work on an archaeological excavation. Alternatively a visit to our Research Library is a fascinating experience. The Museum Shop carries a wide range of West Indian books, reproductions of maps, a splendid array of Barbadian craft, jewellery, and specially designed T-shirts. Look out for the Heritage Gift Collection and the Classic Card Collection. The Cafe offers lunches, teas, or a quick snack. Special rates for groups and a special educational programme for schools are available. Every Thursday evening the Pinelands Creative Workshop puts on a show in the courtyard of the Museum called 1627 and All That. This is a colourful folkloric production of song and dance illustrating Barbados's history.

In December the museum organises a Fine Craft Festival of local art and craft. The Museum is open Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm (Except Bank Holidays), and on Sundays from 2 pm to 6 pm. Entrance Fee: Adults Bds.$11.50 and Children Bds.$5.

Tel: (246) 427-020 Fax: (246) 429-5946

The National Archives is also a useful source for those seeking genealogical information.

Phone: 246-425-1380
Fax: 246-425-5911

Visit one of our other museums to learn more about our history, heritage and culture.

Sunbury Plantation House Over 300 years old, featuring splendid mahogany antiques, old prints and a unique collection of horse drawn carriages.

The Hutson Sugar Museum Educating us as to how sugar was produced in Barbados in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

Tyrol Cot Heritage Village An attractive Palladian-style house, the home of the late Sir Grantley and Lady Adams and the birthplace of their son Tom, the second Prime Minister of Barbados. It has both architectural and historic value, and is now under the care of the Barbados National Trust. The interior is filled with antiques and memorabilia of the Adams era. There is also a modern 'Heritage Village' with local arts and crafts for sale. Don't miss the reproduction 1930's chattel house village where you can see firsthand the lifestyle of many black Barbadians at that time. You can purchase leather goods, ceramics and pottery, clothing, pieces of art and local confectionery. The traditional 'Rum Shop' serves sandwiches and traditional Bajan food including fish cakes.

Open Mon. - Fri. 9 am - 5 pm. Admission - Adults $11.50 and children half price.

MILITARY PRESENCE If the visitor has exhausted their tour of Bridgetown and environs, it must be time to venture further afield. As you proceed along Highway 7, past the Government Headquarters and the Yacht Club and up Garrison Hill, you will become more aware of the military presence which once dominated every aspect of life in Barbados. The main purpose of these troops was to defend the island from attack by the French.


St. Ann's Fort was built after the war with France started in 1688. Originally intended to be a 'little castle or detached bastion' to support Fort Charles, it was ultimately built as a one and one half acre stoall hexagon to the east of Fort Charles. Its construction was started in 1704 but was never completed according to the original plans. On one of its ramparts the Drill Hall was built, designed for the recreation of the troops. The fact that the main rampart survives to this day is testament to the ambitious plans once held for the Fort. Within St. Ann's Fort is the turret used to maintain communications between the Commander in Queen's House and the other signal stations around the island. Some of the walls are extremely thick, as much as 20 ft, and still house the store rooms, armoury and powder room, designed to meet the needs of the 4000 soldiers stationed in our land.

Drill Hall
Behind St. Ann's Fort, looking out to sea, is the cemetery where the soldiers were buried. The earliest burial was in 1820.


Barbados Defence ForceConstruction of the British Garrison, designed to house the British army, started in 1789, after the purchase of some 64 acres of land. The Garrison was described in its day as having one of the finest parade grounds in the West Indies. Today some of the existing buildings are still military barracks, housing the Barbados Defence Force. One of the most impressive buildings is the Main Guard, easily identified by its clock tower. This tower bears the date of 1803 and is presently undergoing renovation. In front of the clock tower you will find the Barbados Cannon Collection, one of the finest cannon collections in the world. It is one of only two collections that includes a gun with Cromwell's Republican Arms on it. After his death, all of Cromwell's possessions were destroyed and the Barbados cannon with his crest is the only one known to ever be found on land!

The Garrison Savannah home of  Barbados horse racing The Garrison Savannah is now the home of the Barbados Turf Club and is known throughout the West Indies as a top class horse racing track. Racing at the Garrison dates back to the early nineteenth century when the British Cavalry officers raced against the local plantation owners... the early days of the Barbados Derby.

Gold Cup day Barbados 2003

Barbadian jockeys are internationally famous, particularly in Canada. Fortunately those resident abroad still return for the big days.

Gold Cup day Barbados 2003
Barbadian racing has a high profile overseas and many visitors come exclusively for the racing.

Gold Cup day Barbados 2003
On major race days such as the prestigious Sandy Lane Gold Cup the Garrison comes alive with activity.

Click here
to view our Sandy Lane Gold Cup 2004 web site!

MALLALIEU MOTOR COLLECTION Mr. Bill Mallalieu has an interesting collection of automobilia and vintage cars, including a Daimler, Bentley, Triumph, Humber, and other unique cars.

The Bridgetown North to Holetown Tour.


Just north of the Oval cricket ground is a inlet of sea called the Shallow Draught. This is an excellent departure point for all types of fun tours and sailing trips.
MALIBU VISITOR CENTRE This is the home of Malibu Coconut Rum.
MOUNT GAY VISITOR CENTRE Experience the tradition of the world's oldest rum. See how it is blended, barelled and bottled. Understand the mystique of the rum which has delighted people all over the world for 300 years.

Click here to learn more...

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