Sight seeing

Emancipation Memorial

Hwy 5 and ABC Hwy, St. Barnabas Roundabout, Barbados

ST. MICHAEL. This inspirational statue depicts Bussa, the man who, in the early 19th century, led the first rebellion of Bajan slaves. Looking out over the cane fields outside of Bridgewater, this memorial is a sobering reminder of the island’s history.

Harry Bayley Observatory

Hwy 6, Outside Bridgetown, Barbados · 246-426-1317

Take advantage of your far-south latitude and visit this observatory – the only one in the East Caribbean. Harry Bayley, who also founded the Barbados Astronomical Society, built it in 1963. Your Friday night visit will begin with a half-hour educational video. Then you will ascend to the rooftop observation post where the 14-inch reflector telescope is located. When it’s not your turn to examine the heavens, be sure to note the lovely nighttime view of Bridgetown.

Heritage Park and Rum Factory Foursquare Plantation

, Barbados · 246-420-1977

ST. PHILIP. This distillery is the island’s first since the 1800s. Built in 1996, it’s located on 8 acres of the former Foursquare Plantation, a 350-year-old molasses and sugar plantation. Some of the buildings on the site were built in the 17th century. The distillery produces ESA Field, a well-regarded white rum. Also on the property is a café serving refreshments, a small folk museum with exhibits about early plantation life, and a shopping area displaying Bajan crafts.

Houses of Parliament

Bridgetown, Barbados · 246-426-5331

The Barbadian government is the third oldest in the entire British Commonwealth. This massive Gothic building, erected in 1874 to house the Senate and House of Assembly, is made of local coral limestone. A series of stained glass windows depicts British kings and queens and biblical quotations. An observation deck is available for visitors to witness the action – call to find out the day and time of the next session.

Mt. Gay Distilleries

Spring Garden Hwy, Barbados · 246-425-8757

Admission to this working distillery includes an informative 40-minute tour and a free taste of the rum they produce. Tours with a buffet lunch and steel band entertainment are also available.

National Heros Square

between Parliament and Careenage, Bridgetown, Barbados

This square, renamed in 1999, was originally called Trafalgar Square. Its location marks the center of Bridgetown. A statue of Lord Horatio Nelson predates London’s statue of the same man by 27 years. The square is also home to a war memorial and a fountain celebrating the 1865 advent of running water on the island.

Needham’s Point and Lighthouse

Carlisle Bay, South End, Barbados

This point is home to the island’s second oldest (but smallest) lighthouse, built in 1865. Red brick buildings that housed troops in the 1800s are also still standing, and Charles Fort is on view. The largest fort constructed during the 17th and 18th centuries, it was named for King Charles II of England. The adjacent beach is popular with locals and cruise ship passengers; changing rooms and showers are available.

Barbados National Trust Walks

, Barbados · 246-426-2421

The Barbados National Trust owns and operates many of the island’s important historical sites. Every Sunday, January through March, they offer two, free guided tours through some of the most beautiful sections of the island. An early bird hike is scheduled for 6am with another hike at 3:30pm. Tours usually cover about five miles and last for roughly three hours. Groups are divided into slow, medium and fast walkers. Call for routes and meeting locations.

Francia Plantation

Near Gun Hill, Barbados · 246-429-0474

ST. GEORGE. This still-operating plantation was opened to the public in 1989, although it is still owned and occupied by relatives of the original owners. The house was built in 1913 and blends traditional West Indian architecture with European influences. Several rooms in the house are available for tour. In the dining room, you will see the family silver and an 18th century clock. Notice the artwork hanging on the walls – one of the West Indian maps was printed in 1522. The grounds feature a self-guided tour along a nature trail; several artifacts, discovered on the plantation, are on display.

Gun Hill Station

Hwy 4, Barbados · 246-429-1358

ST. GEORGE. Visit this spot on a clear day – the views are amazing and stretch from east to west. This signal station was built in 1818 as a communication point and station for sick British soldiers. The Barbados National Trust owns and operates the station, which is one of only two such stations still in existence on the island. Be sure you examine the huge lion carved from a single rock. Captain Henry Wilkinson completed it in 1868 during his off-duty hours. The old military kitchen is now a snack bar serving refreshments, and a gift shop is available for souvenir buying.

Morgan Lewis Mill

Hwy 2, Farley Hill, Barbados

ST ANDREW. This is the best-preserved mill in the entire Caribbean. Dutch-style mills of this type began replacing less efficient cattle-powered mills around 1798. The Morgan Lewis mill was able to extract up to 65% of sugar found in the cane. Photos and sugar-manufacturing antiques, such as yokes and ladles, are on display. Be sure to climb to the top of the mill for an excellent, panoramic view.

Sam Lord’s Castle

Long Bay, Barbados · 246-423-7350

ST. PHILIP. Legend has it that Sam Lord used to hang lanterns in palms on the beach below where his castle now stands. Ship captains thought the lights signaled Carlisle Bay and would anchor offshore. Sam and his compatriots would then seize the ships and their treasure. By 1820, Sam had enough loot to erect this amazing structure, referred to as a “castle” because of its classic, notched battlement-style roof. Workmen from England and Italy helped create the spectacular interior woodwork and plaster ceilings. The ceiling in the saloon is a replica of one in Windsor Castle. Some of Sam’s furniture is still on display, including a massive brass-accented, claw-foot dining table. Some of the furniture, artwork and gilt mirrors are rumored to have been taken from ships that Sam pillaged.

St. Nicholas Abbey

Near Cherry Tree Hill, Barbados · 246-422-8725

ST. LUCY. This spectacular home was never actually an abbey – a previous owner just liked the sound of the name! Built in 1650, this is the island’s oldest great house and is thought to be one of only three Jacobean-style houses still standing in the Western Hemisphere. The first floor, decorated with period furnishings, is fully restored and open to the public. An onsite café serves light lunches and afternoon tea.

Sunbury Plantation House

, Barbados · 246-423-6270

ST. PHILIP. A fire in 1995 destroyed all of Sunbury Plantation except the thick stone outer walls. However, the 300-year old home has been fully restored to its previous splendor and is the only great house in Barbados with all rooms open for viewing. This museum provides a glimpse of life on an 18th or 19th century Bajan sugar plantation. Period furnishings and old prints decorate the interior, and old carriages and agricultural vehicles provide a glimpse of working life. A wonderful restaurant serves lunch and dinner, and the plantation sponsors a weekly candlelight dinner served on a 200 year old mahogany table – call ahead for times and reservations.

Tyrol Cot Heritage Village

Codrington Hill, Barbados · 246-424-2074

ST. MICHAEL. This historic house belonged to Sir Grantley Adams, leader of the Bajan independence movement, and was the birthplace of his son Tom, the second Prime Minister of Barbados. The Palladian-style house was built in 1854 of native coral stone. You may tour the home and view the Adams’ beautiful antiques and other artifacts. The adjacent four-acre estate has been turned into a “heritage village,” representing life in a Barbadian town circa 1920. Blacksmiths, potters and craftsmen work in the former chattel houses, and you may buy their wares. A café serves refreshments.

Barbados Museum

Hwy. 7, Garrison Savannah, Barbados · 246-427-0201

ST. MICHAEL. Located in the former British military prison, the museum opened its doors in 1933. Exhibits detail the island’s development from prehistoric to modern times. You will see artifacts from the Arawak culture dating to 400BC. Also on display are slave journals, West Indian maps, cane-harvesting tools, and decorative and fine art. The museum also features a children’s gallery, gift shop and a wonderful café where you can rest and refresh with a soda or coffee.

Harrison’s cave

Welchman Hall Gully

With an abundance of stalactites, stalagmites, streams, lakes and waterfalls, leading speliologists consider it to be among the finest showcases in the world. The Caves are located near the geographical centre of Barbados, in the parish of St. Thomas and are a natural phenomenon affording an experience unique in the tropical world: a trip aboard a special tram through the exciting subterranean stream passages!

History tour of Bridgetown

George Washington House

North Point

The Concorde Experience

St John’s Parish Church

Wildlife Reserve

Codrington College

Sanddines Restaurant and Bar

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~ by jeditopcat on 8 November, 2008.

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