15 January 2018
Barbados must be seen and experienced to be believed. In this sun-dappled destination set aside time in your itinerary to get out and explore the island from your hotel, opening up everything from prized beaches to adrenaline-inducing adventures for your family holiday!
Here are suggestions on what to see and do on Barbados, depending on where you’re staying…
There are so many intriguing attractions on your doorstep in the capital Bridgetown. Immerse yourself in the island’s fascinating yet haunting past by touring colonial architecture like the Parliament Buildings and George Washington House. Head up to the Mount Gay Rum Distillery and sample varieties of Barbados’ most famous product. Spend the day at the Bridgetown Market where you can pick up local produce, jewellery, arts and crafts and even fine art for reasonable prices. Cap off your trip with a spectacular catamaran cruise across Caribbean waters from Bridgetown Harbour!
Find the quintessential family holiday in St James, a Parish renowned for the sugary-white shores of its ‘Platinum Coast’. It’s Payne’s Bay beach, based near luxury resorts like Sandy Lane, is ideal for families as its calm waters and shallow reefs are great for swimming and snorkelling, while you can jet ski, too. Your kids will love the Parish’s Folkstone Marine Park, where they can scuba dive among tropical fish and sea lilies. Chattel Village is another must-visit place, as this charming settlement boasts garishly-coloured shops selling local souvenirs and the iconic West Coast Boardwalk!
Relaxed cultural experiences are easy to find in northerly Speighstown. Transport your family to a bygone era at the Arlington House Museum, a restored 18th century building with historical exhibits. Get a taste of local Barbadian life by heading to Speightstown’s jetty to shop at brightly coloured stalls while watching fisherman unload their daily catches. This area is home to the secluded Heywood Beach where you can lie on golden sands, or travel slightly up the coast to the iconic Animal Flower Cave, where you can glide in underwater pools and observe sea anemones.
Adventurers, ride those highs in Bathsheba! Most famously this area is home to Bathsheba Beach, whose choppy waves are perfect for surfing. Nearby discover the spectacular Flower Forest, a nature reserve which is dotted with brightly coloured exotic species like spiral tiger lilies. For a calmer adventure stroll among the quiet beaches of Cattlewash in the light Atlantic breeze, or visit the Sunbury Plantation House which dates back to the 17th century! Just beyond Bathsheba you’ll discover the legendary Harrison’s Cave, where you can walk amid towering crystalline columns!
Various attractions can be included in your schedule if you’re staying in Barbados’ southern Christ Church Parish. You can experience rich local culture in the town of Oistins, beloved by foodies for its fish frys. Choose from a range of pristine shores including hobie cat sailing and boogie boarding hotspot Dover Beach and Miami Beach, where kids can wade in its calm shallow waters. Pick up souvenirs like necklaces in the shops of St Lawrence Gap, which resemble traditional Bajan chattel houses, or enjoy a picnic among pretty mangrove forests at Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary!
It’s easy to get around Barbados, and there’s so much more to see and do across this sunny paradise. You could organise a family hike up Mount Hillaby, the eastern Caribbean’s highest peak, and snap pictures of the cloud-shrouded landscapes below when you reach the summit. There are so many places which make spectacular backdrops for family pictures in Barbados including Andromeda Garden, where the paths are lined by tropical plants, and Orchid World which hosts various species of this exotic plant. Up the pace by organising a family day out to the Savannah Racetrack in Bridgetown where you can all test your luck, go star-gazing at the Harry Bayley Observatory or check the iconic St Nicholas Abbey off your bucket list!