When visiting Barbados, Bridgetown is an obvious place to start your adventure, with historic sites and an energetic vibe.
However, this beautiful island of ours has so much more to offer if you venture a little bit outside of the capital, and you can navigate most of the island in a couple of hours by car.
So jump off that sun lounger, put down your rum punch and check out some of the best things to do in Barbados beyond Bridgetown.
Discover Local Flora & Fauna
If you’re particularly green-fingered, you might wish to explore some of the island’s abundant plant life.
In particular, the Andromeda Botanic Gardens and Hunte’s Garden are gorgeous and lush places to go for a walk, and you may even be able to catch a word with Anthony Hunte himself.
Welchman Hall Gully is another local forest cave, where you’ll find no less than 2,100 species of exotic plant, as well as the odd green monkey!
Finally, Harrison’s Cave is the place to head to see ancient stalagmites and stalactites which are almost as old as the island itself.
Sample The Local Cuisine
While you can, of course, take in some of the local delicacies without leaving Bridgetown, to do so would mean missing out on some of the island’s true delights!
For example, to eat like a true local, head up the coast to Speightstown and check out the Fisherman’s Pub for local specialities such as cou-cou and pepper pot.
If you’re looking for something a bit upmarket, head to The Cliff in St James (where you might even spot a celeb or two), or Daphne’s in Paynes for a more romantic meal.
Don't Forget The Drink!
Of course, no trip to Barbados is complete without trying some of the local rum, so why not head out to the Foursquare Rum Distillery and try their famous Rum Sixty Six?
It’s one of the last few family owned distilleries in the Caribbean and offers free signposted walking tours.
Experience A 'Lime'
No, it’s nothing to do with citrus, in Barbados, a ‘lime’ actually refers to a party. One of the best places to experience a true Bajan lime is at Oistins Fish Fry, a fish market in Christchurch which comes alive with Calypso music and dancing when the sun goes down.
And if you want to keep the party going late into the night, head down to St. Lawrence Gap where you’ll find a range of local bars and clubs.
Speightstown is a quaint port town in the north-west of the island which is actually twinned with Reading!
One of the main attractions here is the Arlington House, an old 18th-century house which now hosts a three-storey museum, with exhibits about local life and the sugar trade, as well as the slave trade.
The town itself also makes a nice day out, and can make you feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of Bridgetown.
Visit A Plantation House
Speaking of the island’s plantation history, there are a number of plantation houses dotted around the island.
For example, the Sunbury Plantation House in St. Philip boasts an impressive collection of antiques and horse-drawn carriages, and you can even book in for a candlelit dinner!
Further north you can find the Fisherpond Great House, championed by none other than Michael Winner!
Surf Off The East Coast
For surfing, look no further than the island’s East Coast, which holds numerous surfing championships.
Bathsheba, in particular, is known as the home of the famous ‘Soup Bowl’ reef break, and is only for those who are experienced on the waves.
Even if surfing isn’t your thing, the beautiful coastline is worth seeing regardless.
Explore The West Coast
And on the opposite side of the island, you’ll find the island’s ‘Platinum Coast’, favoured by the rich and famous.
Dotted with swanky hotels and restaurants, the island’s West Coast is the perfect place to feel like a celebrity for the day, with the Lime Grove for designer shopping, and high-end resorts such as The House (which is for adults only!).
Take A Catamaran Trip
With its slightly calmer waves, the West Coast is also the perfect place to take in a catamaran trip and explore the waters surrounding the island.
If you want, you could also try scuba diving and get up close and personal with the likes of sea horses, turtles and maybe even the odd shipwreck.
Experience The Island’s Premier Nightlife Hideaway
While Bridgetown is home to some excellent nightspots, we’d recommend heading a little further afield to the Red Door Lounge, hidden away in Holetown on the trendy Second Street.
It’s an intimate and exclusive venue, featuring DJs, bands and singers through the night.
Take In A Segway Tour
If you want to explore the island in a slightly different way, why not try a Segway tour?
There are a number of routes you can take, but the rural north is one of the most popular, with impressive views of the coastline, lush pastures and numerous stop-off points such as Little Bay, home to natural pools and blow holes.
The rest of the island is perfect for a hike, with various cane fields, gullies, tropical forests and coastal villages to explore to your heart’s content.
Not only is it a great way to get up close with the landscape, people and wildlife of this beautiful country, but it’s also a good way to burn off some of those cocktails and that jerk chicken!
Hire A Car
If you really want to explore the island at your own pace, there’s no better option than to hire out your own car.
With numerous car hire companies, there are plenty of options available, from cool air conditioned models to rugged jeeps and the quirky Moke.
You could even hire your own personal driver!
Find A Secluded Beach
We all know how stunning the beaches in Barbados can be, but don’t you ever just want a bit of peace and quiet?
If you’re happy to travel a little bit out of the way you can find some extremely peaceful and secluded beaches, such as the Crane Beach in the south-east, which has been named among the top ten in the world.
If you head to the north, you’ll be rewarded with amazing views and secluded coves all to yourself!
Charter A Fishing Boat
If fishing is your thing, there are numerous fishing operators on the island who will offer you a true once in a lifetime deep sea fishing opportunity, where you can catch the likes of barracuda, tuna, wahoo, dolphinfish and blue and white marlin.
The best time to go fishing in Barbados is generally between January and April, when all of the fish game are in season.
Check Out The Local Art
For such a small island, Barbados is home to some impressive artistic talent, from local potters to fashion designers, poets and painters.
We’d recommend heading out to the Frangipani Art Gallery where you’ll see the works of local artist Marilda Weatherhead.
Go For A Round Of Golf
The island is also home to an impressive 18 hole golf course, designed by Ron Kirby, with a par of 72.
Crafted into the surrounding rolling hills, it’s truly one of the most spectacular courses you could ever wish to play a round of golf on,
Whether you’re an experienced old hand or a complete newcomer, the Barbados Golf Club is definitely worth checking out.
While Concorde may not have flown for many years now, you can still get up close and personal with it here in Barbados at the Concorde Experience at Grantley Adams airport.
This legendary aircraft is a true feat of modern engineering and it’s a fascinating experience to learn about how it was developed and experience what it would have been like to fly aboard.
Visit The Animal Flower Cave
On the northernmost point of the island you’ll find the stunning Animal Flower Cave, so named because of the sea anemones which you can find in its pools, some of which are deep enough to swim in.
The cave is also known for the openings in its walls which give great sea views, and the rock formations such as the lizard, turtle and hand, which have been coloured green and brown by the oxidation of copper and iron.
While cricket is undoubtedly the most popular sport in Barbados, and you should check out the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, polo is also very popular, so for something a bit different, why not take in a game at the Apes Hill Polo Club.
Give Watersports A Go
The waters that surround the island are perfect to try out something completely new, such as kayaking, windsurfing and kitesurfing, all of which offer a much more high-energy way to experience the beautiful turquoise waters.
You could even try ‘Jetblading’, a unique experience where you use a hydro jetboard to literally fly above the water!
Board A Submarine
What better way to get up close and personal with the marine life of Barbados without getting wet?
With Atlantis Submarines, the whole family can dive down 130 feet below the ocean and see all kinds of corals and fish, all while staying perfectly dry!
See Local Potters At Work
At the Earthworks Pottery studio, you can see local potters craft fully functional lines of dinnerware and serving pieces.
These handcrafted pieces have developed a worldwide reputation for quality and innovative design and we’re sure that even if you pop in to see how things are done, you’ll be tempted to make a purchase!
Feel The Need For Speed
Bushy Park is the home of the Barbados Festival Speed, and allows visitors a number of high-speed experiences such as getting behind the wheel of a go-kart, Suzuki Swift or Radical SR3.
Party With Pirates
If you’re after a party on the high seas, get on board the Jolly Roger where you can enjoy a glass of rum off the island’s West Coast.
The cruise not only allows you to swim with turtles in the crystal clear waters and take in the sights of the coast, but also has a fully stocked bar!
As you can see, there’s plenty more to this beautiful country than just Bridgetown, and with it all being so easy to access, there’s really no excuse not to get out there and explore.
After all, many of the best experiences often come from ripping up the schedule and embracing the unknown!