Getting to Know Barbados: A Day Out in Bridgetown
With a population of just 90,000, Bridgetown is not your average capital city. You won’t find here the urban sprawl and city grime you find in other capitals. What you are greeted with is the clean air, warm sunshine and an even warmer welcome from the locals. Here we’ll look at some of the great activities you can enjoy on a day out in Bridgetown.
Get to know the city’s history
Start your day off with a stroll around the historic centre of Bridgetown soaking up all the marvellous colonial architecture on display in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. There’s the famous Barbados Garrison with its impressive collection of cannons, the Parliament Building and the Independence Arch by the Chamberlain Bridge. Beautiful buildings are everywhere and it’s a great opportunity to take some memorable photos.
If you want to get to know the island’s history in a little more detail, you can take a look around the Parliament Building, visit the George Washington House, where Washington once stayed, or explore the Barbados Museum and Historical Society.
Pick up a duty-free bargain
If duty-free shopping is your thing, take a stroll down Broad Street and you’ll be able to snap up some great deals on luxury items. The Cave Shepherd Mall is a popular option for shopaholics and sells a wide range of famous brand items. Do remember to take your passport with you if you want to enjoy tax-free savings.
Visitors interested in genuine Barbadian arts and crafts should head for the Pelican Village Craft Centre. Here you’ll discover an array of crafts including fine art, batik, woodwork, metalwork, jewellery and even straw products. It’s a great place to buy your souvenirs and gifts for friends at home.
Taste the rum
As the makers of the world’s oldest rum, 310 years and counting, a stop off at the Mount Gay Visitors Centre is highly recommended. Here you can enjoy a traditional Bajan lunch, see how rum is made and get to savour the delights of our famous tipple for yourself. You can even learn how to mix rum cocktails.
With tastings taking place in lush green gardens overlooking the stunning Caribbean, this could be one of the most relaxed city experiences you ever have.
Have lunch at the Careenage
The Careenage is the place where the Constitution River meets the Caribbean Sea and was the place where the ships of the past used to load the island’s rum, molasses and other products for export. Today, this marina is the place where you’ll find many yachts, catamarans and fishing boats, some of which you can charter.
Take a stroll around the Careenage before stopping for lunch at one of the quayside restaurants, such as the Waterfront Café which offers splendid views of the marina.
Have fun at the races
For an exciting afternoon of equestrian sport, take a visit to the Garrison Savannah, home of The Barbados Turf Club. The club runs a busy calendar of racing events which are run on an oval racecourse set in the grounds of a stunning 18th Century former British Army garrison. This has been the home of the island’s horse racing since 1845 when wealthy locals joined British officers to race their horses across the parade ground.
Today, Barbadian racing is very popular and race days have a fun, festival feel. With lots of great food and drink to enjoy along with the thrilling races, it makes for a truly entertaining day. Who knows, you could even back a winner?
Walk along the beach at Carlisle Bay
No visit to Bridgetown could be complete without a look at Carlisle Bay, one of the most stunning beaches on the island. With soft sand and clear blue seas, it’s an ideal spot to kick off your sandals and take a relaxing stroll at the water’s edge. At the end of the day, this is perhaps the best place in Bridgetown to find a quiet bar, grab yourself a cocktail and watch one of the island’s famed sunsets as the golden rays disappear over the distant horizon.
If you have the time, Carlisle Bay is one of the best places to go snorkelling on the island. It’s got several shipwrecks in the shallow waters and there is sea life aplenty to spot, including turtles. There are also a variety of water sports to enjoy, which is a fun way to cool off on a hot afternoon.
Enjoy the Bajan food feast
Barbados has some truly astonishing Bajan street food and Bridgetown is one of the best places to find it. Popular with visitors are Bea's food stall, in Palmetto Square, which serves stewed meat, fish and local vegetables, Cuz’s Fish Shack which is renowned for its fabulous fish cutters (sandwiches) and Lobster Alive, a basic, down to earth restaurant that backs on to Carlisle Bay, which specialises in delicious, freshly caught lobster.
If you are looking for restaurants, the town has plenty of them, too, though some of the most upmarket ones tend to be on the coast a few miles from the centre of town. These include Cin Cin, Champers Restaurant and The Cliff.
If you are visiting Barbados, especially for the first time, then a day out in Bridgetown should definitely be something on your itinerary. Hopefully, the places we’ve mentioned here will help you plan an enjoyable excursion to our beautiful capital city.
For somewhere to stay in Barbados, take a look at the stunning villas and apartments here at the Royal Westmoreland on the island’s prestigious west coast.