History, sights and cultural activities in Barbados

Barbados gained independence from Britain in 1966 and is probably best known for its Caribbean beaches, the sugar cane industry, superstar Rihanna, and thanks to the island’s colonial history, cricket. That’s not a bad line-up considering the island is just 34 kilometres by 23 kilometres.

But with 97 kilometres of wonderful coastline almost entirely enriched by coral reefs, it’s perhaps not surprising that tourism, not sugar, is now the dominant industry in this picturesque country. Apart from relaxing on the stunning tropical beaches, exploring wonderful marine life or taking part in many of the watersport opportunities, what are some of the top cultural offerings of this sub-tropical island?

Musical heritage and the Crop Over Festival

In the month of July 85,000 people from all over the world descend on the most popular event in Bardados. Revellers line Spring Garden Highway in Bridgetown to watch the Grand Kadooment Carnival Parade, which is the finale of the annual Crop Over Festival. This is the culmination of a month of carnivals, live bands, music competitions and more throughout the area.

The sugar cane industry - a tour down memory lane

On a trip to Barbados you’ll no doubt taste the locally produced rum in many traditional drinks and cakes. To enjoy a tour of a fully functioning rum facility, head to the world famous Mount Gay Rum Distillery in Bridgetown.

In contrast to the rum industry, the sugar cane industry has seen major decline, leaving behind a residue of grand properties that are a must visit. The parish of St Peter is home to St Nicholas Abbey, which used to be at the heart of a huge sugar cane plantation and small refinery.

The beautiful house, built in 1658, is one of the few original Jacobean style houses in the Western Hemisphere. Explore the inside and manicured gardens, which even include an old windmill. The owners screen an interesting family film from the 1930s showing the sea voyage to Barbados from England, and life on the former plantation.

Also in St Peter is Farley Hill National Park, once the grounds of a rich plantation house, which was reduced to a shell after a fire. The remains are nestled among flowers on the picturesque hillside garden, which is surrounded by a 17-acre park filled with a forest of mahogany trees. Stand behind the house to enjoy the wonderful views of the ocean and rolling palm-covered hills.

Explore a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Barbados' capital city - Bridgetown

Take a wander around lovely Bridgetown, an area dominated by colonial architecture indicative of its British heritage. The main duty free shopping area, Broad Street is in the centre, but once you’ve satiated the desire to buy, there’s plenty more to see.

Also in the centre sits the Jewish Synagogue. Built in the 17th century, this pink-coloured temple is one of the oldest synagogues in the Western Hemisphere, and is a Barbados National Trust protected site. It has an important history as in 1660 saw the arrival of 300 Jewish people from Brazil, who were fleeing persecution from the Dutch. Skilled in the sugar industry, they pioneered the crop, passing on their knowledge to Barbados landowners.

The UNESCO protected Parliament Buildings are another must see. Two spectacular neo-Gothic-style structures made of coral limestone house a gallery and museum. Here visitors can learn about the Island’s history from the early days of settlement to Independence. Entry includes a tour of the Parliament Buildings.

Just three kilometres from here is the Garrison area. It’s dominated by a historic racecourse and features many historical buildings that housed the regiment units of the British Garrison, including the now home of the Barbados Museum. This is also where the Barbados flag was raised to usher in independence from Britain.

Holiday Hypermarket is a trading name of TUI UK Retail Limited.
Registered office: Wigmore House, Wigmore Lane, LUTON, LU2 9TN.
Company Number: 01456086.

Book with confidence. We are a Member of ABTA which means you have the benefit of ABTA’s assistance and Code of Conduct. All the package and Flight-Plus holidays we sell are covered by a scheme protecting your money if the supplier fails. Other services such as hotels or flight on their own may not be protected and you should ask us what protection is available.

 

All the flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Some of the flights on this website are also financially protected by the ATOL scheme, but ATOL protection does not apply to all flights. This website will provide you with information on the protection that applies in the case of each flight before you make your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.caa.co.uk. ATOL protection does not apply to the other holiday and travel services listed on this website

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and National Travel Health Network and Centre have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information check www.gov.uk/travelaware and follow @FCOTravel and Facebook.com/FCOtravel. More information is available by checking https://www.holidayhypermarket.co.uk/holidays/know-before-you-go. Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting www.travelhealthpro.org.uk. The advice can change so check regularly for updates.