Barbados shore experience top tips

02/05/2021

Barbados is a heady mix of wild beauty and upscale glamour, with something for everyone in between. Cheryl Franklin brings out the best of this captivating Caribbean island.

Cheryl Franklin

Local Caribbean travel expert

Q1 What do you love the most about Barbados?

Barbados is said to have more attractions per square mile than any other island in the Caribbean. This compact little island has an unlimited amount of fascinating experiences to encounter during the day and night, right through the year. There is truly something for everyone – and, of course, depending on the season, there are all sorts of special events taking place from sporting and musical to cultural and culinary.

Q2 Tell us about your favourite beach in Barbados

Barbados has scores of gorgeous beaches and bays, each one unique as a result of the island’s diverse coastlines. For a traditional beach day with a splash of magic, my choice would have to be a day splashing in the azure waters near Holetown on the island’s platinum coast. It’s an idyllic stretch of beach with calm turquoise waters that are crystal clear and ideal for snorkelling and sailing. What makes this beach particularly special is its location. Holetown is where the first settlers arrived in 1627, so it’s full of history. The beach is also within walking distance of boutiques, bars and restaurants – my favourite is Surfside Bar and Restaurant.

Q3 Where are your favourite lesser-known spots?

Several delightful island tours take visitors to off-the-beaten-path spots including the rugged east coast, known as The Scotland District. Several of the island’s most beautiful and alluring nature spots and natural wonders can be found here. I love Cattlewash, Bathsheba, Bath and lovely botanical gardens including Andromeda Gardens, Hunte’s Gardens, the Flower Forest and Welchman Hall Gully.

Q4 What should visitors do in the capital Bridgetown?

Bridgetown and its Garrison is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. One of the best ways to see the sights and enjoy our food culture is a walking food tour of Bridgetown and a visit to the historic Garrison.

Q5 What are some of the cultural attractions to see on the island?

There are many iconic heritage attractions to explore. St Nicholas Abbey is one of the oldest and most architecturally significant ‘great houses’ on the island and has an intriguing tale of love and murder; The 1727 Morgan Lewis Windmill is the only fully restored sugar mill in the Caribbean; a walking food tour of Bridgetown and a visit to the historic Garrison is a must – both have been designated UNESCO world heritage sites. For those with a sense of adventure, visit Harrison’s Cave to crawl and slide your way through a network of passages and underground waterways.

Q6 What’s the vibe like in the evenings?

The trendy St Lawrence Gap on the south coast has an array of stylish hotels, bars, clubs and restaurants and is a hive of activity any night of the week and a bar-hopper’s dream come true. On the west coast, there’s the charming and quaint 2nd Street in Holetown. It’s a lively avenue with a variety of find and casual dining options. I’d also recommend a sunset catamaran sail, a moonlit hike with the Barbados National Trust, or a trip to the Globe Drive-In (Barbados is one of the few places where you can still watch a movie in a real outdoor cinema under the stars). And if you’re here on a Friday night, don’t miss the weekly Friday Night Fish Fry in the fishing village of Oistins – the whole place transforms into a street-food haven and party.

Q7 Can you recommend a good souvenir that supports local communities?

A visit to a local potter is a special and unique experience. The village of Chalky Mount in the heart of the Scotland District has many incredible displays of local handcraft. Elsewhere, you’ll find Hamilton’s Pottery next door to Harrison’s Cave and Earthworks Pottery not too far away.