Barbados is special because there is so much to see in such a small area. The landscape changes often from parish to parish and there are more attractions per square kilometer than in any other Caribbean island.
There are many ways to see the Island, and tours by Land Rover, coach, mini van, limousine, taxi or helicopter are available. Information at villa.
Andromeda Botanic Gardens in Bathsheba, St Joseph – Six acres of brilliant blooms and lush flora– the garden is home to a spectacular collection of heliconia, orchids, bromeliads, hibiscus, palms, and other tropical species.
Hunte’s Gardens – Centrally located in lush hills of St. Joseph’s, are conveniently accessible from all around Barbados. A picturesque and easy-to-walk path offers many surprises, thanks to the superbly created series of mini-gardens embedded within the main large unit, combining vibrant colours and textures of rare exotic plants to offer the visitor a most uplifting and fulfilling experience – www.huntesgardensbarbados.com
The Flower Forest – A must for flower lovers. This serene garden has some of the best views on the island. It overlooks the stunning Scotland District and the wild East Coast. You can walk along trails of this beautiful garden and admire the tropical blooms from all corners of the world.
Orchid World – Set amongst the sugar cane fields in the parish of St George. Thousands of orchids, vivid colours along the paths are unbelievable.
Earthworks – a working pottery producing unique green and blue coloured pieces.
The Garrison Historic Tour
Allows you to return to the past as they take you on a quest to discover the heritage of Barbados with one of the world’s oldest Military Garrisons and Cemeteries. Listen to stories of the past, as you board an old Barbadian bus.
On Sundays, Hike Barbados offers free hikes in the morning and afternoon to both visitors and locals. See the real Barbados learn interesting trivia from the extremely knowledgeable guides. Visit www.barbados.org/events
Among the sugar cane and woods in the interior of Barbados are a handful of historic houses, lovingly restored by their owners. Most began life as the homes of successful cane planters, with long, shaded verandas from where they could survey their estates and elegant dining rooms where they entertained. As the sugar business became more competitive, the homes lost their grandeur, but three are now more splendid than ever and open to the public.
Sunbury Plantation House in St Philip – in the South-East of the island, all the rooms are open for viewing, and are full of antiques, pictures and mementoes recalling 300 years of Barbadian affluence. The house is remarkably airy and, to add to the feeling of relaxation, a small restaurant and shop can be found in the garden behind the house. Tel: 423 6270 www.barbadosgreathouse.com
Fisherpond plantation house – In the centre of the island and also dating from the 17th century restored by John and Rain Chandler. They have filled it with period furniture, collections and paintings. Visitors can relive a bygone era by booking dinner at the house. Tel: 433 1754
Francia Plantation, just to the south, is still owned and occupied by descendants of the original planter and has spacious tropical gardens and terraced lawns to explore as well as the house. Inside, the panelled entrance hall, antique furniture, maps and prints and magnificent chandelier with etched hurricane shades all give proof as to why Francia has been designated a house of architectural interest by the Barbados National Trust. Tel: 429 0474
St Nicholas Abbey – never really an abbey; local speculation says it was just added to impress – in St Peter dates from around 1650. It makes a good addition to a day out along the East Coast, with spectacular hill top views on the drive there, of the panorama over wild Bathsheba. Tel: 422 8725
A less grand building design can be seen all over Barbados. The simple wooden, two-room chattel house was a worker’s home originally designed for portability in case of eviction by the all-powerful plantation bosses. First built from North American pine, the fronts were symmetrical with a central door and a window either side, a steep gabled roof on top. Often there’s a veranda out front and, increasingly de rigueur for some these days, a satellite dish. Few chattel houses are built now – sturdier concrete is favoured – but older examples still remain an attractive feature all over the island. Barbados National Trust Tel: 426 2421.
Malibu Beach Club and Visitor Centre – if you would like to learn how one of the world’s most popular rum is made and a chance to purchase from the gift shop an exciting array of Malibu souvenir items. There is a breathtaking beach where you can enjoy a cool Malibu cocktail.
Mount Gay Rum Tour and Gift Shop
First the history of Mount Gay, a lesson in refining, ageing, blending and bottling, then sampling. There is a gift shop and restaurant with a view of the sea. Enjoy.