Bridgetown, Barbados | Designer Travel

Bridgetown is often dismissed as an arrival or departure port for a Caribbean cruise…but as I discovered on a recent holiday to Barbados, it has a lot to offer.

Bridgetown is one of the oldest cities in the Caribbean, dating back to 1628. The historic city and its nearby Garrison offer a fascinating glimpse into British colonial history.

It is Barbados’capital and commercial centre and and a UNESCO world heritage site.

Somehow this little city manages to get away with having the inevitable share of modern, (unattractive) architecture because thankfully old balconied colonial buildings, rum shops and chattel houses still exist in abundance.

There is also much to see: The statue of Lord Nelson, erected in 1813, nearly 30 years before London’s Lord Nelson column, the imposing Parliament buildings and the National Heroes Square in front of them. Also in the square is Barbados’ war memorial. A number of the island’s major religious buildings are located within five minutes’ walk of the square, including St Michael’s Cathedral and a synagogue, both standing on the same sites since the mid-seventeenth century. Worth a look too is the Verandah Art Gallery, featuring the work of regional, local and visiting international artists. From fine art to ceramics, figurines to batiks, its all here.

The Chamberlain Bridge, opened in 1872 was a manually operated swing bridge, replaced with a modern lift bridge in 2006, and it leads from the town over the Constitution River into the inner basin of the Careenage (harbour) and is a perfect place to wander. There are boat trips and gift shops and cafes…a welcome place to take some refreshment before or after the has-to-be-done shopping!

Broad Street, is Bridgetown’s main shopping district, with its well-stocked duty-free shops, which are a great tourist draw, but if you head on a bit further you will come to Da Costa’s Colonnade, a vision in pink and white! Housing 35 stores, this is a building far more in keeping with the Caribbean. Down Swan Street, Roebuck Street or Tudor Street you will find smaller shops and businesses, and the very entertaining street vendors.

Bridgetown also has a local market district, selling everything from (some rather exotic)fruit and veg to local handicrafts, so giving us a real taste of Barbados.

Most of the Bridgetown places of interest are within easy walking distance of city centre, but if time allows the Garrison, which houses the Barbados Museum, The Mount Gay Rum Distillery and the Kensington Oval cricket ground are all worth a visit too, and can be easily reached by taxi. However if time allows catch a bus from Bridgetown’s huge central bus station…you can to get anywhere in Barbados from there…and the ticket price is only US$1…a real bargain!

So if you have a few hours to spare either on a Barbados holiday, or whilst your cruise ship is in port, Bridgetown has enough to keep you occupied and though busy has a laid back and friendly atmosphere.

If you’d like more information on Barbados, it will be my pleasure to assist. Call me on 023 80863663 anytime.


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