When you visit our sunshine Isle, Bridgetown is certainly high on the list of places to visit. Here our general manager, Kristin Boland, shares some of the sights to take in and things to do when you visit Bridgetown. Her insider’s guide to the colourful capital city of Barbados is a must when planning your visit.
Kristin says: “Bridgetown showcases all the atmosphere, colour and heritage you’d expect in the capital city. It’s the beating heart of Barbados. Home to a population of 110,000, it’s a vibrant mix of Bajan history and the modern world. A unique atmosphere where bustling street vendors meet shiny, commercial complexes.”
It was named Bridgetown because when the first settlers arrived in 1628, there was not much in the way of development aside from a single bridge. This was thought to have been erected by indigenous Arawak people. The settlers christened the area ‘Indian Bridge’. The name has since evolved, intermittently known as The Town of St Michael and now, it’s modern form, Bridgetown.
Explore Historic Bridgetown
First on Kristin’s suggestions of things to do when you visit Bridgetown, is it’s exploring its rich heritage. Historic or ‘Downtown’ Bridgetown and the Garrison is a unique part of Barbadian history. The streetscape was designed in 1657 and in 2012 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In this area, you’ll find here some of the greatest examples of colonial architecture and a well-preserved old town to explore, with buildings from throughout the centuries.
National Heroes Square
A statue of Lord Nelson can be found at this historic part of Bridgetown. He visited the island in 1805, although it is not celebrated by the people of Barbados who have petitioned for the statue to be removed. Other sights to see at National Heroes Square, include the Fountain Gardens and War Memorial at which Remembrance Day is held every year.
If you want a glimpse into the fabric of Barbadian lifestyle then visit the island’s most famous produce market where generations of families sell their wares to locals and tourists alike. A bustling, joyful hub in which to immerse yourself in Bajan culture. Here you’ll find whatever you need is on sale. Fruit, vegetables, crafts, leather, handmade goods, household staples and souvenirs – all exchange hands with a warm greeting from the locals.
The Careenage and Waterfront Cafe
Located in the heart of Bridgetown is the historic marina or Careenage. It was once the gateway for the world into the slave trade in Barbados. Today a plaque honours all those who were sold into slavery, as well as the brave souls who freed them. Sights to see here include the historic Chamberlain Bridge, which spans the water and gives the best vantage point to view the Parliament buildings nearby. Take a relaxing stroll along the boardwalk and watch the boats and catamarans bob gently on the water.
The Waterfront café at the Careenage is a favourite spot for lunch in Bridgetown. Serving up traditional Bajan cuisine in a relaxed, laid back atmosphere. It is a favourite haunt of Rihanna and other celebrities visiting the isle (when they are not dining at Lone Star of course!)
So, with a mix of history, shopping, food and culture, there are a wide range of things to do when you visit Bridgetown. It certainly is one of the main places to visit during your stay on Barbados. One of the best ways to take in the sights of Bridgetown is on a walking history tour with one of the island’s expert guides. If you’re staying at the Lone Star, please enquire about booking a tour. We’ll be more than happy to organise this for you.