Sightseeing Antigua

Posted by admin 0 Comment

This 108 square mile island paradise best known for its 365 beaches has so much to see beyond the white sand and
sparkling water! If you have been for your daily swim and beach nap why not rent a car or taxi and explore an old fort,
visit a village and learn from locals or just gaze out at a beautiful vista.

ARTS & CRAFTS MARKET (next to the fruit and vegetable market and near to the West Bus Terminal) – This is a delightful, colourful gathering of local artists actively working in their small shops producing 100 percent Antiguan products. Some
of these items are actually being made on the spot for you to see – natural vegetable based soaps; artwork done with fish
scales and sea shells; leather craft such as shoes, belts and bags; local hair accessories, old-time straw hats as well as
items made of canvas and other natural fabrics. You can even have a local dress made for you on the spot! You can find some
very reasonably priced keepsakes to remember your visit. Open Monday to Saturday.
PUBLIC MARKET – The market sits at the southern end of Market Street, and is a good place to sample Antigua’s unusual
fruit and vegetables. Especially lively on Fridays and Saturdays when you can feel the unchanged atmosphere of bygone days,
with the loud chatter of merchants plying their trade. Well worth an early morning visit. At the entrance to the market is a
massive, painted statue of Sir Vere Cornwall Bird, one of our national heroes.
CENOTAPH – Situated at the top of High Street, the war memorial to Antiguans who died serving in the First World War was unveiled in 1919. Remembrance Day is still celebrated annually with a service for those who gave their lives during
World War I and II.
MUSEUM OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA – This is another of those ‘don’t miss’ attractions of the island. Displays interpret
the story of the islands from their geological birth through political independence to the present day. Lively displays
include ancient tools and artifacts, shells, various flora and fauna, the island’s naval history, plus plantation and slavery history. On the second floor, visit the ‘Step Back in Time’, permanent exhibition. The gift and souvenir shop includes marvelous colour prints and etchings of 18th and 19th century Antigua, locally handmade pottery, handicrafts and books. The
Historical and Archaeological Society and the Environmental Awareness Group are also located on the premises. Admission
– US$3.00 or EC$8.00. Tel: 462 4930/1469.
GOVERNMENT HOUSE – is the office of the Governor- General of Antigua and Barbuda. Owing to its continual alterations
and additions, this house has an unconventional architectural history. It originally started out as two wooden buildings
side-by-side. Today, it possesses three fine interiors dating from 1800, with an imposing facade with a two-story colonnade.
It is currently being diligently restored to its former glory with plans for opening this very elegant building to the general
public. At present, visitors are welcome once they have arranged their visit beforehand.
ST JOHN’S CATHEDRAL – is between Newgate and Long Streets and was originally built of wood in 1681 as ordered by
governor, Sir Christopher Codrington. Destroyed by an earthquake in 1843, it was rebuilt in freestone and three years later
was opened for divine service and consecration on 25th July, 1848 (having been initially elevated to the status of a cathedral
in August 1842). The very majestic interior is completely encased in pitch pine, which is intended to secure it against
hurricanes and earthquakes. Some interesting memorial stones and many other objects of interest lie in this peaceful oasis,
designed by architect J. Fuller of Bath, England. Tall, bronze, white-painted figures of St. John the Baptist and St. John the
Divine stand atop the pillars of the iron south gates. This imposing baroque-style, twinspired structure still dominates the capital’s skyline. At present the cathedral is closed for major renovations.
FORT JAMES – is named after King James II, who reigned during the years the fort was being built. Work started in 1706 at the entrance to St John’s Harbour. Most of the buildings seen today date back to 1739. By 1773, thirty- six guns were mounted in place with barracks for about 75 men. In the 19th century, a gun was fired at sunrise, sunset and to salute visiting warships.
Presently there is one cannon (not serviceable) of 5 1⁄2’ bore.

DOW’S HILL INTERPRETATION CENTRE – Set on the hill on your way to Shirley Heights, this centre gives a wonderful historic summary of Antigua. The presentation, ‘Reflections of the Sun’, is a colourful journey through this island’s history.
Well worth a visit.
FORT BERKELEY – is situated on the western entrance to English Harbour on the narrow spit of land behind the Copper
and Lumber Store Hotel. Built in three stages between 1704 (21 years before the Dockyard was built) and 1745, it served
as the most critical defense to this landlocked harbour with 29 large cannons. A superb vantage point to view some of the
world’s most exotic and beautiful yachts under sail.
FORT GEORGE – At the summit of Monk’s Hill, this fort is one of the earliest attempts at fortifying the entrance to
Falmouth Harbour, begun in 1689. You must walk the last mile unless you have a good four-wheel drive vehicle. Ruins of
the original buildings, water cisterns, magazines and sites for the original 33 cannons can still be viewed, as well as
the terrific views of Falmouth Harbour and the surrounding countryside below. High walls of beautiful green stone (quarried
near Liberta village) surround the now somewhat overgrown eight acres on which the fort was built. On the eastern
end, you can see the footings of the original flagstaff on which signals were hoisted when enemy ships came into sight; it
ceased to be a signal station in 1923.
NELSON’S DOCKYARD – Absolutely not to be missed! This is the only surviving Georgian naval dockyard in the world.
The museum and several other restored buildings stand as a memorial to Admiral Horatio Nelson and the Royal Navy that
used it for many years during the Caribbean wars with the French, Spanish and Dutch in the 18th and 19th centuries.
This National Park houses restaurants, art, galleries, boutiques and gift shops. It is also the home of leading yacht charter
companies and headquarters for the annual Antigua Sailing Week Regatta. All buildings have been faithfully restored
with many fascinating facts and history detailed on mounted showboards. HIKING TRAILS IN THE NATIONAL PARK NELSON’S DOCKYARD – There are five walkable trails each up to 1 1/2 miles long into the hills around Nelson’s
Dockyard. Set in the National Park, the trails go through wooded valleys, across hill tops, past old fortifications with stunning
vistas that are seldom seen by visitors and few Antiguans. To find these trails, start at the entrance to the dockyard or the museum, and pick up a copy of ‘A Guide to the Hiking Trails in the National Park.’
BETTY’S HOPE – For more than 300 years, this prominent sugar plantation, located on the eastern side of the island, has played a leading role in and influenced the lives of many generations of Antiguans. Its unique twin mills sit amid gently rolling countryside and the north mill has been restored to be the only working sugar mill in the Caribbean.
CADES BAY PINEAPPLE STATION – During the 1940s, Cades Bay Pineapple Station was originally a district settlement
consisting of a number of small farms. It was not until the late 1960s that the Ministry of Agriculture diversified the
operations from small farms to a government- owned Agricultural Station. In 1983, a whole production and management
plan was formulated. It was during this period that Cades Bay was at its peak with 20 acres of the crop under production.
Pineapples can be taken with you at the end of your holidays; however, for some countries (such as the USA) a phyto-sanitary certificate is required. Arrangements can be made with the station manager if you would like to tour the station. The climate is definitely the reason our ‘Antigua Black’ pineapples are the sweetest in the world.
FIG TREE DRIVE – A very worthwhile and picturesque drive through the lush vegetation of the rain forest, featuring mango, guava, orange, coconut and banana trees. Along the scenic southwest coast to Old Road, Fig Tree Drive climbs up and down hillsides and inland roughly to the centre of the island. Travelling this way, you will pass near the village of Swetes and come out opposite the pink Tyrells Church and the main road to English Harbour (or vice versa). Fruit and vegetable vendors sell their produce from stalls along the way.
WALLINGS FOREST AND RESERVOIR – One of the finest mixed evergreen deciduous forest walks, reached by a nature
trail from John Hughes Village. After about half a mile along the path, the awesome wide-stepped spillway of the dam
appears almost as if it were a spectacular folly. A magnificent example of Victorian industrial architecture and workmanship,
it is an extraordinary sight in such surroundings, with its rounded capping and small round tower. Started in 1890 and
finished three years later, this incredible overflow system was designed to hold 13 million gallons of water. This was a great feat over 100 years ago, considering the tunnels for the water pipe were dug through solid rock at least 50-60 feet underground – as yet an unexplained marvel. In 1945, a small additional dam was finished, creating the Fig Tree reservoir. Together these two dams cover 268 acres.
FORT BARRINGTON – The fort is located on the promontory at the northern beach side of Deep Bay, on an area called Goat Hill. This imposing signal station reported ships’ movements to Rat Island via flag and light signals. The ruins are of a fort
that saw the most action in Antigua’s history. It was captured by the French in 1666 and returned to England the following year, when it was named after Admiral Barrington who had captured St. Lucia from the French the year before. The present fortifications were built in 1779, and from this prominent hill excellent sightings of St. Kitts and Nevis are possible against
the backdrop of stunning sunsets.
HARMONY HALL – Situated on the east coast of the island, its six acres overlook gorgeous Nonsuch Bay. The former Great
House of Brown’s Bay Mill dates back to 1843. This cultural haven houses a restaurant and patio with a sugar mill and
tower lookout. There is a craft shop and art gallery with a collection of work by top Caribbean artists and sculptors.
INDIAN TOWN AND DEVIL’S BRIDGE – A national park since the 1950s and site of archaeological excavation, it is situated at the extreme eastern point of the island on the road to Long Bay. Atlantic breakers culminate here from a 3,000-mile fetch from Africa, producing enormous swells and energy. Over the centuries these spectacular foaming breakers carved out a
natural limestone arch called Devil’s Bridge and created blowholes where spouting surf crashes through and up.
MEGALITHS, GREENCASTLE HILL – Located about three miles due south of St John’s between the villages of Jennings and Emmanuel. For the adventuresome, a climb to the 565 foot-high rounded grassy hilltop, the remains of an isolated volcano will reveal many interesting megaliths and panoramic views. These unusual geological formations, some say, were scenes of religious ceremonies and phallic worship. Others say the remains of the upright stone circles suggest the hill was once an astronomical outlay for the measurement of time. An Amerindian site exists not far from Tomb Rock.
ST. PETER’S ANGLICAN CHURCH IN PARHAM – The earliest British settlement in Antigua, the centre of seaborne trade and the island’s first port with a protected harbour, Parham Town exported the refined products of some 20 sugar estates in its area. The village is noted for its unique church, St. Peter’s, which was once described as ‘the finest church in the British West Indies.’ It was rebuilt in the 1840s after the original wooden church, built in 1711, had been burnt down and its replacement of 1754 dismantled. Although the exterior is in need of restoration, the interior is beautifully proportioned with an octagonal shape and fascinating rib-like wooden ceiling. Designed by Thomas Weekes, the famous British architect of the mid- 1800s, the very neat keystone work and excellent smoothness in the wall joints was the work of the Antiguan master
mason.
POTWORKS RESERVOIR AND DAMS – This is reputed to be the largest expanse of freshwater in the Eastern Caribbean; a mile long and half a mile wide, covering 320 acres and holding one billion gallons of water when full. This large lake, held by
two dams, is a welcome and surprising sight (when there are no prolonged dry spells) as you drive in the direction of Harmony Hall, Half Moon Bay or the Bethesda route to English Harbour. There is also interesting bird-watching around the western edge of the reservoir.
ST. GEORGE’S ANGLICAN CHURCH – A colonial-era church dating back to 1687 on land granted to Daniel Fitch (the area is still known as Fitches Creek) as the first parish church of St. Peter’s. Remodelled in 1735 and given its present
name, the marble ledger of the first English settler to be interred within a place of worship in Antigua can still be seen. Its setting is particularly lovely with views overlooking Fitches Creek on one side and Parham Harbour on the other.
ANTIGUA’S DONKEY SANCTUARY – located on the eastern side of the island near Bethesda, is operated by the Antigua & Barbuda Humane Society, offering a permanent home to all donkeys needing shelter and protection. There
are currently 80 donkeys in residence but the number continues to increase. There is a special petting area where donkeys eagerly await visitors and enjoy being brushed, petted and photographed. The Donkey Sanctuary is open to visitors Tues-Sat from 10.00am -4.00pm. Monday visits can be arranged by calling 461 4957. Visit www.antiguaanimals.org for more information.

Categories: Antigua

Comments are closed.