Antigua & Barbuda Points of Interested


ANTIGUA
POINTS OF INTEREST

The largest of the British Leeward Islands, Antigua is about 14 miles (22km) long and 11 miles (35km) wide. On the hilly southwestern side is the Mount Obama, the island’s highest point. Fig Tree Drive offers a magnificent view. This island stronghold was once guarded by 40 British forts, many of which are still visible. Sites include Fort Barrington at Deep Bay, Fort Berkeley at English Harbour, Fort Charles at Falamouth Harbour, Fort George at Monks Hill, Fort James at St. John’s and Fort Shirley at Shirley Heights.

ENGLISH HARBOUR

English Harbour is 15 miles (24 km) from St.John’s on the south side of the island. Once an outfitting center for British warships, this harbor played host to the ships of Horatio Nelson, Sir Francis Drake and Walter Rodney. It suffered for neglect for many years until yachtmen rediscovered its charm and natural beauty. Restored to its 18th century appearance, the town is now one of the island’s most popular tourist destinations.

 

DOW’S HILL INTERPRETATION CENTRE is near Shirley Heights. “Reflection of the Sun” is a multimedia show tracing Antigua’s history, heritage and culture. Displays include a shell collection and 18th century artifacts. A guided tour includes a visit to the Belvedere, an observation area that provides a 360 degree panorama of Nelson’s Dockyard National Park. In the distance, the islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique are often visible. The remains of a 1780s house and a gun platform also are on the grounds. Time:30 minutes minimum. Hours:daily 9-5. Cost:(includes Nelson’s Dockyard National Park) $5; free for kids 0-11 years old. Cards:MC, VI. Phone: (268) 481.5022.

NELSON’S DOCKYARD NATIONAL PARK extends inland from a line along the southern coastline from Mamora Bay to Carlisle Bay. Built 1743-94,this UNESCO World Heritage Site is deputed to be the only existing Georgian dockyard. It was used by a number of British admirals, including Horatio Nelson, as the home port of the British Fleet during the Napoleonic Wars. The dockyard also was used as a repair and maintenance station for ships. Several buildings have been restored. Fort Berkeley, the original British garrison, was built in 1704 and manned by more than 3,000 troops. Also noteworthyis the dockyard’s marketplace.

The park, which covers 15 square miles (39 sq. km) of rolling hills, affords memorable views of the dockyard and surrounding counrtyside. Tours:guided tours are available. Time:one hour minimum. Hours:dockyard open daily 9-6. Cost:(includes Dow’s Hill Interpretation Centre and ShirleyHeights) $5; free for kids 0-11 years old. Cards:MC, VI. Phone:(268) 481-5022.

NELSON’S DOCKYARD MUSEUM is on the ground floor of the Admiral’s House in Nelson’s Dockyard National Park. Displays in the 1855 Victorian building include naval buttons, maps, coins from the 1800s, telescopes, muskets, cannon balls, clay pipes, ships models and belongings of Horatio Nelson. A late 1700s sandbox tree next to the museum produces pods which once were used as ink blotters. Hours:daily 8-5. Cost:free with park admission. Phone:(268) 481-5037.

SHIRLEY HEIGHTS is across the bay from Nelson’s Dockyard. This lovely rise, wich affords a view of Antigua’s southern coast, was named from Gen. Thomas Shirley, who became governor in 1781. Clarence House, the Georgian villa on the road to Heights, was built 1804-1806 as the residence of the commissioner of the Royal Navy’s dockyard. The Heights served as the main lookoutson. Approximately 60 structures were built here 1781-1825 and visitors can see the remains of Fort Shirley’s barracks, officers’ quarters and powder magazines.

The Shirley Heights Barbecue, popular with tourists and locals alike, starts every Sunday at 4 and runs late into the night with live music and dancing. Hours:Heights open daily 24 hrs. Cost:free. A fee is charged for the Sunday event.

BETTY’S HOPE PLANTATION is in the rural limestone district. Once the largest sugar plantation on Antigua, the site served as the seat of government1689-1704. Sir Christopher Codrington assumed ownership in 1674, naming the plantation for his daughter. The estate remained in the Codrington family for near 300 years. Most of the buildings lie in ruin but one of the windmil towers has been restored. Museum exhibits illustrate the history of sugar in the West Indies and interpretive markers describe the site. Hours:tue.-sat. 10-4. Cost:admission $2. Phone: (268) 462-4930 or (268) 462-1469.

DEVIL’S BRIDGE is about 5 miles (8 km) e. at Indian Town Point. This natural limestone arch was created by the erosive force of the Atlantic Ocean. Water rushes through crevices in the rock ad spouts through blowholes in dramatic bursts. Archeologists have uncovered artifacts at nearby Indian Town, one of the earliest Arawak settlements on the island.

ST. JOHN’S

Antiguas capital, St. John’s has quaint shops and colonial homes above a landlocked harbor. Tempering St. John’s 19th century English athmosphere is a progressive spirit symbolized by modern architecture. The man-made harbor, completed in 1968, has made the island an important port of call for passenger and commercial vessels; cruise ships dock at Heritage Quay.

Shops, banks and other businesses line High Street, which runs through the center of the city to the pier. The produce market in the southern part of town is divided into sections of fruits and vegetables, meat and fish. Vendors pay weekly or monthly rent for stalls, except on Saturdays when they pay according to the numbers of bundles they carry through the gates. Visitors enjoy watching this “weighing-in” process.

St. John’s Botanical Garden is near the intersection of Factory Road and Independence Avenue, behind the National Archives building. This small park’s shaded benches and gazebo provide a quiet refuge from the bustle of activity in St.John’s.

Antigua and Barbuda Dept. of Tourism: Government Complex Queen Elizabeth Highway, St.John’s, Antigua. Phone: (268) 462-0480.

ANTIGUA DISTILLERY LTD.is on Friars Hill Road. The only distillery on the island produces nearly 400,000 gallons of rum each year, bottling under 2 labels, Cavalier and English Harbour. The company was formed in1934 with the purchase of several old sugar estates and a muscovado molasses factory;copper stills are still used. Hours:daily 8-4. Cost:free. Phone:(268)480-3200.

FORT JAMES is at the northern entrance to St.John’s harbor.Built in 1739 to guard the port, Fort James is one of the many installations built by the British in the 18th century. Fear of French invasion prompted its construction. A powder magazine, several cannons and the foundation of the fort’s walls remain. Hours:daily 24 hrs. Cost:free.

GOVERNMENT HOUSE is on Independence Drive originally known as “The Parsonage”, the official residence and office of the governor-general of Antigua has dignified colonial lines and is surrounded by beautiful grounds. The grounds are open to the public; the house is closed for ongoing restoration. Phone: (268) 462-0003.

MUSEUM OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA is at Long and Market sts. The old Court House, built in 1750, contains exhibits tracing the history of early inhabitants, colonists and slaves. Time:30 min minimum. Hours:Mon.-Thurs. 8.30-4, Fri. 8.30-3, Sat. 10-2. Closed major holidays. Cost: $3. Cards: AX, MC, VI. Phone: (268) 462-1469.

ST. JOHN’S ANGLICAN CATHEDRAL is at the intersection of Newgate St. and Church Ln. The Church of St. John the Divine was originally built in 1683 and redone in stone in 1745. An earthquake destroyed it nearly 100 years later and it had to be reconstructed yet again. Island legend holds that the figure of St. John the Baptiste and St.John the Divine at the south gate were taken from the masts of Napoleon’s ships. Hours:the cathedral is open to the public for tours, except during religious services; renovations are ongoing. Cost:donations. Phone:(268) 462-0820.

GAMBLING ESTABLISHMENTS -Grand Princess Casino is at Jolly Harbour. Hours: daily 7a-5p Phone: (268) 562-9900. -King’s Casino is at Heritage Quay. Hours: daily 10a-4a. Phone: (268) 4621727. -Madison’s Casino is at Runaway Bay. Hours: daily 10a-3a. Phone: (268) 562-7874.

 

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