Food here is a feast for the senses – traditional Bajan dishes and international fine dining are colourful works of edible art. The Bajan style is a blend of African, Caribbean, West Indian and European flavours, with fresh local fish, including tuna, shrimp, kingfish, lobster, Flying Fish and Red Snapper featuring on many menus, along with juicy tropical fruits. Many of the hotels serve up Caribbean feasts, from spectacular buffets with open ocean views, to chic fine dining in luxe mahogany dining rooms. For gourmet meals, there are many restaurants on the west coast that have long-standing, outstanding reputations, with repeat visitors and some of the island’s most sought-after tables. These include Daphne’s, where the style of cuisine from southern Italy is authentic and beautifully prepared and the service is that elusive blend of attentive and unobtrusive, yet still warm and friendly. Similarly, The Cliff is a well-established venue with a gorgeous setting built into a cliff alongside the sea, where the menu selection is trend-setting and the food richly delicious.
Golf is a major draw of Barbados. The most famed course is the world-renowned Green Monkey at Sandy Lane, designed by Tom Fazio and boasting rolling green fairways and beautiful ocean views. Royal Westmoreland, also nearby, is a championship course with all the professional amenities you could need, while the relative newcomer, Apes Hill Club, which opened in 2009, welcomes players of all abilities to its immaculately kept course. Cricket is the island’s second sporting passion. As the national sport, great pride is taken in the belief that some of the finest players of the West Indies team hail from Barbados. The Kensington Oval is where you can see big, international matches played during the season, though you can catch local games at any time through the year.
Harrison’s Cave is a crystallised limestone cavern system with flowing streams, cascading waterfalls and pools of water still enough to see your reflection. It is one of Barbados’ most interesting natural wonders and visitors can take a one-hour tram tour to explore.
Barbados Wildlife Reserve
Stroll along forested trails and observe plants, trees and free-roaming animals and birds, such as the Bushy-tailed Mongoose, Brocket Deer, pelicans, tortoises and flamingos. At around 2pm you may also catch sight of the island’s Green Monkeys, which usually visit the reserve for feeding time. There is also a walk-through aviary housing a variety of exotic birds, iguanas and cages with large pythons and boas.
Beaches and Watersports
It goes without saying that the beaches in Barbados are superb. The west coast – known as the Platinum Coast for its powder-fine white sand and crystalline waters – is the most sought-after area and is where you will find the most luxurious touches. All of our featured five-star luxury hotels here have a beach front location, meaning you can stroll straight from your terrace to your sun-lounger. The calm waters of the west coast make perfect conditions for watersports, and many of our featured hotels offer options including kayaking, paddle boarding, windsurfing, banana boat rides and water-skiing, to name a just few. If you so choose, you could venture out to the east coast, with its coral coastline carved out by the sea, and the south’s contrasting reef-protected beaches – perfect for snorkelling among coral reefs and sunken wrecks and surfing the fantastic waves.
Heritage and History
Barbados has, perhaps, the most fascinating heritage of the Caribbean islands, with very strong links to Colonial Europe. Many historic buildings have been immaculately preserved, and make for a fascinating trip back in time. St Nicholas Abbey is one of only three genuine Jacobean mansions in the Western Hemisphere – a beautifully restored plantation home built in 1658, those with an appreciation for architecture will be intrigued. You may also wish to visit George Washington House for an insight into how Barbados played a role in the settlement of America, or those travelling with families could venture to Arlington House Museum in Speightstown for a more interactive museum experience.
Friendly, fun and full of natural charm, the culture of Barbados is something to get swept away with. Jazz, reggae and calypso music are the soundtrack here, and as the sun goes down, parties can be found across the island for those looking to get a taste of local life. The First and Second streets of Holetown are gaining a reputation for being the new hotspots and offer a variety of bars and restaurants, but it is the colourful Holetown Festival, with historic parades, pageants and stalls full of artisan crafts and wares, that many come here for.
Mount Gay Rum Distillery
Being the birthplace of rum, very few people leave without at least tasting the island’s favourite tipple. A favourite day out for many visitors is Mount Gay Rum Distillery. Here, discover the origins of one of the world’s most famous rums, perfected over 300 years.
Visitors to the island who like to shop will love the duty-free shopping (passports are usually required when making a purchase). One of the largest and best places to head for is Broad Street in the island’s capital, Bridgetown. Here, you will find department stores, duty-free shops and jewellery boutiques, but for something a little more traditional, Pelican Village, just outside of Bridgetown, sells handicrafts such as batik pictures, straw bags and rum cake. The Limegrove is definitely the best spot for designer shopping, with big European and American names including Cartier, Breitling, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors and many more gracing shopfronts, along with other fine jewellery and high-end make-up boutiques. There is also a cinema, a selection of restaurants and events held here throughout the year.
Our Travel Consultants can advise on, arrange and pre-book many things to enhance your holiday. This includes everything from spa reservations and dinner reservations, to a range of special experiences available in our featured resorts that you may not know about.
Our staff in Barbados recommend several restaurants for an authentic Bajan dining experience, including Ju Ju’s Beach Bar And Restaurant which serves fresh fish grilled or fried, and Ragamuffins – a Chattel House restaurant serving Caribbean/Creole cuisine. The ‘Lobster and Jazz’ night at Colony Club by Elegant Hotels is laid-back, friendly and lots of fun, while for those with an interest in cooking, the Culinary School at Sandy Lane offers guests cooking lessons.
British Airways direct from London Gatwick and Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick and Manchester.
From London Gatwick to Barbados: 8 hours, 45 minutes.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.