EXPLORE St. George's
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Town of St. George is the oldest continuously occupied town of English origin in the western hemisphere. Wander down cobblestone lanes that are a maze of narrow streets with quaint names: Featherbed Alley, Duke of York Street, Petticoat Lane, Old Maid's Lane, and Duke of Kent Street, visit historic homes and watch re-enactments of Bermuda’s colonial past.
Begin your tour at: King’s Square
A free guided tour is offered at 10:30, after which the Mayor of St. George’s greets visitors back at the square. At noon, the Ducking commences. This light-hearted historical re-enactment depicts an antiquated form of public punishment.
Also known as Market Square and King's Parade, the square is the very centre of St. George. Only about 200 years old, it's not as historic as St. George itself. This was formerly a marshy part of the harbor - at least when the shipwrecked passengers and crew of the Sea Venture first saw it. At the water's edge stands a branch of the Visitors Information Centre, where you can pick up additional information on the area. On the square you'll notice a replica of a pillory and stocks. The devices were used to punish criminals -and, in many cases, the innocent.
From the square, head south across the small bridge to Ordnance Island
The British army once stored gunpowder and cannons on this island, which extends into St. George's Harbour. Today, the island houses the Deliverance, a replica of the vessel that carried the shipwrecked Sea Venture passengers on to Virginia. Alongside the vessel is a ducking stool, a contraption used in 17th-century witch trials.
Retrace your steps across the bridge to King's Square. On the waterside stands the: White Horse Tavern
This restaurant juts out into St. George's Harbour. Consider the tavern as a possible spot for lunch later. For now, we focus on its history: It was once the home of John Davenport, who came to Bermuda in 1815 to open a dry goods store. Davenport was a bit of a miser; upon his death, some £75,000 in gold and silver was discovered stashed away in his cellar.
Across the square stands the: Town Hall
Located near the Visitors Information Centre, this is the meeting place of the corporation governing St. George. It has antique cedar furnishings and a collection of photographs of previous lord mayors. Bermuda Journey, a multimedia audio-visual presentation, is shown here several times a day.
From King's Square, head east along King Street, cutting north (left) on Bridge Street. You'll come to the: Bridge House
Constructed in the 1690s, this was once the home of several governors of Bermuda. Located at 1 Bridge St., it's furnished with 18th- and 19th-century antiques and houses an art gallery and souvenir shop.
Return to King Street and continue east to the: Old State House
The Old State House opens onto Princess Street, at the top of King Street. This is the oldest stone building in Bermuda, dating from 1620, and was once the home of the Bermuda Parliament. It's the site of the Peppercorn Ceremony, in which the Old State House pays the government a "rent" of one peppercorn annually.
Continue your stroll down Princess Street until you come to Duke of York Street and the entrance to: Somers Garden
The heart of Sir George Somers, the admiral of the Sea Venture, is buried here. The gardens, opened in 1920 by the Prince of Wales, contain palms and other tropical plants.
Walk through Somers Gardens and up the steps to the North Gate onto Blockade Alley. Climb the hill to the structure known as "the folly of St. George," the: Unfinished Church
Construction of the church started in the 1870s when the grand Gothic structure was meant to replace St. Peter's Church. Following a series of problems, including parish infighting, financial difficulties and a damaging storm, construction was abandoned. Today, the picturesque ruins are a protected historic monument and part of St. George's World Heritage Site.
After viewing the cathedral, turn left onto Duke of Kent Street, which leads down to the: St. George's Historical Society Museum
Located at Featherbed Alley and Duke of Kent Street, this typical Bermudian structure from the early 1700s houses artefacts and documents from the island's earliest days. It is furnished much as it was when it was a private home. The house is filled with period furniture, documents, old letters, and displays of pewter, china and rare books.
Around the corner on Featherbed Alley is the: Featherbed Alley Printery
Here you can see a working replica of the type of printing press invented by Johannes Gutenberg in Germany in the 1450s.
Go up Featherbed Alley and straight onto Church Street. At the junction with Broad Lane, look to your right to see the: Old Rectory
The Old Rectory is located at the head of Broad Alley, behind St. Peter's Church. Now a private home administered by the National Trust, it was built in 1705 by a reformed pirate. You can go inside only on Wednesdays from noon to 5pm.
After seeing the Old Rectory, go through the church's backyard, opposite Broad Alley, to reach: St. Peter's Church
The church's main entrance is on Duke of York Street. St. Peter’s Church is an architectural beauty built with Bermudian cedar. Built in 1612, it's the oldest Anglican Church in continuous use outside the British Isles. Behind the south churchyard is the Old Rectory, constructed in the 18th century by pirate George Dew. In the churchyard, you'll see many headstones, some 300 years old. The assassinated governor, Sir Richard Sharples, was buried here. The present church was built in 1713, with a tower added in 1814.
Across the street is the: Bermuda National Trust Museum
Built in 1700 by the-Governor Samuel Day, the Bermuda National Trust Museum in the Globe Hotel, is one of the oldest stone buildings on the island. When it was the Globe Hotel, this was the headquarters of Maj. Norman Walker, the Confederate representative in Bermuda. It was once a hotbed of blockade running (artillery smuggling during the Civil War). The offices of the Confederate agent, Major Norman Walker, were housed here during the American Civil War (1861-1865), which makes this significant historic building an appropriate site for the exhibit "Rogues and Runners: Bermuda and the American Civil War."
Go west along Duke of York Street to: Barber's Alley & Petticoat Lane
Barber's Alley honours Joseph Hayne Rainey. A former slave from South Carolina, Rainey fled to Bermuda with his French wife at the outbreak of the Civil War. He became a barber in St. George and eventually returned to South Carolina, where in 1870 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives -- the first African American to serve in Congress.
Nearby is Petticoat Lane, also known as Silk Alley. The name dates from the 1834 emancipation, when two former slave women who'd always wanted silk petticoats like their former mistresses finally purchased some -- and paraded up and down the lane to show off their new finery.Continue west until you reach: Tucker House
Opening onto Water Street, the Tucker’s House Museum was the former home of a prominent Bermudian family, whose members included an island governor, a treasurer of the United States, and a captain in the Confederate Navy. Henry Tucker, President of the Governor's Council, moved into this house in 1775 and his family remained there until 1809. Some of the treasures on view include a collection of Tucker family silver, china and crystal, antique English mahogany and Bermuda cedar furniture, family portraits by Blackburn and hand-sewn quilts. One room is devoted to memorabilia of Joseph Hayne Rainey
Discover the cosmopolitan capital City of Hamilton and the historic gardens, parks, estates and museums that surround it.
Begin your tour along the harbourfront at the: Visitors Information Centre/Ferry Terminal
Pick up some free maps and brochures of the island here.
From the bureau, you'll emerge onto Front Street, the City of Hamilton's main street and principal shopping area. Before 1946, there were no cars here. Today, the busy traffic includes small automobiles (driven only by Bermuda residents), buses, mopeds, and bicycles. You'll also see horse-drawn carriages, which are the most romantic (and, alas, the most expensive) way to see the City of Hamilton.
At the docks behind the Ferry Terminal, you can find the ferries to Warwick and Paget parishes. You can also take a ferry across Great Sound to the West End and Somerset.
Walk south from the Ferry Terminal toward the water, taking a short side street between the Visitors Information Centre and the large Bank of Bermuda. You'll come to:Albouy's Point
This is a small, grassy park with benches and trees, which opens onto a panoramic vista of the boat- and ship-filled harbor. Nearby is the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, which has been an elite rendezvous for the Bermudian and American yachting set -- including the rich and famous -- since the 1930s. To use the word "royal" in its name, the club obtained special permission from Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's consort. The club sponsors the widely televised Newport-Bermuda Race.
After taking in the view, walk directly north, toward Front Street. Continue east along Front Street to the intersection with Queen Street. Continue north along Queen Street until you reach: Par-la-Ville Park (now known as Queen Elizabeth Park)
This was once a private garden attached to the town house of William B. Perot, Bermuda's first postmaster. Perot, who designed the gardens in the 19th century, collected rare and exotic plants from all over the globe, including an Indian rubber tree, which was seeded in 1847. Mark Twain wrote that he found the tree "disappointing" in that it didn't bear rubber overshoes and hot-water bottles. On Saturdays during the summer, enjoy lunch-hour performances from Bermuda's traditional Gombey dancers.
Also opening onto Queen Street at the entrance to the park is the: Bermuda Historical Society Museum
This museum, at 13 Queen St., is also the Bermuda Library. It's filled with curiosities, including cedar furniture, collections of antique silver and china, hog money (the original monetary unit minted in Bermuda), Confederate money, a 1775 letter from George Washington, and other artefacts. The library has many rare books, including a 1624 edition of John Smith's General Historie of Virginia, New England and the Somers Isles, which you can ask to view. If you'd like to rest and catch up on your reading, you'll also find a selection of current local and British newspapers and periodicals here.
Across the street is the: Perot Post Office
William Perot ran this post office from 1818 to 1862. It's said that he'd collect the mail from the clipper ships, then put it under his top hat in order to maintain his dignity. As he proceeded through town, he'd greet his friends and acquaintances by tipping his hat, thereby delivering their mail at the same time. He started printing stamps in 1848. A Perot stamp is extremely valuable today -- only 11 are known to exist, and Queen Elizabeth II owns several. The last time a Perot stamp came on the market, in 1986, it fetched $135,000.
Continue to the top of Queen Street, then turn right onto Church Street to reach: Hamilton City Hall
Located at 17 Church St., the city hall dates from 1960 and is crowned by a white tower. The bronze weather vane on top is a replica of the Sea Venture. Portraits of the queen and paintings of former island leaders adorn the main lobby. The Benbow family's collection of rare stamps is also on display. This is also the location for the Bermuda National Gallery, which houses the island’s national art collection and is dedicated to telling the story of Bermuda’s history through the fine and decorative arts.
In back of Hamilton City Hall, opening onto Victoria Street, lies: Victoria Park
Office workers frequent this cool, refreshing oasis on their lunch breaks. It features a sunken garden, ornamental shrubbery, and a Victorian bandstand. The 1.6-hectare (4-acre) park was laid out in honour of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887. Outdoor concerts are held here in summer. Contact the tourist office for dates.
Cedar Avenue is the eastern boundary of Victoria Park. If you follow it north for 2 blocks, you'll reach: St. Theresa's
This Roman Catholic cathedral is open daily from 8am to 7pm and for Sunday services. Its architecture was inspired by the Spanish Mission style. Dating from 1927, it's one of a half-dozen Roman Catholic churches in Bermuda; its treasure is a gold-and-silver chalice -- a gift from Pope Paul VI when he visited the island in 1968.
After seeing the cathedral, retrace your steps south along Cedar Avenue until you reach Victoria Street. Cedar Avenue now becomes Burnaby Street; continue south to Church Street and turn left. A short walk along this street (on your left) will bring you to the: Bermuda Cathedral
Also known as the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, this is the seat of the Anglican Church of Bermuda, and it towers over the city skyline. Its style is neo-Gothic, characterized by stained-glass windows and soaring arches. The lectern and pulpit duplicate those of St. Giles in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Leave the cathedral and continue east along Church Street to the: Sessions House (Parliament Building)
Located on Parliament Street, between Reid and Church streets, the Sessions House is open to the public Friday at 10am. The speaker wears a full wig and a flowing black robe. The Parliament of Bermuda is the third oldest in the world, after Iceland's and England's.
Continue south along Parliament Street to Front Street, and turn left toward the: Cabinet Building
The official opening of Parliament takes place here in late October or early November. Wearing a plumed hat and full regalia, the governor makes his "Throne Speech." If you visit on a Wednesday, you can see the Bermuda Senate in action. The building is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm.
In front of the Cabinet Building is the: Cenotaph
The Cenotaph is a memorial to Bermuda's dead from both World Wars. In 1920, the Prince of Wales laid the cornerstone. (In 1936, as King Edward VIII, he abdicated to marry an American divorcée, Wallis Simpson, and during World War II, as the Duke of Windsor, he served as governor of The Bahamas.) The landmark is a replica of the Cenotaph in London.
EXPLORE Royal Naval Dockyard
The former home of the British Royal Navy in Bermuda, Dockyard is now a popular attraction packed with shops, restaurants, museums and several spots highlighting the work of the island’s most creative artisans.
Stay right when you exit ferry and follow the signs to: National Museum of Bermuda and Bermuda Maritime Museum
Opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1975, there's an exhibit of Bermuda's old boats, documenting the island's rich maritime history. You can cross a moat to explore the keep and the 9m-high (30-ft.) defensive ramparts. The Hall of History, is a stunning, 1,000-square-foot mural in the Created by local artist Graham Foster visually representing 500 years of Bermuda history
Across the street from the Bermuda Maritime Museum is the Old Cooperage Building, site of the Neptune Cinema. Adjacent to the cinema is the Craft Market, which sells interesting items. Next door is the: Bermuda Arts Centre
Princess Margaret opened the Centre in 1984. Showcasing the visual arts and crafts of the island, this not-for-profit organization has a volunteer staff. Bermuda Craft Market – This lively spot is the best place to experience Bermuda’s thriving DIY scene. You’ll find the perfect souvenirs here – candles, Bermuda cedar, notecards, pink sand sculptures and more – you might even buy them from the artisans themselves.
Visit Horseshoe Beach and Gibbs Lighthouse
Located in Southampton, follow the road signs located at regular intervals along the South Road. The bus stops where Horseshoe Beach Road meets South road. The beach is a short walk down hill but there is a shuttle that takes you up and down the hill.
Horseshoe Bay Beach
Spend most of your time there, exploring hidden coves in all directions. Have lunch right on the beach at a concession stand which is open 7 days/week in the high season.
In the afternoon, visit Gibbs Hill Lighthouse
EXPLORE Flatts inlet, the Aquarium & Elbow Beach
In the morning, visit Flatts Village and the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo both located in Hamilton Parish. Bus routes #10 and #11 operating between Hamilton City and St George pass through the upper part of Flatts Village.
1. Flatts Village
Flatts is a sleepy fishing village located in Hamilton Parish halfway between Hamilton City and the town of St. George. A large part of it is also in Smith's parish. Flatts village is all about the beautiful pastel colored houses, picturesque fishing areas, palm trees, great landscapes and nice eateries. Flatts village faces the Harrington Sound inland sea area which is full of caves, grottos and subterranean passages.
Mark Twain lived his last few days in Flatts in 1910. He was in love with the place and used to frequently come back here to stay in one of his friend's exquisite waterside house. His friend Charles Allen was the U.S consul during those days.
2. Bermuda Aquarium, Natural History Museum & Zoo
Located in Flatts Village, BAMZ was founded in 1926. It offers 3 different attractions in Bermuda in the same complex, the Aquarium, the Museum and a Zoo.
You need to budget 2 to 3 hours to enjoy the whole of BAMZ. We would usually visit the complex when the one-hour free guided tour begins. The free tour starts at 1:10pm daily during the high season (April - September). In the other months, the tour takes place only on Saturdays and Sundays.
3. Elbow Beach
Spend the rest of the day at the fabled Elbow Beach. Take Bus #7. The bus stop is on South Road. From there you have to walk about 300 yards down Tribe Road #4 to reach the entrance to the beach.