GMT -4 hours
Renowned beaches, year-round sunshine and a strong British culture make for a unique island holiday
The hooked shaped nation of Bermuda is a treasure trove of natural beauty, culture and historic sights made up of 181 islands, islets and rocky outcrops. Bermuda has a unique and sophisticated charm, pink sand beaches, beautiful gardens and colonial buildings.
British bobbies walk the beat, afternoon tea is a national institution and the locals have a love for cricket that is almost unrivalled world-wide. However there is something you may notice here that is distinctly un-British – a near perfect climate which includes almost year-round sunshine.
Bearing the name of a Spanish sea captain who spotted the island in the early 16th Century, the islands have a rich and important history, part of which is believed to have inspired Shakespeare’s sea-faring tale of romance – The Tempest. In 1609 Sir George Somers and his crew were aboard the English sailing ship, the Sea Venture, bound for Jamestown, Virginia when they were caught in a storm and ship-wrecked off the coast of Bermuda. Miraculously they all survived and went on to form Britain’s second colony after Virginia itself.
The Bermuda you will find today features a unique blend of culture and is home to an eclectic mix of British, African, Irish, North American Indian and Portuguese descendants. Visitors from all over the world are greeted with polite British sensibilities – a ‘good morning’ or ‘good afternoon’ will go far here – and an island charm which is incredibly hard to resist.
The colourful, intimate and welcoming capital of Hamilton, which was founded in the late 18th Century, enjoys a central location overlooking the bustling Hamilton Harbour. The city has been the centre of trade and shipping since the early 19th Century and is the port of call for a number of North Atlantic cruise liners. The vibrant Front Street is a perfect spot to enjoy a Dark ‘n Stormy, Bermuda’s national drink, and the charming narrow streets that lead off it are well worth a wander. The delightfully landscaped, cannon-scattered gardens of Hamilton Fort afford wonderful views of the city and harbour as well as historic ramparts and fortifications to explore.
The centuries of history are almost palpable in the air of St George’s, Bermuda’s first settlement and the nation’s capital until 1815, located at the nation’s northeastern tip. Seventeenth Century buildings stand almost unchanged from those early colonial days which began with the wrecking of the Sea Venture on the corals not far from these shores. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the town and its surrounding fortifications are a living museum and while wandering the narrow lanes, many still with their original names, you may be forgiven for believing you have stepped into another age.
Bermuda boasts an abundance of natural beauty along its shores and throughout its interior but this is not limited to solely above the ground. The cavernous underground world of Hamilton Parish is home to dramatic stalactites and stalagmites as well as pools of crystal clear waters that both provide a window to the cave’s floor and reflect the beauty of its roof. The Grotto Bay Beach Resort features its very own cave which is home to their unique spa.
For such a small island stranded in the Atlantic some 650 miles from the coast of North America, there is a surfeit of activities for visitors to enjoy. From world class golf courses to incredible dive sites Bermuda is an island playground that offers more than just a beach escape - but that’s not to say the beaches themselves aren’t reason enough to visit. Unwinding on one of Bermuda’s famous pink-sand beaches, which are kissed by inviting turquoise waters, is best enjoyed with a Dark ‘n Stormy in hand.