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Historical Sites and Landmarks

Barbados Historical Sites

To better understand all that Barbados has to offer, you must first explore the handful of historic sites and properties that best reflect the rich cultural heritage of our beautiful island country.

Arlington House
Housed in a restored eighteenth century building in Speightstown, St. Peter, Arlington House is an interactive three-story museum that is both educational and engaging.

Barbados Museum
Located in the UNESCO World Heritage site, Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison, the Barbados Museum and Historical Society is housed in a former 19th century military prison. The building, whose upper section was built in 1818 and lower section in 1853, became the headquarters of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society in 1933.

Blackmans Gully
Blackmans Gully is located in the parish of St. Joseph on the east coast of Barbados. It is home to the famous Blackman's Bridge which dates back to 1682. Hop aboard an island tour to discover! 

Bridgetown (Capital City)
Established in 1628, Bridgetown is the capital and commercial centre of Barbados and has a population of nearly 100,000. Bridgetown was originally named "Indian Bridge" for the crude bridge which had been constructed over the river (now known as the Careenage) by the Indians. Bridgetown continually plays host to various concerts, cultural festivals and historical lectures, a re-commitment to the renewal and continued development of the capital city. On June 25, 2011 Barbados joined an elite group of nations with world heritage properties when Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. 

Bridgetown Jewish Synagogue
Built in the 17th century (1654) it was destroyed by hurricane in 1831, was rebuilt, fell into disrepair and was sold in 1929. In 1983, however, it was bought back by the Jewish community and was restored to its presently beautiful state. 

Cherry Tree Hill
Approximately 850 feet above sea level, this area offers an excellent view of the "Scotland District." The area is named after a Patron Saint of Scotland and completely covers the parish of St. Andrew. It is believed that the name "Cherry Tree Hill" originated from the large number of cherry trees, which once existed there. Today the road is lined by mature mahogany trees, which were introduced to Barbados after the Treaty of Paris in 1763. 

Codrington College
The oldest Seminary in the Western Hemisphere, Codrington College was founded in 1702 under the Will of Christopher Codrington and opened in 1745 as a Theological College. Originally a plantation house, the College was later bequeathed to a religious society that transformed the house and grounds into a seminary. This was the first institution of higher learning for Barbados. The College has fallen into ruin, but lines of poetry inscribed near the swimming pool still survive.

Drax Hall
Though no one knows for sure, it is generally believed that Drax Hall was built by the brothers William and James Drax in the 1650's. Today it stands along with Nicholas Abbey in St. Peter as one of 3 remaining Jacobean mansions in the entire western world.

Fisherpond House
Situated in the Barbadian countryside is this 350 year old plantation home which has been lovingly restored and filled with antiques. Ask about the tastey Sunday lunch.

Francia Plantation
A regal plantation house situated on a wooded hillside overlooking the picturesque St. George valley, Francia is a recent plantation house having been built in the early part of the 20th century.

Fustic House Estate
One of the true treasures of the Caribbean, Fustic house represents the perfect marriage between the luxury of antiquity and the modern need for room to play. Spread across 11 acres with sprawling grounds, duck ponds, plunge pools and a veritable forest through which to traverse, it is truly magnificent. Fustic House is available as a villa rental.

Garrison Drill Hall
As the name suggests it is the place where many a soldier has been trained.  Even now visitors can go and view the old obstacle courses along with a collection of old military vehicles.

George Washington House
George Washington, later to become the 1st President of the United States of America, visited Barbados in 1751 and spent about two months. It is in fact the only place George Washington ever visited outside of the USA.

Glendairy Prison
Though no longer used by the state, the structure and facility itself still represents a unique example of colonial architecture and more over governance.  In its time it housed many of Barbados' most notorious criminals until its eventual demise during a controversial insurrection and subsequent burning.

Grenade Hall Forest & Signal Station
Both history and nature lovers will appreciate a visit to Grenade Hall, an attraction which combines a restored historic signal station and a natural forest. In fact it's really a three-in-one attraction since one entry fee gains admission to both Grenade Hall and the Barbados Wildlife Reserve.

Gun Hill Signal Station
This 1818 signal station was used by the British Army. Families can visit the great white lion, a symbol of British rule on the island. The artist was also a soldier and is said to have carved the statute from a single block of stone, using a lion drawn on a book of matches as his guide.

Harrison's Cave
One of the most famous natural history sites in the Caribbean, the 3 mile long cave is home to some of the most beautiful rock formations in the western hemisphere and is also a true glimpse into the very formation of Barbados.

Hastings Rocks
Used to hold community events in bygone eras as well as a general "sit and kick back" spot by everyone it maintains this status today.  Additionally with the recent addition of the southern boardwalk it's now more than ever the perfect pit stop.

The first settlement in Barbados, Holetown, was originally named Jamestown, after its benefactor, King James I of England. The Holetown Monument (found in the centre of Holetown) commemorates the first English landing in Barbados in 1625.

Illaro Court
The official residence of the Prime Minister of Barbados, the residence like many other refurbished plantation style homes boasts a wealth of antiques and records alike. Of course there is the added attraction that as the home of a Head of State it possesses even more. 

Lancaster Great House
Dating back to the 1700s this remarkable plantation has played host to govenermental meetings social gatherings and all manner of events on the social calendar.  With its sprawling grounds and beautiful gardens it is at present the home of the Centre for Arts of Barbados.

Main Guard House ( Garrison Savannah)
One of the Barbados Tourism Encyclopedia's "Seven Wonders Of Barbados," the guard house is home to one of the rarest english canon collections in the world. 

Morgan Lewis Sugar Mill
This 250-year-old cane-crushing mill is the largest remaining windmill in Barbados. Recently renovated, the mill commands a splendid panorama of the Atlantic Ocean and the lovely Scotland District.

National Army: St. Anns Fort
A veritable 'cohoblopot' of rare English military memorabilia including extremely unique canons, maps, bottles and even blue prints it is a must see for any historian and even those just casually interested in the military forces of centuries of old. 

Oistins Bay Gardens
The site of the clash between Royalists and Roundhead supporters in 1639 as they battled for independence from Cromwell's England, Oisitins is today home to the fishing community of Barbados.  A seaside city if ever there was one, visitors can find all manner of seafood to partake in. 

Ordnance Hospital
Though not open to public use anymore Letchworth House was one of four buildings that made up the medical branch of the armed forces residing in Barbados during the early 1800s.  

Ordnance Hospital Geneva
Though not open to public use anymore Geneva was one of four buildings that made up the medical branch of the armed forces residing in Barbados during the early 1800s.

Ordnance Hospital Lexham
Though not open to public use anymore Lexham was one of four buildings that made up the medical branch of the armed forces residing in Barbados during the early 1800s. 

Ordnance Hospital Rafeen
Though not open to public use anymore Rafeen was one of four buildings that made up the medical branch of the armed forces residing in Barbados during the early 1800s.  

Parliament Buildings
The Parliament Buildings of Barbados are located at the top of Broad Street. The Barbados Parliament was established in 1639 and is the third oldest Parliament in the entire Commonwealth.

Sam Lord's Castle - Currently Closed for Renovations
The Estate was once a world renowned resort.  It is, however, the history of the place that is far more colourful as it was home to the notorious pirate, Sam Lord.  Legend states that he accumulated his bounty by luring ships into the bay with the use of lights hung in coconut trees. 

Sir Frank Hutson Sugar Museum
This museum is a permanent record of how sugar was produced in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The museum now stands a tribute to Sir Frank Hutson, who with assistance from the Barbados National Trust, collected the items in the museum. 

South Point Lighthouse
This landmark, with its red and white horizontal bands, is easily spotted from many points along the south coast of the island. South Point lighthouse was assembled in Barbados in 1852 but was refurbished and painted in 2004/2005. It was the first lighthouse erected. 

Speightstown was the first major port and commercial centre of Barbados. Falling into disrepair and neglected over the years it has now been revived and is to arguably the most prestigious resorts and homes on the island. 

St. James Parish Church
St. James Parish Church is among the four oldest surviving churches in Barbados and is located near the site of the island's first settlement in Holetown. In the southern porch of the church is a bell with the inscription - "God bless King William, 1696". This bell pre-dates the famous American Liberty bell by 54 years. 

St. John's Parish Church
Situated on a cliff overlooking picturesque east coast, the church was built in 1836 to replace the church destroyed by the Hurricane of 1831. In the Church Yard, rests Ferdinando Paleologus, descendant of Emperor Constantine the Great, whose family was driven from the throne in Constantinople by the Turks. Ferdinando died here in 1678, after being a resident for over 20 years. 

St. Nicholas Abbey
St. Nicholas Abbey, located in the parish of St.Peter, was built in 1660 and is one of only three genuine Jacobean mansions in the Western Hemisphere. 

Sunbury Plantation House & Museum
This gracious home, dating back to the 1660s, is crafted of flint and other stones imported from England. Renovated twice and burnt down once, it is the only Great House on the island with all rooms open for viewing. 

The Baobab Tree (Warrens)
One of only 2 on the island, the tree in Jackson is the oldest known living tree in Barbados.  It bears a mahogany-like fruit in the late summer months that tastes much like tamarind only sweeter.  Massive in size and majestic in appearance it represents for many the longevity of character that exists in Barbados. 

The Old Raild Road
When trekking along the east coast be sure to look out for the iron stakes along the way.  They mark the remnants of an old coastal railroad system that ran the length of the eastern coast.  You can also learn more about it at the old station in Bathsheba.

The Stone Barracks
Built in 1791 the barracks are still used today as the sleeping quarters of soldiers.  It has for many years been considered by Barbadians to be the visual icon of its military force, the Barbados Defense Force (BDF). 

Tyrol Cot
Tyrol Cot was the home of Sir Grantley Adams, the first premier of Barbados and the only Prime Minister of the Federation of the West Indies. The home is also the birthplace of his son, Tom, the second Prime Minister of Barbados. 

Welchman Hall Gully
Located just a stone's throw away from Harrison's Cave this gulley is home to a diverse range of flora, fauna and of course birds and bees.  It is most definitely a sure bet for all nature lovers. 

Wildey House (Barbados National Trust Headquarters)
The headquarters of the Barbados National Trust is now Wildey House, a beautiful old Georgian Great House set in five acres of grounds and woods which underwent extensive renovation between 1995 and 1997.