As an incredibly diverse and naturally beautiful destination, anyone wishing to make the most of Bermuda holidays should seek out some of the lesser-known attractions as well as the more high-profile ones. |
Here are five sites the locals love to visit.
Historical Fort Hamilton
Built as a defensive fort to protect the Royal Naval Dockyard against an American invasion, the pentagonal Fort Hamilton dates back to the 1870s. It's a fascinating site to spend time and you can explore the network of underground passages, gun emplacements, ramparts, and a number of large cannons (none of which has ever been fired).
Aside from the fort itself and the fantastic views you can take in over the city and harbour, the gardens are well worth a leisurely stroll. The original moat that encircled the fort has been transformed into a beautiful woodland, providing the perfect complement to the pristine order of the terraces above.
The Seclusion of Chaplin Bay
While Horseshoe Bay gets all the attention (and definitely deserves the kudos it gets), the secluded, serene Chaplin Bay, just a stones' throw away, is without doubt one of the most beautiful (lesser-known) beaches in the world. Tucked in between Horseshoe Bay and Stonehole Bay, this picturesque pink-sand beach actually disappears altogether at high tide.
While not a complete secret, the beach is quite often deserted, so it's the perfect place to venture if you're looking for some quiet time. Protected by cliffs and a coral wall, the bay is also a favoured haunt of nesting white-tailed tropic birds.
The Beautiful Birdlife of Seymour's Pond
Bermuda's lush landscape supports an abundance of resident and migratory avian life. Seymour's Pond, in Southampton Parish, is a nature reserve that encompasses 2.5 acres of forest and open farmland in the area around the pond and is a popular nesting ground for birds. You can enjoy sightings of a diverse range of species, including egrets, ducks and other waterfowl, herons, kingfishers and sandpipers. You may even catch a sighting of the island's national bird, the Bermuda Petrel - also known as the cahow.
Blue Hole Hill
The intriguing stalactite caves, grottoes, natural pools and network of forest trails in Blue Hole Park, in the Walsingham Nature Reserve, were the muse of Irish poet Tom Moore – so much so that the locals refer to it as 'Tom Moore's Jungle'.
The tranquil beauty of the park can be enjoyed on foot as you wander along paths through dense woodland and explore the limestone caves that appear in amongst the cliffs and crevices. The mangrove pond (for which the park is named) is a deep, mesmerisingly blue waterhole, embraced by limestone cliffs and subterranean grottoes. Unfortunately, the famous calabash tree underneath which Tom Moore penned some of his most emotive poetry was destroyed in a hurricane, but some of its branches were retrieved and have been replanted. Perhaps next time…
Dine With the Locals at Ascot's
There's no surer endorsement of a dining establishment than by the amount of local patrons, and the award-winning Ascot's, in Hamilton, is a favourite local haunt nestled within a magical garden setting in the Royal Palms Hotel.
The restaurant serves up an exciting fusion of Mediterranean and traditional Bermudian cuisine, and their legendary seafood chowder is a taste experience not to be missed.
Make the Most of Bermuda Holidays
By all means tick off the 'must-do' sites – like Horseshoe Bay, the Maritime Museum, St Peters Church and the Crystal Caves, at Hamilton – but set aside some time to head off the beaten path and discover these local favourites in Bermuda. Holidays are all about discovering new places and new experiences, and these five sites will afford you a glimpse into the islands not everyone gets to see.
John Dixon is Managing Director of Prestige Holidays and visits Bermuda at least twice a year. He has been providing luxury Bermuda holidays, as well as luxury holidays to many other destinations worldwide, for over 30 years.
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