Forget the beach, there's more to Barbados than sea and sand
This Caribbean island has some unusual fun attractions to lure families out of the resorts, says Kate Simon
Sunday 29 June 2008
How can you keep the kids entertained in Barbados? Surely that's a no-brainer. At our hotel, Crystal Cove, on the island's "platinum" west coast, you could probably keep them happily occupied for a whole week without even leaving the premises.
For Crystal Cove has three pools (one with a waterfall to swim through), tennis courts, the activity -packed Tommy Turtle Kids Club, a watersports centre, and direct access to the beach for building sandcastles or kicking a ball about.
And, of course, there'll be other kids to make friends with, who, with your little ones, can pop to the bar whenever they fancy for a virgin colada, this being an all-inclusive resort. You won't have to stir from your sunlounger.
You'd have a smashing time for sure – but couldn't you be just anywhere if you didn't go beyond the gates of the resort? Actually, there's plenty to explore on this island beyond the usual high-octane attractions. The recently opened Concorde Experience, for example. Sounds boring, but it isn't. This top-class homage to the supersonic legend – which flew to the island once a week from Heathrow until its demise – has an appeal that stretches way beyond planespotters.
The hangar in which it's housed, at one side of the international airport, may look unimpressive, but inside is a real Concorde, on which is played a thrilling son et lumière show recounting the aircraft's history and the technical genius behind it. Even better, you can board it and have your picture taken sitting in a seat. Then you can fly one (on a simulator) and fancy you're a pilot.
Or there's Harrison's Cave (harrisonscave.com), a network of limestone caverns uncovered in the 1970s in the centre of the island and recently reopened after further excavation. They're filled with weird and wonderful stalactites and stalagmites – the Great Hall is the real highlight, a cathedral of a space with its 50ft-high ceiling. Even the most geologically uninspired child will find it hard to resist handing over their PSP and hopping in the tram to take a guided ride through this underground maze which stretches for more than a mile.
If they liked that, they'll love this. An off-road tour in an open-top Land Rover with Island Safari (islandsafari.bb).
There are lots of itineraries to choose from, but the best will take you over the top of Scotland (try explaining that to the kids) to the undeveloped, wild east coast where the surfers and Bajans holiday in the rolling waves. Some tours even double up with a ride on a catamaran to swim with the turtles or kayaking, so don't forget the cozzies.
Go on, get off that sunlounger.
How to get there
British Airways Holidays (0844 493 0758; ba.com) offers seven nights all-inclusive in a one-bed suite at the Crystal Cove Hotel from £2,006 per adult and £975 per child (aged two to 11) this summer, including return flights and transfers.
Barbados Tourism Authority (020-7636 9448; visitbarbados.co.uk)
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