Winter on the Beach: Barbados

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

It's our favourite Caribbean destination for good reason – there's more to this island than sun, sea and sand. Kate Simon offers a guide



The accommodation


The hot news from the east coast is the reopening of the Atlantis Hotel (atlantishotelbarbados.com). The venerable seaside lodgings have been turned into a stylish 10-room property by the team behind Little Good Harbour.

Further south on this coast, The Crane (thecrane.com) has added a "village" of boutiques and restaurants to its 202 luxurious suites and rooms. On the south coast at St Lawrence Gap, the all-inclusive Almond Casuarina Beach Resort (almondresorts.com) has had a revamp, adding 95 sea-facing rooms and a shorefront pool.

The activities

Any self-respecting surfer should try their luck in the Soup Bowl off the east coast at Bathsheba. This world-class break, which hosts international championships, can be surfed year round. But Barbados isn't all about the beach or the sea. Go inland to find more thrills at the Barbados Aerial Trek Zipline Adventures (00 246 433 8966) at Walkes Spring Plantation, which whizzes across 100ft-deep Jack-in-the-Box Gully. And, of course, Barbados is well supplied with polo fields, a sport first played here by British cavalry officers. The most famous ground is Holders, but others under construction include a new one at Apes Hill Club (apeshillclub.com), the latest addition to the island's portfolio of private estates.

The urban scene

The lively capital, Bridgetown, with its busy shops and harbour full of leisure craft, reveals the well-heeled nature of this island. This is also home to the third oldest parliament in the world and National Heroes Square, with its statue of Nelson that predates the one in London's Trafalgar Square. Also call by Holetown, where the British first settled, and see the once neglected Speightstown, the first major port, which is now being given a makeover.

The beaches

This island's exclusive image is largely down to its "Platinum Coast" on the Caribbean side of the island. Here, you'll find the rich and famous enjoying barefoot luxury on white sands lined with sunloungers set out by the five-star hotels that sit cheek by jowl along this coast. Further south, on the more blustery seafront of St Lawrence Gap, the resort hotels spill out on to golden beaches. This is charter-holiday territory, where families mingle on the sands with a procession of brides and grooms searching for that ultimate Caribbean wedding photo. Over on the east coast, the Atlantic waves keep the atmosphere bracing. It's a joy for surfers, but dangerous for swimmers who should ask a local to show them the safe spots for bathing.

The restaurants

Still the island's top spot for a special meal, The Cliff (thecliffbarbados.com) serves a starry clientele exquisite food in a sublime clifftop setting. At the new Marketfive by John Hazzard (00 246 436 1485), the eponymous chef is creating exciting, contemporary Caribbean dishes in a stylish dining room in the unlikely location of the new Sanjay Bridgetown Centre in the capital. Meanwhile, the Fish Pot (littlegoodharbour barbados.com) at the northern reach of the west coast and Cafe Luna (littlearches.com) at the southern end, both continue to delight with fine food and romantic settings. But for dinner with a touch of fun, join the locals and tourists at Fish Friday in Oistins.

The sights

Don't miss St Nicholas Abbey (stnicholasabbey.com) in St Peter, one of just three Jacobean houses remaining in the Americas. Take a tour of Harrison's Cave (harrisonscave.com), the extraordinary limestone caverns at Allen View. Look out for the Emancipation Statue – aka Bussa, after the slave leader – which shows a black man breaking his chains. It sits on a roundabout east of Bridgetown.

Compact Facts

How to get there

Kate Simon travelled to Barbados with the Barbados Tourism Authority (visitbarbados.org). Thomas Cook Signature (0844 879 8015; tcsignature.com) offers seven nights' at Tamarind Cove from £1,299 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights with Virgin Atlantic, resort transfers, and B&B.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Ashdown Group: Print Designer - High Wycombe - Permanent £28K

    £25000 - £28000 per annum + 24 days holiday, bonus, etc.: Ashdown Group: Print...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Travel Consultant

    £20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager

    £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager required for ...

    Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator

    £25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator A...

    Day In a Page

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones