Barbados is the land of lush landscapes, sandy beaches and flavorful rum, with a strong British influence from its many years of British occupation beginning in the 1600s. In 1966, Barbados gained its independence from the United Kingdom, and even though more than 50 years have passed, the country’s impact on the island is still seen in Barbados’ culture, architecture and traditions.
So how do you enjoy “old blighty” in the Caribbean you ask?
Catch a Sporting Event on Barbados
First, start with a spot of tea, then dress in your best whites to watch a game of cricket with refreshing gin of tonics included, of course. If cricket isn’t your thing, enjoy a chukka of polo plus stomping divots or a thrilling horse race at the Barbados Turf Club located within the Garrison Historic area just outside Bridgetown.
Watch the Changing of the Guard Show
A time-honored British tradition, every Thursday at noon, the Barbados Defense Force hosts a Changing of the Sentry ceremony at the main guard of the Barbados Garrison in Bridgetown. Donning the colorful Zouave uniform chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858, this unique display of British culture lasts about fifteen minutes. Be sure to get there early to snag a great viewing spot and snap a cheeky photo! While in Bridgetown, you’ll also want to stop by the Parliament Buildings to capture a few pictures. Built in 1870, these buildings have been the seat of government on Barbados since 1874 and were formerly the site of Colonial administration.
Step Back in Time at a Stately Plantation Home
Barbados is steeped in history and spotted with picturesque plantation homes that transport you into the past. When the British arrived on the island in 1625, they built statuesque plantation homes to grow tobacco, cotton and sugar. Several homes have since been restored and refurbished for public viewing, and one, the St. Nicholas Abbey, even distills its own rum, which you can sample in their tasting room.
Visit Historical Museums & Buildings
For even more history, visit the Arlington House Museum, a restored 18th century building in Speightstown with an interactive 3-story museum, or stop by the Barbados Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to learn more about the island’s unique culture.
Stop by the Bridgetown Jewish Synagogue
Built in 1654, this historic synagogue was destroyed by a hurricane in 1831 but has since been restored to its original beauty. Right next door is the Nidhe Israel Museum, a museum that traces Jewish history in Barbados and highlights their contribution to Barbadian society
Take a Trip to the St. James & St. John Parish Church
These churches are amongst the four oldest surviving churches in Barbados. St. James is located near the site of the first settlement in Holetown and its church features a bell with the inscription, “God bless King William 1696.” The bell predates the American Liberty Bell by 56 years.
Enjoy High Tea with Bajan Fish & Chips
Yummy scones and tea are still a part of Bajan culture, and dishes similar to the UK’s famous fish and chips made with an island twist are local delicacies on the island. One of Barbados’s most popular meals is fried flying fish served with rich macaroni pie. Stop by Divi Southwind’s pureocean Restaurant to sample this delicious fish dish, and try it with a splash of malt vinegar for an extra kick of flavor!