The 6 Best Historical Sites to Visit in Antigua and Barbuda

Getting to know the history, culture and traditions of the country you are moving to is a crucial stage of the entire relocating process. By taking the time to read about the background and all relevant information about your destination, you can adapt your behavior and mindset to suit the local conditions.

This, in turn, will enable you to live in your new home with ease and comfort.

Having a broad and deep understanding of your new home can also help you communicate with the locals, which is something that you won’t want to have plenty of difficulties in.

When you have an easier time communicating with others, you can build trust and respect and, eventually, develop relationships with both locals and your fellow expats.

Because of these reasons, researching the history of the Land of 365 Beaches beforehand can work to your great advantage when you receive your passport through the Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment program and decide to reside here.

Exploring Antigua and Barbuda’s Historical Sites

Aside from reading books and online articles about the history of Antigua and Barbuda, you can learn more about the country’s fascinating heritage and culture by visiting its most famous historical sites.

Below are the six must-visit historical sites of Antigua and Barbuda:

  • Betty’s Hope

Sugarcane plantations were once the biggest industry of Antigua and Barbuda and many of the other Caribbean countries. As such, there were plenty of sugarcane farms and mills around the islands.

Betty’s Hope was one of the biggest and first large scale sugarcane plantations in Antigua and the Caribbean.

Betty’s Hope was built and established in 1650 by then-Governor Christopher Keynell. The ownership and management of the property were later transferred to the Captain-General of the Leeward Islands, Christopher Codrington, who named it after his daughter, Betty.

After the sugarcane industry died in Antigua and Barbuda, Betty’s Hope was eventually restored and transformed into a museum years later.

Betty’s Hope’s most prominent structures, its two windmills, were restored and are now the most noticeable and attention-grabbing features on the site.

The historical site also features the ruins of the original estate house, a cistern complex, a distillery, and a boiling house.

The museum houses various historical accounts, which means you can learn many things about the country simply by visiting it. And you won’t be disappointed by the beautiful scenery surrounding the old sugarcane plantation.

  • Nelson’s Dockyard

Nelson’s Dockyard is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Antigua and Barbuda. It is also a well-known UNESCO Heritage Site.

Nelson’s Dockyard has been continuously operating since 1745. However, when the Royal Navy abandoned the dockyard in 1889, it fell into decay.

In 1951, restoration began on the dockyard, which was completed and opened to the public a decade later.

Nelson’s Dockyard was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016. The area now has several hotels, restaurants, and retail stores.

Its most significant feature is the Dockyard Museum, a treasure trove of information and memorabilia about Antigua’s history, the dockyard, and life at the forts. One of its most important relics is a telescope once used by Admiral Horatio Nelson himself.

  • Fort James

Fort James was built at the entrance of St. John’s Harbour in the 18th century to guard the country against French invaders. At the height of its power, the fort was armed with several cannons, guns, and powder magazines.

It also housed a barracks that can accommodate up to 75 people.

At present, Fort James still has several cannons, a powder magazine, and remnants of the original buildings and foundation walls. Because of these relics, the fort is still a great place to get an idea of the past military power of Antigua and Barbuda.

Fort James also has sweeping views of the bay and is near Fort James Beach, which means you can drop by the area after a day at the beach.

  • Fort Barrington National Park

Built in the mid-17th century, the Fort Barrington National Park is the only stronghold in Antigua and Barbuda that has seen military action. It was erected to protect the entrance of St. John’s Harbour.

The hilltop fort also allowed the military to detect incoming attacks from a distance.

The current fortifications in the national park are reconstructions made in the late 18th century. Some of the must-see features would be the two-gun platforms that held eight guns.

Aside from getting a glimpse of the country’s military past, you will also enjoy the journey up the fort. To reach the area, you have to take a 10-minute walk along the beach at Deep Bay.

  • Shirley Heights

Shirley Heights was a former military lookout and complex. It was named after the first governor of Leeward Islands, Sir Thomas Shirley, who made significant improvements in Antigua’s defenses.

The military complex was built in 1781.

Today, Shirley Heights features the remnants of the complex and gun battery. Together with the interpretive center, you can get a glimpse of Antigua and Barbuda’s military defense in the past in this area.

Shirley Heights provides visitors wonderful views of the English Harbour and Montserrat and Guadeloupe on clear days. You will also find one of the best and most sought-after restaurants in the area here.

  • Wallings Dam & Reservoir

Lastly, immerse yourself in history and nature at the same time by visiting the Wallings Dam & Reservoir.

The Victorian-style dam was initially built as a reservoir to hold around 13 million gallons of water to supply to the nearby villages in the early 1900s. However, after three years of drought, it was drained and reforested in 1912.

The area is now teeming with ironwood, locust, mahoe, mango, white cedar, and other tree species.

Various avian species frequent and live in the area. If you are an avid birdwatcher, you may be able to spot some bananaquits, broad-winged hawks, and redstars, among others.

The Wallings Dam & Reservoir is also an excellent starting point if you want to go on a hike up Signal Hill and Rendezvous Bay.

Aside from reading about the history of Antigua and Barbuda, you will do well to read the latest information regarding the country.

Look for citizenship by investment news to stay on top of important updates you need to know about moving to and living in Antigua and Barbuda.

With the right combination of history and the latest news, your move to Antigua and Barbuda will be smoother.

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