Travel DestinationsHeritage SitesTravel Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison at Barbados

Travel Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison at Barbados


Barbados, a Caribbean island nation is famous all over the world for its amazing crystal clear beaches and white sandy shoreline. This island is popularly visited by honeymooners due to its pleasant ambience and luxurious villas. But many travellers don’t know that it has a rich and ancient past that is liable for building the base of Barbados. The major hand in its history and boosting the heritage tourism is of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison.

Let’s know more about Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison in detail. 

Bridgetown of Barbados

The historic Bridgetown is Barbados’ thriving capital and the only city on this island. It is home to more than half of the island’s people. This mediaeval city, as well as the adjacent Garrison, has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Streets of Bridgetown and its Garrison
Streets of Bridgetown / Image Credit:

In Bridgetown, you may easily spend a day exploring the various historic sights and old colonial structures. It is well-known for its duty-free shopping, market and many cruise ships. What attracts tourists more towards Bridgetown is its historical past and its Garrison UNESCO heritage site.

Historical Significance of Bridgetown and its Garrison

Barbados’ history is connected with the early settlement of the island, which began in 1627 with the arrival of British colonizers. Old structures mingle with modern amenities in Bridgetown and its Garrison offers a social and commercial activity. The name Bridgetown comes from the original Amerindian bridge that was built in the area.

Bridgetown and its Garrison
Bridgetown Barbados / Image Credit:

Ancient records refer to the location as the Indian Bridgetown, indicating that the island was colonised by the English in the 17th century. Later it becomes a major centre for trade and commerce, with its port frequently brimming with merchant ships. This city was also frequently the first port of arrival for ships sailing from Africa across the Atlantic.

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It is an outstanding example of British colonial architecture consisting of a well-preserved old town built in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, which testifies to the spread of Great Britain’s Atlantic colonial empire.

Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison

Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison is a 17th-century British colonial city depicting outstanding examples of the colonial era. They were included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011 for their excellent Georgian architecture, Parliament House, churches and bridges.

Historic Bridgetown
Historic Bridgetown / Image Credit:

Bridgetown’s distinctive street pattern is also one of the reasons for its UNESCO recognition. Bridgetown grew up immediately beginning in the 17th century, unlike many later colonies that were built on a grid layout. Its streets are winding, as were the streets of mediaeval English cities. The harbour created where the Constitution River, sometimes known as the Careenage, enters Carlisle Bay is the heart of historic Bridgetown. Bay Street connects old Bridgetown to the rest of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Attraction at Bridgetown and Its Garrison

The site comprises the old town, the port and the former Garrison. The latter served as the headquarters of the British Navy in the region. Visit the National Heroes Square, which is located in the heart of Bridgetown. Lord Horatio Nelson, the hero of the Battle of Trafalgar, was previously honoured here.

The Parliament Buildings

Parliament Buildings is located on the north side of National Heroes Square, which was built in a neo-Gothic style in 1871.

The Parliament Building
The Parliament Building / Image Credit:

The government offices are on the west side of the building, while the Senate and House of Assembly are on the east side. It features exquisite stained glass windows depicting British rulers.

St Michael’s Cathedral

is an Anglican cathedral that was built in 1665 and could hold 3000 people until it was devastated by a hurricane a century later. It was reconstructed in 1789, but it was reduced to 1600 seats. It lacks the grandeur of many European cathedrals, yet it is indeed a lovely structure. It is still used on a daily basis as a place of worship.

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Know Abou the Barbados Garrison

The colonial powers – England, France, Spain and Holland – were frequently at odds over the Caribbean’s rich islands. Protecting the colonies was consequently of paramount significance, as evidenced by the fortifications built along Barbados’ western shore.

 Bridgetown and its Garrison
Garrison, Bridgetown / Image Credit:

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Barbados Garrison was the largest in the British colonies. It all started with the erection of St. Ann’s Fort in 1705 and has since expanded to include soldier’s quarters, a parade field and a commissariat.

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What Else You Can Do Here?

Activities including diving and snorkelling, rum tours and horse racing thrive in Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison and the surrounding environs. In and around the World Heritage Site, there are also a number of hotels and vacation rentals. Bridgetown has some fantastic shopping. Broad Street has a diverse selection of retail stores, boutiques and much more.

Protection and Management

The Cabinet of the Government of Barbados, which has ultimate responsibility for the management of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison, is the highest level of policy decision-making for the property. The management is divided among the relevant responsible government agencies and also incorporates the joint operation of several non-governmental organisations and civil society, including a number of real estate owners.

If you are visiting Barbados for a honeymoon or family holiday then don’t forget to include the Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison, a prominent UNESCO World Heritage of Barbados.

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