Barbados is an eastern Caribbean island situated in the Lesser Antilles, popular with global holidaymakers all year round due to the warm weather and stunning white sandy beaches.
After achieving independence from Britain in 1966, the country has flourished as a tourist destination and is globally known for its picturesque coves, palm trees and five-star luxury resorts. Barbados has a rich and diverse culture, with many carnivals and festivals taking place throughout the year.
Whether you want to kick back on a warm beach taking in the gentle tides, sample some local seafood delicacies or explore secluded caves in the north of the island, Barbados will leave you feeling both reinvigorated and relaxed after your stay.
Flights: You can fly to Barbados from most major airports including Manchester, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Birmingham, Cardiff and Newcastle.
Passport/visa requirements: UK travellers simply need a valid passport for the duration of their stay to enter Barbados. There are no visa requirements for British visitors.
Packing essentials:Light summer clothes and flip-flops or sandals are ideal, but avoid dark colours that absorb the heat.
The historic capital of Barbados, Bridgetown, is located on the south-west coast of the island and is a port city welcoming cruise liners and many other vessels every day. It’s particularly notable for the British colonial architecture, 17th-Century Garrison which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the Kensington Oval where the national sport of cricket is played in front of locals and tourists alike.
The west coast is home to many upmarket resorts and the most relaxing beaches on the island due to the sheltered calm seas. They include the Batts Rock Beach, Paynes Bay, Sandy Lane Beach and Mullins Bay. Holetown is also located on the west coast; a small town with a rich history for being close to where the first British ships first landed. There is also Speightstown a little further to the north, which is the second largest town on the island behind Bridgetown.
Over on the east side of the island the beaches are just as tranquil but less monopolised than the west, which means you’re more likely to find unspoilt tracts of white sand and calm turquoise seas. Take time to visit Andromeda Botanical Gardens, boasting six and a half acres of tropical plants, or even Hunte’s Gardens which is another botanical area that was established back in 1950.
Inland you will find many more areas of outstanding natural beauty and cultural significance, including Harrison’s Cave; a subterranean series of caves accessible by tram - a real tourist hotspot. Other sights popular with travellers include with Gunhill Signal Station, Welchman Hall Gully, Farley Hill National Park and the Barbados Wildlife Reserve to the north.
On the south coast there are plenty of options for water sports at Miami Beach, Dover Beach and Silver Sands Beach. There is also an opportunity to get involved with the fantastic local custom of a fish-fry at Oistins, close to Miami Beach. Tourists and locals flock to the local fish market every Friday and Saturday to sample the very best local cuisine.
As one of the most popular islands in the Caribbean, Barbados has so much more to do than simply lying around on white sandy beaches. There is an abundance of fun activities to enjoy during your stay, including water sports, island safaris, boat tours, rum sampling, shopping and much more!
If you aren't tempted to watch the island’s favourite sport of cricket at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, then maybe you’re more likely to hit the water and try out any number of thrilling water sports.
If you visit Soup Bowl at Bathsheba on the east coast of the island you can enjoy some of the very best surfing in the region. You can also watch national and international surfing competitions on a regular basis. In total the island has 35 surf breaks so you’ll never be far away from a suitable beach.
There are also several famous wrecks off the coast of Barbados which makes the area ideal for Scuba Diving. You can enjoy the reefs of Maycocks Bay, Shark Bank and Bell Buoy, or you might be more interested in checking out the wrecks of The Pamir, Friars Crag and Stavronikita. If neither option takes your fancy, then you can also simply stick around the Bay of Carlisle to explore the 4 wrecks in this area instead.
If the need to shop strikes, you may want to be in close proximity to one of the more built up areas of the island such as Bridgetown, Holetown or Speightstown.
The Cave Shepherd Mall is the largest department store in the Caribbean and has many great offers on leading high street products and brands. Situated in the middle of Bridgetown you’re likely to find all kinds of presents for family, friends and most importantly - yourself.
Limegrove Lifestyle Centre can be found near Holetown and is known for having the best range of duty-free products on offer. Whether it’s fashion, cosmetics or health and beauty that you’re in to, you’re certain to find it here.
There are plenty of tours for you to make the most of while spending time in Barbados, especially those that will allow you to see more of the island.
The Best of Barbados Tour is 7 hours long and includes a visit to Welchman Hall Gully, Harrison’s Cave, lunch and a boat trip to swim with turtles in the afternoon - sampling some of the best activities on the whole island.
There is also the Atlantis Submarine tour where you can see aquatic life like never before aboard an actual submarine! This tour is a fantastic way to see the depths if you aren’t keen on snorkelling or scuba diving and the tour can even take place at night too.
For those who would rather stay firmly on dry land with a drink in hand, you can visit the Mount Gay Rum Visitors Centre to sample some of Barbados’ most famous export.
Last but not least, there are plenty of attractions for you to visit that can help you to understand the history of the island for yourself.
Why not visit Andrews Sugar Factory to find out how important the sugar trade has been in the history of Barbados? Or perhaps you could visit the Nidhe Israel Synagogue Museum in Bridgetown to uncover the cultural significance of the area and learn more about the history of the island.
There are plenty of beaches to choose from in Barbados depending on whether you would prefer to lie back and relax or dive into the turquoise waters and go for a swim.
Miami Beach on the south coast is a superb choice for those who want the best of both worlds; an exposed portion of beach perfect for swimming and surfing. A favourite with locals and tourists alike, there is also a sheltered part for children to relax in.
Also situated on the south coast is Accra Beach, which is a curved stretch of white sand that stays shallow for a fair distance, meaning it is good for small children. There are also options for surfing and sunbathing depending on your mood for the day.
Situated on the west coast is Gibbes Beach, a stunning stretch of sand where many of the island’s best villas are. Its popularity derives from the water, which is renowned for being simply perfect to swim in. This beach is a lot quieter than most given that no resorts are located next to it, making it ideal for a relaxing dip.
Crane Beach is on the south-east coast next to the Crane Resort, but is another of Barbados’ most stunning spaces to visit. There is great surf available here, but if you aren’t staying at the resort you will have to stick to the eastern end.