Whats in a town?

What’s in a Town?
The island of Bar­ba­dos has four major towns, Bridgetown, Speight­stown, Hole­town and Oistins, each offer­ing its own unique expe­ri­ences. There is always some­where to eat, to shop and to have fun in each of these towns. Most impor­tantly, they all have their own unique and rich his­tory. This arti­cle breaks down these four towns and out­lines the var­i­ous activ­i­ties and places of inter­est to visit in them.

  • Bridgetown
  • Hole­town
  • Speight­stown
  • Oistins

The City of Bridgetown
Bridgetown is the largest town in Bar­ba­dos and also the cap­i­tal city of the island. Bridgetown, pre­vi­ously known as “Indian Bridge” and the “town of St. Michael” obtained sta­tus as Bar­ba­dos’ cap­i­tal in 1838 after slav­ery was abol­ished and in June 2011 was des­ig­nated as a UNESCO World Her­itage Site. The Careenage in Bridgetown facil­i­tated trad­ing and com­mer­cial activ­ity among ves­sels. Bridgetown is almost always active; the only days it is not bustling with peo­ple are Sun­days and Bank Holidays.

There is no short­age of food places in Bridgetown as it houses most of the major fast food joints on the island Burger King, Chefette and KFC.
How­ever, other restau­rants serv­ing local and inter­na­tional cui­sine include, Ryannes Restau­rant, The Bal­cony and Ideal restau­rants in Cave Shep­herd, The Water­front Café oppo­site inde­pen­dence square and Tim’s Restau­rant on Broad Street.

Shop­ping and Stores
· Broad Street – the largest depart­ment stores and malls for duty free shop­ping are located on Broad Street. These include the Colon­ade Mall, Mall 34 and Cave Shep­herd.
· Cave shep­herd – the lead­ing depart­ment store in Bar­ba­dos and over 100 years old. Offers the best from footwear, to elec­tron­ics, cloth­ing, books, chil­dren clothes and toys and cos­met­ics all at duty free prices
· Nor­man Cen­tre Mall – house pop­u­lar inter­na­tional stores such as Con­verse and Pay­less.
· The Colon­ade Mall – for­merly called Dacosta’s Mall, is the old­est mall in Bar­ba­dos. Not only does it have a vari­ety of shops to do your shop­ping but the food court also allows you a place to relax and unwind and take a bite to eat.
· Har­risons – Offers the best in cos­met­ics and high end shoes and bags at duty free prices.
· Pel­i­can Vil­lage – located just on the out­skirts of the town and offers the best in local arts and craft. Steel pan music is also played here at times.

Other stores and shops are located on the main streets in Bridgetown – Swann Street, James Street, Tudor Street and Roe­buck Street. These streets house the smaller but pop­u­lar retail stores such as NuLook Bou­tique, Dal­las Dis­counts, Ouch! and Super­style Shoe Store. Also, as you walk along these streets there will be no short­age of ven­dors sell­ing a vari­ety of items rang­ing from purses, clothes and shoes.

Attrac­tions and Recre­ational Activ­i­ties
· The Boat­yard — located just on the out­skirts of Bridgetown on Bay Street is the boat­yard, pro­vid­ing the best in Water­sport activ­i­ties in Bar­ba­dos.
· Jolly Roger Pirate cruises – offer party cruises at sea.
· Har­bour Lights – open air beach­front night­club on Bay Street that pro­vides live enter­tain­ment for its patrons.

Just on the out­skirts of Bridgetown is Carlisle Bay, the beach which Bridgetown over­looks. Like the boat­yard, it also pro­vides water sports for its patrons but its calm and peace­ful waters also make it ideal for swim­ming and sea bathing. Carlisle Bay Marine Park is a pop­u­lar spot for scuba div­ing. Bridgetown walk­ing tours are avail­able weekly on from the Jolly Roger Tav­ern but call for booking.

Get­ting Around
Bridgetown is eas­ily one of the most acces­si­ble places in Bar­ba­dos. If you do not have your own trans­porta­tion, there is almost a van, bus or route taxi going to Bridgetown from any point in the island. Also, there is a taxi stand in the cen­tre of the town with no short­age of dri­vers available.

The City Of Speight­stown

Speight­stown is the north­ern most town in the island and the 2nd largest. Rooted in his­tory, Speight­stown houses many build­ings dat­ing back to the early set­tle­ment days. It also has a very his­toric feel; as you walk along the town you see many ven­dors sell­ing fruits and veg­eta­bles as well as var­i­ous hand­made jew­ellery. Speight­stown was one of the busiest ports in Bar­ba­dos as it used to be an impor­tant cog in the island’s trad­ing activ­i­ties in the 17th cen­tury. Speight­stown was set­tled by landowner William Speight in 1630 and was orig­i­nally named Spyke­ses Bay before it was named after him. The town is over 350 years old and its main street, Queen Street, runs directly though the cen­tre of the town.

· Frangi­pani Art Gallery – dis­plays a col­lec­tion of paint­ings and prints and use­ful to visit for those wish to explore local art.
· Arling­ton House Museum – inter­ac­tive 3 story museum that offers a unique expe­ri­ence. There are inter­ac­tive audio-​visual fea­tures in the museum and makes learn­ing about Bar­ba­dian her­itage fun and engaging.

· Schooner Bay – lux­u­ri­ous apart­ments located at the south­ern­most end of Speight­stown.
· Port St. Charles – lux­ury beach­front and water­front vil­las.
· Port Fer­di­nand – cur­rently under con­struc­tion but will also con­sist of water­front villas.

· Var­i­ous Well known fast food out­lets such as KFC and Chefette.
· Fisherman’s pub – serves afford­able local goods and is very pop­u­lar among locals and tour­sists. Offers nice beach­front din­ing for lunch and din­ner.
· L’Attitude Beach Bar and Grill – pro­vides the option of beach­front din­ing or inside ding­ing allow­ing you to either enjoy the fresh breeze or sit inside sur­rounded by beau­ti­ful paint­ings.
· Juma’s Restau­rant – serves Clas­sic French, Bajan and Thai cui­sine. It offers a unique din­ing expe­ri­ence in Speigh­stown.
Other places you can enjoy a quick bite include, The Fish Pot , The Orange Street Gro­cer, The Gar­den of Eden health shop, Lit­tle Bris­tol for those with more of a sweet tooth and Suga Bowl Café.

Shop­ping and Stores
Speight­stown has two malls that house var­i­ous stores such as Up Beat and Fash­ion Nation. There are also var­i­ous other stores in and around Speight­stown sell­ing clothes, shoes and jew­ellery. Courts Bar­ba­dos located in the cen­tre of the town, is the only place avail­able to pur­chase var­i­ous electronics.

Attrac­tions and Recre­ational Activ­i­ties
· Speight­stown Esplanade – a place near to the sea where per­sons can sit and relax. Usu­ally hosts activ­i­ties such as con­certs but this is a sea­sonal occur­rence.
· Beaches – Speight­stown has a few beaches for lim­ing and sea-​bathing includ­ing God­ings Bay, Speight­stown Bay and Heywood’s beach.
For those who desire more action ori­ented activ­i­ties can seek out Reefers and Wreck­ers Dive Shop (for div­ing), Rad­i­cal Water­sports and Just Chillin Water­sports (for water sports such as skiing)

Get­ting Around
Speight­stown is a very easy place to access either by van, bus and route taxi. Speight­stown, Mile and a Quar­ter, Bosco­belle and Con­nell­town buses all pass through Speight­stown.

The Town of Hole­town

Hole­town was the first place of set­tle­ment in Bar­ba­dos and is the third largest town on the island. Located in the parish of St. James, it was orig­i­nally called Jamestown after King James the 1st of Eng­land. The name “Hole­town” came about because ships used to be off loaded and cleaned in a small channel/​hole in the vicin­ity of the town. Every Feb­ru­ary, the town hosts the Hole­town fes­ti­val, a local fes­ti­val that show­cases crafts and music of the island. In Hole­town, two streets house most of the restau­rants in the area. 1st and 2nd street pro­vide a wide vari­ety of din­ing expe­ri­ences and are most fre­quented on week­ends. These streets were so named as they were the first to be con­structed in Barbados.

For places to stay in Hole­town, vis­i­tors and locals look­ing for a stay­ca­tion can stay at Coral Reef Club, Mango Bay Hotel, Dis­cov­ery Bay as well as Trop­i­cal Beach Apart­ment Hotel. As implied by their names, all of these estab­lish­ments are located near the seaside.

Hole­town also has a wide vari­ety of places to eat, with over 37 dif­fer­ent restau­rants to dine in the area. Most of these are located on 1st and 2nd streets. These restau­rants includ­ing Nishi Restau­rant, offer fine din­ing expe­ri­ences com­plete with local enter­tain­ment. Other food estab­lish­ments in the area include The Tides Restau­rant, Zac­cios, The Beach House Restau­rant and Bar, Just Grillin’, Surf­side Restau­rant and Beach Bar and of course, KFC.

Shop­ping and Stores
· Limegrove Shop­ping Mall – high end shop­ping cen­tre and mall fre­quented by both locals and tourists.
· Cave Shep­herd – offers duty free shop­ping and is one of the most pop­u­lar stores in the island, with one also located in Bridgetown.
· West Coast Mall – has a col­lec­tion of stores that offer duty free shop­ping.
· Sun­set Crest Shop­ping Mall – also offers duty free shop­ping to fit any needs.
· Chat­tel Vil­lage – mod­elled after the his­toric chat­tel house. Sells local art, fash­ion, craft, sou­venirs and many more.

Attrac­tions and Recre­ational Activ­i­ties
· Beach – the Hole­town Beach is avail­able for casual lim­ing and swim­ming but also offers var­i­ous water­sport activ­i­ties.
· Limegrove Cin­e­mas – the only cin­ema in the area, this is located in the high end Limegrove shop­ping mall.
· Team Bay­watch Water­sports and High­t­ide Water­sports – for those who are look­ing for a bit of adven­ture, water sport activ­i­ties as well as short boat trips and snorkelling are offered by these two com­pa­nies.
· Folke­stone Marine Park and Vis­i­tor Cen­tre – pro­vides water activ­i­ties as well such as div­ing, jet ski­ing and snorkelling.

Get­ting Around
Hole­town is also eas­ily acces­si­ble by bus by any trans­porta­tion sys­tem going to Speightstown.

The Town of Oistins
Oistins is located on the south of the island. It is a major fish­ing com­mu­nity in Bar­ba­dos and the site of the annual fish fes­ti­val which hon­ours and rec­og­nizes those to con­tribute to the local fish­ing indus­try. In 1639 there was a clash between the Roy­al­ists and Round head sup­port­ers over the bid for inde­pen­dence of Bar­ba­dos from Cromwell’s Eng­land. Due to this clash, the Arti­cles of Agree­ment were drafted in order for Bar­ba­dos to form its own par­lia­ment – now the third old­est in the com­mon­wealth. Oistins was orig­i­nally called Austin’s Bay but was later named Oistins after Edward Ois­tine, a plan­ta­tion owner who resided in the area.

In addi­tion to all the stalls where food can be bought daily (see more below), Chef­fette and KFC are also located in Oistins.

Shop­ping and Stores
· Art and craft items are usu­ally on sale in Oistins at var­i­ous stalls includ­ing pot­tery, wood carv­ings, jew­ellery, cloth­ing and straw craft.
· South­ern Plaza Shop­ping Cen­tre — the lone shop­ping mall in Oistins, this plaza has a vari­ety of stores to meet a vari­ety of needs whether it be shoes, jew­ellery or sou­venirs. Open Mon­day to Fri­day from 9am to 6pm and on Sat­ur­days from 9am to 2pm.

Attrac­tions and Recre­ational Activ­i­ties
Oistins Fish Fry – every Fri­day and Sat­ur­day night, Oistins is bustling with activ­ity as tourists and locals fre­quent the area for the weekly fish fry. It is one of the high­est rated attrac­tions in Bar­ba­dos as it pro­vides the oppor­tu­nity to enjoy the best of local cui­sine includ­ing fish, chicken and lob­ster. The ambiance is set with music from back in the day and also calypso includ­ing new/​recent Crop Over jams. Dur­ing the week other activ­i­ties occur includ­ing live music on Mon­days, karaōke on Tues­days and Thurs­days and Steel Pan on Wednesdays.

Oistins Beach – ideal for a lime and also offers water­sport activities.

Get­ting Around
An Oistins or Air­port bus will take you to Oistins. Located right in the cen­tre is a bus sta­tion with busses run­ning reg­u­larly to take you to any des­ti­na­tion you wish. There is also the Oistins taxi ser­vice, with many taxi dri­vers wait­ing to take you any­where on the island that you want to go.

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