If you are dreaming of leaving the cold British weather behind and flying away to pristine tropical beaches, where white sands are lapped by crystal clear waters, the stunning Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda should fit the bill perfectly.
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Between them, the two verdant islands boast more than 365 pristine beaches, with Antigua also home to handsome historical buildings such as the baroque St John's Cathedral and a wealth of places to eat, drink and shop. Barbuda lies 30 miles north and is a rugged, undeveloped island teeming with wildlife and made up almost entirely of beach and jungle. For nature lovers, the opportunity to see tropical birds and marine life up close is a major draw.
Antigua and Barbuda flights will take you to a real tropical idyll, where coral reefs and clear waters provide wonderful opportunities for diving and snorkelling. Historical sites such as the 18th-century Nelson's Dockyard in Antigua provide a chance to get to know the colonial history of the islands as well as the opportunity to take yacht trips out into the Caribbean Sea.
Flights to this joint island nation will arrive at Antigua VC Bird International Airport (ANU), with local connecting flights taking visitors to Barbuda Airport (BBQ). Most visitors prefer to use the ferry service to get to Barbuda (see below).
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The Caribbean island of Antigua has good connections to the UK with daily flights...
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have services from London's Gatwick Airport which take around nine hours to reach the island. Flights operate year round. Connecting services fly into Gatwick from several UK departure points including Edinburgh and Glasgow.
In addition, you can fly to Antigua from Manchester with Thomas Cook Airlines.
If the direct services do not suit you, the best way to reach Antigua is via the USA or Canada with airlines such as American, Delta and Air Canada. Connecting services take around 13 hours upwards and you may need to layover for one night on the outbound trip.
Getting to and from the airport
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The tiny size of the islands - Antigua is 14 miles long and 11 miles wide while Barbuda is just 68 square miles - means that it won't take you long to reach your destination by taxi.
At Antigua's airport you'll find a line of taxis waiting to whisk arriving passengers to their hotels. There's a taxi dispatch booth here and you can find out the price before you travel. It's a 30-minute journey to a destination in the south, such as Mamora Bay, and you can expect to pay the equivalent of around £20 in US dollars or East Caribbean dollars.
If you are travelling onward to Barbuda, a limited number of flights arrive into Barbuda's airport from Antigua. The other option is to take the ferry from Antigua and make the short journey to the smaller island. A 90-minute express service costs around £50 per adult for a return ticket, with children travelling at a discounted rate.
Many of the hotels in Antigua and Barbuda offer a shuttle service for guests from the port or the airport.
On both islands, car hire is widely available and offers a great alternative to getting around by taxi or public transport.
There's a dazzling collection of hotels to choose from in Antigua and Barbuda...
Most visitors arriving on flights to Antigua and Barbuda will head straight to the capital, St John's, where there is a high concentration of hotels and guest houses to suit all budgets. With year-round sunshine and a winter that is significantly warmer than the average British summer, the islands are thick with tropical jungle and their natural beauty remains unspoiled by tourism.
Visitors can choose from a wealth of accommodations that ranges from sleek and chic resorts frequented by celebrity visitors to off-the-beaten-track eco-lodges. Those looking to be pampered on their break will find their needs are best met on picturesque Antigua, while nature lovers can head to Barbuda to spot wild deer, see tropical birds at the Frigate Bird Sanctuary and relax on the perfectly unspoiled Coco Bay beaches.
While Antigua is more developed and geared towards tourism, there is still plenty of opportunity to appreciate the wild beauty of the Caribbean. Boggy Peak - the highest point on the island and now known as Mount Obama - offers fantastic panoramic photo opportunities. The sugar plantations provide a glimpse into the working history of the islands, while the palm-fringed Half Moon Bay is truly one of the Caribbean's most beautiful beaches.
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