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Top 10 things to do in Barbados

We are coming into the peak Caribbean season and many people will be thinking of a break lying around on palm fringed beaches, lazing in the sun. But many of those holiday makers never even make it out of their resort complexes and are missing out on some real treats around the island. A recent trip I took to the island for an early winter break revealed a range of interesting and in some ways surprising things you can get up to on the island. Here are my top 10 things to do away from the beach in Barbados.

1. Grab a hire car and tour the island

The north and east coasts are quiet, spectacular and unspoilt with amazing views. And the countryside in the centre of the island is truly beautiful, rolling hills, sugar cane plantations.

 It’s worth the cost to get out and explore. You really feel a world away from the main resorts and beaches. And make sure you visit plenty of rum shops along the way. These are the local bars where you can meet Bajans and try the rums out. Drivers stick to non alcoholic though!

2.  Go surfing

Your image of Barbados may be of calm, warm seas, but that is the popular and exclusive western side of the island. Head south or east and there are plenty of waves to catch. Bathsheba and the ‘Soup Bowl’ area are renowned for surfing and there are lots of surf schools along the south coast near Surfers Point. Not for me, but I really enjoyed watching the kite surfers.

3.    Step on board Concorde

Barbados airport has a British Airways Concorde which was taken out of service in 2003 following the fatal accident in Paris. Housed in a purpose built hangar, enjoy a multi media experience of life with the supersonic airliner before getting on board to see what life was like on the the weekly Concorde trips from London to Bridgetown.

4.  Visit St Nicholas Abbey

A stunning Jacobean mansion in the centre of the island, now preserved in all it’s plantation heritage amongst gardens and mahogany trees. Tour the house and grounds and see how the rum is made on the estate before getting stuck in to purchasing hand engraved bottles of their finest liquor. There is a fascinating film made up of old cine film clips from the 1930s about plantation life and the journey from the UK to the island by ship. I also enjoyed the freshly made hummus I had for lunch and the homemade carrot cake. Divine. The rum was nice too!

5. Go hiking

Local website hike barbados runs weekly walks or hikes all over the island on a Sunday with varying degrees of difficulty. A great way to meet locals and enjoy the landscape. I did one from Bathsheba through Hackleton Cliff and Martins Bay back to Bathsheba and loved it. Friendly and fun and not too strenuus.

6. Oistins fish fry

Friday night is fish night and it is no different here in Barbados.  Get down to Oistins in the parish of Christ Church around 7pm, find a place to sit and eat locally caught and prepared fish and chips while the entertainment goes on around you. From reggae bands to ballroom music with couples dancing. Next to the beach and under the stars, a really fun evening out.

7.    Get out on the water

There are a huge range of options to choose from. Boozy trips on board large boats or sailing on a catamaran to see the turtles along the west coast. Its well worth the effort, most trips involve some food, swimming and the chance to see the coastline and top end hotels and private houses from the water.

8.    Get under the water

Snorkelling is fun along the many coral reefs, but to see under the water without getting wet you have to take the Atlantis submarine. One of only a few in the world to take paying passengers on board, you dive to around 100 feet to view all manner of sea life. Brilliant and a really unique experience atlantissubmarines

9.    Go to a sporting event

The island has cricket pitches in every Parish as well as the main cricket stadium in the Capital. Matches are held all the time, so well worth checking out a local match and meeting the locals on the cricket field for a rum punch. Or go to the races in Bridgetown. The race course at the Garrison holds regular meets at this small course and you can really get in with the Bajans and enjoy the race day fun. As I was leaving, the island was about to host the annual marathon, half marathon and fun runs with people competing from all over the world.

10.    Ride a segway

Now I didn’t get time to do this but it looked amazing. The chance to race across the beaches and landscape of the north east coast on a Segway tour. Check out their site for details segway barbados –  I even read there was a segway polo club which started up on the island around seven years ago.


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