Barbados is by far the most popular of Caribbean islands for Brits, due to its long and close association with the UK. Just 21 miles by 14 miles, it is also one of the most diverse, from the upmarket resorts of the Platinum Coast, to the fun resorts of the South, the wild and rugged east coast and the quiet north.
What to see and do
If you’ve only got time for one site make it Harrison’s Cave (harrisonscave.com), an incredible cave complex. The island regularly exhibits at Chelsea Flower Show and there are many botanical gardens to visit. Bathsheba on the wild east (Atlantic) coast regularly hosts surfing competitions.
The capital Bridgetown has a number of lively markets, the houses of parliament and even a Nelson’s Column. Watch cricket at Kensington Oval or horseriding at Garrison Savannah, take a rum tour or visit a plantation house.
Where to eat
Michelin chefs regularly spend a season here, and Barbados is widely regarded as having some of the best food in the Caribbean. Probably the best places are Sandy Lane (sandylane.com) and The Cliff (thecliffbarbados.com), on the west coast; Daphne’s (daphnesbarbados.com) which offers Italian cuisine with Caribbean influences; and Lone Star (thelonestar.com) a former garage converted into a hip restaurant. In the south David’s Place Restaurant (davidsplacebarbados.com) serves Barbadian cuisine on a deck on the seafront at St Lawrence Gap.
The best place is Sandy Lane, famous for its celebrity clientele.
Where to drink
The south coast is the place for nightlife. St Lawrence Gap and around is full of restaurants, bars and clubs. Some of the standout spots include Pravda Bar, for cocktails and hip music, The Reggae Lounge has live bands, McBrides, an Irish themed bar, and After Dark, a nightclub. On the west coast try Lexy Piano Bar (lexypianobar.com) on Second Street, which has impromptu karaoke; Oasis Bar and Angry Annie’s Restaurant, on First Street.
Where to stay
The best place is Sandy Lane (sandylane.com), famous for its celebrity clientele. For Miami-style chic try The House (thehousebarbados.com) an adults-only hotel. If you fancy a round of golf, check-in at the Royal Westmoreland Hotel (royalwestmoreland.com) above the west coast. Affordable hotels are along the south coast, try Divi Southwinds Resort (diviresorts.com) on the Main Road, in St Lawrence, with its own beach.
Everything from zip-lining to a submarine tour or a 4×4 safari. The island is a divers’ paradise with plenty of shallow reefs and wrecks, (www.divebarbadosblue.com).