5 things to do in Barbados

As British Airways marks 70 years of flights to Barbados, Alice Barnes-Brown explores the Caribbean island’s star attractions

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1. Spread out on Carlisle Bay

Within walking distance of capital Bridgetown, Carlisle Bay has some of the most family-friendly beaches in the Caribbean, with white sands, sheltered waters and shallow waves. However, what’s under the water is just as appealing.

Home to an abundance of sea turtles, and with little seagrass to impede visibility, the bay offers some seriously good snorkelling. And for divers, there are six shipwrecks within 200 metres of the shore.

2. Go underground at Harrison’s Cave

Harrison’s Cave Eco-Adventure Park lies in the heart of the Central Uplands and has continued its ongoing expansion, adding a Pride of Barbados nature trail, bird aviary and a restaurant in the past year.

The 1.5-mile cave system is filled with stalactites and stalagmites, emerald mineral pools and waterfalls, best explored via a gentle tram tour or an adrenaline-pumping zipline and gully swing.

3. Party like a local with festivals and events

Bajans know how to put on a good party. Highlights include the flagship Crop Over Festival in July and August, which traditionally marked the end of the sugarcane harvest and is now a feast of contemporary culture, costumes, music and parades.

There’s also the Barbados Food and Rum Festival in October, and Run Barbados in December.

4. Tour the Mount Gay Rum Distillery

A tipple and tour at the Mount Gay Rum Distillery – the world’s oldest continually operating rum distillery, established in 1703 – is a must when in Barbados. The island’s abundant sugarcane meant rum production quickly became its most lucrative source of income.

On a Mount Gay distillery tour, guests discover sugarcane fields and the original well, before learning about the distilling process and concluding with a tasting of three signature rums.

5. Stay at new and improved accommodation

Barbados is well-stocked with accommodation, but there’s even more on the way with the addition of the 132-room Hotel Indigo, part of IHG Hotels & Resorts, set to open by Christmas on the site of the former Caribbee Hotel.

Other recent upgrades include a refurbished pool at Little Good Harbour, new dining options at the Sugar Cane Club and the rebranded 49-room boutique The Rockley, which opened on the south coast in March, featuring local artworks and links to nearby restaurants.

Getting there: BA and ITC milestones

BA first flew to Barbados in 1954, when it had to stop to refuel three times en route – now, it’s a direct service on new B787 Dreamliners, with 10% more capacity this summer.

Virgin Atlantic also flies to Bridgetown from Heathrow and Manchester, and Tui and Aer Lingus from Manchester. It’s also 50 years since Inspiring Travel parent ITC ran its first-ever trip – to Barbados.

PICTURES: Shutterstock/Mario Hagen, Jade Prevost Manuel, photosounds; 13 Degrees North Productions/Barbados Tourism Marketing, Inc

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