Whether it be the forts, historic homes, or churches, British influence is prevalent in Bermuda. As visitors explore the island, they will view interesting feats of architecture, stand in sites of historic significance, and if they are lucky, learn a little something in the proces
In St. George's Parish, visitors will find the oldest Anglican church site in the Western Hemisphere: St. Peter's Church. The original church, which was built in 1612, was destroyed in a hurricane, then rebuilt in 1713. The on-site graveyard is the final resting place of almost all of Bermuda's original settlers, and nearby is a slave graveyard. Just behind the church is the Old Rectory, which was built in 1705 by a reformed pirate.Historic Churches in Bermuda ChurchLocationInteresting FactContact Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity Hamilton The 157-step tower gives visitors a panoramic view of the city. 441-292-4033
One of the main attractions of the Royal Navy Dockyard is the Bermuda Maritime Museum. Encompassing six acres of land, the museum's main goal is to preserve and share the history and culture of the island of Bermuda. Exhibits include Bermuda's Defense Heritage, The Slave Trade, and Historic Bermuda Collections.
In St. George you will find the a replica of the HMS Deliverance. In the early 17th century, shipwrecked passengers of the Sea Venture built the HMS Deliverance in Bermuda so that they could sail to Jamestown, Virginia and let their fellow Englishmen know that they were still alive. The replica shows what life was like on a 17th century ship. The ship is open between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and free to explore.
More museums can be reviewed here:Museums Name Phone Location Island Bermuda Heritage Museum (441) 297-4126 St. George St. David's Island Bermuda Historical Society Museum (441) 295-2487 Downtown Hamilton Bermuda Bermuda National Trust Museum (441) 297-1423 St. David's Island St. David's Island Bermuda Railway Museum (441) 293-1774 Hamilton Parish Bermuda Carter House (441) 293-1642 St. David's Island St. David's Island St. George's Historical Society Museum (441) 297-0423 St. George St. David's Island Tucker House Museum (441) 297-0545 St. George's Island St. George's Island Verdmont (441) 236-7369 Smith's Parish Bermuda World Heritage Centre (441) 297-5791 St. George's Island St. George's Island
In order to protect the Royal Navy Dockyard, the British built a series of fortifications to surround the area. Today, this area is known Scaur Hill Fort Park.
Fort St. Catherine was the first major fort to be constructed in Bermuda, originally finished in 1614. Over the years it has undergone numerous refurbishments to keep the tunnels and towers in working order. Now the fort houses a museum that features dioramas of Bermuda history, as well as a small-arms exhibit, and a display of English's crown jewels (they are replicas). Visitors can also view an audiovisual presentation of the fort's defense system. Fort St. Catherine is located in St. George's Parish, and open daily from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Admission costs $5(USD) for adults, and $2(USD) for children under the age of 12.
At the entrance of St. George's is guarded by the small Gates Fort. Gates Fort is a simple structure comprised of only two rooms that stood as a watchtower. Built in 1609, there is not much for visitors to see, but every so often cruise passengers are welcomed to the island with a ringing of the bell and a blast of the cannon that sits atop the tower. Gates Fort is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free.
Also in St. George's Parish is Castle Island, which houses remnants of a fort from the 1600s. Though nature has overtaken much of the landmark, it is still a piece of Bermuda's history worth exploring. The fort area is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.., and admission is free.
Many years after settlement, in the 1870s, the British built Fort Hamilton as protection against American threats. The structure never ended up being necessary, but many visitors find it a pleasant place to visit, with it's moat, cannons, and ramparts. The on-site garden is also worth visiting. Fort Hamilton is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is free.
Fort Scaur was another fort that was skillfully constructed during the uncertain times in British/United States relations in the 19th century. This fort stands tall atop Scaur Hill, as an inland fort to protect the interior of the island. The dry moat and panoramic views are the greatest draws to this site, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and free to enter.
Believed to be the oldest home on St. David's Island, Carter House now stands as a museum dedicated to showcasing the lives of the people on the island. Admission is free, and the museum is open between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
For a mixture of Bermudan and American history, check out Verdmont in Smith's Parish. This historical home was built in 1710, and owned by William Sayle, South Carolina's founder and first governor.
Another one of the oldest homes in Bermuda is Waterville, which was built the early 18th century. The home was owned by a prominent Bermudan family, the Trimingham's, who up until 2005 operated a department store on Front Street. Today the home is the headquarters of the Bermuda National Trust, as well as period furnishings for visitors to view.
Just behind Town Hall in St. George is the Old State House, which was built in 1620 out of turtle oil and lime mortar. The interior does not offer much to see, but a view of the outside makes for a nice stop on your tour of the island. If you are interested in how Bermuda's government works, you may prefer to visit the Sessions House in Hamilton, where the House of Assembly meets between November and May. Visitors are permitted to watch meetings in the galley.
Learn more about these and other landmarks below:Historical Sites Name Phone Location Island Fort Hamilton (441) 292-1234 Hamilton Bermuda Fort Popple -- St. David's Island St. David's Island Fort Prospect -- Devonshire Parish Bermuda Fort Scaur (441) 236-5902 Somerset Island Somerset Island Fort St. Catherine (441) 297-1920 St. George St. David's Island Gates Fort -- St. David's Island St. David's Island Martello Tower -- St. George's Island St. George's Island Old Devonshire Church (441) 236-3671 Devonshire Parish Bermuda Old Rectory (441) 297-4261 St. George St. David's Island Old State House (800) 223-6106 St. George St. David's Island Portuguese Rock -- 3.8 mi. (6.2 km) East of Hamilton Bermuda Sessions House (441) 292-7408 Downtown Hamilton Bermuda St. Peter's Church (441) 297-8359 St. George St. David's Island Stocks & Pillory And Ducking Stool -- St. George St. David's Island Unfinished Church -- St. George St. David's Island Waterville House (441) 236-6483 Paget Parish Bermuda Whale Bay Fort -- 3.0 mi. (4.8 km) South of Somerset Village Bermuda
Built in 1846, Gibb's Hill Lighthouse in Southampton is the oldest cast iron lighthouse in the world. A 185-step staircase takes visitors to a balcony that offers a panoramic view of the island, and often in the spring migrating whales can be spotted. Operating hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is $2.50. Children under 4 are free.
Set on the highest point possible on the Eastern tip of the island, St. David’s Lighthouse rests 208 feet above sea level and its light extends 20 miles out into the ocean. After taking three years to build, St. David’s was finally completed in 1879. The lighthouse is built of a type of limestone unique to Bermuda and stretches up into the sky for 55 feet before culminating in a lantern that lights the night. Originally, the beam was lit by a kerosene lamp, but in 1922, St. David’s switched to a petroleum burner.
Still in use today, St. David’s is popular amongst tour groups who enjoy an unparalleled view of Bermuda’s countryside from the balcony, and glimpses of the humpback whale migration in April and May.Lighthouses Name Location Island Gibbs Hill Lighthouse 3.8 mi. (6.1 km) Southeast of Somerset Village Bermuda St. Davids Lighthouse St. David's Island St. David's Island
A tour of the island's landmarks will allow vacationers a glimpse into what life on the island has been like over the years, which creates a deeper connection with the destination.
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