Places of Interest in Barbados

The most significant events and historical periods can be seen by touring the Sugar Mill and Museum, the signal stations, the great houses, and the religious institutions - the divinity school, churches and synagogue that tell the story of the island. Each place is a part of the jigsaw puzzle that makes Barbados what it is today.

Barbados Synagogue
(National Trust)
Bridgetown is home to one of the two oldest synagogues in the Western Hemisphere. The first Jewish settlement in Barbados was in 1638. The first settlers were Jews from Recife, Brazil who, fleeing religious prosecution, came here upon learning of Oliver Cromwell's granting of religious freedom to Jews. The original synagogue was destroyed in 1831 and the present one was built on the same site in 1838. Due to a steady decline in the Jewish population the synagogue fell into disrepair at the beginning of this century. A new influx of Jewish residents began in the 1930s and it is the descendants of these settlers who began the massive restoration of the synagogue. Once again this beautiful building is home to religious services.

Codrington College
St John
Established by the direction of the will of General Christopher Codrington (who died in 1710), Codrington College is the oldest Anglican Theological College in the Western Hemisphere. In 1745, Codrington College was opened as grammar school, and in 1829 Codrington became a full-fledged College. 
In 1831 Codrington was devastated by hurricane and the present building was constructed. Since its affiliation to the University of Durham, England in 1875, it has maintained high academic standards.
In 1955 with the opening of the University College of the West Indies of the West Indies, the Classical Faculty of the College was closed. The College became an affiliate of The University of the West Indies in 1965.
Situated in beautiful and peaceful surroundings on the Atlantic Coast of Barbados, the College offers training for candidates to the sacred Priesthood. The College graciously welcomes visitors to walk in the tranquil grounds and enjoy the sanctuary of the chapel.

Francia Plantation
St George
Tel: (246) 429-0474
HOURS: Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm
ADMISSION: Adults $9.00
This elegant plantation house that overlooks the St. George valley is a designated property of the Barbados National Trust. Owned and operated by descendants of the original inhabitants, this traditional Barbadian home is still owner occupied. The antique furniture, including a marvelous 19th century Barbadian mahogany dining table, enhances the many rooms. Antique maps and prints, including a 1522 map of the West Indies, decorate the walls. The lovely gardens are also open to the public.

Grenade Hall Signal Station
St. Peter
Tel: (246)422-8826
HOURS: Daily 9:00am to 5:00pm
Restored in 1992, Grenade Hall Signal Station is a reminder of days of yore when flags (or semaphores) were used to transmit information from one end of Barbados to the other. The series of towers were originally erected in the 1800s. Grenade Hall tower contains audiotapes, artifacts and exhibits that explain the history and importance of the signaling stations. You can also enjoy a tremendous view from the top floor. The Grenade Hall Forest consists of an easy to follow coral-stone nature trail that winds its way though trees and rocks. There is a plethora of fascinating facts as you answer the questions posed along the way.
When you have finished your visit at the Grenade Hall Signal Station, step next door to the Barbados Wildlife Reserve.

Gun Hill Signal Station
(National Trust)
St. George
Tel: (246) 429-1358
HOURS: Monday to Saturday 9:00 am to 5:00 p.m.
ADMISSION: Adults $9.20
Sitting at 700 feet above sea level, the Gun Hill Signal Station was built in 1818. It served as part of an island-wide chain of stations used to alert Barbadians to approaching enemy ships, cargo ships and matters of import. Gun Hill was also used as a convalescent home for British soldiers and their families. Capt. Henry Wilkinson and four military laborers carved the 7 foot coral stone lion in 1868. The gardens at Gun Hill offer a sweeping panoramic view of the south coast. The National Trust restored the facility in 1983.

Morgan Lewis Sugar Mill
National Trust
St. Andrew
Tel: (246) 422-7429
HOURS: Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm
ADMISSION: Adults $9.20
Located just south of Cherry Tree Hill on the Northeast coast overlooking the Scotland district, this windmill was built circa 1776. 
Typical of the wind-driven mills that crushed the sugarcane, Morgan Lewis is the largest and only complete surviving mill in the Caribbean. The mill continued to grind sugar until the mid-1940s. Recently it has been painstakingly restored by the National Trust and is once again open to visitors. As sugar is Barbados' most significant crop, it is certainly well worth the visit to learn about the grinding of sugar by windpower and the hardships endured by those early workers. From the mill there is a wonderful view of the East Coast.

Sir Frank Hutson Sugar Museum
(National Trust)
Portvale, St. James
Tel: (246) 432-0100
HOURS: Monday to Saturday 9:00am to 5:00pm
ADMISSION: Adults $8.00, children half price
Situated next to the Portvale Sugar Factory (a working mill), this National Trust attraction provides the visitor with the chance to see a slice of Barbadian heritage. A distinguished Barbadian engineer, Sir Frank Hutson, collected this unique collection of sugar artifacts. The museum details the history of sugar in the Caribbean. As the premier crop on the island, the sugar industry has a rich history and various eras of the production process can be seen here. The by-products of sugar, such as molasses and sling, are available for tasting.

St. James Parish Church
Holetown, St. James
This beautiful building is on the site of the island's first church. In the late 1600s the original wood building was replaced by a stone structure. Unfortunately, even that was not strong enough to protect the church from the 1780 hurricane. The church as it is now was built during the 1800s with constant restoration work taking place over the years. The church bell is 50 years older than the Liberty Bell. The baptismal font dates from the 1680s. The nicely manicured grounds make a lovely place for an afternoon stroll.

St. Nicholas Abbey
St Peter
Constructed in 1650 by Benajmin Berringer, St. Nicholas Abbey is one of only three Jacobean houses in the Americas. With its curved Dutch gables and coral stone finials the mansion is in surprisingly good condition. The great house is filled with a marvelous collection of antiques. An interesting tale surrounds the history of the Abbey. Apparently Colonel Berringer's wife was involved in an extramarital liaison with their neighbour Sir John Yeamans. Berringer was killed in a duel over his wife. Sir John then married her and the couple emigrated to the USA. Sir John was governor of the settlement that became the colony of South Carolina.

Sunbury Great House
St. Phillip
Tel: (246) 423-6270
HOURS: Daily 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunbury Plantation House is over 300 years old, steeped in history, featuring mahogany antiques and old prints. This is the only great house in the island with all rooms open for viewing. The property showcases an extensive collection of old prints, china, glassware and antiques, as well as the region's largest assortment of horse drawn carriages. The surrounding gardens and wooded area are open for viewing and the Courtyard Restaurant and bar offer refreshments to visitors daily.

Tyrol Cot Heritage Village
(National Trust)
Codrington Hill, St. Michael
Tel:(246) 424-2074Fax: (246) 429-9055
HOURS: Monday to Saturday :10:00am to 5:00pm
ADMISSION: Adults $8.00, children half price
This 1854 mansion was the home of Sir Grantley Adams and birthplace of Prime Minister Tom Adams and is filled with traditional Barbadian furniture and memorabilia. The property's four acres is also home to a Chattel House Village in which can be seen the work of traditional craftsmen and artists. From the 1930s to the 1960s, Tyrol Cot was at the centre of Barbadian and West Indian political events. Learn more about the history of modern Barbados by visiting Tyrol Cot Heritage Village.

Wildey House
Wildey, St. Michael
Tel: (246) 426-2421
This wonderfully appointed Georgian Great House was bequeathed to the Trust in 1993. Today it is the headquarters of the National Trust and houses their collections of antique furniture, Victorian bric-a-brac, and historic images and photographs.

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