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A beginner's guide to Bermuda
Bermuda is simply beautiful, a small collection of islands sitting in the middle of the Atlantic, connected together by small bridges. With a flying time of six and a half hours from the UK and the South East coast of America six hundred and ninety miles away, this archipelago is surprisingly accessible. It has a mixing pot full of culture with English, American and Caribbean influence. Being part of the Commonwealth it certainly has a quintessential English charm to it.
Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory and is the oldest British colony. You will find English style pubs, English road signs and Royal Mail post boxes around the island! The Queen can also be found on the front of the Bermudian dollar. In that sense it differs from the Caribbean, but its similarities include climate and the friendliness of the Caribbean people. Bermuda is an associate member of CARICOM (the Caribbean Community). Although it sits some one thousand miles from the Caribbean Sea, there are cultural similarities to the Caribbean, one being music. You will here Calypso tunes, steel pans and Reggae around Bermuda and will be warmly welcomed at the airport by a Calypso style singer!
The Reefs, a family owned resort in Southampton is in a prime spot. Elegantly perched on a cliff top overlooking the Atlantic it is the perfect location for exploring the pink seashores of Bermuda. With an infinity pool overlooking the secluded private beach you will feel like you are in heaven! Its idyllic setting makes The Reefs an ideal resort for a romantic getaway or family holiday alike. All 62 rooms have sea views, and elegant Bermudian décor. The resort buildings are painted in the typical pastel hues associated with the island, giving it a sophisticated edge. For some serious relaxation head to the spa. The ‘exotic lime and ginger salt glow’ will leave you feeling invigorated! The resort has three restaurants to choose from, Coconuts is a particular favourite with guests and locals due to its glorious seafront location. For a more British affair head to the resort lounge for a traditional afternoon tea!
Getting around this lovely isle is easy, with a combined bus and ferry day pass costing just $12, about £8. Board the pink bus then sit back and admire the pastel coloured houses adorning the clean winding roads. You don’t get anywhere in a hurry here, and nor would you want to as you slip easily into the relaxed vibes of island living. As a regular visitor to Bermuda this is something I will never tire of. The ferry is an ideal mode of transport to get from Hamilton, Bermuda’s capital to the historic Dockyard. Here you will find the Bermuda Maritime Museum and the Frog and Onion Pub, sample the local beer from the Dockyard Brewing Company; Bermuda’s only brewery.
The pink sandy beaches are a trademark of Bermuda and are stunning; Horseshoe Bay is popular with locals and tourists and is a short stroll from The Reefs. Another beach I would recommend is Tobacco Bay aptly named as according to locals the first settlers found tobacco growing here. You can find it by catching a bus to the parish of St George, famous for its collection of fortifications dating back to the 17th century. Tobacco bay is a 15-minute walk out of the town; along the way you can enjoy uninterrupted views of the sparkling Atlantic Ocean. It is a small, secluded beach protected by impressive limestone formations. Bermuda is a favourite of mine for snorkelling, with unrivalled crystal clear waters and an impressive array of vibrant sea life; this beach is just perfect for it!
With so much to offer, Bermuda is the perfect getaway for both couples and families. With so many secluded beaches, it is a tranquil beach break for two and with a great selection of bars and restaurants you are sure to find somewhere for a romantic meal or drinks. If you want to see the sights head off and explore the island on a moped, you can’t hire cars here so this is a fun way to get about. For families there is a whole host of activities to keep little ones, or big ones occupied! This includes a visit to the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo. Here you will get to see sharks and a whole host of marine life, along with rescued turtles and seals. Find out about Bermuda’s habitat and the island’s geology at the museum, which can be found between the aquarium and zoo. An action packed day out for the whole family!
Visit the Crystal caves for a different island experience. The main cave has an underground lake, which can be discovered via a floating walkway. Peer into the crystal clear waters at the reflection of the stalactites above. If you fancy a bit of a work out climb the 180 steps of Gibbs Hill Lighthouse! It’s well worth the $2 as the views from the top are superb. After you descend reward yourself with a visit to the tearooms at the base.
Hamilton is home to some lovely shops on Front Street and some great bars and restaurants, The Pickled Onion and Cafe Cairo to name just a few. While you are there why not purchase a pair of Bermuda shorts? Worn with knee high socks they are a tradition that dates back to the early 1900s, when British troops were encouraged to turn their trousers into shorts due to the humidity and tropical climate. Considered today as smart dress for men, many Bermudans can be spotted with a pair of brightly coloured shorts on. If a tie is worn with shorts then it is accompanied with the knee-high socks.
Bermuda’s oldest pub, the famous Swizzle Inn is very popular. Try Bermuda’s local drink Rum swizzle made from rum, and fruit juices, it will knock your socks off! On that note, another local speciality to try is Dark n’ Stormy, made from Gosling’s Black Seal (my rum of choice, I always buy a bottle before leaving the island!) and Barritt’s Bermuda Stone Ginger Beer. Simply delicious!