WHAT TO DO
TAKE A HIKE
Barbados doesn’t have soaring peaks, waterfalls, rivers or tropical rainforests like some of its neighbours. Nevertheless, its vegetation can be breathtakingly beautiful. Hike Barbados conducts free hikes through less accessible areas. Its three-hour hikes run throughout the year, with morning walks starting at 6am, afternoon walks at 3.30pm, and moonlight walks at 5.30pm.
WATCH THE SUNRISE AT FARLEY HILL
At least once during every visit to Barbados, we get up 45 minutes before dawn and drive to Farley Hill national park to watch the sunrise (below). Farley Hill, a ruined plantation house, is worth a visit on its own merits, but try sitting atop the hill in its grounds overlooking the Atlantic one cool morning, and watch the sky gradually lighten before the sun finally makes its dramatic appearance. All the while, blackbirds and wood doves lend their approval to this feat of nature, as the wind whistles through the large casuarina trees along the hilltop’s ridge. It’s an unforgettable experience. And although it’s an isolated spot, it’s quite safe. On our last visit we noticed the park has added an overnight security guard at the entrance.
CATCH A DRIVE-IN MOVIE
I grew up going to open-air, drive-in cinemas, so was surprised to find they’re not the norm everywhere. There’s still one in Barbados, the Globe Drive-In in Vauxhall, and I always go when I’m home because it’s a unique experience. Tickets are £6 (Dh28.) If your accommodation will permit it, take blankets and pillows for a picnic under the stars while you watch your flick. You’ll be almost entirely among locals, and when the film reaches a dramatic moment be ready for the chorus of car horns beeping their approval.
At least once during every visit to Barbados, we get up 45 minutes before DAWN and drive to Farley Hill national park to WATCH the sunrise. A ruined plantation house, it’s worth a VISIT on its own merits
SEE THE CHRISTMAS PARADE
If you have the good fortune to be in Barbados in the festive season, head to Queen’s Park in the capital, Bridgetown, on Christmas morning, where dressed-up people promenade in a ritual going back over 100 years. The park, formerly the grounds of the commander of the British troops in the West Indies, was acquired by the government in the early 1900s. In 1907 it commissioned the Royal Barbados Police Band to hold free morning Christmas concerts to establish it as a people’s park. Walking around in 30C heat caught up in the festivity of a tropical Christmas sums up for me the meaning of peace on Earth and goodwill to all men.
There’s plenty to see and be a part of including the Christmas parade, a ritual that goes back 100 years