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Barbados: Small Island, Big History

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Although Barbados is a small nation we are rich in history, forged by influences from Africa and Britain into an impressive island state that seeks to preserve it’s heritage while confronting injustices of the past.

When you visit the island you’ll discover many attractions highlighting the island’s history and heritage, including:

Barbados Museum & Historical Society

This museum is located within our UNESCO World Heritage Site and features exhibits about the history and culture of Barbados. You’ll learn about the island’s indigenous people, early settlers, the history of sugar production, slavery, and independence. There is a special Children’s Gallery which is particularly appealing to families.

Barbados Museum & Historical Society

In addition to the permanent exhibits, the Museum mounts special exhibitions throughout the year.

The onsite gift shop is the perfect place to purchase local books, art, and crafts as souvenirs or gifts.

St. Nicholas Abbey

This historic plantation house is one of the oldest in Barbados and is a must-see for history buffs. The Jacobean-style great house was built in the early 17th century. This architectural gem is filled with impressive antiques including Barbadian Mahogany furniture and Coalport China.

The 400-acre estate features a working distillery where you’ll learn about the history of sugar production on the island. Be sure to sample, and maybe purchase, St. Nicholas Abbey Rum or sugar produced on the estate.

Book a ride on the Heritage Railway for a fun steam locomotive journey through the plantation, ending with stunning views of the east coast from Cherry Tree Hill.

Learn more about St. Nicholas Abbey

George Washington House

This historic house is also located in UNESCO World Heritage Site and was home to George Washington, the first President of the United States, when he visited the island for several months in 1751.

Tour the house and learn about Washington’s time in Barbados, including fascinating insights from his personal diary.

You can also explore the mysterious tunnels that run underneath the property!

Learn more…

Gun Hill Signal Station

This historic signal station is located in the central part of Barbados and was used as a lookout point during colonial times. Messages concerning arrival of ships, possible attacks, uprisings, and assembly meetings were conveyed across the island.

Tour Gun Hill to learn about the vital role in a network of signal stations in Barbados’ history. A collection of household items conveys what life was like for English soldiers stationed here.

Historic maps in the tower show the intense fortification of the island, which successfully fended off attacks from foreign powers and kept the island in English hands for over 300 years.

The elevated central location provides stunning panoramic views.

Rock Hall Freedom Village

Located in central Barbados, Rock Hall is the site of the first free village established after Emancipation by former slaves.

It’s a place to learn about and reflect on the resilience of the slave population of the island and their rise to successfully lead our nation.

The Rock Hall Freedom Monument overlooks the site. This statue proudly depicts a family of freed former slaves.

Overall, Barbados is a small island with a rich and fascinating history. You’re invited to visit attractions highlighting our heritage and providing an opportunity to learn about our past.

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Activities & Attractions, Heritage, Heritage & Culture
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