advertisement

For over 30 years, the Shirley Heights Sunday Barbecue Party has been the fete du jour for locals and tourists alike, who gather on this open-air bluff high above Nelson's Dockyard and English Harbour every Sunday afternoon for a raucous sunset celebration. Grills start smoking and the Halcyon Steel Orchestra steel pan band amps it up around 4pm. Yes, it's touristy, but the views alone from this historic lookout are worth the trip. Still, if you're allergic to crowds (sometimes of the tour-bus inclination), you might prefer to see the vistas—and tour the 18th-century Shirley Heights complex—another day instead. But we strongly advise hanging in; once the sun sets, the tour buses and resort shuttles often pack it in and local jam bands fuel what becomes a rum-soaked dance party under the stars. Bring cash to shell out for the drinks and the food—ranging from smoky barbecue ribs to jerk chicken to burgers—and to buy any trinkets you might fancy, sold by local crafts vendors on hand to do a little business. The Shirley Heights restaurant and bar, part of the Nelson's Dockyard National Park, is open daily for lunch and some dinners and hosts a family-friendly (and less raucous) barbecue party on Thursdays from 4 to 8pm.