On Day 3, take the ferry from the City of Hamilton across Great Sound to Somerset. You'll disembark at the western end of Somerset Island in Sandys Parish, which consists of Somerset Island (the largest and southernmost island), and Watford, Boaz, and Ireland islands. When Bermudians cross into Somerset on Somerset Bridge, they say they are "up the country."
Craggy coastlines, beaches, nature reserves, fishermen's coves, old fortifications, winding lanes, and sleepy villages characterize this area. All of Sandys' major attractions lie along the main road from Somerset Bridge to the Royal Naval Dockyard, which is at the end of Ireland Island.
Although we describe this as a walking tour, you may want to rent a bicycle or moped to help you cover the longer stretches.
To begin the tour, take the ferry from the City of Hamilton to:
1. Somerset Bridge
This bridge links Somerset Island with the rest of Bermuda. It was among the first three bridges constructed on Bermuda in the 1600s, and it's said to be the smallest drawbridge in the world; its opening is just wide enough to accommodate a sailboat mast. Near the bridge you can see the old Somerset Post Office and an 18th-century cottage known as Crossways.
Next, walk up Somerset Road about 70m (230 ft.) to the entrance to the:
2. Railway Trail
Open only to pedestrians and bikers, the trail follows the path of old "Rattle and Shake," the Bermuda Railway line that once ran the length of the island. This section of the trail -- between Somerset Bridge and Sound View Road -- is one of the most attractive segments (good to know if you don't want to walk the whole trail -- although some hearty visitors do just that). Parts of the trail open onto the coast, affording panoramic vistas of the Great Sound.
3. Take a Break
The trail goes across the parkland of Fort Scaur , with its large moat. If you're here around noontime, you might want to consider this as a picnic spot (get your picnic fixings in the City of Hamilton). If you can spend all day in Somerset (which we highly recommend), you might also want to take time out for a swim before returning to your walking or cycling.
Follow the signposts to:
4. Fort Scaur
In the 1870s, the British feared an attack from the United States, so they built this fort on the highest hill in Somerset to protect Her Majesty's Royal Naval Dockyard. It sits on 9 hectares (22 acres) of land and opens onto Somerset Road; the huge dry moat cuts right across Somerset Island. You can wander around this fort, which proved to be unnecessary because the American invasion never materialized. If you stand on the ramparts, you'll be rewarded with a marvelous view of Great Sound. Through a telescope, you can see such distant sights as St. David's Lighthouse and Fort St. Catherine in the East End of Bermuda. If you follow the eastern moat all the way down to the Great Sound shore, you'll find ideal places for swimming and fishing.
After exploring the surrounding Scaur Hill Fort Park, resume your walk along the railway track and continue north for more than 1.5km (1 mile), then turn right onto:
5. Sound View Road
Take a stroll along this sleepy residential street, which has some of the finest cottages in Bermuda.
Continue around a wide arc, passing Tranquillity Hill and Gwelly and Saltsea lanes. When you come to Scott's Hill Road, take a right and go about 80m (260 ft.) to East Shore Road. At the first junction, take Cavello Lane, which branches off to the right; it will take you to:
6. Cavello Bay
The sheltered cove is a stopping point for the City of Hamilton ferry.
Wait for the next ferry and take it (with your cycle or moped) to Watford Bridge or directly to the:
7. Royal Naval Dockyard
There's so much to see here, you could spend an entire afternoon exploring the area. The dockyard is a sprawling complex encompassing 2 1/2 hectares (6 1/4 acres) of Ireland Island. The major attraction is the Bermuda Maritime Museum, opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1975. There's an exhibit of Bermuda's old boats, documenting the island's rich maritime history. You can cross a moat to explore the keep and the 9m-high (30-ft.) defensive ramparts.
Across the street from the Bermuda Maritime Museum is the Old Cooperage Building, site of the Neptune Cinema. Adjacent to the cinema is the Craft Market, which sells interesting items. Next door is the:
8. Bermuda Arts Centre
Princess Margaret opened the Centre in 1984. Showcasing the visual arts and crafts of the island, this not-for-profit organization has a volunteer staff.
From the dockyard, it's 19km (12 miles) to Somerset Village, but many people who have walked or cycled the distance consider it one of the highlights of their Bermuda trip. Most opt to walk for only an hour or two before they tire and decide to take a bus. You'll find some of the best beaches here, so if you get tired along the way, take time out for a refreshing dip in the ocean.
Leave through the dockyard's south entrance and walk down Pender Road about 1km (2/3 mile). Cross Cockburn's Cut Bridge and go straight along Cockrange Road, which will take you to:
9. Lagoon Park
Enter the park as you cross over the Cut Bridge onto Ireland Island South. Walking trails crisscross the park, which has a lagoon populated with ducks and other wild fowl. There are places for picnicking in the park, which is free and open to the public.
To continue, cross Grey's Bridge to Boaz Island, and walk or cycle along Malabar Road. On your right, you'll see the calm waters of Mangrove Bay. You'll eventually arrive at:
10. Somerset Village
Somerset is one of the most charming villages on Bermuda. Only one road goes through the village. Most of the stores are branches of larger stores in the City of Hamilton.
11. Somerset Country Squire Pub & Restaurant
Somerset Country Squire Pub & Restaurant (tel. 441/234-0105) is an English-style pub that serves sandwiches, burgers, and such pub grub as steak-and-kidney pie and bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potatoes). The kitchen is also noted for its desserts.
Follow Cambridge Road west to:
12. Somerset Long Bay Park
Families like this park because of its good beach and shallow waters, which open onto Long Bay. You can picnic here. The Bermuda Audubon Society operates the nature reserve, and the pond attracts migrating birds, including the Louisiana heron, the snowy egret, and the purple gallinule, in both spring and autumn.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.