Spend Day 1 as indicated in the "In One Day" tour. Devote Day 2 to sightseeing and shopping in the City of Hamilton. If you're staying in Paget or Warwick, a ferry from either parish will take you right into the city. For many visitors, the City of Hamilton's shops are its most compelling attraction. Try to time your visit to avoid the arrival of cruise ships; on those days, the stores and restaurants in the city can get really crowded. You can obtain a schedule of cruise-ship arrivals and departures from the tourist office.
If you took our advice and went to the beach yesterday, try a different one today. After all, Bermuda isn't just about sightseeing and shopping -- it's about those marvelous pink sands, too.
Begin your tour along the harborfront at the:
1. Visitors Information Centre/Ferry Terminal
Pick up some free maps and brochures of the island here.
From the bureau, you'll emerge onto Front Street, the City of Hamilton's main street and principal shopping area. Before 1946, there were no cars here. Today, the busy traffic includes small automobiles (driven only by Bermuda residents), buses, mopeds, and bicycles. You'll also see horse-drawn carriages, which are the most romantic (and, alas, the most expensive) way to see the City of Hamilton.
At the docks behind the Ferry Terminal, you can find the ferries to Warwick and Paget parishes. You can also take a ferry across Great Sound to the West End and Somerset.
Walk south from the Ferry Terminal toward the water, taking a short side street between the Visitors Information Centre and the large Bank of Bermuda. You'll come to:
2. Albouy's Point
This is a small, grassy park with benches and trees, which opens onto a panoramic vista of the boat- and ship-filled harbor. Nearby is the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, which has been an elite rendezvous for the Bermudian and American yachting set -- including the rich and famous -- since the 1930s. To use the word "royal" in its name, the club obtained special permission from Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's consort. The club sponsors the widely televised Newport-Bermuda Race.
After taking in the view, walk directly north, toward Front Street. Continue east along Front Street to the intersection with Queen Street. This is the site of the:
This is the most photographed sight in Bermuda. Here you can sometimes find a police officer directing traffic. If the "bobby" is a man, he's likely to be wearing regulation Bermuda shorts. The traffic box was named after its designer, Michael "Dickey" Bird. It stands at Heyl's Corner, which was named for an American southerner, J. B. Heyl, who operated a nearby apothecary in the 1800s.
Continue north along Queen Street until you reach:
4. Par-la-Ville Park
This was once a private garden attached to the town house of William B. Perot, Bermuda's first postmaster. Perot, who designed the gardens in the 19th century, collected rare and exotic plants from all over the globe, including an Indian rubber tree, which was seeded in 1847. Mark Twain wrote that he found the tree "disappointing" in that it didn't bear rubber overshoes and hot-water bottles.
Also opening onto Queen Street at the entrance to the park is the:
5. Bermuda Historical Society Museum
This museum, at 13 Queen St., is also the Bermuda Library. It's filled with curiosities, including cedar furniture, collections of antique silver and china, hog money (the original monetary unit minted in Bermuda), Confederate money, a 1775 letter from George Washington, and other artifacts. The library has many rare books, including a 1624 edition of John Smith's General Historie of Virginia, New England and the Somers Isles, which you can ask to view. If you'd like to rest and catch up on your reading, you'll also find a selection of current local and British newspapers and periodicals here.
Across the street is the:
6. Perot Post Office
William Perot ran this post office from 1818 to 1862. It's said that he'd collect the mail from the clipper ships, then put it under his top hat in order to maintain his dignity. As he proceeded through town, he'd greet his friends and acquaintances by tipping his hat, thereby delivering their mail at the same time. He started printing stamps in 1848. A Perot stamp is extremely valuable today -- only 11 are known to exist, and Queen Elizabeth II owns several. The last time a Perot stamp came on the market, in 1986, it fetched $135,000.
Continue to the top of Queen Street, then turn right onto Church Street to reach:
7. Hamilton City Hall
Located at 17 Church St., the city hall dates from 1960 and is crowned by a white tower. The bronze weather vane on top is a replica of the Sea Venture. Portraits of the queen and paintings of former island leaders adorn the main lobby. The Bermuda Society of Arts holds frequent exhibitions in this hall. The Benbow family's collection of rare stamps is also on display.
In back of Hamilton City Hall, opening onto Victoria Street, lies:
8. Victoria Park
Office workers frequent this cool, refreshing oasis on their lunch breaks. It features a sunken garden, ornamental shrubbery, and a Victorian bandstand. The 1.6-hectare (4-acre) park was laid out in honor of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887. Outdoor concerts are held here in summer. Contact the tourist office for dates.
Cedar Avenue is the eastern boundary of Victoria Park. If you follow it north for 2 blocks, you'll reach:
9. St. Theresa's
This Roman Catholic cathedral is open daily from 8am to 7pm and for Sunday services. Its architecture was inspired by the Spanish Mission style. Dating from 1927, it's one of a half-dozen Roman Catholic churches in Bermuda; its treasure is a gold-and-silver chalice -- a gift from Pope Paul VI when he visited the island in 1968.
After seeing the cathedral, retrace your steps south along Cedar Avenue until you reach Victoria Street. Cedar Avenue now becomes Burnaby Street; continue south to Church Street and turn left. A short walk along this street (on your left) will bring you to the:
10. Bermuda Cathedral
Also known as the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, this is the seat of the Anglican Church of Bermuda, and it towers over the city skyline. Its style is neo-Gothic, characterized by stained-glass windows and soaring arches. The lectern and pulpit duplicate those of St. Giles in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Leave the cathedral and continue east along Church Street to the:
11. Sessions House (Parliament Building)
Located on Parliament Street, between Reid and Church streets, the Sessions House is open to the public Friday at 10am. The speaker wears a full wig and a flowing black robe. The Parliament of Bermuda is the third oldest in the world, after Iceland's and England's.
Continue south along Parliament Street to Front Street, and turn left toward the:
12. Cabinet Building
The official opening of Parliament takes place here in late October or early November. Wearing a plumed hat and full regalia, the governor makes his "Throne Speech." If you visit on a Wednesday, you can see the Bermuda Senate in action. The building is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm.
In front of the Cabinet Building is the:
The Cenotaph is a memorial to Bermuda's dead from both World Wars. In 1920, the Prince of Wales laid the cornerstone. (In 1936, as King Edward VIII, he abdicated to marry an American divorcée, Wallis Simpson, and during World War II, as the Duke of Windsor, he served as governor of The Bahamas.) The landmark is a replica of the Cenotaph in London.
Continue east along Front Street until you reach King Street, then turn left and head north until you come to Happy Valley Road. Go right on this road until you see the entrance (on your right) to:
14. Fort Hamilton
This imposing old fortress lies on the eastern outskirts of town. The Duke of Wellington ordered its construction beginning in 1868 to protect Hamilton Harbour. Filled with underground passageways and complete with a moat and 18-ton guns, the fort was outdated before it was even completed, and it never fired a shot. It does, however, offer panoramic views of the city and the harbor, and it's worth a trip just for the view. In summer, try to be here at noon, when the kilted Bermuda Isles Pipe Band performs a skirling ceremony on the green, accompanied by dancers and drummers.
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.