- Scaur Hill Fort Park (Sandys Parish): Fort Scaur and Fort St. Catherine were part of a ring of fortifications that surrounded Bermuda. Built by the British navy, the fort was supposed to protect the Royal Naval Dockyard from an attack that never materialized. During World War II, U.S. Marines were billeted nearby. Overlooking Great Sound, the fort offers views of some of the island's most dramatic scenery.
- Verdmont (Smith's Parish): This 1710 mansion is on property once owned by William Sayle, founder and first governor of South Carolina. Filled with portraits, antiques, and china, the house offers a rare glimpse into a long-faded life of old-fashioned style and grace. Resembling a small English manor house, it's the finest historic home in Bermuda.
- St. Peter's Church (St. George's Parish): This is the oldest Anglican house of worship in the Western Hemisphere. At one time, virtually everyone who died on Bermuda was buried here, from governors to criminals. To the west of the church lies a graveyard of slaves. The present church sits on the site of the original, which colonists built in 1612. A hurricane destroyed the first structure in 1712, but some parts of the interior survived. It was rebuilt on the same site in 1713.
- Fort St. Catherine (St. George's Parish): This fort -- with its tunnels, cannons, and ramparts -- towers over the beach where the shipwrecked crew of the Sea Venture first came ashore in 1609 (becoming Bermuda's first settlers). The fort was completed in 1614, and extensive rebuilding and remodeling continued until the 19th century. The audiovisual presentation on St. George's defense system helps you better understand what you're seeing.
Although much of Bermuda is modern, the first settlers arrived in 1609. The following places provide insights into the old, largely vanished Bermudian way of life.
- St. David's Island (St. George's Parish): Though most of Bermuda looks pristine and proper, you'll still find some vestiges of rustic maritime life on St. David's. Some St. David's Islanders never even bother to visit neighboring St. George, and to some locals, a trip to the West End of Bermuda would be like a trip to the moon. St. David's Lighthouse has been a local landmark since 1879. To see how people used to cook and eat, drop by Black Horse Tavern.
- The Royal Naval Dockyard (Sandys Parish): Nothing recaptures the maritime spirit of this feisty island colony more than this sprawling complex of attractions (with a multimillion-dollar cruise-ship dock) on Ireland Island. Fearing attacks on its fleet by Napoleon, greedy pirates, or rebellious Americans, Britain began building this massive fortress and dockyard in 1809. Convicts and slaves provided much of the construction labor. The Royal Navy occupied the shipyard for almost 150 years, doing much to influence the world's perceptions about everything associated with Bermuda. The Dockyard closed as an official outpost of the British Empire in 1951, and Her Majesty's Navy has little presence here today. The National Museum of Bermuda's centerpiece is the spectacularly restored Commissioner's House, which during the mid-1800s was the most potent symbol of British military might in the western Atlantic. Its exhibits on Britain's (and Bermuda's) nautical heritage give you a good feel for a largely vanished era.
- Great Head Park (St. George's Parish): This memorial to the men and women who died at sea has been cited as one of the genuinely evocative monuments of Bermuda.
- The Back Streets of St. George (St. George's Parish): Almost every visitor to the island has photographed the 17th-century stocks on King's Square in historic St. George. But it's in the narrow back alleys and cobblestone lanes, such as Shinbone Alley, that you'll really discover the town's old spirit. Arm yourself with a good map and wander at leisure through such places as Silk Alley (also called Petticoat Lane), Barber's Lane Alley (named for a former slave from South Carolina), Printer's Alley (where Bermuda's first newspaper was published), and Nea's Alley (former stomping ground of the Irish poet Tom Moore). Finally, walk through Somers Garden and head up the steps to Blockade Alley. On the hill is the aptly named Unfinished Cathedral.
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.