Central Barbados is exceptionally verdant and is home to an array of botanical wonders. Following this self-guided tour takes through the rolling hills with lush vegetation to historical sites and horticultural delights, and out to the east coast featuring breathtaking coastline and fantastic surfing conditions.
— Tyrol Cot House and Heritage Village
— Medford Craft World
— Earthworks Pottery
— Ins and Outs of Barbados Gift Emporium
— Barbados National Trust Sugar Museum
— Lion Castle Polo Estate
— Canefield Plantation
— Welchman Hall Tropical Forest Reserve
— Old Time Days Museum and Eco Tours
— Harrison’s Cave
— Flower Forest
— Chalky Mount Potteries
— East Coast Road
— Andromeda Gardens
— Indian Pond Plantation
— Fisherpond House
— Orchid World
— Gun Hill Signal Station and Lion
— St.George’s Church
Start your tour at Tyrol Cot House and Heritage Village, well worth a visit. From the ABC highway at the Everton Weekes roundabout turn left if you’re heading north to head past Pricesmart on your right towards Tyrol Cot. The entrance will be on your right hand side. Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., this was the home of Sir Grantley Adams, the first premier of Barbados and the only Prime Minister of the Federation of the West Indies. The home is also the birthplace of his son, Tom, the second Prime Minister of Barbados. The house, constructed in 1854 is a blend of Palladian and tropical architecture. The Heritage Village there includes a slave hut, a chattel house, and a rum shop.
Turn left out of Tyrol Cot and turn left at the traffic lights. About 300 yards along on your left is Medford Craft World, where you will find a varied selection of souvenirs, handcrafted from Barbados mahogany.
Travel back to the traffic lights and turn left to head back up to the Everton Weekes roundabout where you will continue straight through and follow the road to a small BRC roundabout. Keep left at this roundabout and after a few 100 yards you will turn left onto Highway D signposted “Hillaby via Shop Hill”. Follow the road up the hill taking keeping right at the little black and white island to continue uphill until you see a sign to Earthworks on your right in the Edghill Community.
Here you will be treated to a spectacular working pottery and their irresistible functional works of art. For many visitors Earthworks becomes one of the unique and wonderful memories of a Barbados holiday. Up at Earthworks there is also The Potters House, a gallery of carefully selected work created by a variety of talented Bajan artists and craftspersons and The Lunch Club, which specializes in the tastiest gourmet sandwiches around. Another great place to visit is the Ins and Outs of Barbados Gift Emporium, a tribute to old time Barbados selling high quality traditional foods packaged beautifully for gifts and other items as coffee table books, and linens to match the Earthworks sets.
On leaving Earthworks, turn right at the main road and go all the way back to the cross-roads where you will see dense woods on your right. You now have two options:
If you wish to visit the Barbados National Trust Sugar Museum in the Portvale Sugar Factory take a left at this cross roads and follow the road down the hill to the Lawrence Johnson roundabout. Take a right at the roundabout and continue until you see a red sign for the museum on your left. They are open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. To continue on your tour head back the way you came, turning right out of the museum driveway. When you reach the roundabout turn left, signposted “Harrison’s Cave”. This road will take you back uphill. At the Y-junction take the right fork and continue uphill to the cross-roads you originally turned down to make this detour. All of these hills are a series of ancient sea cliffs that were cut out of the land by wave erosion during the various periods when the island was still rising out of the ocean.
If you choose not to visit the Sugar Museum turn right at the cross-roads just before the dense woods to go uphill. You can take your first right and follow the curvy road to Lion Castle Polo Estate and Development with beautiful views of the south coast. Head back out the way you came to the main road and turn right. The next plantation you come to is Canefield Plantation on the right which supplies many of the island florists with beautiful Anthurium and Ginger Lilies. They also grow sweet potatoes and sugar cane. To park turn right just after the little house with a sign reading “C.O. Williams Flowers”. You will see many guava trees on your left in the driveway. Visitors cannot tour the greenhouses, but there is a small show garden there open to the public. Out of the driveway if you continue up the road you came in on Canefield House will come into view on your right, noticeable because of a dramatic stand of royal palms. This is the home of the Challenor Creative Arts and Training Centre, a school for handicapped children and one of the Barbados Historical Scociety buildings of architectural interest. Follow the road until you see Highland Adventure Centre on your left. There are restrooms here as well as a bar with a magnificent view. The centre gives horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking tours.
Passing the Adventure Centre, the land now opens up to a series of beautiful views across the surrounding hills and over the lush pastures typical of this area. Keep left at the fork in the road signed for “Carrington Village” and the northern entrance of Welchman Hall Tropical Forest Reserve will appear on your right. This three-quarter mile (1.2km) long “gully” is home to a number of tropical plants and trees, including nutmeg, bamboo, clove and palms. Directly across the road is a bar serving food and drink called Viewpoint with beautiful views. They serve traditional pudding and souse on a Saturday.
When you leave Welchman Hall turn right out of the entrance to continue along, take the next left signposted “Belleplaine” at the junction by the green and blue Rum Shop. Down the hill you will find the Old Time Days Museum and Eco Tours. This ongoing project of Newlands and Denise Greenidge takes you on a visit back in time to discover what life was like in the early days. Although primitive looking, you will discover the true Barbados heritage from a bajan with a true passion for this island, in its most authentic environment on a 200 acre plantation setting. You can also take a stroll along a trail up to the river through bamboo groves, wild eddoes and cassava dispersed between coconut and banana trees.
For another historical site, exit the museum and turn right to go back up the hill to the rum shop. Turn left at the junction. Along this road Harrison’s Cave is on your left. This is a very beautiful example of a crystallized limestone cavern, and a “must visit” attraction. At the sign for Walchman Hall turn right.
After your visit to the cave you drive back to the main road by turning and turn right signposted “Chimborazo”. Then go right again following a sign to the Flower Forest. Quite soon you will discover one of the best panoramic views in Barbados on your left.
As you continue along the road, you will come face to face with the entrance to the Flower Forest of Barbados on your left. The Flower Forest is an informal botanic garden, a wonderful example of how man can work in harmony with nature. Look out for the monkeys on the way in.
When it is time to leave, drive back to the main road and turn left out of the entrance to the Flower Forest. Upon reaching the Y-junction go left again along the smooth road, as you come to a road that veers right keep left to go downhill and over a black and white bridge before arriving at another Y-junction. Take the left fork and enjoy the superb view across the surrounding Scotland District, so named because it reminded some of the original indentured servant settlers of their homeland. Nowadays many of the hillsides are fairly barren, often with exposed rock, the result of soil erosion which took place during the days when sugar was in its boom years and planters used every piece of land available.
This area is prone to road slippage so you may encounter some traffic diversions. All things being ‘undiverted’ however, take the next left through some of Barbados’ “cattle-country”. Follow the road downhill, through the St.Sylvans village. Wind your way across the valley floor until you come to a black and white traffic circle. At this junction turn right. If you wish to visit the Chalky Mount Potteries, take the next right, signposted “Coggins Hill via Bissex”, uphill through lush vegetation and fruit trees, including mango, breadfruit, banana and golden apple, towards Chalky Mount Potteries. Chalky Mount is a hill made of clay and it is home to a village whose inhabitants have been potters for over 300 years. At Chalky Mount Bar turn left. Once you get up there it is quite obvious which houses belong to the potters – but if in doubt, just ask. It is unsophisticated but authentic and interesting.
When leaving the potteries, turn right at Chalky Mount Bar and go back downhill the way you came. After crossing a river you then turn right towards Belleplaine at the T-junction. Now you will be driving through the area of the Haggatts Agricultural Station, clearly evident by the surrounding orchards – cherry, guava, mango and paw-paw trees in plenty. Take the next right fork. If you need gas (petrol) now is a good time to fill up as you pass a Shell station just before you enter Belleplaine, also pass Isolation Cavaliers Sports Club.
In the middle of Belleplaine you will see a major right turn, signposted to the “Ermy Bourne Highway”. Turn here and after driving alongside an area of dunes and sea-grape trees you will come out onto the beautiful East coast road. The stunning seascape is augmented by the equally spectacular hills inland. You will pass Sand Dunes Bar and Restaurant, a great place to stop for a bite to eat or a refreshing drink. Entering St.Joseph, this area is known as Cattlewash, so named because many people say that the cattle come down from the surrounding hillsides to wash themselves off in the sea.
On a hillside to your right, look out for The Cove Guesthouse & Art Gallery, owned and managed by the Morley family. Mrs.Morley has a reputation for cooking delicious Caribbean food and providing a friendly atmosphere. The art on display is an added bonus featuring the paintings of local artist, Gordan Parkinson. They open everyday except Mondays and also cater for weddings and private functions.
The road will eventually turn uphill. You’ll pass many Banana trees on the way up. Go left across a small bridge and when you reach the top of the hill, turn immediately downhill into Bathsheba. There is a sign indicating the turn just before the junction.
Bathsheba is a historic seaside spa near and dear to Barbadians. The centre of the beach is locally known as the ‘Soup Bowl’ and is a very popular spot for surfers. One look at the waves and you will know why.
In this stunning bay you will come across The Bonito Bar and Restaurant. This establishment overlooks this spectacular stretch of the Atlantic coast and is an excellent choice to stop off and enjoy a drink or a local meal. Round House is another option for a delicious Caribbean meal. Continue following the coast road through Bathsheba until you make your way uphill where you will have your first sight of Hackleton’s Cliff, a coral escarpment, formerly a sea cliff covered in lush vegetation. According to legend it was named after a man who had committed suicide by galloping his horse and leaping off the cliff at full speed. Poor horse! Soon you reach the entrance to Andromeda Gardens on your left. These beautiful botanic gardens of Barbados National Trust represent what is perhaps the best collection of indigenous and exotic tropical flowers and plants to be found anywhere in the Caribbean. Andromeda also has an attractive Best of Barbados Gift Shop and café.
After Andromeda you continue to go up the hill by turning left. At the T-junction turn right, signposted “Highway 3 Bridgetown via Harrison’s Cave”. Continue to follow this road which will eventually lead you up Horse Hill and out of the Scotland district. At the top of the hill follow the sign to Hackleton’s Cliff and Gun Hill, you’ll pass a vegetable vendor on your right before the turn. Just before the wall with a brightly coloured mural, you will find Indian Pond Plantation on your left. Take a visit or continue to the T-junction where the mural is and follow the road left past Andrew’s sugar factory on your right.
Just past St.Joseph’s church on the right, there is a small road on the left leading up a treacherous hill called Bowling Alley where you will find a small country bakery. Once you’re back on the road you came from, following the road you’ll enter the St.John valley. You will pass Fisherpond House. Built circa 1660, and filled with period furniture, collections and paintings. Open by appointment only, call Rain or John Chandler 433-1754.
At the “strange” intersection, you take the second road on your left signposted “St.John’s Church and Gun Hill”. At the next T-junction turn left at the sign for “St.John’s Church” and you will come upon Orchid World after about 200 yards. On leaving Orchid World turn right and proceed straight keeping a careful lookout for the sign indicating a right turn to Gun Hill Signal Station. Sometimes it’s a bit difficult to see because of the vegetation. You will turn left to follow the signs to Gun Hill which will be a one way street.The signal station was restored and landscaped by the Barbados National Trust and now houses a collection of military memorabilia. The statue of the lion was carved out of a single piece of rock in 1868 by an officer at the signal station. To leave Gun Hill follow the road you came in on since it is a one way street. You will curve around to the left and come to a stop sign where you turn right and follow the signs to St.George’s Church.
If you are staying on the south coast, you may like to leave the tour now and make your way back to your hotel; if so, take the road left when facing away from the church. You will come to a Shell station and a Chefette. At this junction go left and follow the road to Highway 4 where you turn right to come to the Norman A. Niles Roundabout on the ABC Highway.