Paris Permenter & John Bigley's
Caribbean Family Tripper travel guide

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Sightseeing in Antigua for Families

St. John's
The capital of Antigua is home to about 35,000 residents and is the center of both business and tourist activity. Take a stroll around this historic city for a look at St. John's Cathedral, perched on a hilltop overlooking town, which was first constructed in 1682 and later replaced in 1789. It was rebuilt and re consecrated in the 19th century after a devastating earthquake and includes two Baroque style towers. Also have a walk by Government House, the official residence of the Governor General of Antigua, and a good example of 17th century colonial architecture.

Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, St. James
Located in the Old Courthouse, this museum includes exhibits of artifacts tracing the history of the islands from prehistoric times through independence.

Public Market, St. John's
This semi open-air market is the place to go for local color and culture. Vendors sell their produce and locals stock up on fresh vegetables, spices, and fish in this genuine Caribbean market.

Heritage Quay, St. John's
This shopping complex is located just steps from the cruise ship pier and is home to duty-free shops.

Redcliffe Quay, St. John's
Also a popular shopping district for vacationers, this restored arsenal houses shops as well as restaurants.

Nelson's Dockyard National Park, English Harbour
Built in 1784, this was the headquarters of Admiral Horatio Nelson, the commander of the Leeward Islands fleet. This site is a "must-see" on Antigua, even if you're not a maritime history buff. Make time to visit the Dow's Hill Interpretation Centre, with exhibits on history, culture, and nature. "Reflections of the Sun" multimedia presentation traces the history of Antigua and Barbuda from prehistoric times to the present.

Copper and Lumber Store, English Harbour
The hotel was once a bustling center of marine activity near the docks. The bottom story served as a supply store and the upper floors were used as quarters for sailors whose ships were being hauled in for repairs. Today those quarters are elegant rooms of a Georgian hotel and filled with period furnishings. Two other buildings, the old Capstan House and the Cordage and Canvas Store have been restored for additional hotel space by the Copper and Lumber owners.

Admiral's House, English Harbour
The museum (just look for the bust of Nelson framed in the doorway) is an original structure and is filled with mementos of England's most famous naval commander.

Clarence House, English Harbour
This was once the home of Prince William Henry, duke of Clarence, who later became King William IV. The Georgian stone residence overlooks the Dockyard and is now home to the Governor General. When he is not in residence, the home is open to the public with tours on the house's origins and history.

Shirley Heights, Nelson's Dockyard National Park, English Harbour
Located north of English Harbour, these ruins were named for General Thomas Shirley, former governor of the Leeward Islands. The fortress includes extensive fortifications, barracks, and powder magazines which serve as good places to enjoy the view. On Sunday afternoons, Shirley Heights is a gathering spot where vacationers can some to enjoy local reggae and steel bands and traditional barbecue while you watch the sun set over the dockyard. Walkers and hikers can reach Shirley Heights on the Lookout Trail. This nature walk ascends from the harbor through a thicket of trees.

Fort Berkeley, Nelson's Dockyard National Park, English Harbour
Located about a ten minute walk from the dockyard, these ruins were once a small outpost with eight cannons.

Betty's Hope Estate
This plantation introduced large-scale sugar cultivation and innovative methods of processing sugar to the island. Founded in the 1650s by Governor Keynell and granted to Christopher Codrington in 1688, the Codrington family had interest in Betty's Hope for more than 250 years until 1920. Both Christopher Codrington and his son served as the Governor General of the Leeward Islands. Today two windmill towers stand along with walls and arches of the boiling house.

Harmony Hall
One of the Caribbean's most noted art galleries, Harmony Hall features regularly scheduled exhibits and shows. The complex includes a great house, now home to a gift shop and galleries, and a sugar mill, first restored in 1843, which offers a 360 degree lookout over the waters of Nonsuch Bay. These buildings were formerly part of the Montpellier Sugar Estate and today the complex also includes two guest cottages on six acres of land.

Indian Town National Park
The island's eastern end is home to Indian Town Point, which may have been an old Arawak campsite. Look for the Devil's Bridge, a limestone arch on the seashore. Blowholes often form when the waves are at a peak.


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