Explore Historical St George's, Bermuda

Desiree Michels
 


Visitors: 61

Even though it lost its status as the island's capital in 1815, the Town of St George's is still one of Bermuda's favourite destinations. In my many years of organising holidays to this beautiful part of the world, learning more about the history of this proud British territory is regularly high on clients’ agenda. This is why I often recommend Bermuda accommodation in this lovely town.

Explore St George's

Situated in the east of the island, in the parish that carries the same name, St George's was the original British settlement, established in 1609. Its historical importance is such that the whole town is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. It held the title of capital until 1815, when the centre of government and commerce was moved to Hamilton.

Step Back in Time

There's a tangible sense of history, and the quaint, olde worlde ambience is what makes the Bermuda accommodation options on offer here some of my favourite on the island. With narrow streets, hidden laneways and a host of heritage buildings, there's something ever-so-British going on in this laidback, cultured little town.

While there are some brilliant beaches and golf courses, if it's history you're looking for, you're going to be busy!

Sites of Religious Worship

The largest church in the town is St Peter's, on York St. As well as being notable as the oldest Anglican church in the western hemisphere (constructed in 1615), its two adjoining graveyards are true historical landmarks, being the final resting place of many important figures. I've always found the Old Rectory, which is situated just behind the church, to be a lovely reflective place to visit, as well.

The Unfinished Church is, as its name suggests, an incomplete structure – but nevertheless it's a really interesting site, especially if you have an interest in Gothic architecture. Construction began in 1874, with renowned Scottish architect William Hay at the helm, but it ground to a halt and was never resumed due to parishioners being unable to agree on design aspects – preferring instead to restore the old St Peter's.

Historical Forts

The town has a number of historical forts for those interested in the British era heritage.

St Catherine Fort is one of the best-preserved and most picturesque, presiding over the ocean between Achilles Bay and St Catherine Beach. It has everything a real-live fort should, with a moat (albeit dry), a drawbridge, ramparts, towers and extensive exhibits of antique weapons and other artefacts in the onsite museum.

Fort George dates back to the first British settlement. Beginning life as a single wooden tower to guard the north shore of St George, over the next two centuries it evolved into a large structure in the layout of a star, complete with moat, drawbridges, escape tunnels and 25-tonne muzzle-loaded weaponry.

These two forts are my top picks, but if you have a little more time you can also visit Gates Fort and Alexandra Battery. (Tip: at the beach adjacent to Alexandra Battery you can find some of the wonderful sea glass, for which the area is renowned. )

As well as the excellent historical sites above, for those wanting to learn more about the extensive British era heritage of the region, the Bermuda National Trust Museum and Tucker House Museum offer a well-curated insight into the past.

For those looking to soak up the atmosphere for longer than a day in this lovely corner of Bermuda, accommodation in a self-catering cottage provides the convenience and independence to make the most of the town.

John Dixon is an experienced world traveller and the Managing Director of Prestige Holidays. For over 30 years, he has been providing luxury Bermuda accommodation, as well as holidays to Croatia, Sicily and many other destinations around the globe. John tries to visit each of the destinations regularly in order to ensure the quality of his properties, and stay up-to-date about the latest local news and events. He has a taste for the finer things in life and has an interest in arts, history and culture.

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