St Philips Plains Attractions
The southern coastal plain of Barbados is prime sugar cane country. St Philips Plains extend north to an escarpment which approximately parallels between highways 4 and 5. Several attractions are located in this plain east of Grantley Adams International Airport.
Sunbury Plantation is lavishly decorated with Victorian antiques, many of which are of mahogany, making this the prime antiques museum on the Island. All the rooms are open for viewing.The estate features a collection of horse drawn carriages assembled by Mr. and Mrs. Keith Melville who also restored and donated the house to the Barbados National Trust. Beside an exceptional collection of furniture, artifacts cover all aspects of domestic life on a plantation.The plantation house dates back to about 1660 when it was built by Matthew Chapman, an Irish/English planter. The house changed hands a number of times over the years.The first teak and mahogany trees on the island were planted here in 1799 and many are still standing. The house was heavily damaged during the slave rebellion of 1816.The manor was restored in 1981 and became a heritage house in 1985. It was destroyed by fire in 1995 and carefully rebuilt to its original condition within a few years and the furniture replace from other collections. The house is surrounded by pleasant gardens.
Opening hours: 9am-5pm
Useful tips: Last tour at 4:30 pm. Formal dining is offered some evenings in true plantation style. The house is also available for weddings and special occasions.
Guides: Guided tour available as optional extra.
Facilities: Restaurant or food service
St Philip's Church
St Philip's is a quaint church not far north of the Sunbury plantation with quite interesting modern stained glass and decorations. The building itself dates from 1836.
Barbados is dotted with the ruins of abandoned sugar mills which became uneconomical with centralized processing. The refinery buildings of Heritage Park were lovingly restored in 1996.Some of the buildings date back to the 17th century and are listed by the Barbados National Trust.The guided tours complete with a video of historical footage in the folk museum which well explains several aspects of Barbadian life, especially among the workers, it also covers housing, food, festivals, work and toys.A sugar machinery museum has a large collection of the types of grinders, pumps and other devices once used in the sugar industry.Gift shops are housed in a pleasantly landscaped group of former administrative buildings.
Opening hours: 9am-5pm; Sun: 11am-5pm; Sat: 1pm-6pm
Useful tips: Located just north of the airport, this is an excellent attraction to occupy a morning for those with an early afternoon departure.
Guides: Guided tour included with admission.
Facilities: Gift shop, Restaurant or food service
Typical Visit: 2 hours
Grantley Adams Airport
The Grantley Adams Airport has basic services and limited duty-free shopping.Barbados is a country where none of the international rental car companies has an office. Cars are rented by a number of small local firms and only one of them has an office at the airport. These firms deliver to the airport or hotels, but in such a case it is wise to make certain that reservations are firm and confirmed by phone. Visitors must purchase a driver's license, though this amounts to little more than filling out a form and paying a tax.The ABC highway, the only expressway on the island, runs from the airport to Bridgetown and then slightly north. An alternative to the ABC is the coastal road. Drive on the left.Since the prevailing winds are from the east, it is best to sit at left-side windows for views during landing and take-off.
Sam Lord's Castle
Buccaneer Samuel Hall Lord built his plantation house overlooking the sea at the southeastern corner of Barbados in 1820. He made his wealth plundering ships he lured onto the reefs by hanging lanterns in the trees so that ship captains mistook this treacherous coastline for Bridgetown.No expense was spared in installing fine mahogany columns, sculpted plaster ceilings, fine furniture, silver, china and paintings, some of which are still displayed.While the building had suffered a decline, it was restored by a British army officer who moved to Barbados after World War II.Today the house is the reception area for a resort hotel.
Crane beach with its white coral sand was once a boat landing where cargo was unloaded then lifted by a crane sitting on top of the cliff.To take advantage of the view from those cliffs, an 18th century stone mansion was converted to a hotel in 1867. Today the Crane Beach hotel, the oldest in Barbados, has expanded into a luxury complex.