Road Town Tourist Attractions
The capital of the British Virgin Islands, Road Town is named for Tortola's principal harbour, Road Bay. Located in the center of the southern shore of Tortola, Road Town is the commercial center of the entire British Territory, and the harbor is often crowded with charter yachts, ferries, and the occasional cruise ship. Road Town is built on flat terrain facing away from the harbor, perhaps as protection from hurricanes.Densely situated buildings characterize the town, with paved and unpaved roads leading out from the traffic roundabout in the heart of the town. Most of Road Town's attractive shops and eateries are found on Waterfront Drive and Main Street, with historic forts and sugar mills (some buildings date 200 years).
J.R. O'Neal Botanic Gardens
A refuge in the center of Road Town, the J.R. O'Neal Botanic Gardens were created by the British Virgin Islands National Trust in 1979 and were developed and are still maintained by local volunteers. The gardens cover 4ac/1.6ha of land featuring indigenous and exotic plants such as hibiscus, bougainvillea, and the scarlet blossoms of the flamboyant tree. In the center of the gardens is a three-tiered fountain from which landscaped paths lead to a cactus garden and a palm grove. Beyond a lily pond is an orchid house as well as a tropical bird house.
Colorful West Indian wooden and stone buildings line Main Street, a narrow road running through the center of Road Town. Some buildings, such as the post office, date back to the 19th C. Main Street is also a primary shopping area in Road Town offering souvenirs, china, spices and jewellery. Numerous bars and restaurants can be found along the street as well.
Crafts Alive Market
The colorful Crafts Alive market in the center of Road Town features West Indian-style small buildings and covered kiosks vending locally made goods. Items include West Indian-made straw hats and dolls, pottery, crocheted goods and British Virgin Islands souvenirs.
The Dutch built Fort Burt to protect Road Harbour. The exact date of construction is unknown, however the English rebuilt the fort when the islands were annexed from the Dutch in 1672. Today only the foundations remain and the Fort Burt Hotel and Restaurant are found at the site.
Queen Elizabeth II Park
Designated as a National Park in 1974, the Queen Elizabeth II Park is a small community park landscaped with indigenous and exotic flowers and shrubs. Rows of the British Virgin Islands national tree, the white cedar, create lots of shade from the sun. A children's playground is found within the park.
Sunny Caribbee Spice Company and Art Gallery
This unique store Sunny Caribbee Spice Company and Art Gallery, offers a variety of art including paintings, sculptures, and woven baskets by well known artist Darwin "Gun" Scatliffe. Visitors will also find some of the local flavors with island seasonings, sweets, teas and coffees, and spices.
The Government House is a classic example of British Colonial Architecture. The whitewashed manor is the private home of the United Kingdom's appointed governor in the British Virgin Islands.
The white rubble HMS Prison was built in the 18th C and is Road Town's oldest structure. The building is still a working jail and can only be viewed from the outside.
Road Harbour is Tortola's largest harbor and anchorage. The harbor borders Road Town and adjacent to Road Harbour are various facilities including restaurants and shopping.
Sir Olva George's Plaza
Sir Olva George's Plaza is a shady courtyard, surrounded by government buildings, was once a major street market in Road Town. The fiscus tree-lined square is a prime spot for people watching and relaxation.
St George's Anglican Church
Originally built in the 18th C, the St George Anglican Church was rebuilt in the 19th C after being destroyed by a hurricane. Inside the church is a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation that freed West Indian Slaves of Britain in 1834.
Sunday Morning Well
Sunday Morning Well in Road Town is popularly believed to be the place where the Proclamation of Emancipation was read in 1834, freeing the slaves of the British Virgin Islands. A plaque found on the Sunday Morning Well marks the event.
Virgin Islands Folk Museum
Located inside a traditional West Indian house, the small Virgin Island (V.I.) Museum exhibits artifacts from the Pre-Columbian/Amerindian and plantation eras. Also featured are marine artifacts from shipwrecks such as the RMS Rhone.