If you're planning a post-lockdown getaway then Barbados should be near the top of your list, says Nigel Tisdall.
Travelling anywhere — whether home or abroad — from much of Britain is currently prohibited due to lockdown rules. But if you’re looking for a spot of winter sun once we emerge, Barbados should be on your list.
You’ll need a negative Covid-19 test recorded within 72 hours of arrival, and will have to spend the first few days confined to a hotel (though not your room) on the ‘designated holding hotels’ list until the result of a second test taken on the island arrives.
The island is only 21 miles by 14, but packs in a lot, and its links with Blighty go back almost four centuries. The birthplace of rum has charming Anglican churches (here, the face-masked congregation is allowed to sing) and, as the west coast offers civilised hotels, tranquil waters and outrageous sunsets, the east is wild, green and breezy with surfers cruising the waves.
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Car hire is from £20 a day (www.stoutescar.com) or there are good bus services into the World Heritage-listed capital, Bridgetown, with its smart white Parliament, Lord Nelson statue and Cheapside Market, where you can stock up with spices, tropical fruits and hot, hot, hot sauces.
So while getting here won’t be quite as straightforward as normal, it’ll be all worth it once you’re bobbing in that bewitching turquoise sea. (This information is correct at time of writing, but please check the UK Foreign Office website and Barbados’s own website at www.barbadostravelprotocols.com for the latest).
Where to stay
There’s a good choice of places to stay on the Barbadian government’s approved list — here are two to get you started.
If you’d like to wake up and step straight into the warm sea, the 72-room, contemporary-luxe Fairmont Royal Pavilion in St James couldn’t be more perfect. Seven nights from £4,375 per person with Elegant Resorts — www.elegantresorts.co.uk.
Family-run Little Good Harbour in the north-west has 20 plushly furnished, clapboard-style cottages and suites with kitchen facilities. Seven nights cost from £1,899 per person with Turquoise Holidays — www.turquoiseholidays.co.uk — those prices include flights, transfers and breakfast.
Where to eat
Barbados is excellent picnic territory. Pick up ingredients from roadside stalls or Massy supermarkets (www.massysstoresbb.com) and head to a scenic spot, such as Farley Hill National Park or Bottom Bay.
The best restaurants are by the sea, such as Champers (www.champersrestaurant.com), which does a superb crab crêpe, and Lone Star (www.thelonestar.com), where the wise will leave space for the mango brûlée.
On Mullins Beach, Sea Shed (www.seashedbarbados.com) is the happening place and rustic La Cabane (www.lacabanebarbados.com) serves top cocktails, including the much-needed ‘Covid-19 Remedy’. The latter consists of tequila and lime with a Corona beer on the side — clearly it’s got about as much chance as ‘working’ as a Donald Trump medical suggestion, but you probably won’t care once you’re on your second or third.
What to do
Visit St Nicholas Abbey, St Peter, a splendid Jacobean edifice and artisan rum producer that also has a steam railway.
Go to the horse races at Garrison Savannah, Bridge-town, which have been running since 1845.
Join the free, three-hour Sunday afternoon hikes organised by the Barbados National Trust.
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