Famous for seafaring since Admiral Nelson first sailed into port in the late 18th century, Antigua & Barbuda is at the centre of the Leeward Islands, floating in the eastern Caribbean just about 17˚ north of the equator.
The country’s small, English speaking, trimmed with some of earth’s loveliest beaches and made for outdoor adventure and gently great fun family holidays.
Confused by the Antigua & Barbuda connection? Don’t be. Antigua is simply better known and best loved for exceptional resorts, restaurants, water sports and bustling harbour towns.
Barbuda is smaller, less visited and a nature lover’s paradise. But, taken together, they’re one idyllic country.
Antigua’s historic quarter, English Harbour, contains the only Georgian Dockyard in the world. It was built by Admiral Nelson in the late 18thcentury.
Barbuda has a population of just 1000 and is known for the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, cave art and completely deserted pink sand beaches. John’s combination of grand Baroque buildings, colourful Creole traditions and Colonial architecture make it one of the prettiest Caribbean capitals.
Direct flights from London to Antigua. Flying time just under nine hours.
Temperatures of between 25 and 30˚C all year. Hottest months July and August.
Antigua has 365 different beaches and they’re all public.
Both Antigua and Barbuda are completely surrounded by coral reefs and exceptional for diving and snorkelling.
Antigua’s capital is about as far from an urban sprawl as it’s possible to get. Quaint and charming but still plenty lively, the city bustles with as much energy in sunny winter as it does in hot, hot summer. It’s also the island’s main cruise port and enormous liners regularly loom large over the brightly painted harbour-side buildings and neighbouring city streets. But, in idiosyncratic St. John’s, the modern behemoths are likely to be moored alongside graceful 19th century tall ships.
The world’s only remaining Georgian Dock is Antigua’s historic district. Most of the construction was carried out under the command of Admiral Nelson in the late 18th century and English Harbour itself is just a small part of the 24km² Nelson’s Dockyard National Park.
Round and about Dickenson Bay is where most families choose to stay on Antigua. An archetypal Caribbean beach it has everything from barbecues and cool beach bars to any water sport your kids can name – plus long, pure white sands and blue, blue sea, naturally. The resort hotels in this area are very child-friendly and, if you get tired of the lively atmosphere on Dickenson, you can sneak along a few metres to peaceful Runaway Bay.
If you have very young children and want complete and utter solitude, basing a holiday in Barbuda is as close to a desert-island fantasy as it gets. For any kid over two, it’s a bit on the quiet side but a day’s visit from Antigua is a wonderful experience.
Antigua’s a small island but dense with interesting places to visit, hiring a car is the best way to get about. Cycling is very common too and there are several bike hire shops in St. John’s. The catamaran ferry runs to Barbuda every day and walking on the island is the only way to go.