Front Street, Hamilton, Bermuda
Language and Currency
What is Hamilton Like?
What is the Weather Like?
Where Does the Ship Dock?
Where is the Shopping?
What is There to Buy?
What is There To Do?
Is There Anything of a “Don’t Miss Quality?
Are There Any Great Restaurants or Bars?
English is spoken throughout Bermuda and the currency is the Bermudian Dollar, which is equivalent to a US$. US Currency is readily accepted anywhere on the island.
Hamilton, measuring only 185 acres, is one of the smallest capital cities in the world. It is also one of the cleanest, most accessible and beautiful cities anywhere. Hamilton is a beehive of activity that accommodates tourism, local and international business, sports, culture and the arts, for the benefit of both residents and visitors alike. Hamilton, located in the middle of this archipelago, has something for everybody. Whether you like shopping, dining, culture, history, sports, the arts, the waterfront, or botanical beauty, you will find it in Hamilton. Bermudians are known for their relaxed, easy going, friendly demeanor. Islanders relaxed way of life is reflected in everyway. There is no better place than Hamilton to witness this first-hand, from the 20 mph speed limit, to the ferry terminal clock set 5 minutes slow so that latecomers won’t miss the boat. A cultural mix of 40% white to 60% black provides strong evidence of both its British and African heritage. Gombey Dancing can be witnessed during many of the celebrations and festivals held throughout the year. This art form, unique to Bermuda, is a testament to Bermuda’s cultural diversity, as its roots can be traced to Western African tribal music, Christian missionaries, the British military and American Indians. But, spend one day in Hamilton, and there is no doubt that British tradition prevails.
Bermuda enjoys a mild subtropical climate. Temperatures range from the low 80’s to upper 80’s (Fahrenheit) from June through October. November – March temperature drops and ranges from the 70’s – mid 50’s, but never freezes.
Hamilton (Taken From a Cruise Ship in Port)
Ship’s dock in Hamilton Harbour, which is located directly in the center of town. The entire town of Hamilton is within walking distance of the pier, but if you venture further out on the island, metered taxis are readily available. Be aware, however, that taxis in Bermuda are very expensive (as are many things), and a cab to St. George’s will run about $35. You can hire taxis by the hour, at an hourly rate of $30-$42 per taxi. Your best bet while in Bermuda is the public bus/ferry transportation system.
A View of the Shoreline Homes From the Ferry
Ferries run to and from Hamilton, Paget, Warwick, Somerset, Dockyard (all year) and to St. George’s (April to October) as do buses. A one day pass ($13), or 3 day pass ($23) can be purchased which allows unlimited use of both buses and ferries. Rental cars are not available on the island (only residents are permitted to drive cars). I strongly suggest you do NOT rent a motor scooter. The narrow winding roads are the scene of numerous scooter accidents. One visit to Bermuda and the site of visitors “road rash”, as well as the numerous disasters you see along the road and you will understand my warning!
Most of the stores are located along Front Street, directly in front of the cruise ship pier. Don’t miss a stop in Trimingham’s, a Bermuda landmark that provides the largest collection of duty free shopping under one roof.
British goods, such as, porcelain, fine china and crystal, silverware and fine tableware are all great buys. Imports from Great Britain and Ireland, such as, Shetland and cashmere sweaters, Harris Tweed jackets and Scottish woolen goods are exceptional buys. Also, check out the cedar wood gifts, carriage bells and antiques.
Front Street Shopping
Shopping is the first activity that many cruise passengers choose to engage in while in Hamilton, as the minute you walk outside the passenger terminal, you are smack dab in the middle of the shopping district on Front Street. While on the subject of shopping, if your ship does not call on the Royal Naval Dockyard as a port, take a ferry over, not only for a scenic view of the island, but a great shopping experience! If you can tear yourself away from the stores, I would recommend a walking tour of the downtown area.
Bird Cage Bobby
Turn left on Front Street, passed the Bird Cage (a famous traffic kiosk, usually manned by a bobby), and stop in at the Visitor’s Service Bureau for some great maps and friendly island suggestions. Armed with your maps, first stop should be the Historical Society Museum set in the gardens of Par-la-Ville Park, on Queen Street.
Continue up Queen Street to Church Street, take a right and visit City Hall, one the most beautiful public buildings in Bermuda. Spend some time in Victoria Park, created in the 1880’s to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
Exit the park and continue along Church Street to the Bermuda Cathedral.
Hog Penny Pub
At this point, I would venture down Burnaby Street and enjoy an ice cold pint at the Hog Penny Pub. From here venture along Front Street, passed the Cabinet Buildings and explore Fort Hamilton via King Street. The vantage point of this restored fort provides a spectacular view of the city and harbour. Outside the city limits, in Devonshire Parish, is an arboretum, great for a quiet retreat, or head for the Botanical Gardens in Paget Parish.
Also in Paget Parish, is the Paget Marsh. This bird sanctuary is a bird watchers delight. Look for the Bermuda petrel, the great kiskadee, or spot a white tailed tropic bird (better known as the longtail). As heralds of spring in Bermuda, this is the northernmost breeding station of the longtail. While in Paget Parish, I particularly enjoy the Bermuda Railway Trail. Motor vehicles are strictly prohibited along this walking, jogging, sightseeing route.
Gibbs Hill Lighthouse
A bit farther out of town, but worth a stop is Gibbs Hill Lighthouse. Built in 1846, it is the oldest cast iron lighthouse in the world. For those who enjoy golf, Bermuda boasts of eight courses on their tiny island. The best is Mid-Ocean Club, in Tucker’s Town. This private, very exclusive, very expensive course (about $200 for a round) does permit guests. For an excellent public course, try Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton Parish. Now for my absolute favorite activity on this side of the island: the beach!
The best beaches are located along the southern shore and I am going to recommend my 3 favorite. Elbow Beach, in Paget Parish, is a mile long beach of soft pink sand, calm, clear beautiful turquoise waters and the protective coral reef that surrounds it makes for very safe swimming.
Picturesque Horseshoe Bay, in Southampton Parish, is smaller, but is an excellent family beach and quite popular. Long Bay, in Warwick Parish, provides great snorkeling. About 200 ft. offshore there is a jagged coral island that attracts much marine life. Much of the marine life drifts close to shore and the crystal clear waters make for outstanding visibility.
South Shore Beach, Bermuda
On this end of the island, there is no doubt in my mind that a relaxing day spent at Horseshoe Bay or Elbow Bay is an absolute must! The gorgeous pink sand beaches are world class.
Yes, there are a number of excellent recommendations in this category. Remember, no matter which port in Bermuda the ship is tethered, the entire island is easily accessible, so also check out the recommendations for St. George’s and King’s Wharf. I will mention those in closest proximity to Hamilton in this review. Two of my favorite restaurants are located within walking distance of the ships on Bermudiana Rd. The Lobster Pot & BoatHouse serves outstanding seafood in its own unique style. If you are lucky enough to be in Bermuda between September and April, try one of the local spiny lobster selections. If you are in the mood for Italian, then look no further than Little Venice where you will find superb cuisine and service to match. If you are celebrating a special occasion or just looking for an exquisite dining experience, The Fourways Inn, in Paget on Middle Road is a culinary pleasure like no other. Although very expensive, the food served in this 1700’s cedar and coral stone Georgian home, is outstanding! Try the rockfish in crabmeat crust. Finally, if you tire of shopping and sightseeing, or just looking for a place to enjoy a cold beverage, head for the Hog Penny Pub on Burnaby Street, again within walking distance of the ship. This English style pub is an oasis from the summer heat and serves the best ale and beer on the island.