The Fairmont Hamilton Princess Tour
Opened in 1885 and named for Princess Louise, daughter of England’s Queen Victoria, The Fairmont Hamilton Princess is Bermuda’s most storied landmark hotel, proudly celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2010. Take a self-guided tour around the Bermuda hotel including the heritage wall, which provides a pictorial history of the property located on the mezzanine level (ask the Concierge for a copy of our history brochure to help guide your way). When you're done, relax over at our new Marina where you will enjoy the cool breeze and calm sea view of the Hamilton Harbour.
Tour the City of Hamilton and catch a glimpse of Bermuda’s past, including unique pastel-colored buildings that have watched over Hamilton Harbour for generations. Enjoy restaurants offering everything from local cuisine to the finest sushi and visit Front Street’s many shops and boutiques for a wide selection of jewelry, clothing, designer handbags and more. On any Monday to Friday, you may see Bermuda’s businessmen in their traditional work attire of Bermuda shorts and blazers—introduced by the military, this look was adopted by Bermudians as a perfect solution to remaining cool while conducting business in warmer climes. For a glimpse of local art, head to The Bermuda National Gallery located in City Hall and don’t miss the Museum of the Bermuda Historical Society, which features 17th century artifacts and furniture.
Royal Naval Dockyard
Once the home of the British Navy, the Royal Naval Dockyard is now one of Bermuda’s largest tourist attractions. To get there, walk five minutes to the public ferry dock in Hamilton and take the direct Fast Ferry west, a cruise that takes about 30 minutes. For a glimpse into Bermuda’s maritime past, head to the Maritime Museum, which displays its collections and exhibits in former munitions warehouses. Walk the grounds to learn about Bermuda’s rich maritime traditions with highlights including the fully restored Commissioner’s House showcasing exhibits on the island’s social and military history plus a stunning mural depicting 400 years of life in Bermuda.
While at the museum, visit nearby Dolphin Quest where you can watch live dolphins jump and swim in the lagoon (you can also arrange an in-water animal encounter for an added fee).
For authentic British pub fare, visit the Frog and Onion Pub located in an 18th-century stone building. The dining room features a giant fireplace as its centerpiece and the back patio has an excellent view of the historic Victualling Yard. And for a taste of authentic Bermuda rum cake, don’t miss the Rum Cake Factory located a short walk away. When you’re done, return by bus or take the ferry back—it’s a great way to view Bermuda from land and sea. To enjoy each of the above components it is recommend that you extend this itinerary into a half-day excursion.
Afternoon Tea/Lunch at the Heritage Court
Recently praised by the New York Times as having the best afternoon tea in Bermuda, Heritage Court is a sophisticated white-table clothed dining room beside the lobby of The Fairmont Hamilton Princess. Each day from 2:30 – 5:00 p.m, the restaurant serves a selection of finger sandwiches, scones with jam and Devonshire clotted cream, then a sweet selection of pastries, brought to your table alongside a steaming pot of English tea. Prefer something savory? Try a bowl of Bermuda fish chowder, a spicy vegetable and seafood stew traditionally served with a dash of Gosling’s black seal rum and Outerbridge’s sherry pepper sauce.
Please note that afternoon Tea will not be available from September 2014 - June 2015.
Visitors to Bermuda can enjoy outdoor pursuits of all kinds thanks to the island’s thriving coral reefs, multiple golf courses and diverse underwater ecosystem. Wrecks, Jacks, Snappers, Spiny Lobster, Parrotfish and stunning Queen Angelfish await you, all around the reef table.
Golfers can choose from eight island courses, two of which—including Port Royal and Mid-Ocean Club—recently hosted the prestigious PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
Horse lovers should contact Spicelands Riding Centre for hourly trail rides along Bermuda’s stunning south shore beaches (441/238-8212,www.spicelandsriding.com). And while you’re in Bermuda, don’t miss Dolphin Quest, which offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim with and handle live dolphins in their natural habitat (441/234-4464,www.dolphinquest.org).
Bermuda is a great destination for the entire family, with educational and experiential activities for kids of all ages. The Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo features interactive exhibits including a 140,000-gallon tank that gives you a diver’s-eye view of Bermuda’s coral reefs and marine ecosystem. Other exhibits include hourly harbour seal feedings and over 300 birds, reptiles and mammals. Its latest exhibit, “Islands of Australasia,” includes lemurs, tree kangaroos, wallabies and more in a huge walk-through enclosure. (441/293-2727, www.bmaz.org).
The Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute has exhibits designed to acquaint visitors with the mysteries of the ocean and also showcases local contributions to oceanographic research. Highlights include the Jack Lightbourne shell collection with more than 1,000 species of shells on display and historic artifacts retrieved from various Bermuda shipwrecks (441/292-7219, www.buei.org).
At the Botanical Gardens you can browse over 1,000 varieties of plants and flowers such as hibiscus, oleander, orchids and more. In addition to its 36 wooded-acres, the Botanical Gardens features specialty areas such as the Garden for the Sightless including fragrant plants like lemon, lavender, and geranium (441/236-5732).
Explore Bermuda’s nautical history in an authentic Victorian fortress at the Bermuda Maritime Museum. Exhibits are spread throughout the open-air grounds, but a visit to the newly restored Commissioner’s House will keep budding historians busy for hours (441/234-1418,www.bmm.bm).
And no visit to Bermuda would be complete without a visit to the Crystal Caves. Located in Hamilton Parish and named for their subterranean pools of incredibly clear water, the Crystal and Fantasy Caves are best known for their jaw-dropping limestone cave formations—stalactites and stalagmites that have been naturally created over hundreds of years (guides will escort you, mainly to ensure that you do not touch the formations). Tours last about an hour long and are perfect for the whole family. (441/293-0640).