33 Reviews

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July, 2015

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I was lucky to live and work in Bermuda for several years in the 1980s. It really is a magical place to visit or to live in, and it’s not surprising many of my contemporaries have never left. My wife Gill and I stayed with friends on the island again recently, and the memories soon came flooding back.

Bermuda is a tiny island in the Atlantic ocean, off the coast of South Carolina, and not in the Caribbean, as many people assume. It is reachable by a direct 7 hour flight from London, or a short hop from New York or other Eastern US cities, if you’re enjoying a two-centre trip.

For Silver Travellers it’s a perfect destination throughout the year, the best times being April to June, and September to October. The high summer months are unbearably hot and humid, and the winter months are not guaranteed to be holiday weather, unlike further south and the more traditional winter sun destinations.

If you like world-class beaches and golf courses, snorkelling and sailing, eating seafood and drinking rum, the island really is close to Paradise.

Let the famous pink sand warm your pale toes on one of many fabulous south shore beaches. Horseshoe Bay is one of the most famous, but explore quieter ones along that same stretch – Chaplins Bay, Jobson’s Cove Warwick Long Bay – and you may well be on your own. Further west at Church Bay, where the coral reef is closest to shore, grab a snorkel and you can see a dazzling array of underwater life whilst still virtually kneeling down.

If you like a view while you’re swinging a 4 iron, I defy you to find anywhere better in the world than Port Royal – a picturesque, challenging course that hosted the Grand Slam Championship for the last few years – or Mid Ocean, a private club in the posh Tuckers Town area of the island. Port Royal’s 16th and the 5th at Mid Ocean usually make the cut for the world’s best composite course.

Head west to the tip of the scorpion’s tail to see docked cruise ships towering high above the ancient Dockyard. This area has been sympathetically developed over the last 30 years, and there’s now plenty to do there, including a bit of retail therapy and a jet-ski safari, if that floats your boat.

Don’t miss the capital, Hamilton, in the centre of the island. It’s a magical mix of colonial history, contemporary Bermudian culture, and tourist treats. The bars along Front Street dispense beer and cocktails late into the night, after you’ve eaten at one of the many excellent restaurants. And make sure you spend one lunchtime at the Lobster Pot, ordering the world famous fish chowder, with generous servings of rum and Outerbridge’s sherry peppers to help close your eyes on the beach in the afternoon.

And no review of Bermuda would ever be complete without mentioning a Dark ‘n’ Stormy. Part Gosling’s local Black Seal rum and part ginger beer (the ratios are variable, the effect is constant), it’s available throughout the island and will leave an indelible memory.

Transport options are interesting. Tourists can’t hire cars, which makes Bermuda a rather different holiday destination than most. We rented scooters – banishing the memory of me nearly killing myself on one in 1988 – and these are definitely the best way to independently explore the island. There’s a decent bus service and plenty of taxis around, but depending on where you’re staying the next best option is the ferry service. What better way to see the dazzling blue waters of Hamilton Harbour, the ferries at Dockyard or the rugged north shore, than from a safe, good value ferry ride.

If you’re not lucky enough to be staying with friends, the accommodation options are plentiful, but expensive. If you’re pushing the boat out, try either the Hamilton Princess to be near the town attractions, or the Fairmont Southampton if you prefer to be closer to the south shore beaches. For a different – and cheaper – experience, look at one of the island’s cottage colonies. The Reefs on the south shore has intoxicating views, while Cambridge Beaches – towards the western tip of the island, is perfect for a complete escape from the outside world.

In a huge coup for its tourism efforts, Bermuda will host the final of the Americas Cup sailing competition in 2017. Prices will inevitably rise as that event approaches.

I remember well a song called “Bermuda is Another World”. It was a special place more than 30 years ago, and it still is.

Andrew Morris

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