Antigua is FUN! Antigua has beautiful weather and friendly people. Antigua is a joyous island, saturated in history and bursting with creativity.
This week on the blog I invite you to experience the great attractions luring thousands of visitors here each month and hope that it helps anyone new to the island or planning a trip to Antigua too.
If you enjoy this, why not sign up on the right for weekly columns on life in Antigua! I am open to chat also, so if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment below.
So here it is, THE TOP 100 THINGS TO DO IN ANTIGUA, Phew! For such a tiny landmass, there sure is plenty to keep us amused.
1. Fig Tree Studio Art Gallery – Sallie Harker’s wonderful studio is more than just a gallery, it is a destination that you must add to your itinerary.
2. Gilly Gobinet Art – her gallery is in her home, it is eclectic, it is inspirational – art classes, must-have books, commissions and original art work for sale and to see.
3. Sarah Fuller Pottery – original art work using Antiguan clay and inspired by the colours in nature around here, a Sarah Fuller creation is stunning in any home.
4. Things Local Gallery – in Nelson’s Dockyard, Antiguan sculptor Carl Henry has a beautiful array of wood carvings using local wood that has been knocked down by hurricanes.
5. Cedar’s Pottery – elegant and unique pottery and sculpture available from their studio and garden, both lovely places to explore and watch the artists at work.
6. Harmony Hall Art Gallery – a lovely spot for lunch, a boat trip and a pretty art gallery featuring many of Antigua’s well known artists.
7. Rhythm of Blue art gallery – Nancy Nicolson’s much loved art gallery in the heart of English Harbour features her ocean inspired pottery, together with exhibits from other Antiguan creatives.
8. Annalea Mills – handmade leather goods from stylish Annalea’s newly opened studio in English Harbour
9. Lazy Bones – handmade Lazy Bones products of clothing, Beanbags & beer, visit Chris at the Cotton House
10. Zemi Art Gallery– modern and unique Caribbean art on Redcliffe Quay in St. John’s, worth a visit!
11. Stingray City – hugely popular, this is a great outing for all the family to play with the friendly stingrays on the reef.
12. Adventure Antigua – Snorkelling and Eco boat tours around the island give you a view-in-a-day of the 365 beaches with great guides, lunch and a choice of 3 different tour options.
13. Rainforest Zip Line – Ziplining over Antigua’s rainforest is an exhilarating ride – fun from start to finsh, even on the ‘screamer’!
14. Shooting Range Antigua – clay pigeon, archery, paintball, mountain biking and air gun all within a safe and controlled and fun environment.
15. D-Boat Antigua – a party in a water slide park in the ocean!
16. Paddles Kayak Tours – kayaking, snorkelling and boating in one of Antigua’s protected marine parks. Look out for turtles and West Indian Whistling Ducks amongst the tropical flora and fauna.
17. Quad Bike / ATV Tours – an all-terrain and fun exploration of the off road areas of Antigua with spectacular views from the hard-to-reach areas that you might otherwise miss!
18. Rainforest Trekking – guided walking tours with Dassa to discover the secrets of the rainforest and the chance to see Antigua from a peak perspective with a 360 degree view.
19. Pony Trekking on the Beach – there are 2 locations – Dickenson Beach on the northern coast and Springhill Riding Club near English Harbour.
20. Island Safari – various tours in 4WD jeeps discovering some more off-the-beaten track sights of Antigua.
21. Life’s a Picnic – day yacht charters with champagne picnics.
22. Nicholson Yacht Charters – based out of English Harbour, indulge for a day, week or more!
23. Ondeck Sailing – in Falmouth by English Harbour, these guys offer training, racing, day tours and group events.
24. Adventure Antigua – try the ECO island tour for a sailing adventure
25. Reef Riders (West Coast Tours) – self drive snorkelling tours from Jolly Harbour to Cades Reef with guides
26. Barbuda Express – day trip to Barbuda, Antigua’s sister island, and see the pink sandy beaches with your own eyes
27. Catamaran Sailing Antigua – sail away on the 48ft ‘Cool Cat’, choose from their menu of options for a full / half day / sunset / lunch cruise or more and let the crew take care of you.
28. Tropical Adventures Antigua – enjoy a cruise on board the yacht ‘Mystic’ to Bird Island
29. Wadadli Cats – circumnavigation or private tours available on their fleet of catamarans, enjoy the idyllic sailing conditions and share a rum punch with new friends.
30. SY Ivy – out of Falmouth harbour, enjoy a day out on this stunning 47ft ketch with an experienced captain to navigate the azure waters and see some of the most stunning offshore locations of Antigua.
31.. Shirley Heights tour – combine the visit to the signal station and military complex built in the mid-1800’s with a spectacular view of English Harbour
32. Nelson’s Dockyard – UNESCO World Heritage site, a fine example of Georgian-style naval building dating back to the 1700’s.
33. Betty’s Hope – take a peek into the sugar cane industry of bygone years at this restored sugar mill and plantation and feel the past coming to life.
34. Museum of St. Johns – discover the history and culture of Antigua and Barbuda dating back to the geological formation of the islands and a tour through the different settlers who have occupied the country and their customs.
35. Fort James – visit the old fort built to protect the entrance to St. John’s harbour
36. Fort Barrington – a fun spot to climb up to the ruins of this fort in the Five Islands area with great views of the northern part of the island.
37. Fort Berkeley – a short walk out from Nelson’s Dockyard brings you to this fort and a fabulous view back into the historic harbour.
38. Devil’s Bridge – a feature of natural erosion with blowholes and tales that slaves used to leap out to sea here.
39. Galleon Beach – recent investigations have discovered shallow graves just inland from this heavenly beach, watch ‘Nelson’s Caribbean Hell-Hole’ the Sam Willis documentary on BBC4 and then visit the beach – a far cry from ‘hell’ now!
40. St. John’s cathedral – an impressive landmark in the capital city, built in 1845 – a successor to the original church built on the site in 1681.
43. Scuba diving – great diving is accessible just off the coast here and I can highly recommend it! There are a number of operators: Indigo Divers in Jolly Harbour or DiveCarib in English Harbour are just a few of the PADI pros!
44. Sport fishing – there are plenty of deep sea fish offshore – wahoo, mahi mahi, tuna.
45. Snorkelling – if you have your own gear, there is fabulous snorkelling right off most of the beaches. If you need to buy your own, then Aqua Sports on Heritage Quay in St. John’s is the specialist. Otherwise most boat tour operators will have everything you need to borrow!
46. Sailing – the best way to experience the island is to see it from the sea! A refreshing break from the heat and some spectacular views of the coastline will give you a whole new perspective!
48. Tennis – Temo Sports in English Harbour has courts to rent and a sports bar to chat afterwards.
49. Yoga – there are plenty of yoga classes that pop up all over the island, try here to find out what’s on near you.
50. Jet-ski – you can rent a jet ski for half an hour from the guys on the beach at Dickenson Bay, remember to stay a good distance off shore to avoid swimmers.
52. Sugar Ridge (Aveda)
53. St. James Club Tranquility Spa (Pevonia Products)
55. Blue Spa at Carlisle Bay (Voya)
56. The Powder Room at Boom (Elements)
59. The Spa at Blue Waters (Elemis products)
61. Carpenter’s Rock trail – from Freeman’s Bay at Galleon Beach around the coast past the Pillars of Hercules and up to Shirley’s Heights
62. Wallings dam area – a number of tracks and a picnic spot with magnificent views down to Rendezvous Beach
63. Jones Valley trail – a shady track past an old graveyard, dam and barracks from Galleon Beach up to Shirley Heights
64. Middle Ground Trail – out of Nelson’s Dockyard and along the coast to Fort Berkeley for a wonderful walk back in time and if your imagination is vivid enough, you may see Johnny Depp sailing around in a pirate costume.
65. Wadadli Animal Park – monkeys, geese, exotic birds and plenty more – you should call ahead to book the guided tour
66. Donkey Sanctuary – Antigua’s donkey charity is a busy place! It is a place of protection and refuge for the wild donkeys of the island. Visitors are welcome and if you like to donate.
67. PAAWS – this is the dog and cat shelter of the island. It is also a charity relying 100% on donations. They house and adopt dogs and cats and is associated with the RSPCA.
FOOD WITH A VIEW
68. Catherines Café Plage – open from November until May, elegant French bistro dining on Pigeon Beach, wear your most glamorous beach cover up and sip champagne, enjoy the chic ambiance, the delicious lunches and 2 nights a week, dinner also.
69. Cloggys – a gastro pub with a stupendous view! I always have the Sambuca prawns and a glass or two of rosé ….
70. Club Sushi – above the Yacht Club and open all year round, this sushi and steakhouse is always busy and has a great community following with regular quiz nights, art shows, live music and great service ….
71. Southpoint – elegant waterfront dining, they pride themselves on freshly prepared fare with great ingredients.
72. Sheer Rocks – set on the cliff edge looking west, white curtains billow elegantly in the breeze, slip into a plunge pool, order an Old Fashioned and savour some tapas with friends, the sunsets are magical too.
73. Papa’s by the Sea – recently opened and instantly popular, the young and talented owners of this restaurant serve fresh, well executed dishes with great aplomb. There is a pool and beach garden to relax in, regular parties and theme nights and a warm welcome for everyone.
74.Boom! – With four poster day beds and hammocks surrounding an infinity pool that artfully draws your gaze over historical Nelson’s Dockyard, there is no better place to watch the boats go by as you struggle to choose between the Truffle Parmesan Fries and the Shrimp Cakes.
75.Cecilia’s High Point Café – Cecilia at once makes you feel at home in her delightful restaurant with proper ocean views extending out from the most elegantly chic décor. The ingenuity lies in the understated ‘wow’ factor and the truly delicious food.
76.Coconut Grove – casual beach bar perfection in a lovely location with good Caribbean vibes. Palm trees and a thatched roof over the bar, opening up to the white sandy beach make this an iconic setting for visitors and locals alike.
77. Jacqui O’s Beach House – set on one of the prettiest beaches in Antigua, Jacqui O’s offers guests elegant Caribbean dining looking out on the aquamarine, gently lapping sea. Pair the artfully prepared dishes with some decadent wines, and relax in a lounger to soak up the shimmering views.
80. Ana’s on the Beach -bringing a taste of the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, Ana’s on the Beach is a stylish and indulgent restaurant set in an unbeatable location on Dickenson Bay. There is an art gallery to whet your appetite and a great seasonal programme of events add to the perfection.
81. Galleon Beach – idyllic, great beach bar
82. Rendezvous Beach – unspoilt, rustic, waves
83. Valley Church Beach – white sands, easy swimming, have lunch at The Nest
84. Darkwood Beach – perfectly Caribbean
85. Turners Beach – pretty
86. Pigeon Beach – party central!
87. Jolly Beach – popular
88. Dickenson Beach – busy but nice
89. Half Moon Beach – perfection, also a great beach bar
90. Fort Beach – great for kids, eat at Beachlimerz
91. Ffryes Beach – sweet, next to Dennis restaurant
92. Long Bay Beach – a local hangout
93. Jabberwock Beach – windy, great for sports
94. Runaway Beach – more perfect Caribbean sand
95. Galley Bay Beach – pretty and perfect
96. Hawksbill Beach – small and quiet, perfect sand
97. Carlisle Bay Beach – lovely rainforest views and good snorkelling
98. Freeman’s Beach – a secluded area past Galleon Beach
99. Deep Bay – wreck snorkelling near St Johns
100. Windward Beach – secluded, walk past Pigeon Beach
SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! ANTIGUA IS CALLING … steel bands, rum punch, white sandy beaches and water sports galore … and don’t forget to take home a piece of local art to remember your holidays in the sun!
There is lots more information on antiguanice.com about accommodation, restaurants and what’s on. Daily direct flights into Antigua are from London Gatwick (British Airways and Virgin Atlantic), Miami (American Airlines), New York (Jet Blue), Toronto (Air Canada) and many other Caribbean islands (Liat). Of course, if you are on a cruise ship you will be arriving straight into St John’s for the day.
Have you visited Antigua before? Let me know how you got on!
Don’t forget to give me a thumbs up is you like this piece and share it around, or join me for more tales of island life!