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Bermuda family holidays

Bermuda seascape.Bermuda seascape.© Bermuda Tourism
 ©Fantasea Diving and Watersports. ©Fantasea Diving and Watersports.
Boats in a harbour.Boats in a harbour.© The Bermuda Department of Tourism
© Bermuda Royal Naval Dockyard.© Bermuda Royal Naval Dockyard.
© Hartley's Helmet Diving.© Hartley's Helmet Diving.
 ©National Museum of Bermuda. ©National Museum of Bermuda.
Capital City Hamilton
Flying Time 7hrs
Timezone GMT -5
Currency Bermuda Dollar

Today

Overview

Not technically in the Caribbean but generally grouped with the region for ease, the oldest British Overseas Territory is an ideal family holiday destination for those hankering for year-round sun. Famous as being at one point of the mysterious triangle and for its baggy shorts, this archipelago of 180 small islands connected by bridges and causeways offers fantastic beaches, spectacular pink sands and plenty of fun for all the family – plus reputedly more golf courses per square kilometre than anywhere else in the world!

Things to do with kids in Bermuda

Step back in time at St George’s, the world’s oldest extant English-speaking colonial town. The capital of Bermuda until Hamilton took over in 1815, it’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stroll around the old town square and harbour or relive the colonial lifestyle at one of the town’s many historic houses.

Head to Hamilton to admire the traditional Bermudan buildings with their pretty pastel colours and indulge in the best shopping and dining on the islands. Escape the bustle by treating the kids to a horse-drawn carriage ride around the capital.

Take a short ferry ride from Hamilton to the Royal Naval Dockyard at the far west of the island. Bermuda’s biggest tourist attraction, this former strategic outpost for the Royal Navy has been converted into a complex of restaurants, shops, craft markets and museums. Marvel at The Bermuda Glass Blowing Studio, spend the day exploring the former military structures and underground chambers, and take in the exhibits at the Bermuda Arts Centre. Explore the National Museum of Bermuda in a sprawling six-acre fortress at the edge of the Dockyard. Roam the old munitions warehouse and the world’s first wrought-iron house, then cross the moat into Bermuda’s largest fort.  

Discover Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo at Flatts Village near the centre of the island (with regular buses from the Dockyard, Hamilton and St George’s). The museum has displays on local geology, biodiversity and habitats.

Having taken in the sights, get back to the fantastic child-friendly beaches – Bermuda’s big family draw. Almost everywhere on the southern shore boasts those famous pink sands, but head to South Shore Park for the longest stretches of spectacular rosy-hued beach, linked by a coastal trail – don’t miss the sweeping crescent at celebrated Horseshoe Bay. There are lifeguards May–Oct at the latter, and also at John Smith’s Bay, Turtle Bay and Clearwater Bay. Clearwater, located in St George’s parish, is particularly ideal for families, with a 36-acre park with nature trails and a playground.

Fantastic beaches mean plenty of water-based activities, including the unusual Hartley's Helmet Diving, which invites ages five and up to go face-to-face with sea creatures during a walk along the ocean floor wearing a diving helmet. Otherwise, the coral reef that lines the southern shore makes Bermuda the perfect place to introduce kids to snorkeling. Or try your hands at kayaking – Dive Bermuda offers guided diving, snorkel and kayak tours taking you out to the reef/breaker line and a wreck site. For historical and ecological kayak adventure tours suitable for kids six and up, plus snorkelling and power-snorkelling, SNUBA and scuba-diving, and whale-watching, try Fantasea Diving and Watersports. They also offer bike tours of the Bermuda Railway Trail – the ‘Old Rattle and Shake’, Bermuda's only train, made its first run in 1931 and was gone by 1948, but the stretches of old railway line in nearly every parish are the perfect place for an easy family bike ride or hike.

If you prefer not to get your feet wet, charter a boat and chance your luck at fishing, or stay on dry land and watch some of the many yacht races that finish in Bermuda. The racing season runs from Mar–Nov, with most races held at weekends in the Great Sound. Find out more from the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.

Bermuda also offers plenty of opportunities for mountain-biking or horse-riding, or you can take the family back to nature at the Walsingham Nature Reserve with its mangroves, bird-watching area, and tranquil grotto and caves.

Don’t leave without seeing the Crystal Caves in Hamilton Parish – hear the tale of their accidental discovery by two boys playing cricket in 1907 and marvel at the dramatic stalactites and stalagmites 37m underground. Children love the walk across the pontoon bridge over underground Cahow Lake. If you have time, visit the neighbouring Fantasy Cave, but be prepared for the steep climb back to the top.

Eat

For the biggest selection of restaurants, head to Hamilton, where options include US, British and international cuisine, including plenty of child-friendly pizza and ice cream. Most food apart from fish is imported, so dining out in Bermuda is expensive.

Traditional Bermudan cooking can be more difficult to find, but make the extra effort to be rewarded by lobster, codfish and bananas, spicy fish chowder and even shark fritters – the stuff of true family holiday memories.

When to go to Bermuda

Bermuda has balmy weather year-round so is ideal for family holidays at any time. The hottest part of the year is May to mid-October (23–29˚C); the winter average is 21˚C. Hurricanes occasionally occur, though there’s less chance of one than in the Caribbean itself.

Cost

Bermuda is not the place for a budget family holiday, with hotels and eating out both generally on the expensive side. Return flights cost around £600pp; combined flight-and-hotel packages start at around £1,000 per adult for seven nights.

By Zannah Ingraham

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