A Brief History Of Each Bermuda Parish
Friday Apr 08th, 2022
Bermuda is a haven for divers and those who enjoy the underwater world. The Atlantic off the coast of Bermuda provides stunning vistas of coral reefs, shipwrecks, underwater caverns, and a variety of coral and marine life. Water sports such as snorkeling and swimming with dolphins are unparalleled anyplace in the globe.
No wonder renowned Novelist and Travel writer, Mark Twain famously remarked, “You go to heaven if you want to, I'd rather stay right here in Bermuda” during the 187 days he spent exploring the beautiful island of Bermuda.
It’s also why Sir George Somers has his heart and entrails buried in Bermuda – soon after named the Somers Islands – and the rest of his body buried in England. Sir George Somers was an English privateer and sea captain who served as admiral of a large resupply voyage to Jamestown in 1609; his ship the Sea Venture was gravely wrecked by a storm and its passengers stranded for almost ten months on the islands of Bermuda.
Bermuda is split into nine parishes in addition to several communities, each with its own charm and character. Here’s the ultimate guide to the parishes and towns in Bermuda and what to do in each of them.
Let’s get started.
St George Parish is located on Bermuda's eastern coast. The parish's primary hub is St. George, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town is rich in history. In the early 17th century, here is where the original residents of Bermuda arrived and established the British settlement. St George is also home to Bermuda Airport. There are additional cruise ship ports on the waterfront at St George's Town. Smaller cruise ships stop here on occasion.
There are several attractions and activities in St George, including beautiful beaches, forts, museums, historical structures, park areas, water sports, and much more.
Top Attractions in St George Bermuda
- The King's Square
This is St. George's town center, where various annual celebrations take place, including the Pepper Corn Ceremony. Here is also the Visitors Information Center.
- Park at Ferry Reach
The second largest parkland in Bermuda, offering some of nature's best in the form of plantation, lakes, bay, and a small beach (Whale bone bay beach), and pathways. The park also contains three old forts. A fantastic location for families and children.
- Mid Ocean Golf Club
Experts rank Mid Ocean, an 18-hole golf course, as one of the best in the world. Aside from spectacular views, this course features guest rooms, a full-service clubhouse, tennis courts, and beaches.
- Tuckers Point Golf Club
The Tuckers Point course features stunning views as well as re-contoured fairways and bunkers. It now has a new practice facility, which includes a driving range, putting green, and short game area. Tiff-Eagle has been used to rebuild all of the greens, making the course significantly quicker and more enjoyable.
- The Tucker House Museum
This is an 18th-century mansion that is now a museum displaying collections from a prominent family that once lived there. The house's kitchen was formerly used as a barbershop by a slave who fled from South Carolina and arrived in Bermuda in 1862.
- Museum of the Bermuda National Trust
Bermuda National Trust Museum, located in King's Square, is one of the island's oldest stone structures. Among other things, it discusses Bermuda's role in America's civil war.
- St. Regis Resort
A haven of oceanfront elegance situated in the historic town of St. George’s; The St. Regis Bermuda Resort is just steps from the soft white sands of St. Catherine’s Beach. The calm turquoise water and stunning views create an iconic resort setting where lavishly appointed accommodations, exceptional amenities and impeccable service combine for an unforgettable stay in St. George.
Hamilton Parish, located directly west of St George, is Bermuda's second most eastern parish. Hamilton City, which is located 8 miles distant in Pembroke Parish, is unrelated to Hamilton Parish. Many tourists believe that the capital city is part of the parish. Hamilton Parish was once known as Bailey's Bay. It was later called for James Hamilton, the 2nd Marquis of the parish, who made major investments in the early 1600s to establish Bermuda.
Hamilton parish encompasses the Harrington Sound watershed and contains numerous deep water limestone caverns and subterranean tunnels. The neighborhood is mostly residential, with beautiful scenery and a variety of public parks and nature reserves. If you are visiting St. George by land or traveling from St. George to other parishes, you must pass through Hamilton Parish.
Attractions and Activities in Hamilton Parish
Even if you just have a limited amount of time on the island, you should spend at least half a day in Hamilton parish to take advantage of some of the outstanding sights it has to offer.
- The Bermuda Aquarium, Museum, and Zoo
This complex is home to more than 200 different fish and invertebrates. You will discover fantastic native fishes, unusual reptiles, pink flamingos, and much more in a stunning setting. It is the island's primary center for marine research.
- Caves of Crystal and Fantasy
Crystal Caves is a 120-foot-deep cave that is one of Bermuda's largest and greatest. Fantasy Caves is nearby.
- The Caves of Leamington
This cave contains amazing stalagmite and stalagmite formations.
- Walsingham and Blue Hole Park
Bermuda's Nature Reserve encompasses 12 acres of land.
- Bermuda's Shelly Bay
Because of its long stretch of shallow waters, this is one of Bermuda's best pink beaches for kids and families.
Smith's Parish is primarily a residential area with extensive farm areas and scenic portions. The parish's boundaries include the north and south shores, as well as the southern section of Harrington Sound. The parish provides beautiful country rides and attractiveness to visitors. Smith's Parish was named after Sir Thomas Smith, a British gentleman who made significant early investments to populate Bermuda and the Parish.
Onions, strawberries, carrots, and other seasonal commodities are gathered and sold in stores along areas of farmland. In Smith's parish, near the Spittal Pond, there is also a huge dairy farm. This is one of the island's only two such dairies. In Smith's parish, there is also a sizable Portuguese community. Many people have come to Bermuda, while others have lived here for decades.
Smith's Parish Attractions
- The Bay of John Smith's
It's a long and wide expanse of pink sand on one of Bermuda's pink sandy beaches. Snorkeling is a popular activity on the beach.
- Spittal Pond Nature Reserve
This is Bermuda's largest and most prestigious nature reserve, spanning 64 acres of land. This is an excellent spot for bird watching on the island.
- Bermuda's Verdmont Museum
Verdmont is a 1710 Georgian-style home in Bermuda that has kept its original construction.
- Bermuda's Watch Hill Park
Watch Hill Park, located on a picturesque stretch of South Road, is great for relaxing and taking in the stunning views of the south coast.
- Bermuda's Harrington Sound
The Flatts inlet connects this picturesque inland lake to the Atlantic Ocean. The view from Harrington Sound Road is breathtaking.
Devonshire is a parish in Bermuda's central region. The parish was named after William Cavendish, the first Earl of the Parish and a British investor in Devonshire colonization. Devonshire, unlike the other parishes, lacks bays or ports and hence cannot participate in the marine sector development.
However, it has thrived primarily through farming and agriculture. The scenery is breathtaking, and the parish has a laid-back country vibe. In the mid-nineteenth century, the British established a powerful military presence here, with forts with views all the way up to the Royal Naval Dockyard at Bermuda's western end.
Bermuda Arboretum is a 22-acre National Park with extensive meadows and a diverse variety of plants and plantations.
- Devonshire Bay
It is a Bermuda National Park featuring a beautiful mix of beach, forts, parkland, and picnic spaces.
- Old Devonshire Church
The original version of the church, which dates back to 1624, is one of the oldest in Bermuda. It's a tiny and popular cottage-style church on the Middle Road.
- Palm Grove Gardens
Palm Grove is an 18-acre landscaped garden in Bermuda with a variety of Palm trees. It also contains a bird aviary and a lovely lily pond.
Pembroke is a parish located in Bermuda's central region. This is the busiest and most populated parish, and it is entirely urban. Hamilton City, Bermuda’s capital, and commercial center is located in Pembroke parish. However, its boundaries inside Pembroke have blurred. The early immigrants named the parish Spanish Point. It was later named after William Herbert, the third Earl of Pembroke (1580-1630). Today, Spanish Point is a distinct parish area with beautiful parks and beaches.
Attractions & Sights in Pembroke
I've listed the top attractions in Pembroke that are located outside of Hamilton or on its outskirts.
- Bermuda's Fort Hamilton
Fort Hamilton in Bermuda, built in the 1870s, is located on the outskirts of Hamilton city, overlooking the beach and beautiful gardens.
- Bermuda's Spanish Point
This is a little land area with a picturesque port view, a lovely park, and a bay with a tiny beach.
- Deep Bay
A steep set of stairs through a cliff leads down to this wonderful little beach, located east of Clarence Cove on North Shore Road.
- Nature Reserve at Butterfield
Butterfield Nature Reserve, located on the Point Shares peninsula in Pembroke, is a spectacular exhibition of natural palmetto woodland.
Paget is a parish in Bermuda's central region. Warwick is to the west, and Devonshire lies to the east. The north bank of Paget overlooks the lovely Hamilton harbor, while the south coast is home to stunning beaches such as Elbow Beach. Paget's location can be found on the Bermuda Parish Map. The parish has been named after William Paget, the fourth Lord of Paget (lived 1572 - 1629).
Paget Bermuda Attractions
- Beach at the Elbow
This lovely coastline has a gradual bend that resembles an elbow. It is divided into private and public areas. Reefs may be seen near to the beach, and the beach is ideal for snorkeling. This beach, like all other south shore beaches, features pink sands. Elbow Beach Hotel operates a beach bar here, as well as a water sports operator.
- Botanical Gardens of Bermuda
Large glass homes with cacti and orchids, as well as gardens full of flowers and plants, may be found here. The Botanical Gardens also serves as the location for Bermuda's annual AG Show festival, often known as the Annual Exhibition.
- Nature Reserve in Paget Marsh
Paget Marsh is a natural reserve that takes visitors on a journey back in time to see pre-colonial plants on 25 acres of land.
- The Port of Hamilton
This is a natural harbor developed between the Parishes of Paget and Pembroke. Hamilton Harbor is part of the Great Sound, forming a tapering wedge of water between these two parishes. The harbor is presently used as a port area for smaller cruise ships and has beautiful views.
Warwick is well recognized for its pink south shore beaches, national parks, reserves, golf courses, and other fantastic attractions, and it is a parish that has it all. The town of Warwick, pronounced wah-rick, was named after Earl Sir Robert Rich.
In the 1600s, he was a major British investor in Bermuda and the parish. With its many natural resources, such as stunning pink beaches, wonderful attractions, facilities, and several luxury hotels, Warwick parish has grown into one of the main tourist destinations in Bermuda throughout the years.
Warwick is located in western Bermuda, between the parishes of Southampton and Paget. Hamilton City is only approximately 20 minutes away by bus from Warwick. Check out the Parish Map to see where Warwick and other parishes in Bermuda are located.
- South Shore Park
This is the full stretch of south coast beaches and path area, which is part of Bermuda's national parks. It begins in Southampton Parish and extends all the way to the east. It begins at Chaplin Bay in Warwick, continues past Stone hole Bay and Jobson's Cove, and terminates at Warwick Long Bay.
- Christ the King's Church
This church, which dates back to 1719, is one of the oldest Presbyterian churches in the Western Hemisphere. This lovely chapel with a vast graveyard is located on Middle Road, directly across from the Belmont Hills Club. You can get there by using Bus #8. Sunday services begin at 8 a.m. and end at 11 a.m.
- Lake Paradise
This is a beautiful marine location in the Great Sound, surrounded by a number of small islands.
Southampton is one of Bermuda's nine parishes, located in the island's lower western extremity and forming a small strip of land between Sandys and Warwick parishes. Visit Parish Map to see Southampton parish's location in relation to all other parishes. Southampton was after Henry Wriothesley, the 3rd Earl of the Parish, who invested heavily in the colonization of Bermuda in the early 1600s.
The parish of Southampton revolves around a small body of water known as the Little Sound. Above it is a bigger water region known as the Great Sound, which opens out to the Atlantic Ocean on the northern side. The Great Sound and the Little Sound are separated by two peninsulas protruding out from two sides, one from Sandys parish and the other from Warwick. There are a number of little islets inside Little Sound and Great Sound, some of which are also part of Southampton parish.
Attractions in Southampton
- The Gibbs Hill Lighthouse
This is the world's oldest cast-iron lighthouse, located in Southampton Parish.
- The Church of St. Anne
St. Anne's Church, located on Church Road in Southampton Parish, is a magnificent picture-perfect church. The first Chapel and Nave were constructed in 1717. In 1905, the tower was constructed. There is a Sunday service. The church also has its own cemetery. This church inspired the name of the surrounding Church Bay. The view of the south shore from here is spectacular.
- Fort and Park at Whale Bay
It is located in Whale Bay Park and provides a panoramic view of the ocean.
- Seymour's Pond
It's a 2.5-acre nature preserve and a bird sanctuary. There are also old cedars and pepper trees.
- The Fairmont Southampton
The Fairmont Southampton, Bermuda is a luxury resort perched on Bermuda's stunning south shore with miles of pink sand beaches. Conveniently located in the mid-Atlantic, less than a two-hour flight from most east coast gateways, this hotel is perfect for getaways year-round. Sitting on nearly 100 gorgeous acres dotted with lush bougainvillea and towering coconut palms, The Fairmont Southampton is Bermuda's largest full-service luxury beach resort boasting 593 rooms and 6 floors with amazing views of ocean and sound. Unparalleled amenities are offered throughout the property.
Sandys is Bermuda's westernmost parish or county. It is named for Sir Edwin Sandys, who made significant investments in the parish in the early 1600s. The name of the parish is pronounced 'Sands.' Sandys is made up of five islands connected by bridges. Ireland Island North, Ireland Island South, Boaz Island, Watford Island, and the largest of all, Somerset Island, are the islands. Ireland Island North is home to the Royal Naval Dockyard, where the majority of cruise ships dock.
Because it is the furthest away from congested Hamilton City, numerous portions of the parish offer refreshing peace and solitude that are rapidly dwindling in tourist-populated Bermuda. At the same time, Hamilton is easily accessible by ferry from both the dockyard and Somerset. There are other buses that run between the dockyard and Hamilton.
Other Tourist Attractions and Sites in Sandys
- The Royal Navy Dockyard
The British developed this dockyard and naval base in the early nineteenth century. Here are the cruise berths Kings Wharf and Heritage Wharf. The complex is home to a number of popular tourist attractions.
- Bermuda's National Museum
Rare exhibits of Bermuda's colonial and marine history are on display.
- Bermuda Dolphin Quest
In the Dockyard, there is a magnificent Dolphin Center. If you want to swim with dolphins, touch them, or feed them, there is no better place than Bermuda's Dolphin Quest.
- Bermuda Art Center (Bermuda)
This is a creative workshop of brilliant local and resident artists located in the dockyard. It displays a diverse spectrum of artwork, such as paintings, sculpture, and pottery.
Other Communities/Towns in Bermuda
Flatts is a small fishing community in Hamilton Parish, about midway between Hamilton City and St. George. A major portion of it is also located in Smith's parish. Flatts Village is known for its attractive pastel-colored buildings, picturesque fishing places, palm trees, stunning surroundings, and delicious restaurants.
Flatts Village was one of the first British communities on the island, dating back to the early 1600s. Somers, who arrived in Bermuda for the first time in 1609 on the ship Sea Venture, included Flatts village in his maps. When Bermuda's capital was at St. George, the parliament met at Flatts Village on occasion. The region grew popular among the wealthy.
Tucker's Town, a little peninsular area in the southern section of St. George's parish, has seen unusual changes over time. Until the First World War, the poorest people in Bermuda lived there, relying on fishing and farming for a living. Tucker's Town is now a haven for the wealthy. Today, the price of real estate in this small community starts from $2 million and is mostly occupied by a slew of well-known non-Bermudians.
The Dockyard is located on Ireland Island in Sandy's Parish at Bermuda's western edge (North). Because the dockyard is spread out over a 24-acre plot of ground, everything in the port area is within walking distance of the cruise berths.
The Royal Naval Dockyard has been in operation for nearly a century, assisting British forces in conflicts such as the American War of 1812. The Keep Fortress was built here in the mid-1800s, covering an area of 6-acres, to protect the dockyard against enemy invasions from western waterways. This Keep castle now houses the National Museum of Bermuda.
A variety of activities are available from the dockyard, including island tours, boating, and sailing tours, water sports (such as kayaking, jet skiing, paddle boarding, snorkeling cruises, scuba diving, and more), fishing trips, a series of events and festivals, and more.
City of Hamilton
Hamilton, the island's capital since 1815, is a tiny, dynamic, and welcoming city. It is the island's cultural and commercial center. Hamilton, as the island's primary container port, is also the core of Bermuda's shipping trade. Hamilton City is centrally located on the island, in Pembroke Parish, and faces Hamilton Harbor (the tapering water area between Pembroke and Paget parishes).
The city is now 185 acres in size, far larger than it was when it began, and has a population of around 1800 people. The majority of the working population comes from the surrounding parishes by ferry, automobile, or bus. The city of Hamilton is one of the world's smallest capital cities.
Somerset Village is a small, unincorporated village in the northwest area of Bermuda, located in Sandys Parish. It lies in the northern half of Somerset Island. The settlement, like Flatts Village and Tucker's Town, has been around for generations, yet its origin is unknown due to a lack of formal borders and municipal administration, and when the region became known as a village is unknown.
The settlement is located on the southern shore of Mangrove Bay, and it was once a useful, albeit modest, port. Today, the neighborhood contains a bank, a police station, a post office, a ferry station (on the Great Sound, next to Watford Bridge), a library, a variety of stores, small hotels, bars, and restaurants, and a boat club. There is also a bus terminal because the community serves as a stop for several bus lines. A tiny beach is located west of the settlement, while another is within walking distance at adjacent (Somerset) Long Bay (there are two other Long Bays in Bermuda).
The community is conveniently located near the defunct Royal Naval Dockyard on Ireland Island (part of a previous naval facility that began at the opposite end of Watford Bridge), and it is connected to the City of Hamilton as well as the Dockyard by regular ferries. The Non-Mariners' Race, a funny non-race by purposefully unseaworthy floats, takes place in the village every summer.
St. David's is one of two big islands that make up Bermuda's St. George's Parish. The St. George's Island is the other. St. Davids, which has a land area of 650 acres, is located in the easternmost section of Bermuda and has been isolated for a long time.
It was eventually connected to the main island of Bermuda by the British Royal Engineers who built the Causeway that connected the two ends in 1877. The island was named after Saint David, Wales' patron saint. Between St David's Island and St George's Island, there are two water regions.
The first occupants of St. Davids were a diverse group of immigrants who arrived in the 17th century. There were many native American Indians who arrived here as slaves and resided here. There were also indentured (debt-bonded) laborers from England, as well as Africans from the West Indies and other areas. Because it is separated from the main island, St. Davids was originally a haven for lower-class destitute people.
Although the population of St Davids is now made up of a similar mix of immigrants as the rest of Bermuda, many residents still have strong ties to native Americans. Native Americans from Naragansett, Wampanoag, Mashantucket Pequots, Cherokee, and other tribes attend the biannual St Davids Island Indian Festival.