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Barbados is the most British of the Caribbean islands, where cricket is the national passion and afternoon tea a tradition. Yet the flawless skies, lilting rhythms of both speech and calypso and the endless beaches all provide vivid reminders that you are a long way from home. Enjoy a stroll around Bridgetown, the capital which boasts impressive colonial architecture and take a snap of what used to be known as Trafalgar Square.
The charms of this, the loveliest of Caribbean islands, are many and varied. Soufriere is the world’s only “drive-in” volcano; Marigot Bay is almost unbelievably pretty and the Creole cuisine is rightly famed throughout the Caribbean.
The mother colony of the Caribbean, St Kitts was colonised by the British as early as 1623. Basseterre, the main port, is an historic town and Brimstone Hill Fort offers spectacular panoramic views across to the sister island of St Eustatius.
With over 365 beaches, there is a slice of white sand heaven for every day of the year – even a leap year – on the idyllic Caribbean holiday island Antigua. Antigua played host to Admiral Horatio Nelson’s fleet in the late 1700’s. Nelson’s Dockyard now bustles with crew and guests from yachts and cruise ships sailing these waters for pleasure rather than for King and Country. The main port, St John’s, is also the capital and a vibrant hub for shopping as well as being within easy range of some of the best beaches – at Fort James, Deep Bay, Galley Bay and Hawksbill. Almost perfect weather conditions and low humidity, due to the warm prevailing trade winds, allows Antigua to boast of being the sunniest of the Eastern Caribbean islands with the lowest annual rainfall. It is also the largest of the English-speaking Leeward Islands although it is only 14 miles long and 11 miles wide. Still, with a population of less than 70,000, this means there are lots of wide open spaces – especially on those gorgeous beaches.
Ponta Delgada in the Azores, is a tiny speckle of islands in the Atlantic.The Islands are rurally lovely, their fields separated by hydrangea hedges rather than walls. The twin lakes of Sete Cidades will amaze: one turquoise the other vivid emerald.
The city center is a charming mix of old city walls and a large modern shopping centre. With multiple restaurants, museums, cinemas and theatres there is plenty to be explored. Time spent at embarkation and disembarkation ports may be limited which may restrict availability of shore excursions.