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The southerly parish of Christ Church is one of the livelier pockets on the island, teeming with restaurants, bars, hotels, shops and attractions that draw locals and tourists alike. Popular beaches include Rockley/Accra, Miami/Enterprise, Maxwell and Surfer’s Point. Fine dining with a view can be indulged in at Cafe Luna or Champers. On the more casual end of the spectrum is Surfer’s Cafe, Mojo or Mr. Delicious, a colourful food truck that lives up to its name. Then there’s the St. Lawrence Gap, the nightlife hub of the island catering to a variety of tastes and budgets.
With plenty to see and do, here are some recommended Christ Church highlights:
Barbados Concorde Experience
The hanger/museum right next door to the Grantley Adams International Airport houses one of the few remaining British Airways Concorde jets. Even if you’re not an aviation enthusiast, you can’t deny wow factor of this twice-the-speed-of-sound aircraft. Back in the hey day, the rich and famous could fly the London-Barbados route in a mere 4 hours. Come see this wonder of engineering up close, experience a supersonic boom, explore some interactive exhibits and even step aboard this elegant iconic vessel. The Barbados Concorde Experience is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm.
Oistins Fish Fry
Oistins Fish Fry is a must-do cultural and culinary experience in Barbados. This sleepy working fishing village by day morphs into a bustling street market of food, drink, music and merriment by night – especially Friday and to some extent Saturday night. Oistins Bay Garden is an informal cluster of open-air food stalls, bar booths, picnic tables, trinket vendors, music stages and impromptu dance floors that draws an eclectic crowd of residents and visitors, young and old, families and friends. The main attraction is the freshly caught sea food (flying fish, marlin, swordfish, mahi-mahi, tuna, baracuda, snapper, lobster…) fried or grilled to perfection, partnered with a side of macaroni pie and washed down with a Banks or a bottle of rum. Sure, it’s served with plastic forks in Styrofoam containers, but it’s superb quality for a fraction of the cost of a standard restaurant meal. The eateries open around 6pm, but get there early or the line-ups can test your patience. Saunter down the pier and watch the sunset before grabbing a bite and joining the party.
It may seem macabre to recommend a burial crypt, but the 200 year old mystery surrounding the Chase Vault makes this one a spooky draw. Located in the Christ Church cemetery in Oistins, it became a centre of intrigue when each time the family vault was opened for a new burial, the heavy lead coffins within would be found in different positions, sometimes upside down or standing on end, with no apparent signs of break-in. At one point, in order to expose vandals or a hoax, the Barbados governor ordered an investigation. A layer of sand was placed on the floor to detect intruders footprints or signs of flooding and the entryway was cemented with his personal seal in the mortar to expose any tampering. A few weeks later when they opened the crypt in front of a curious crowd, the doorway and sand layer were intact but yet again they found the coffins in disarray, including a big one that had taken 8 men to carry in there. The mysterious dancing coffins remain an unexplained phenomenon and the subject of ghostly theories to this day.
South Point Lighthouse
The red and white candy cane striped landmark stands proudly on the southern tip of the island to the east of Miami/Enterprise Beach. Originally on display at London’s Great Exposition in 1851, it made its way to the island the following year. In fact, it was the first lighthouse in Barbados and the only one out of four that’s still flashes today. You can’t go inside the tower, but it’s a photogenic spot for a picnic or gawking at some water sport action – the nearby beaches like Freights Bay and Silver Sands are a mecca for surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing and paddle boarding. Forget the gawking, get out and try your hand at those adventurous sports yourself!
There aren’t many old fashioned drive-in movie theatres left in the world, so keep the Globe in mind for a nostalgic night at a classic “cinema under the stars”. Barbados has the perfect climate and 6:30 sun down to enjoy year-round double features of current blockbuster flicks, two for just $15BBD. Grab some food and drinks at the snackette, cozy up in your car or bring your own lounge chairs for some al fresco fun. The open-air screen is located in Adam’s Castle just south of the Sheraton Mall.
Graeme Hall Sanctuary Cafe
This cafe overlooking the only remaining mangrove wetland habitat on the island is a tranquil place for a coffee, refreshment or light lunch. While the wildlife reserve is now closed to the public, you can still enjoy birdlife, fish and occasional monkeys from the lawn overlooking the lake. It’s a lush oasis away from the surrounding hubbub of the south coast. Look for the sign on Worthing Main Road. Open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Richard Haynes Boardwalk
Stretching 1.2 km from the north tip of Accra/Rockely Beach to the Sierra Beach Hotel in Hastings, the popular south coast boardwalk is the perfect spot for an early morning jog, mid-day power walk, leisurely family amble or romantic sunset stroll. Oceanside benches beckon you to stop a while and soak in the views. Wear shoes as the wood can be hard on bare feet, and note there’s no shade so you might want to avoid the high noon sun. There are a couple of restaurants right on the boardwalk, including Blakey’s, Tapas and Naru and some relatively affordable options at Lantern’s Mall and Quay Side across the road. Try the Tiki Bar at the far end of Accra Beach for a umbrella-topped post-walk cocktail.