Bermuda's City of Hamilton & Nearby Parishes
The City of Hamilton is not only the capital of Bermuda – it’s also the island's beating heart. A picturesque harbour city graced with shops, museums, galleries and gardens, the city is also a hub for local and international businesses.
- Beyond the Beach,
- Travel Tips
On any given morning in downtown Hamilton, you might see commuters in Bermuda shorts travelling to work on scooters, passing each other with a warm “good morning.” It's the blend of global sophistication and local flavour and that makes the city so intriguing and inviting.
HAMILTON IN HISTORY
Founded in 1788, the City of Hamilton was named after Sir Henry Hamilton, who served as Governor of Bermuda until 1794. People in the Town of St. George, then the capital, objected to the new upstart town, but the governor felt it made sense to have a town in the centre of the island. That explains the city's motto: 'Sparsa Collegit', which translates to "brought together the scattered." The new town overtook the Town of St. George, growing into a thriving hub on Hamilton Harbour and becoming the capital of Bermuda in 1815.
TOURING THE CITY TODAY
Today, the City of Hamilton has those same great harbour views and a more energetic, cosmopolitan vibe than ever before. To see its major sites start on Front Street, which is lined with jewel-toned shops, restaurants and museums. It bustles with energy, especially come nightfall when the bar scene heats up.
Then head east towards Sessions House, home to both Bermuda’s House of Assembly and Supreme Court. Here, you can pop in on a session of Parliament and see how it plays a powerful, sometimes lively role in Bermuda history.
From there, visit the Cathedral of The Most Holy Trinity, an 1869 Anglican Church built of native stone and imported Caen stone. Climb the tower for a view of Hamilton. Close by, City Hall and Arts Centre houses the Bermuda National Gallery, with exhibits of art and artefacts from Bermuda, Africa and Europe. It's also home to the City Hall Theatre, a venue for concerts, plays and dance.
Finally, stroll through Victoria Park, a serene oasis designed in the traditional English style with sunken gardens, flowerbeds and an ornate 19th-century bandstand.
Or, follow a ready-made walking tour to discover Hamilton.
Since Hamilton is a harbour town on a lush island, plenty of its attractions delve into local flora and fauna. In the surrounding, the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute explores the mysteries of the deep with displays of shipwreck treasures (coins, gold crosses and more), an interactive submarine exhibit and a collection of over 1,200 seashells.
In linked buildings and outdoor spaces, the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo showcases a range of island life. There's a 140,000-gallon fish tank mimicking a coral reef, an outdoor seal exhibit with popular feeding times and hands-on activities for kids.
The Botanical Gardens fills 36 acres with a palm grove, a tropical fruit garden and a large collection of blooming hibiscus plants. Don't miss the aromatic garden meant for sight-impaired visitors.
At the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, you'll find over 1,500 works by international names like Georgia O’Keeffe as well as pieces by numerous Bermudian artists. The on-site Homer's Cafe (named after Winslow Homer) serves a variety of dishes and refreshnments.
Outside of the city centre, Hamilton Parish and neighboring parishes offer numerous other attractions. Fort Hamilton, an 1870s stronghold-turned-park, boasts views over Hamilton and down to the port. It's also the jumping-off point for watersports and boat tours. Jessie James Cruises offers shipwreck and snorkelling boat trips, glass-bottom catamaran jaunts and fishing excursions departing from the harbour.