Exploring St. George's
On the East End, explore the historic Town of St. George, a UNESCO World Heritage site that was founded in 1612. It's the oldest English settlement in the New World. Here, you can wander narrow, cobblestoned streets with names such as Old Maid’s Lane, Printer’s Alley and Featherbed Alley. This part of the island is known for its British colonial architecture.
Begin your tour of St. George's with a visit to the World Heritage Centre, which has interactive displays on town history and maps. Then, dig further into the town's past with a visit to the St. George's Historical Society Museum, the Bermuda National Trust Museum or the Bermudian Heritage Museum.
Then, check out the nearby statue of founding father Sir George Somers at Ordnance Island, a beachfront park close to the main square. From there, it's a short walk to St. Peter’s Church, the oldest continually operating Anglican church in the New World. Other points of interest: the State House, Tucker House Museum, The Unfinished Church and Fort St. Catherine, an impressive waterfront stronghold with an interesting museum.
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The Dockyard & Historic Forts
Dip into Bermuda's naval military history at the Royal Naval Dockyard on the island's West End. Built by the British beginning in 1809, the impressive complex of stone warehouses and military buildings now holds restaurants, arts galleries and the National Museum of Bermuda and the Bermuda Maritime Museum. Impressive displays include shipwreck treasures, early maps and an in-depth exhibit on slavery on the island. Also in the Dockyard complex: the Clocktower Mall, a modern shopping center housed in a grand 1850s stone building with twin towers telling the time and tides.
A short bus ride will take you to Fort Scaur, a hilltop stronghold built in the 1870s to help protect the Dockyard. Now, you can wander its stone ramparts and 22 acres of parkland. Continuing on the bus route you'll pass over Somerset Bridge, the smallest operating drawbridge in the world – it opens a mere 32 inches wide, just enough for a sailboat to slip through.
See shipwreck treasures at the National Museum of Bermuda and the Bermuda Maritime Museum.
Elegant Estates & Gardens
Explore the lives of Bermuda's early settlers today by touring two elegant 18th-century houses.
At water's edge on Hamilton Harbour, you'll find elegant circa-1725 Waterville. The restored house provides a glimpse at early island life, and it's also the headquarters of the Bermuda National Trust. Among the highlights here are true-to-the-era reception rooms and an old-fashioned garden with a gazebo.
Built in 1710, Verdmont House Museum proves a stunning exmple of early Georgian architecture and interior design with its fine cedar staircase, collection of paintings and antique furniture. Outside, you can wander a garden first planted in the 18th century; it bursts with roses and palmettos.
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The Capital City & the Cathedral
Founded in 1790, the City of Hamilton is now a business and government hub. Start a tour of its historic and architectural headliners at the Gothic Revival-style Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity. Designed by Scottish architect William Hay, it was erected between 1885 and 1905. Constructed of native and imported stone, the Cathedral features colourful stained-glass windows, Gothic arches and delicate spires.
A short walk will take you to Sessions House, an 1815-era Georgian building where the House of Assembly and Supreme Court meet. On Queen Street, stop by the Perot Post Office, headquarters of 19th century Postmaster William B. Perot. Perot produced the first Bermudian postage stamps in 1848; today, they're among the rarest forms of postage in the world, since only 11 are known to exist.
Also on Queen Street, you'll find the Bermuda Historical Society Museum in a handsome circa-1814 Georgian house known as Par-La-Ville. Items on display include silverplate made on the island, ship models and portraits of early residents.