Adventure in awesome Antigua is plain sailing

  • Admiral Nelson stayed at The Admiral’s Inn in English Harbour in the 1700s 
  • It was the base for the British Fleet in the Caribbean for more than 100 years 
  • Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua is the world’s only working Georgian Dockyard
  • Now it is home to an astonishing number of mega luxury boats and yachts  

When I arrived in Antigua 34 years ago, I had just completed my first Atlantic crossing.

I was emotional and thrilled to be back on terra firma but, even so, I fell head over heels in love with the island.

Sailing the Atlantic means battling through storms, getting drenched, feeling cold and suffering seasickness — all a far cry from the luxury my 17-year-old daughter Mackenna and I were now about to experience at The Admiral’s Inn, in English Harbour, where Nelson stayed from 1784 to 1787.

The English Harbour on the island of Antigua, where the British Fleet was based for more than 100 years 

The English Harbour on the island of Antigua, where the British Fleet was based for more than 100 years 

The harbour provided unrivalled protection from hurricanes, and the British Fleet was based there for more than 100 years.

The newly-revamped, 23-room hotel looks out over pretty Nelson’s Dockyard, the only working Georgian Dockyard in the world.

Nelson, a yachtie of sorts, would be astonished at the number of mega luxury boats that now bob up and down around Antigua.

There’s nothing quite like learning to sail in sunny climes — and here, you’re spoilt for choice. Both the Antigua Yacht Club and Ondeck are ideal for beginners, operating in the safety and calm waters of Falmouth Harbour.

Although Antigua is famous for its beaches, there is so much else to do. Our first outing was through the Antiguan rainforest to take Mack ziplining with Rainforest Canopy Tours.

She loved swinging through the trees, and I was perfectly happy watching from the safety of the bar.

The next day, we went riding at the outstanding Spring Hill Stables in Falmouth and galloped through the surf, the horses’ hooves pounding the water and lifting the spray into our faces.

You can’t get lost in Antigua — and if you do, it hardly matters.

Along the way, you’re bound to spot the island’s old sugar mills, one of which, Betty’s Hope, dates back to 1651.

Yachtswoman Tracey Edwards visited the islands with her daughter Mackenna and stayed at the Admiral's Inn

Yachtswoman Tracey Edwards visited the islands with her daughter Mackenna and stayed at the Admiral’s Inn

Near Pares Village, St Peter’s, it has been fully restored and is open to visitors free of charge.

Then there are the churches — such as St Barnabas Anglican Church in the centre of Liberta village, built from the ballast bricks taken from the ships that sailed from the UK in the 18th century.

Also deserving of a visit is St John’s Cathedral in St John’s. It’s in its third incarnation, as earthquakes in 1683 and 1745 wreaked havoc.

Look out for the Victorian pews, shining in all their colonial glory.

There you have it. Antigua has beauty at every turn, and its people are forever kind and friendly, but there’s also a fascinating history underpinning this wonderful perch in the Caribbean.

TRAVEL FACTS 

Virgin Atlantic (virginatlantic.com) flies to Antigua from £578 return. Harbour view rooms at the Admiral’s Inn (admiralsantigua.com) from £140 per night. For more information, see visitantiguabarbuda.com

 





Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

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