Nelson's Dockyard Tour
Duration: Half Day
A tour of Nelson’s Dockyard is a must during your holiday in Antigua. This historic district was developed as a base for the British Navy in the 18th century, but was abandoned at the end of the 19th century and only recently restored to its former glory. Today it is the only working Georgian dockyard in the world. Step back in time as you visit the Dockyard Museum, Library and Fort Berkeley, among other highlights, for an insight into the dockyard’s fascinating maritime history.
The beautiful area surrounding Nelson’s Dockyard on the southern tip of Antigua has been designated a National Park in order to preserve its historic English Harbour and the surrounding hills and beaches. This unique blend of spectacular scenery and rich colonial heritage is a must-see for anyone visiting Antigua.
Admire the views as you enjoy a tour of the famous dockyard, which was named in honour of the English Admiral Horatio Nelson. Lord Nelson was based at English Harbour from 1784-1787, serving as Senior Captain and temporary Commander-in-Chief of the Leeward Islands. Many of the restored colonial buildings in the harbour now house modern shops, cafés, restaurants, an art gallery and museum, all of which reflect the rich naval heritage of English Harbour.
The Dockyard Museum unveils the history of English Harbour through fascinating exhibits such as European arrival, development of the yard, tools, restoration and people of the yard, which reveals how 70% of the workers were black slaves at one time. Amongst the displays you can see ancient Royal Navy relics, models of sailing ships, artifacts found whilst dredging the harbour, old photos and a portrait of Lord Nelson, whilst the Dockyard Library houses important historical documents and databases.
Back outside, stroll leisurely alongside the Antigua Yacht Marina and watch the modern yachts and pleasure sail boats cruising in and out of the harbour. The marina complex includes shops, cafes and restaurants, where you can relax and enjoy stunning view across the water.
Nearby, you will also visit the historic Fort Berkeley, which guards the entrance to Nelson's Dockyard on a beautiful natural peninsula. This massive stone wall was built in three stages between 1704 and 1745 to protect the harbour from approaching enemy ships. Many canons were stored here, which are still positioned for viewing today, but the fort was never actually attacked so no great battles were fought here. The scenic walk to the top will reward you with magnificent views to the east, west and south. This is the perfect time to get your camera out!
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