Bermuda was first discovered in the early 1500s by Juan de Bermudez, then later established as an English settlement in 1612. Though that makes our island only some-400-years-old, there’s a lot of history packed into our four centuries. Get in-touch with Bermuda’s ancestral past with visits to The National Museum in Dockyard, Shelly Bay (which was once home to shipyards and race tracks) and Kings Square in St. George’s – the more you know about each place, the more you can appreciate it.
The National Museum of Bermuda
Formerly Bermuda Maritime Museum, this impressive institution for Bermuda’s heritage is located aptly in The Royal Naval Dockyard, one of Bermuda’s most important ports. The museum is housed in one of the few west-end forts, which were built to protect the island from attack. The museum is the largest in Bermuda, with extensive artifact collections. It has exhibits on Bermuda’s shipwreck past, the history of our defense, our history in the slave trade, and much more. Graham Foster painted a mural on the four walls in one room of the museum that chronicles the history of Bermuda for 400 years. The museum grounds are home to a roaming flock of sheep, which graze overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It’s easy to spend a whole day perusing the many exhibits and exploring the grounds, and The Royal Naval Dockyard has plenty of concessions below when you and your family get tired.
Today, Shelly Bay is truly a local beach, with families and summer camps often utilizing ht playground just steps away from the sand but in years gone by, Shelly Bay was not only a horse racing track but was also home to shipyards which were responsible for the building of the Sir George F. Seymour (108 feet long and 267 tons), the Pearl and the Kohinoor. Take the time to read through Elizabeth Jones’s Shelly Bay before paying the Hamilton Parish spot a visit – we promise you’ll see the beach and park in a whole new light.
The town centre of St. George’s, locals and visitors can utilize the free wifi access and shaded benches in the square. In addition to more recent additions, the square also contains historical artifacts, such as the stocks and the ducking stool. The stocks were used to punish criminals, who would be locked in them for days and heckled by the public. The Town Crier now holds theatrical demonstrations of the ducking stool, replicating its use in the past to punish “nagging and gossiping women” buy dunking them in the sea. On Ordinance Island, attached to Kings Square by a bridge, you can visit a replica of the Deliverance, the boat built by stranded settlers to continue on to Jamestown after the Sea Venture was wrecked. If you fancy a drink or a meal, you can visit the White Horse Tavern, or Wahoos, both located close to the town square.