Bermuda’s Nine Parishes

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Bermuda’s Nine Parishes 2022-02-25T12:35:03-05:00

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Bermuda’s Nine Parishes

In 1616 the islands were surveyed and divided into tribes (shares of land).  These tribes are today’s nine parishes.  Many are named for the Elizabethan Era English Aristocrats and members of the Virginia Company of 1612 and the Bermuda Company of 1615.

Bermuda’s Nine Parishes

In 1616 the islands were surveyed and divided into tribes (shares of land).  These tribes are today’s nine parishes.  Many are named for the Elizabethan Era English Aristocrats and members of the Virginia Company of 1612 and the Bermuda Company of 1615.   From west to east the parishes are:

 Sandys:  It includes Somerset Island, Ireland Island and Watford Island connected by bridges and serviced by buses and ferries.  The parish is named in honor of one of Bermuda’s Elizabethan patrons, English aristocrat Sir Edwin Sandys (1561-1629).  Pronounced as ‘Sands’, this is the first parish many tourists encounter when they visit Bermuda because of the cruise ship docks by the Royal Naval Dockyard. There’s plenty to do at this dockyard and naval base which is very popular with tourists. Visit the Dockyard Glassworks and see stunning glassware created or spend an afternoon in the National Museum of Bermuda. It’s home to rare exhibits that showcase Bermuda’s maritime history. If you want to escape the popular tourist spots, then visit Hog Bay Beach. It’s a secluded spot and not known by many tourists, so it’s perfect for a quiet swim.

  • Royal Naval Dockyard, port, entertainment, and shopping complex
  • Port for mega ships, westernmost parish
  • Bermuda Arts Centre showcases Bermuda artists
  • Bermuda Maritime Museum, artifacts from the Sea Venture
  • Casemate Barracks in the Dockyard
  • Clocktower Mall, shopping center at Dockyard
  • Dolphin Quest, swim with dolphins at Dockyard
  • Somerset Village, one of Bermuda’s five main settlements
  • Somerset Bridge, world’s smallest drawbridge

Southampton:  About 650 miles east of the United States’ Carolina coast lies a tropical getaway where no frost or freeze has ever been recorded.  Although it’s closer to the US, it’s actually a British territory.  Many visitors seeking sun and surf come to the south shore, where this Parish provides some of Bermuda’s most spectacular coastline, including Horseshoe Bay. And while the wave-washed rocks are certainly scenic, nearby is a wide curve of white sand where visitors can lay back on a beach towel and dream of never leaving.

  • Church Bay public beach for snorkeling
  • Horseshoe Bay, the most photographed beach. It is also the most famous beach in Bermuda. It has been rated the #8 beach in the world.
  • In 2012 the bay got Wi-Fi.
  • Gibbs Hill Lighthouse (built in 1846), tallest Bermuda structure with 185 steps to top

Warwick: It is named for Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick and is located in the central south of the island chain, occupying part of the main island to the southeast of the Great Sound, the large expanse of water which dominates the geography of western Bermuda, and also a number of islands which lie within that sound. As with most of Bermuda’s parishes, it covers just over 2.3 square miles. Warwick parish offers a wonderful blend of exquisite beaches, beautiful architecture, and vibrant nature reserves. Warwick Long Bay is a great place to start thanks to its pink sand dunes and snorkeling opportunities.  Travel the Warwick Railway Trail by foot or on bike and explore a variety of different settings. You’ll get a closer look at Bermuda’s diverse trees and plantations as well as limestone quarries and vast farmlands.  For keen golfers, there’s Riddell’s Bay Golf and Country Club which features holes that will certainly challenge you. You’ll play so close to the ocean you’ll be in danger of losing balls into the crystal blue waters after a wayward shot.

  • Two fine public golf courses
  • Cliffs and beaches on the south shore
  • Long Bay Beach, on the Great Sound region of Bermuda’s western shores.

Paget:  This parish is on Bermuda’s South, Middle and Harbor Roads. The parish is located in the central south of the island chain, immediately south of Hamilton Harbor on the main island. It was named after English aristocrat William Paget (1572-1629). The island’s only hospital, King Edward VII Memorial, is in Paget.  Every beach in Bermuda is worth a visit, but Paget is home to some of the very best. Elbow Beach, in particular, is perfect for snorkeling in the crystal-clear water. Or visit the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art and view the stunning collection of paintings, photographs, maps and memorabilia. A great place to visit during the occasional rain shower.

  • Across the bay from Hamilton
  • Botanical Gardens with an orchid house, fruit groves, and formal gardens
  • Camden, historic house in typical Bermudian architecture
  • Hungry Bay, national park and nature reserve
  • King Edward VII Memorial Hospital
  • Salt Kettle Peninsula, a ferry terminal

Pembroke:  Hamilton, the capital and a port is located here.. Visit the Bermuda National Gallery, the Anglican cathedral, and the Houses of Parliament. The island of Bermuda has more golf courses per capita than any other country in the world. On the southern coast you can experience the famous pink sand beaches.

  • City Hall, seat of government
  • Fort Hamilton
  • Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, sponsor of the Newport-to-Bermuda race.
  • Underwater Exploration Institute

Devonshire: William Cavendish, the Earl of Devonshire (1552-1626). was born to an enormous fortune and is the name of this parish. There is a national park here and remnants of a fort. Boats moor in the bay for its relatively calm waters. The remnants of the fort were one of the forts from the “fortress Bermuda” project when Bermuda was becoming militarized after the American Revolution. This is the only public beach on the south shore of Devonshire.  This is a quiet parish that offers tranquil scenery and opportunities to explore. Less popular with tourists, Devonshire is ideal if you want a relaxed day out. Visit Devonshire Bay and enjoy the beautiful beach and parkland.  For those that want to explore Bermuda’s history, there are forts close to the bay and Palmetto House. It’s an iconic house that was built in the early 1700s and offers visitors a unique insight into Bermudian life hundreds of years ago. Devonshire is a must-visit for any nature lover. Although there are amazing vegetation and wildlife in every parish, the nature reserves in here are the best place to see plants and birds unique to Bermuda.

  • Arboretum
  • National Sports Centre
  • U.S. Consulate General

Smith’s:  This parish lies between Devonshire Parish to the west and Hamilton Parish to the East. It has sea frontage on the South and North shores and southern side of the inland lake of Harrington Sound. It is named after Sir Thomas Smith or Smythe (1588-1625) an English aristocrat with humble beginnings as a London haberdasher’s assistant. This parish is made up of vast farmlands and beautiful shorelines. Its stunning beaches aren’t as popular with tourists because they require a little further travelling. John Smith’s Bay is one of our absolute favorites. Walk along the wide stretch of iconic pink sand or snorkel and get a closer look at some of Bermuda’s native marine life.  Smith’s parish is also where you’ll find Spittal Pond Nature Reserve. Spreading over 64 acres of land, there’s no better place to watch birds in Bermuda. Or, if you’re a keen photographer that’s looking for the perfect shot, make sure to visit Town Hill. It’s the highest point in Bermuda, offering spectacular views in all directions.

  • Devil’s Hole, sinkhole that forms a natural aquarium
  • Harrington Sound, for fishing, sailing, kayaking, and viewing
  • Spittal Pond, island’s largest nature reserve, and wildlife sanctuary
  • Verdmont, manor house unchanged since the late 1700s

Hamilton Parish: (different from the site of the city) It was not the original name. It was Harrington Tribe, after Lucy Harrington, a wealthy and influential woman. Part of the Parish and a local Government run school still have her name.  Then came another Elizabethan patron, James Hamilton, Marquis of Hamilton (1589 to 1625). He was once proposed as a husband for the King’s daughter. It is located in the northwest of the island chain and is split in two by the large Harrington Sound, occupying all but the south and northeastern tip of its coast. Hamilton parish is still a fantastic place to visit, especially down by the water. The deep-water limestone caves and subterranean passages are incredible sights that have to be seen to be truly appreciated. As with most of Bermuda’s parishes, it covers just over 2.3 square miles

  • Bermuda Aquarium, Museum, and Zoo
  • Crystal Caves, natural limestone caves
  • Flatt’s Village, one of Bermuda’s five main settlements, Mangrove Lake
  • Swizzle Inn

St. George’s:  This charming parish retains much of its historic architecture from the 17th to 19th centuries. Visit its many museums, such as the Bermuda National Trust Museum, and forts once used by the British Army and Royal Navy. The Gothic ruins of the Unfinished Church stand on a hill, and St. Peter’s Church is the oldest Anglican church in the western hemisphere. 

  • Port
  • Bermuda Trust Museum
  • Former U.S. Naval Air Station; Lighthouse Hill; the Natural Arches
  • Tucker’s Town, one of Bermuda’s five main settlements
  • King’s Square in St. George’s, Designated World Heritage Site
  • Forts surrounding St. George’s
  • St. Peter’s Church (1617), oldest Anglican Church in the Western Hemisphere

TravelKatz would be pleased to create a wonderful land tour of Bermuda.  Visiting each Parish and finding unique things to do and see.  Or we can immerse you in the pink sand beaches every day. Give us a call today at 352-277-7300 or visit  www.travelkatz.com  to read and learn more.

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