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Top 10 things to do in Barbados

There can  be few more evocative images than the juxtaposition of lush green gardens against resplendent ocean hues and if you're looking to sample the best of them then head to Barbados and you won't be disappointed.

This is a relatively small island, stretching for just over 20 miles in length, however, size isn't everything and with some superb locations pitted against white sand backdrops you'll discover endless ways to spend your time as the sun continues to shine.

Whatever you're into: sports, relaxation or nature, Barbados has got the lot and if you're looking for a few more temptations to whet your whistle then check out the top 10 things to do in Barbados that offers plenty of food for thought.

10. Andromeda Botanic Gardens
This beautiful six acre strong tropical paradise can be found in St. Joseph's Parish with some stunning views of the island's more wild and wooly east coast. Originally the gardens were kept privately however, they were opened to the public in the mid-fifties and now serve as a true example of Barbados's natural beauty with the likes of: palms, orchids, cacti and plants commonly used in medicine all on display within the garden's perimeters.
Note: If you're travelling with the kids then there are some great educational facilities as well as guided or self-guided tours.

9. Kensington Oval
Ah yes, cricket. Located just to the west of the island's capital city of Bridgetown, the Kensington Oval has been the stomping ground of many of Barbados's sporting heroes and a visit here will allow you under the skin of a game that is deep-rooted into the hearts and minds of the locals. Recently modernised to host international matches, including the 2007 World Cup Final, this is the home of West Indian cricket. Kensington Oval also boasts an iconic statue of the great Sir Gary Sobers.

8. Welchman Hall Gully
Calling all hikers – go get your boots on because right here is where you start walking! Welchman's is an exceptional environment that embodies the island's deep love and understanding of plant life, cultural heritage and natural history. The gully is intrinsically beautiful and fresh feeling managing to combine tropical wilderness with walking trails which makes for a truly magical experience and a must for amateur botanists.
Located: Central Barbados in the St. Thomas' Parish.

7. Harrison’s Cave
Dripping limestone and the cool, refreshing air of an underground cave is exactly what the doctor ordered on a hot day in Barbados and if you're into stalactites and stalagmites then welcome to paradise. Located in the parish of St. Thomas, in central Barbados, Harrison's Cave is very easy to reach and if you're hoping to find out a little more about the early explorers then your knowledgeable tour guides will be happy to enlighten you as you venture deeper underground via an exciting tram ride.

6. Dive down to the SS Stavronikita
There are a fair few diving and snorkelling spots in Barbados however, once you've swum down to the depths of the SS Stavronikita you probably won't want to go anywhere else. Situated in some 120 feet of water, just off the west coast, this Greek freighter is over 360 feet long and is literally covered in coral and teeming with tropical fish. This is one of the island's most popular dive spots and perfect for underwater adventurers and art exhibitors (see Andreas Franke).

5. Surfing the Soup Bowl
The east coast of Barbados is fast-becoming a mecca for surfers and body-boarders who are 'in the know' thanks to the sumptuous Soup Bowl swells and the fact that nobody else really gives the east side the time of day. Yes, it's slightly more rugged but slightly less-beautiful? No way, and if you're looking for a break from the luxury hotels and villas of the Platinum Coast, then take a trip to the wild side for an altogether more natural trip.
Top tip: Stay in the town of Bathsheba for a totally unique and honest to goodness Bajan experience.

4. Golfing in paradise
If you're intent on either complementing or ruining your stay in Barbados then surely a round of golf is going to be just the answer. With an incredibly diverse blend of landscapes, ranging from limestone quarries and wooded ravines to manicured greens and white sand bunkers, thwacking a white ball into the wide blue yonder doesn't really get any better than this. If you're looking for exclusivity then check out Apes Hill, Royal Westmoreland and Sandy Lane which are all nothing short of exceptional.

3. Hunte’s Gardens
This is one of the island's most verdant locations which is set amongst the central hills of St. Joseph and promises respite from the sun as well as some darn fine flower-dotted foot paths. One of the dreamiest places that you're ever likely to visit and a definite must for all lovers of nature and horticulture. Why not: combine a visit to the gardens with a trip to the Platinum Coast as they're under 30 minutes drive away.

2. Racing at Garrison Savannah
With a fantastic central location and providing a thoroughly worthwhile alternative to the beach, watching the horses at the Garrison Savannah is a great day out for all the family. The dress-code is casual and with a carnival atmosphere, comprising of: parades, picnics and local food vendors, you'll find a relaxing and entertaining experience where winning isn't everything although, of course, it doesn't do any harm.

1. Platinum Coast beaches
Named mainly due to the shimmering sand however, in recent years, more indicative of the rich and famous mega-rich who call it home, the Platinum Coast is Barbados's premier stretch of shoreline. Located to the west of the island, just to the north of Holetown, this is an exquisitely beautiful area and well-worth a visit even if you're only lingering to see if you can catch sight of a reclusive billionaire playboy or two.
Further reading: Full of glitz and glamour, Barbados's Platinum Coast is the ideal place to base yourself for the ultimate Caribbean beach retreat.


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