Christopher Columbus named the island Antigua in 1493 in honour of the La Virgen de la Antigua (Virgin of the Old Cathedral) found in Seville Cathedral in southern Spain.
In 1784, Admiral Horatio Nelson, noted the warm, steady winds, complex coastline of safe harbours and protective, nearly unbroken wall of coral reef in Antigua and decided it was a perfect place to base his British fleets. Today, it is the perfect base for a luxury holiday. Not only is there a beautiful white beach for every day of the year but the coral reefs, once the bane of enemy ships, attract snorkellers and scuba-divers from all over the world. Courtesy of the Trade Winds, the island is also home one of the world’s foremost maritime events, Sailing Week.
English Harbour with its restored buildings, hilltop forts and museums reflects the Island’s British military past is a must see. A dockyard started in 1725, to provide a base for a squadron of British ships whose main function was to patrol the West Indies and thus maintain Britain's sea power, was later named Nelson's Dockyard in his honour and isAntigua’s most popular attraction, with inns, shops, market, restaurants, art centre and a small nautical museum. Betty’s Hope, named after the daughter of plantation entrepreneur, Christopher Codrington, is the only remaining legacy of a once thriving sugar plantation industry. Our five luxury hotels and resorts offer small to mid-size accommodation.
For those who love to explore nature on a holiday, the neighbouring island of Barbuda, once a scavenger’s paradise because so many ships were wrecked on its reefs, is now home to one of the region’s most significant bird sanctuaries.