There’s nothing quite like unfolding your towel in Antigua. The white sands can soothe work-weary bones better than any masseuse and the peaceful aquamarine waters are the ultimate antidote for modern life.
Beneath the waters, though, lies explosion of colour and coral reefs teeming with life. These were once the scourge of the ocean, grounding and sinking dozens of ships. Now they attract snorkelers and scuba-divers from across the world.
Look out to sea and you’ll always see sails. If you enjoy hoisting a jig, Antigua is the island for you. Thanks to the Trade Winds, Antigua is also home to Sailing Week, one of the world’s great maritime events that usually takes place in late April and early May.
Nelson’s Dockyard is Antigua’s most popular place and the only Georgian dockyard in the world. Named after Admiral Horatio Nelson, who based his fleet there, it’s replete with inns, shops, market, restaurants, an art centre and a small nautical museum.
Beyond the docks you’ll find an English bent. From the capital of St John’s to English Harbour and the many forts that dot the island, vestiges of its colonial past remain tangible. Only now, it’s blended with the full-bodied spread of Caribbean colour.
When you do sit down to eat, it’s a feast. Jerk chicken, Creole fish or lobster salad. We love to wash it down with a mellow rum punch as the sound of a steel band tinkles across the hilltop breeze.
Barbuda is different. Birds outnumber people here— you’re certain to hear the huffing and puffing of the many frigates at the sanctuary. And most of the island is undeveloped — a chance to get away from all the getting away on perfectly pink and white sand beaches with shipwrecks and beautiful reefs.
When to go
The best time to go is between November and May, when the weather is at its worst in Britain and at its best in Antigua and Barbuda.