Bridgetown, the capital and only real built-up area in Barbados, is on the south west of the island. In the centre, old colonial mansions lie next to modern buildings. The Careenage is the historical centre of the town. This sound, very useful at the transatlantic time, today serves fishing boats and yachts. On its northern bank, the statue of Lord Nelson, erected 17 years before London's, stands on Trafalgar Square. The 'Public Buildings', in a Neo-Gothic style, surround this square. They go back to the 19th century. You can visit the House of Assembly, the headquarters of Barbados's Parliament. Visit Saint-Michael's cathedral for a pause in the calm and cool. Do not miss Broad Street and its colonial houses, the most commercial street in the town.
Go shopping on Broad Street in the capital, Bridgetown, and attend the Barbados Jazz Festival in January.
The capital, Bridgetown, whose city centre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located in the superb Carlisle Bay and is a great place to explore. The Mount Gay rum distillery, which retraces the history and production of the oldest brand of rum in the world, is also worth a visit.
Take light clothing with you, but keep in mind that some places are air-conditioned and may be a bit chilly. As a general rule of thumb, opt for something a little more elegant in the evening. Keep in mind that although Barbados has a similar atmosphere to the rest of the Caribbean, it is still rather conservative.
Barbados is abundant with seafood and you can enjoy a wide range of fish. The most common is the flying fish, which can be found in both fine dishes and sandwiches. Just add yam, plantain, and sweet potato and the result is a traditional dish. Also try the 'cou-cou', a dish made from corn flour and okra, a vegetable. 'Pepperpot' is a spicy stew consisting of vegetables served with rice and red beans cooked in coconut milk, and then there are the 'conkies', a combination of corn flour, coconut, pumpkin, grapes, sweet potato and spices, steam-cooked in banana leaves. Chicken is seasoned with curry and served with a Creole sauce made from tomatoes, peppers and onions. You can also enjoy the papayas, pineapples, mangoes, guavas, coconuts and breadfruit, and make sure you taste the Barbados rum, which is a dark amber colour and has a strong taste. Mount Gay and Cockspur rum, as well as white rums like Alleyne, are all produced on the island.
In Bridgetown, head for Broad Street, where you will find elegant shops in colonial houses. Cheapside Market is a large public market where local products are sold, and Pelican Village has many art and craft shops. Don't forget to buy some Barbados rum, which is difficult to find in England.