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Royal Naval Dockyard

Royal Naval Dockyard

Once the base for the British Royal Navy in the Atlantic region, this enormous port complex is now a buzzing mix of restaurants, shops, art studios, excursion outfitters and more that occupy former warehouses. Among the premier attractions is the National Museum of Bermuda, housed in the fort. Other popular spots include the South Tower (a clock) and the North Tower (a tidal gauge). Buy local souvenirs at Dockyard Glassworks, the Bermuda Rum Cake Company and Bermuda Clayworks.


Bermuda’s Royal Naval Dockyard
The most popular tourist site on the island, thanks in large part to visiting cruise ships, the dockyards have an interesting history despite the crowds of visitors. Since the British first landed on Bermuda, the island has held tremendous strategic importance due to its unique position in the North Atlantic. A vital naval base, the dockyards were the headquarters for military activity on Bermuda from the American Revolution through the 1950s.

Most interesting to me is the history of Bermuda during the 18th century as the British Empire tried to fight back the privateers. What we would call pirates, privateers were one of the main threats to British maritime supremacy and Bermuda was an important base of action in combating these troublesome buccaneers.

The historic site however fell into disrepair after its decommission and it wasn’t until the 1980s when things started to turn around. Most important to the local economy is that the docks are now used for the many cruise ships that call on the peaceful island. To accommodate these hoards of tourists, shops and restaurants have sprung up to cater to their needs. There is also an interesting Bermuda Maritime Museum and the Dolphin Quest attraction nearby as well.

Summer Nights at Destination Dockyard
Every Monday evening during the summer months, Bermuda’s Royal Naval Dockyard hosts the widely popular Destination Dockyard event. Local arts and crafts, glassblowing demonstrations, food, and the rhythms of colorful Gombey dance troupes come together to make fun and festivity last well into the night.

Several of the Dockyard’s restaurants, attractions, and businesses take part in this weekly event. Dolphin Quest puts on special dolphin shows and the Bermuda Arts Center stays open late for guests to browse the boutique shops and galleries. Be sure to check out the free samples of ethnic food at the Frog and Onion Pub. You can also participate in a late night beach reggae party at Snorkel Park Beach.

Located on the western tip of the island, in Sandys Parish, the Royal Naval Dockyard once served as an outpost for the British Royal Navy. In recent years, the historic site has become a popular shopping, museum, and entertainment complex as well as a passenger ship port.


The Smoking Gun Never Fired
While traveling in Bermuda we found the history of the British presence on the island fascinating. Bermuda had always been largely ignored by the giant Colonial powers of Britain, Holland, Spain and Portugal due to the treacherous reefs which surrounded the island. The first inhabitants were in fact survivors of the wreck of the Sea Venture, a supply ship heading to Jamestown in the American Colonies. They spent 10 months on the island, eating whatever they could find (sea birds, turtles etc.) and built 2 new ships to continue the voyage, the Deliverance and the Patience. When they finally completed their journey to Jamestown they saved the colony from starvation, so they call the Deliverance "The Ship that Saved America!". 2 survivors and a dog stayed behind and Bermuda has been inhabited ever since. The American Revolution and Civil Wars really led to the build up of a Royal Navy presence on the island because the British could no longer rely on their ports along the east coast of the US and were not really sure what would happen with the fledgling government of their former colony. They built up massive fortifications and never once needed to use any of them! We went to visit the forts at the Royal Naval Dockyards, Fort Hamilton and Fort St Catherine at St. Georges, site of the wreck of the Sea Venture.

6 Rose Hill, St.George's GE05, Bermuda
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