Cruisers just arriving in port may not want to immediately hail a cab or other mode of transportation to see the sights during a short call in a destination. But if they do, that won’t be a problem in Bermuda’s West End, home of the Royal Naval Dockyard and King’s Wharf, the island’s largest cruise port.
Everything is no more than a 15-minute walk here. Throughout the area, architectural remnants of England’s maritime era can be found, many of them now housing modern-day businesses. The Royal Naval Dockyard, built in the early 1800s, served as a strategic defense post for England’s Royal Navy after the U.S. gained its independence from the British Empire.
Old cannons and not-so-vintage London phone booths can be found here and there — as is a double-decker bus, for an extra touch of Britain.
In addition to nautical history, the area is also home to many restaurants, galleries, vendors selling artisan items and other shopping opportunities. The nearby Clocktower Mall is easily spotted by its twin 100-foot towers.
In the center of the dockyard lies the immense Victualling Yard, once used for the collection and supplying of provisions for the English fleet. Remnants of the yard’s structure remain, sans roof, and vegetation has overtaken its interior. Today, this courtyard hosts public events like Oktoberfest and a Christmas Market and is home to the Frog and Onion Pub and the Bermuda Craft Market.
Near the courtyard are the National Museum of Bermuda, a miniature golf course and Snorkel Park Beach. During the summer months, a free trolley service is available for getting across the Royal Dockyard.
A number of big events are held here throughout the year. On the weekend I was in town, the north lawn of the dockyard hosted the inaugural Vegan Fest, well attended by both locals and visitors. Other signature events include this month’s Swizzle Festival, which raises a glass to the national cocktail; next month’s Fall Festival; and December’s holiday lights display.
If a day of strolling through the dockyard is not what visitors have in mind, there are shuttles to the island’s most popular sand-and-surf spot, Horseshoe Bay Beach, for $7 per person each way. And ferries will take guests to the island’s capital of Hamilton and to St. George’s; the one-way fare is $5 for adults and $2.75 for kids ages 5 to 15, cash only.
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