The eastern Caribbean island of Barbados, an independent British Commonwealth nation, is known for its beautiful white sands, impossibly clear blue seas and breathtaking scenery, but there’s so much more to discover

Words: Bethan Andrews

Barbados, known for its beautiful white beaches and ocean so blue it doesn’t look real, is atop many a bucket list, but with direct, eight-hour flights from London Gatwick, making that dream a reality easier than you might have thought.

An independent island nation within the British Commonwealth in the eastern Caribbean, Barbados is an island known for its beautiful colonial buildings, one of the Western Hemisphere’s oldest synagogues, afternoon tea and cricket plus, of course, the designer golf course at Tiger Wood’s favourite spot, Sandy Lane.

It’s also the home of rum and there’s plenty to explore in the way of that (especially in the traditional rum shops dotted on every corner – where there is a church, there’s a rum shop!). That’s not to mention the fabulous and extravagant carnivals, gourmet cuisine and abundant nature.

Explore the traditional rum shops dotted on every corner

On arriving in Bridgetown, the capital, we travelled down little roads through fields of luscious greenery into the Parish of St James, until we arrived at the gorgeous 75-room pink beachside hotel of Fairmont Royal Pavillion. Here, you’ll find tiny mirrored alleyways winding down to secluded beach areas, bright fauna and monkeys everywhere. You’ll also be met with heart-warming and infectiously jolly welcomes from the hosts at the hotel.






The suites at Fairmont are stunning, with every one of them offering a sea view. The furnishing is simple, the room cool and airy, the bed huge, the bathroom beautifully tiled and luxurious and the balcony opens right out onto the beachfront. You’re met with every touch of luxury here, including a full gym kit so that you don’t have to worry about packing it (genius!) and a tipple of Mountgay Rum by your bedside as a nightcap to ward off jet lag.

The food at Fairmont is a main event. Executive Chef Kirk Kirton is a local Barbadian and will stop at nothing to offer you the best of Bajan produce, including the most amazing fish and bread fruit. With such a wealth of experience, expect to find him on the veranda after serving dinner to tell you the stories behind the dishes and their local origins. You should also take the time to dine at Champers, one of the island’s premier restaurants overlooking the Atlantic.

You’ll find Executive Chef Kirk Kirton on the veranda after dinner, telling the stories behind his dishes and their local origins

The hotel offers a variety of activities from swimming with turtles to water sports, and the most serene yoga class I’ve ever experienced. Having recently been introduced to the healing effects of a well-delivered massage, my in-room body scrub and full body massage was the best I’ve experienced and highly recommended.


It was the perfect downtime before heading off to explore the island in the form of a land and sea safari. If you’re lucky, you might find yourself in the surf on the east coast, watching stingray glide under the water or even witness a Bajan wedding, which seems to equate to something of a festival. 

With so much to take in, it’s no wonder I left Barbados with a spring in my step but a sense of sadness too at leaving such a beautiful and welcoming country. Four days here will leave you longing for more, and reaching for the rum punch to keep the carnival spirit alive.

Virgin Atlantic flies from London Gatwick to Bridgetown seven times a week. See For hotel information, see