St Peter is one of the eleven parishes (or districts) of Barbados, and is located in the north west of the gorgeous Caribbean holiday island. As well as the gorgeous beaches and millionaires’ mansions of the Platinum Coast, the parish of St Peter boasts rolling, green hills, elegant colonial buildings such as Arlington House and St Nicholas Abbey, and the Barbados Wildlife Reserve, where you can see the local Barbados Green Monkeys in the wild. It’s also home to the charming port of Speightstown, the second-largest town on Barbados, which still preserves much of its historic architecture intact and oozes quiet, laid-back charm.
Top attractions in the parish of St Peter include magnificent beaches – among them Mullins Beach and Heywoods Beach – which, like most of the west coast beaches on Barbados, are notable for their fine, white sand and calm, turquoise waters. Many of the beaches are quieter than those found on the south of the island, so you’ll be able to soak up that unique Caribbean chilled-out vibe in peace. The pretty port town of Speightstown has lots of shops and cafés, along with the grand colonial mansion of Arlington House and, on the edge of town, the Barbados Wildlife Reserve. Head into the rolling hills to visit the handsome mansion of St Nicholas Abbey, now a rum distillery, and Farley Hill, which has been converted into a beautiful national park.
St Peter offers a good choice of restaurants and cafés, serving cuisines for all tastes and budgets. You can tuck into seafood overlooking the fishing port, or chill out on the beach at a laid-back bistro. The delicious Bajan cuisine, which is an exotic fusion of Africa, British, Creole and Indian influences, is not to be missed. The national dish of Barbados is cou cou with fried flying fish, over which a spiced gravy is poured. Other classics include pigeon peas and rice (beans and rice), pudding and souse (pickled pork with a sort of sweet potato ‘sausage’), pumpkin fritters and the tasty beef stew, pepperpot, which is a favourite for Sunday lunch. Rum, of course, is the most celebrated drink on Barbados, but you could also enjoy one of the excellent Barbadian beers.
Barbados is a fantastic place for a holiday with the family, and St Peter is particularly appealing for children. First of all, there are the fabulous Caribbean beaches, which, like most on the island’s west coast, feature fine white sand and calm, tranquil seas. There are plenty of water sports available, from paddle boarding to snorkelling. Older kids might be interested in a diving course or diving excursion. The Arlington House Museum, set in a beautiful 18th-century colonial mansion, has plenty of interactive exhibits to keep kids amused, or you could take them to see the Barbados Green Monkeys in the Barbados Wildlife Reserve. The monkeys are wild, but the reserve also has an aviary with exotic birds and a host of other animals. If you want to let the kids run wild, head to Farley Hill, once the grounds of a grand mansion (now in ruins) and now a beautiful, green national park.
Action & Adventure
St Peter is a great destination for water sports, with a host of facilities for everything from sailing to paddle-boarding. Most of the local suppliers and sailing schools are based at Mullins Beach, where you will find dinghies, jet-skis, paddle-boards and kayaks for rent. You can even try flyboarding, if you fancy being jetted out of the ocean! There are also a number of suppliers offering diving courses and excursions – the west coast of Barbados has a number of fantastic diving sites, including several wreck dives for the experienced diver. Inland, you can enjoy some gorgeous walks in the Farley Hill National Park.
There are some stunning beaches to be found in St Peter, which is one of only two parishes (districts) on the island that extend from coast to coast. So, on the west coast, you’ll find the classic Caribbean strands of white sand, with palm trees and azure waters, while, on the east (Atlantic) coast there are a couple of wild and panoramic bays. The most popular beaches near Speightstown are bustling Mullins Beach and quieter Heywoods Beach, which are both gorgeous stretches of golden sand, with fantastic amenities including sunbeds and parasols for rent, plus plenty of places to eat and drink. Both beaches are great for snorkelling, and there are lots of options for other water sports at Mullins Beach.
Speightstown may be the second-largest town on Barbados, but its appeal lies in its quiet, old-fashioned charm. You won’t find much in the way of bars, clubs and nightspots here, but that’s the way most visitors like it. The vibe here is mellow and relaxed, and nightlife is mainly centred on the handful of beach bars and restaurants that overlook the Caribbean Sea. If you’re looking for a lively night out, head to Holetown, which is only a 15-minute drive away, or the Barbadian capital of Bridgetown, which is 30 minutes away by car. Both of these have a wide choice of bars and clubs where you can party hard all night long.
Barbados is one of the most popular wedding and honeymoon destinations in the Caribbean, and oozes romance. St Peter is one of the most romantic regions of this beautiful island, thanks to its mixture of gorgeous Caribbean beaches, the colourful town of Speightstown, stunning colonial mansions and glorious, green countryside. The beaches are quieter than those found further south, so you’ll be able to relax in the shade of a thatched parasol and soak up the views of the azure sea. There are lots of facilities for water sports, or you could take a tour of St Nicholas Abbey, a splendid colonial mansion that now makes rum, or visit the beautiful Arlington House. Farley Hill National Park, a romantic wilderness that was once the extensive gardens of a now-ruined mansion, is perfect for idyllic strolls with your partner.
Speightstown was one of the earliest European settlements on Barbados, and dates back to the early 17th century. It preserves some of its historic buildings amid the colourfully painted modern architecture, including a handsome Georgian church. The town’s most notable building is Arlington House. This impressive 18th-century mansion, with its columns and wraparound veranda, is now an excellent history museum, with interactive exhibits describing the area’s fascinating history. Also worth a visit is St Nicholas Abbey, a beautiful Jacobean mansion built in 1658, which is set in landscaped grounds. It is now a rum distillery and offers tastings and tours. Culture buffs will also want to make the 30-minute drive to the Barbadian capital of Bridgetown, which is stuffed with historic attractions and has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.