Central Eastern Barbados is the least developed and most scenic part of Barbados, and comprises the parishes of Saint Andrew, Saint George, Saint John, Saint Joseph and Saint Thomas. It's hilly with lush tropical gardens such as Andromeda, plantation houses eg Sunbury, green monkeys skittering about in the shrubs, and Harrison's Cave in the underlying limestone. The east coast is exposed to the full fury of the Atlantic, with big surf, and is too hazardous for casual beach and water sports. There is little accommodation, so it's more often an area to visit than to stay. Nevertheless if you do stay, you'll get the real feeling of a Caribbean retreat, a world away from the brash south & west coast hotel strips.
This is the one area of Barbados where you need a car (which you can hire at the airport or in Bridgetown). Buses are slow and mostly serve radial routes from the city, with not much running cross-district. Bus # 6 runs from Bridgetown Fairchild St to Bathsheba, and Bus # 3 runs from Bridgetown Princess Alice to Belleplaine and St Andrews Church, both routes hourly, daily. Bus # 1E crosses the top of the island every couple of hours daily from Speightstown on the west coast to Belleplaine and Bathsheba.
- 1 Farley Hill is at Benny Hall on Highway 2, straddling the boundary with Saint Peter. The 19th C mansion is now a ruin. It's set in Barbados Wildlife Reserve; brick paths lead through four acres of mahogany forest. Adult B$30, child B$15, which includes admission to Grenade Hall Signal Station.
- 2 Morgan Lewis Windmill in Savannah, Saint Andrew, is an 18th C sugar mill restored to working order, and in use one Sunday a month in the sugar harvest season Feb-July. It's one of only two functioning sugar windmills in the world, the other being Betty's Hope Mill in Antigua. It's open for visits daily 9AM-5PM.
- Long Pond is a river estuary in Belleplaine, Saint Andrew, cut off from the sea by a sandbank to form a brackish lagoon with bird life; in dry season it's a mud flat.
- 3 Andromeda Gardens, Foster Hall, Bathsheba, St Joseph. Daily 9AM-4.30PM. Attractive garden ranged over the hillside, created from the 1950s by Iris Bannochie, and gifted to the Barbados National Trust. With pleasant cafe. Adult B$30.
- 4 Malvern Great House is a rambling 17th C mansion; it's nowadays a centre for complementary medicine but is occasionally open for public tours. It's at Malvern, Saint John, on the boundary with Saint Joseph.
- 5 Clifton Hall in St John is often booked for events such as weddings, and can only be toured by special arrangement.
- 6 Sunbury Plantation House, 6 Cross Road, Bowling Alley Hill, Saint Joseph. Elegant house dating back to 1660; refurbished late 2018 as most original fittings had been lost in a fire. It's not large enough to absorb crowds so you need to swerve the cruise tour groups. B$25.
- 7 Hunte's Gardens are in Coffee Gully off Hwy 3A St Joseph, open daily 9AM-5PM.
- 8 Flower Forest is off Richmond Road, St Joseph, open daily 8AM-4PM.
- Green monkeys (Chlorocebus) are often seen in this region. They're an Old World species, native to sub-Saharan Africa but introduced to the Caribbean region during the slave-trading and colonial eras. They spend their days on the ground and sleep at night in the trees. Don't feed them, they're cute from a distance but pesky up close, they damage crops, and one of them blacked out the whole island in 2006 by shorting a power line.
- 9 Harrison's Cave, Welchman Hall, Saint Thomas, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 8.45AM-3.45PM. This is an impressive limestone cave, richly decorated with stalagmites and stalactites. The standard tour takes an hour, is suitable for all ages and is on a tram (think rollercoaster car without the sickening plunges). Various more immersive tours are available, booking essential, eg the "eco-adventure" taking 3 hours, adults only, price B$200. Standard tour adult B$60, child B$30.
- 10 Coles Cave is a well-decorated karstic cave. It's a tougher proposition and you need to be fit and agile.
- Saint Joseph Church: the original Anglican church, built circa 1640 (origins disputed), was yet another casualty of the hurricane of 1831. The present building dates from 1839 but is now a sad ruin.
- 11 Gun Hill Signal Station, Fusilier Road, Gun Hill. M-Sa 9AM-5PM. The station was built in 1818 by the British as a look out point. Well restored, the lookout tower provides a panoramic view of the western side of the island. A statue of a lion carved out of a single block of stone sits below. Adult $B12.
- 12 Codrington College is an Anglican theological college, built 1714-1745, nowadays part of the University of the West Indies. It's twice been wrecked by hurricanes and once by fire but remains a graceful structure, though its history as a college has veered between the shameful and the shambolic. You can visit daily 9AM-6PM and are welcome to attend services.
- 13 Conset Bay is an attractive bay and small fishing village.
- 14 Culpepper Island: Trinidad has Tobago, Antigua has Barbuda, Grenada has Carriacou; but Barbados' best attempt at a sister island is this uninhabited speck on the map. It's all of 40 x 30 yards in extent and 30 yards from shore, so at low tide with a quiet sea you can wade out to it. The Arawak Indians have claimed sovereignty over it, but to date there's no sign of encampment, casino, or other ritzy development.
- Surfing: off Bathsheba is the reef-break of Soup Bowl.
- Stroll Bathsheba beach, dotted with colossal boulders. It's generally too rough for swimming, take local advice before venturing in. And hold onto toddlers with a grip of iron, as the waves can pluck little ones off the beach into the seething foam and undertow.
Frankly, no. There's a convenience store Cleaver's Hill supermarket by the junction of Hwy 3 and the east coast road, open daily 8AM-8PM, but mostly folk head into Bridgetown for their big shop.
- Naniki is up in the hills in a breezy, lush environment. It offers Bajan food including a selection of vegetarian dishes and seafood. Great views, you may wait a long time for your food. It's in Surinam off Hwy 3, open Tu-Sun 12.30-3.30PM.
- Village Bar at Lemon Arbour [dead link] is an informal lunch spot located in a tiny village. Open Tu-Th 11AM-5.30PM and Fri-Sat 10AM-10PM. Bajan cuisine such as Pudding & Souse, fried or barbecued pork, chicken and fish, and sea cat at reasonable prices. 200 yards west of Four Roads, Saint John.
Along this coast are Old Brigand Rum Shop on Hwy 3 in New Castle, daily 8AM-8PM; Bay Tavern in Martins Bay, daily 10AM-6PM; and Dina's Bar in Bathsheba, daily 11AM-5PM.
- 1 Eco Lifestyle & Lodge (formerly Sea-U Hotel), Tent Bay, Bathsheba (Turn off as road climbs from beach to Andromeda Gardens.). Ten rooms in main building & cottage all with Atlantic views, set in tropical garden. Bajan-style restaurant is open to non-residents.