In Antigua, crumbling British forts sit on rolling green hills, their black iron cannons facing out over bays where powerful navies once jostled for global supremacy and marauding pirate ships hid in secret coves.
Up on Shirley Heights, the rum punch flows freely and a steel band plays reggae to a dancing crowd as the sun sets into the Caribbean, the lights of the gleaming superyachts shining in the harbour far below among a forest of sailing masts.
In charming English Harbour, you will find a cluster of colonial architecture in white-painted custom houses and historic hotels with open verandas and slowly spinning fans, as well as the imposing Nelson’s Dockyard - the grand columns of the old British Navy dock still imposing under the palms. On nearby Pigeon Beach you will find locals playing cricket by the water, a rustic shack selling delicious cocktails and burgers, and the quite lovely Catherine’s Café, serving elegant French food in a garden by the sea.
Make your way around the gorgeous anchorages and stunning beaches of Antigua; past the wonderful rock formations of the Pillars of Hercules, enjoy the watersports at Dickenson Bay and dive the shipwreck ‘Wreck of the Andes’.
For those wanting to relax in luxury resorts, there are plenty to choose from, particularly in the north of the island. Enjoy a massage in a beach spa cabana and enjoy a long leisurely meal at one of the excellent hotel restaurants, or just find a secluded beach to set up a luxury beach barbecue, grilling fresh caught fish over the coals.
There’s a sense of fun to Antigua that you can’t quite put down to any one thing, although the incredible atmosphere of the regular sailing regattas certainly can’t be discounted. Each winter, sailing yachts gather to race around the island in a series of epic superyacht and classic regattas, with the harbour nights transformed into one giant party.