When you visit Bermuda you will quickly discover that it has a lot of forts. In fact, unbelievably there are over 90 forts on this tiny island. So to help you explore the island’s history, this is a rundown of the best forts in Bermuda for you to explore.
Bermuda: An Island Of Forts
Bermuda hasn’t always been the vacation paradise that it is today. The island is only about 600 nautical miles away from the US East Coast so for many years it was a strategic military outpost for the British. During the American Revolution, and the War of 1812 it was an ideal spot to station troops and deploy arms. So Bermuda was the Royal Navy’s Western Atlantic headquarters for many years.
Bermuda played a key role in the American Civil War because the Confederacy was reliant on it as a checkpoint for British ships because it allowed them to evade the Union blockade and deliver goods to the South. The island was also an important naval base during both world wars.
The British and the United States finally left Bermuda alone in 1995, leaving behind all the historic forts that are still standing in the Western, Central, and Eastern parishes.
1. Fort St Catherine
The biggest fort in Bermuda is Fort St Catherine. It is also the most beautiful of them all. Built in 1614, the fort towers above pink sand beaches in St George’s Parish. In the 19th century it was renovated many times and today it is a museum for locals and tourists.
You can learn all about its history and the history of Bermuda while you explore the fort. Discover antique artillery, ramparts, labyrinth tunnels, and chambers that were carved into the bedrock.
It is a pretty spectacular fort in great condition, plus you will also enjoy stunning views of Achilles Bay as you wander around.
Address: 15 Coot Pond Road, St George’s Parish
Opening Hours: 10 am – 4 pm Monday – Friday
Admission: $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for children [5-15], kids under 5 are free
2. Alexandra Battery Park
Alexandra Battery is named after Princess Alexandra Denmark, wife of Edward VII. A name given when he was the future king of England. It was built in the 1860s in St George’s Parish.
As a historic fortification and a small beach to enjoy it’s a fun place to visit.
Address: Barry Road, St George’s Parish
No admission fee
3. Royal Naval Dockyard
The Royal Naval Dockyard was originally built by the British Army’s Royal Engineers in the 1860s to protect Bermuda from British Invasion. It’s a must-do for any visit to the island, and one of my favorite places to explore.
The Keep was built to guard the naval base against land and sea attacks. It has seven bastions and ramparts. Today, it is the National Museum of Bermuda which is definitely worth visiting.
Explore the restored Commissioner’s House as well which was built for the civilian commissioner who was in charge of the Dockyard.
The National Museum of Bermuda is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. The last admission is at 4 p.m.
Admission: $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, free for under 16
4. St David’s Battery At Great Head Park
Located at Bermuda’s easternmost point, St David’s Battery, also known as the Great Head Battery, was built in 1910, and the park spans about 24 acres. It was built to defend the narrow channel that leads to St George’s Harbor.
Today it is a memorial for the countrymen who served Bermuda during the wars at home and abroad, and there is a figurehead memorial for those who were lost at sea.
From the fort, you will get spectacular views of St George’s Harbour and The Castle Harbour.
The battery is usually only open to the public on Wednesdays so you will need to plan your visit.
Address: St George’s Parish at the St. Davids Island
5. Fort Hamilton
This is one of the most famous forts on the island. It was built in 1868 by order of the Duke of Wellington to protect Hamilton Harbour from American invasions. However, the fort was already seen as outdated before construction was completed in the 1870s. It has a moat, high walls underground passageways, and 18-ton guns.
Address: Happy Valley Rd, City of Hamilton
Open from sunup to sundown daily
No admission fee
6. Gates Fort
Gates Fort is a tiny fortification that was built in the early 1600s and sits on a man-made peninsula at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Town Cut, the watery channel it straddles, was created to allow boats easy passage to St George’s Harbour.
Gates Fort was constructed there to deter enemy boats from entering the Harbour. It is named after Thomas Gates who is one of the original occupants of Bermuda. Gates arrived in Bermuda in 1609 on a ship called the Sea Venture. He governed Bermuda until 1610 and then went on to become the Governor of Jamestown, Virginia.
Address: Off Barry Road, not far from Alexandra Battery, St George’s Parish
No admission fee
7. Martello Tower
Martello Tower is an egg-shaped fort that was built by the British in the 1820s. Its walls are as thick as 11 feet because it was constructed to withstand potential cannon fire from American or French forces.
It was restored in 2008, and basically looks like it did when it was first built so it’s a worthwhile stop for anyone interested in the history of Bermuda or the wars.
Ferry Reach, St George’s Parish
Open by appointment only
For a small island, Bermuda is full of history, and historic attractions to visit. With many of the forts so well preserved and full of interesting stories they are a must for any visit to Bermuda. Have you been to any of these forts? Let me know in the comments.
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Gemma Lawrence is the creator of This Brits Life. Born and raised in England, she has been living in British Columbia, Canada as a permanent resident since 2016. A solo traveler for the past 9 years, she hopes to inspire and help others to enjoy solo adventures too. As someone who has always struggled with her self-confidence and mental health, she also shares tips and inspirational stories relating to self-love, self-care, and mental health.