Visiting Nelson’s Dockyard
While visiting Antigua, it may be tempting to spend every day relaxing on the beautiful beaches and soaking up the sun. While this is definitely a strong consideration, there are tons of other fun places to explore on this tiny tropical island. As you drive around in your Drive-A-Matic vehicle, looking for interesting places to discover, be sure to make a stop Nelson’s Dockyard.
Found in the parish of Saint Paul is Antigua’s largest National Park, Nelson’s Dockyard. Below the breathtaking Shirley Heights Lookout and on the edge of the historic English Harbour site sits this beautiful marina in all its glory. Steeped in a captivating history, the Dockyard was acknowledged by the world when it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016.
In 1723 English Harbour gained significant popularity as a safe place to dock during hurricanes since ships would suffer little to no damage there. The area continued to attract the British Navy’s vessels and as a result, naval officers requested a dockyard to perform repairs and maintenance on ships. As the site grew in popularity, the operations soon outgrew English Harbour’s original dockyard, thus the construction of Nelson’s Dockyard in the 1740s. By 1889, with the decline of the sugar industry, the dockyard was abandoned, which ironically, helped to preserve the authenticity of the site which makes it so popular today.
Today, Nelson’s Dockyard is open to the public with much to do. There is, most notably, The Copper and Lumber Store Hotel, as well as the Dockyard Museum. There are also restaurants and gift shops if you aren’t looking to exert much energy, as well as hiking trails if you choose to get the heart rate going. We highly suggest Nelson’s Dockyard because not only does it provide an interesting history lesson, but the beautiful scenery, the view of the lovely ships and yachts and relaxing in nature is well worth it.