Exploring Antigua – Shirley Heights and Nelson’s Dockyard

Remember that time I told you about how I went to Antigua?  I meant to tell you more about it sooner, but I was in a bit of a funk for a little bit and didn’t feel inspired to write about it.  But the sun came out and now I feel better and I’m ready to tell you about it!


So why go to Antigua, you may ask?  I’m not sure what really got Michael and I thinking about Antigua as a travel destination in the first place, but it was in the running last year before we decided on Hawaii.  With only a week of vacation time to spare for this trip, Antigua came up again, and when the winners of a leg of the Amazing Race won a trip to the same resort we’d been eyeing last year, we took it as a sign that it was where we were meant to go.  Since we’ve returned home, the resort sent Michael an email saying that they were going to be featured on this season of The Bachelorette.  I’m anxiously awaiting that episode!  I love it when I see places I’ve been on TV!  And Michael especially loves it, because I always say “We’ve been there!!”  And he says, “Yes, I know.”


What made it a must-see destination were the pictures I saw online from the Shirley Heights look-out, a beautiful blue harbour dotted with yachts, surrounded by lush green hills.  I wanted to see that view!  Michael was interested in seeing Nelson’s Dockyard, because he loves anything that has to do Admiral Nelson.  Oh wait.  I’ve just been informed that his official title is LORD Admiral Nelson.  Nelson is Michael’s favourite admiral or something.  I don’t quite get it.  But we’re going to London in the fall, and it’s non-negotiable that we take a day trip all the way to Portsmouth to see the HMS Victory, the most famous warship of all time.


Anyway, back to Antigua.  Our only trip off the resort was when we took a taxi to see Shirley Heights and Nelson’s Dockyard.  We opted to forgo an excursion package and do it on our own.  This is easy enough to do in Antigua since the island is so small.  Our resort was really close to Shirley Heights and Nelson’s Dockyard too.  The hotel called a taxi for us and our taxi driver took us to two look outs, one where we could see our resort from and the one with the view of the harbour, then dropped us off at Nelson’s Dockyard and waited for us while we looked around.


The look outs were amazing!  I was a little taken aback because there are no real fences or barricades to prevent you from falling off the cliff.  I have a feeling if the lookouts were in Canada, the Canadian government wouldn’t approve of that.  The ocean spread out before me in a sea of blue.  And the view of the harbour didn’t disappoint!


Nelson’s Dockyard was interesting.  There were lots of old colonial buildings, which I wouldn’t necessarily think you’d find in the Caribbean.  We took a poke around the museum and learned about grog rations and women on the ships.  It’s still a functioning harbour, and we saw a boat all the way from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia moored there.  A little taste of home.


Part of me feels a little disappointed that I didn’t venture out and see more of the island.  Maybe I should have done an island excursion.  Maybe it’s because I haven’t been on an all-inclusive vacation in a while, and maybe I’ve outgrown them.  Maybe all the busy vacations and coach tours have made me want to cram in as much activity as possible in a vacation.


And maybe that means that a relaxing, slower paced vacation of getting up and doing yoga on the boardwalk by the bay, reading all day under a palapa, staring at the ocean, waterfront buffet dining, and unlimited cocktails is just what I needed.

Antigua, you are beautiful.

2 thoughts on “Exploring Antigua – Shirley Heights and Nelson’s Dockyard

  1. Alex Inkley-Palmer says:

    In England we don’t say Lord Admiral Nelson but Admiral Lord Nelson. The title “Lord” goes next to the name as he would be that even if he wasn’t an Admiral.

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