Antigua is said to have 365 beaches, one for every day of the year, but the island also boasts an impressive historical pedigree. No less a sailor than Admiral Nelson based his fleet here, and the easygoing Caribbean ambience of the island is complemented by a tangible British influence. The historic Nelson’s Dockyard is testament to this colonial history, though the luxury yachts bobbing in the water hint at a more glamorous side to modern day Antigua.
The people are incredibly friendly, and the island comes together to party every Sunday night as the sun sets at Shirley Heights, an old naval garrison overlooking the majestic English Harbour. The brightly coloured buildings and duty free shopping of the capital, St John’s, make for an interesting half day excursion, while the south west of the island is home to a picturesque landscape of rainforest, ruined forts and old sugar mills.
The beaches range from bustling stretches lined with lively bars to little visited bays and secluded coves. Escape the crowds by taking a trip over to sister island Barbuda, blessed with miles of unspoilt pink sands, or tread the road less travelled and explore Antigua’s rugged east coast, where conditions are ideal for a whole host of watersports. The more tranquil waters of the Caribbean Sea, meanwhile, offer ample opportunities for diving and snorkelling.