Devonshire Parish Bermuda
Devonshire is a centrally located parish in Bermuda. The parish has been named after William Cavendish, the first Earl of the Parish and a British investor in colonizing Devonshire. Unlike the other parishes, Devonshire has been deprived of harbors or ports and therefore could not flourish as part of the marine industry boom.
However, it has prospered mainly based on farming and agriculture. Landscapes here are spectacular and the parish has a relaxed country atmosphere. The British had built a strong military base here in mid 1800s with forts that had views right up to Royal Naval Dockyard at the western end of Bermuda.
Hotels in Devonshire
Devonshire is typically not a parish which is rich with great hotels. There are a few good ones though.
Category "$" indicates cheapest while "$$$$" stands for high-end luxury.
Barngrove has two guest apartments that are part of a private home. The property is owned by the Holmes family and is nestled in a beautiful lush garden. Due to its central location, Barngrove is quite close to both the City of Hamilton as well as the great south shore beaches.
Ariel Sands Beach Club in Devonshire was a classy hotel which opened in 1954 and was owned by Michael Douglas of Hollywood. It was located on the south shore with sweeping views of the water. But the hotel closed down on January 1, 2008. A major redevelopment project is planned which would result in complete demolition of the existing property and rebuilding a mix use of condo-hotel and resort as well as fractional/time share units. But before the hotel closed down, some of its under-developed land area (between the hotel and South Road) was used to build full ownership condos. It was completed in 2007 and the units were sold out to private buyers. Ariel Sands 34 Shore Road, Devonshire, Bermuda. Phone: (441)236.1010
Hotels in neighboring parishes
There are many other great hotels close by in the neighboring parishes. Here are our top picks:
$$$$, in Paget Parish.
The hotel with its secluded cottages is spread across some 50 acres of landscaped gardens. It is located right on the Elbow Beach with a long pink sandy stretch.
$$$$, in Smith’s Parish.
Wonderful new property with sweeping view of the ocean and its private pink beach. There is a beach club right on the seaside, a restaurant and bar, two heated pools, spa, fitness center etc. The rooms, suites and the villas are all spacious and offer great view of the water.
$$$$, in Pembroke Parish.
There are 410 elegant rooms and suites of varying sizes and decor, many with private balconies, overlooking the Hamilton harbor.
$$$, in Hamilton Parish
The resort has been named after its subterranean caves or the grottos. It sits on a tropical estate with 21 acres of grounds on the water edge in Baileys Bay of Hamilton Parish.
Restaurants in Devonshire
Out of Bounds
This is a restaurant of Ocean View Golf Club
. It serves full breakfast, lunch and dinner and is open to all. You get great ocean view of the North Shore from the terrace. The restaurant also has an inside siting area. Sunday brunch and Friday happy hour (4pm-8pm) are quite popular with the locals. Some of the great items in the menu include codfish cakes, fish tacos, popcorn shrimp, codfish balls and conch fritters. Phone: 441/295-4916
This is located at the Mid Atlantic Boat Club and is open to both members and visitors. It serves Burgers, Chicken and Bermudian food like Hoppin John Peas 'n' Rice, Macaroni with Cheese and such. A laid back breakfast with views of the water is quite enjoyable. There is a bar that becomes quite lively on Friday nights.
Contacts: 34 North Shore Road, Devonshire. Phone: 441/295-0172
Attractions in Devonshire
Spread across 22 acres of land, Bermuda Arboretum is a National Park with vast meadows and wide varieties of trees and plantations.
It's a National Park of Bermuda with nice combination of beach, forts, parkland and picnic areas.
The original version of the church dating back to 1624 is one of the oldest in Bermuda. It's a small and popular cottage like church located on the Middle road.
Palm Grove is an 18 acre landscaped garden in Bermuda with many types of Palm trees. It also has a bird aviary and a beautiful lily pond.
Built around the year 1700, Palmetto House is a true reflection of the original Bermuda architecture
A nice little park at the junction of Palmetto Road and North Shore Road. The park is on a steep slope but the view of the North Shore from here is wonderful. Office hour traffic can be quite noisy, so choose a quieter time. There is no facilities here. Admission is free.
A small beach and a bay on North Shore Road and close to Palmetto park. You can see the passing cruise ships from here that are entering or leaving Hamilton City.
The dock was operational during 1800s and used by the Royal Navy. Today it's used by the local fishermen and craft owners.
Brighton Hill Road
This is a picturesque rural road that connects the South Road with the Middle Road. It passes by the Brighton Hill Nursery. The Old Devonshire Church is located at the end of this road where it meets Middle Road
A nice family run commercial nursery selling varieties of plants and shrubs including Bermuda roses, seeds and fertilizers. You can walk just around and take a look.
Update April 2014: Brighton Nurseries has recently added a Butterfly House which is open to public (free) on certain days of the week. It's an excellent place to visit with families and kids and watch varieties of colorful butterflies.
A nice little pond and a reserve in Devonshire Bermuda. You can see many different kinds of birds here including Avocets.
Christ Church, Devonshire
Located on Middle Road, this church was once the house of the Rector of Devonshire Parish, Rev. Keith Harman in 1949. He was also a great photographer. The Queen was so impressed with his pictures that the house was extended to have studios in the upper floor. There is a graveyard in the church premises. Location: 106, Middle Road, Devonshire Parish, Bermuda.
Friendship Vale Park
This is a small lovely park on a hill side located at the junction between Parson's Road and Palmetto Road. If you have a scooter and like to explore Bermuda's rural life, start from here. From the park, go down Parson's Road towards south. You will get a junction, veer right towards Orange Valley Road. We love this ride and greatly enjoy the country lanes with lovely cottages, farms, byways and after all Bermuda's unique rural life which is fast disappearing.
Winifred Gibbons Nature Reserve
This is a 2 acres of nature reserve with a peat marsh. The reserve has been named after late Winifred Gibbons who was a successful business woman in Bermuda and a philanthropist. You will see many types of birds and native plantations at the reserve. Some of the noteworthy plants here include the native marsh ferns including the extremely rare Ten Day Ferns, wild orchids, and the ancient wax-myrtle bushes along the edge of the ditch. Winifred Gibbons Nature Reserve is located on Vesey street, off the Middle road and next to Freer Cox Memorial Nature Reserve. It's about a mile walk from the Middle road. The reserve was donated to the Bermuda Audubon Society by Gibbons family in 1993.
Edmund Gibbons Nature Reserve
This small and scenic reserve is located on South road, west of the junction at Collector's Hill. It has a marshy land and a pond. This is a walking reserve and there is no admission fee. The reserve has many different flora and fauna. You will see many migratory birds here. The reserve is managed by Bermuda National Trust.
Freer Cox Memorial Nature Reserve and Firefly Reserve
Located off the Middle road, this is a 10 acre of marshland, full of native plantation and many different kinds of birds. You will see lots of wild orchids at the two reserves. The reserves are maintained by Bermuda Audubon Society and Bermuda National Trust. Open sunrise to sunset. There is no admission fee. No boardwalk either or any signage.
This is a large stretch of area west of the Middle Road where the National Sports Center is located. Due to this vast marshy area, the whole Devonshire parish was once called the Brackish Pond. However, the pond area is not much visible now. Much of that area has been reclaimed for the purpose of farming, industry as well as sports activities. Large areas of the Devonshire Marsh are today known as the Freer Cox Memorial Nature Reserve and Firefly Reserve that I have described above.
This once used to be the British Army Headquarters in Bermuda in 1850s. There were many barracks for the men and houses for army officers. After the British Army had left the island, it has now become the head quarters of Bermuda Police.
Sports and Activities in Devonshire
This is a multi-sport stadium located in Devonshire. This was earlier called the Bermuda National Stadium. The first international soccer was played here in 2001. A 50m swimming pool has come up here with 8 lanes. The center is the venue for World Rugby Classic
and many other sporting events.
The government run course with fantastic views of the ocean is located in the parish and facing the north shore.
Walking and Running
If you like to jog or hike, start at Barker's Hill. Park your scooter or vehicle at the roadside car park outside the Ocean View Golf course. You can go for a mile passing by Loyal Hill playground and wonderful Bermudian cottages on the way. You will see historic private homes like the Firefly Hall. The trail continues through a busy area towards Smith's Parish. Continue along and you will find lush landscapes and vegetation. The trail goes all the way up to Gibbet beach.
This stretch of the railway trail offers a panoramic view of Bermuda's north shore. As you hike or cycle, you will see the main channel used by the cruise ships to enter the Great Sound water area and the Hamilton Harbor.
Bermuda Squash Racquets Association is a well known club for squash and excellent gym.
Devonshire parish with its lush landscapes and wooded paths is ideal for horse back riding in Bermuda. National Equestrian Center is located here.
Devonshire Recreation Club
There are regular soccer games held in the evenings and on weekends during fall and winter. Cricket matches are held during summer. The main club building was built in 1760 and is a great example of old Georgian architecture. The club house has a billiard room, bar and a restaurant.
Shopping At Devonshire Bermuda
The Barn Shop
Run by a non-profit charity organization, this is where you can buy resale items at a fractional price. There are many used items that are on sale and include toys, great collection of books, clothes, collectibles and lot more. Items generally don't cost more than a few dollars. This is a bargain hunter's paradise. It is run by the volunteers of the charity house that raises funds mainly for the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. They have recently upgraded the store to 5,000 sq. ft. covered area. It's a great favorite for locals and also the tourists who know about the store.
Open hours: Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday (9am - 2pm)
Location and Contacts: 53 Devon Spring Road, Phone: 441/236-3155
A full service grocery store. There is a pharmacy section as well.
Store Hours: Mon, Tues, Thurs: 8am-7pm; Wed, Fri, Sat: 8am-8pm; Sunday Closed.
Address: 4 Watlington Road East, Devonshire.
Buses for Devonshire Bermuda
There is a regular bus service (#3) that starts from Hamilton City and goes through Devonshire for Grotto Bay in Hamilton Parish. This is a scenic route along Middle Road and goes by Devil’s Hole and other famous caves.
Bus #1 goes from Hamilton City to St George via Devonshire taking the South Shore Road. It goes by Spittal Pond and the Tucker’s Town golf course. Bus #10 and #11 take the North Road between Hamilton City and St. George and go though Devonshire. They go by Aquarium, Bailey’s Bay and Bermuda Perfumery.
There is no ferry service in Devonshire Parish.
Map of Devonshire Parish
Visitors' Reviews and Comments
Patricia Lawrence (February 2013)
What ever happened with the Ariel Sands Property? Was it converted to time shares - or is it now privately owned - or what? I have tried and tried to research it and can't get any information! Thanks.
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, Feb 2013)
Hello, A redevelopment project is planned by demolishing the Ariel Sands property and building condo-hotels, resorts and timeshares. Several deals have fallen through including with Hilton group. So not much progress yet. Now with the new government having taken over, it's even more uncertain. Even if a deal gets closed quickly, it takes years to operationalize a business such as this one in Bermuda. So I won't expect much in the near future.
Waltington House at Devonshire (By P. Hookings)
(It has now become the Clubhouse at Ocean View Golf Course)
I lived in the house on the hill by the grave during WW-II. The road to the house came from the hill, not from the marsh. The fort was there and used by the U. S Army artillery. The field to the north and east was a U.S. Army signal corps base. I saw a clip for the golf course and the kitchen of the house was full of junk golf carts, the grave of old Francis was still there but in a hole in the ground. The calabash tree was still there.
I am dismayed at what has happened to a house that was built in the 1600s. When I lived there it was beautiful, overlooking the marsh from a beautiful garden of flowers. We played in the fort, an interesting dry moat surrounding it. Dungeons were on the exterior hills and there was a passage under the moat up into the fort. My father was Carl Hookings, MD, a third generation Bermudan whose father and grandfather lived in Somerset. Despite the ruination of the house I will always remember Watlington House as it was in the forties, a beautiful home in Devonshire.