What to do in Bermuda in December
December is the time when the island is low-key and with very few visitors, it gets much of its immaculate beauty reinstated. Although it is not their high season and you will not find many of the attractions operational this time around, there is yet another facet to this beautiful destination that you can still explore.
Soak in the lush foliage
With the weather not hot and sticky, it is a great time to go on a hiking or a cycling tour around the island. Visit the Tom Moore's Jungle
in Hamilton Parish for a tryst with nature with its dense green flora, natural pools and even caves. It is a sprawling twelve acre forested reserve with trails that you can walk on along with sights of mangroves and several species of birds.
Another great place to watch some beautiful winter migratory birds is the Spittal Pond Nature Reserve
that runs along the south shore. This is the largest protected nature reserve in Bermuda with lots of walking trails and a nice pond right in the middle of it.
A wonderful way to cover a large part of the island, while drifting through its breathtaking sights and sounds, is to take a bicycle tour of the Railway Trail
. This tour down the long abandoned railroad can lead you to some of the "hidden gems" the island prides itself on. You can also explore the trail on foot and stop to imbibe some of the breathtaking views of north shore you will encounter along the way.
Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve
at the southern part of the island is another expansive place that you can visit. You can see some beautiful shallow water beaches, nature trails, lined with the famous Bermuda cedar trees along with seabirds and crabs.
Don those walking shoes
Bermuda has deep roots when it comes to its history and culture. This is a good time to take a walking tour through the island visiting its beautiful architecture and delving deep into its past. The African Diaspora heritage trail
will take you along a number of well preserved museums and other monuments that are symbolic of the island’s history of slave trade and its abolition. Also a part of the UNESCO slave trade route project, it includes the National Museum of Bermuda, Cobb’s Hill Methodist Church, Pilot Darrell’s Square, Tucker House Museum and much more.
The many forts in the island are a reminder of the Royal army’s strongholds dating back to the world wars. The Gates Fort, Fort St. Catherine, Fort Hamilton are some of the many well preserved forts you can visit, each of which has its own unique story to tell. Many of these forts are set up in the midst of picturesque gardens and landscaped parklands which you can take a tour of too.
The island has several churches across its various parishes which are also great edifices showcasing the brilliant architecture that is so prevalent on the island. The Cathedral of The Most Holy Trinity in Hamilton City, St. Peter's Church in St. George, the Old Devonshire Church are a few of the many churches here that have a piece of history enfolded within its confines. Even the Unfinished Church in the town of St. George, with its open roof and incomplete structure looks straight out of a gothic tales book and has its own story to tell.
There are several museums here that not only preserve some very interesting artifacts depicting the cultural heritage of Bermuda, but are also housed in establishments that are quite significant historically. At the National Museum of Bermuda at the Royal Naval Dockyard you will find a historic fort has been turned into a museum. Here you can see a huge and captivating collections from the shipwrecks around the island. A special mention is appropriate here of "The Hall of History". This is a one thousand square feet mural done on one of the walls of the museum by a local artist. It depicts the island's culture, history and life in vivid colors and exquisite visual imagery. This is a true masterpiece and one you should not miss.
At the St. George's Historical Society Museum you can see some beautiful antique pieces that were family possessions and later donated by early inhabitants of the island. The Mitchell House, Bermuda National trust Museum and Bermudian Heritage Museum are some of the many other museums that dot the island.
Embrace the local art
For the art lover too, the island has its own allure. The City Hall and Art Center
which also houses the National Gallery and the Bermuda Society of Arts, has a noteworthy collection of paintings, sculptures and other works of art. The Masterworks Museum
in the Botanical Gardens boasts a large collection of paintings, photographs etc by famous artists.
You can also look at buying local artwork from various galleries here. The Bermuda Craft Market
at the Dockyard is where you can see a culmination of artwork by various artisans who set up shop here. From ceramics to cedar items, cakes to hand-made soaps and candles, hand-dyed silk scarves to sea glass decorations and toys, you can buy souvenirs and keepsakes here. In fact, during these winter months, when the island is less busy, you can even get a chance to try your hands at creating some of the items under the guidance of a local craftsman, which you can then keep for yourself.
While at the Dockyard, you can further satiate your quest for local art and handicraft at the Jon Faulkner Gallery
, which is open throughout the week, albeit at reduced hours during these winter months. You will find some beautiful hand-made ceramics and pottery, some of which even you can paint for yourself before buying. At the Dockyard Glassworks, witness an amazing craft of glass blowing and creating various beautiful pieces out of them in a riot of colors. The Bermuda Rum Company, housed in the same establishment, churns out some of the famous Bermuda rum cakes made using the local Black seal rum. You can enjoy a tasting session of some of the freshly baked cakes here and even buy them to take back home with you.
The beaches continue to steal the show
The beautiful beaches of Bermuda are what attracts most of its visitors from and wide. Although the water temperatures are quite cold during this time, it is no reason to give the beaches a miss. In fact, you can even go swimming and snorkeling if you wear a wet suit. The underwater visibility also increases during the winter months giving you a great opportunity to view the shipwrecks and the marine life here which is nothing short of exquisite. However, note that most water sport operators would have ceased operations completely around this time.
You can simply choose to lounge on the beautiful pink beaches, sun bathing and just gazing at the turquoise waters of the vast ocean or go on a long walk on the miles and miles of sandy beaches of Bermuda at your own leisurely pace. The Horseshoe Bay Beach, considered one of the best beaches in the world is a great place to start, moving on to the beautiful and secluded Warwick Long Bay and Jobson's Cove along the south shore. There are several other beautiful beaches here that offer ample opportunities to relax with your families, enjoy with kids or just walk in solitude.
Choose to do nothing once in a while !
This is that time of the year when you will find things moving at a slow pace on the island. It is alright to go with the flow sometimes. Wake up for a late breakfast or even a brunch or simply pack a basket of light meal and head out for a picnic. The island is dotted with several scenic picnic spots including most of its beaches, coves, nature reserves and ponds.
Have a leisurely lunch al fresco imbibing the sights and sounds around you or relax with a late afternoon tea
while stretching out on a chaise lounge with a good read. You can even simply choose an especially bright sunny day to lay on a hammock between palm trees to gaze at the moving clouds above ! Yes, the lovely weather and the mood that the island fosters, allows you to do exactly that. If you wish to head outdoors, you can can simply meander along the beaches scouting for sea glass
Eat, Drink and Make Merry
Indulge in what the island has to offer in terms of local and international cuisines. One of the major attractions on the island is the dining experience it gives you with a host of restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes and nightclubs present here. Each of them has something unique to offer in terms of food, ambiance and experience.
The seafood that is offered at most of the restaurants are mostly made with fresh catches and something you must try. The Fish Chowder and Fish sandwich here are probably one of the best that you can find. Also September through March is when you can expect to find fresh spiny lobster dishes at most of the outlets. It is one of the island favorites and something you must try. The Lobster Pot Restaurant, Barracuda Grill and Henry VIII Restaurant are some of the places you can visit for a plate of the spiny lobster.
Most often your food will be accompanied by the famous local drinks, else you can drop into one of the many pubs like the Swizzle Inn or the Frog and onion for a glass of Rum Swizzle or Dark n Stormy.
Go on a shopping spree
Shopping on the island can be quite a fulfilling experience for the avid shopper as you can expect to find some unique island made articles you can carry home as gifts or souvenirs. Like the restaurants on the island, you will find that the shopping venues too remain open all year round. You can visit the various shopping malls around the island for quick picks.
A walk down Front Street in Hamilton City will give you a different shopping experience with the beautiful waterfront setting and the individual shops housed in architecturally important establishments. Most of these stores date back several generations and you will get a glimpse of the Bermudian culture when you step into them. A S Copper and sons, TABS, The English Sports Shop and Brown and Co etc. At St. George, the Somers Wharf too has a harbor-front setting where you can sit and have a meal too while looking out at the water. The Bermuda perfumery is a great place to visit where you will find some unique island inspired fragrances to remind you of your beautiful stay here.
Enjoy your Tee Time
Winter is a nice time to try your hand at golf at one of the many golf courses around the island. Not only is the weather quite conducive, it is easier to find a spot at one of the clubs, with the island being devoid of its season crowd. However a round of golf on the island can cost you much more that what you would have paid back home in the US or even Europe.
Revel in the Yuletide Season
Various ceremonies and events mark the ushering of the festive season in its full glory and pomp. 'Santa Comes To Town' is a wonderful and fun experience for children when they can get up close and personal with the visitor from the North Pole at King's Square in St. George. The doors to the oldest household on the island is opened to the public on Carter House Family Christmas.
The Bermuda National Trust Christmas Walkabout takes place in St. George when the streets are lit up with candles and enlivened with carol singing. Historical re-enactors in complete livery roam the streets giving live performances.
Several other festivities include the Christmas Boat Parade, Carols with the Dolphins, Santa's Workshop, Candlelight service at St. Peter's Church and Christmas Morning service.
Read Christmas in Bermuda
if you are going to be on the island around this festive time and know what you can look forward to.
Bermuda public events in December
The spectacular boat parade in Hamilton harbor takes place during Christmas. New Year’s Eve Celebrations in St George is also a great attraction to both locals and tourists.
Lighting the Tree Ceremony: Trees are lit, Santa Claus arrives. Held usually in City Hall in Hamilton
Santa Claus Parade
Saturday Night Live: Live music and entertainment is organized at different venues across the island every Saturday from November through March.
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