Last Updated: May 21, 2017 

What to do in Bermuda on Public Holidays
And how to get around

Frequency of bus and ferry services in Bermuda get reduced quite a bit on public holidays. You won't get that many taxis as well. Many shops and commercial establishments and even restaurants remain closed and so do most tour operators. 
So does it mean a hopeless situation for tourists who happen to land up in the island on public holidays? Are there attractions that remain open and what could be the means to get around the island? Well fortunately there can still be a lot to do in the island on such days. Other than all public beaches, there are several other great attractions which too remain open, so do some select shops and restaurants. 
Before getting to the forum posts below, go through the following section to know what usually remain open or closed during Public Holidays in Bermuda including public attractions, activities, restaurants, shops, transports etc. 
Usual open & closure status on Bermuda Day, Heroes Day, Cup Match Day and Labor Day 
  • Banks and Government offices remain closed. 
  • Dockyard including the Clocktower Mall remain open on regular hours. 
  • Visitor Information Centers in Hamilton, St. George’s and Dockyard remain open. 
  • Public buses operate as per Sunday and public holiday schedule. 
  • Blue Route ferry between Dockyard & Hamilton and Orange Route between Dockyard & St. George’s operate on usual Monday to Friday schedule. The Pink Route between Paget - Warwick operate on Sunday schedule. The Green route between Rockaway - Watford Bridge - Cavello Bay does not operate. 
  • The attractions open are:  
  • All public beaches, Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo at Flatts, Crystal & Fantasy Caves at Bailey's Bay, Bermuda National Museum at Dockyard, Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute in Hamilton City (12-5pm). On Labor day additionally Bermuda Historical Society Museum at Hamilton (10am to 2pm), Gibbs Hill Lighthouse at Southampton, St. Catherine's Fort at St. George. On Cup Match Days, attractions in St. George such as St. Peter's Church is open. 
  • Bermuda day - You should only come to Hamilton to watch the parade. Most of the sidewalks would be blocked by spectators, so shopping should be avoided on that day. 
  • Retail stores open in Hamilton (some on restricted hours): 
  • Hodge Podge, Flying Colours, Onion Jack’s, Phoenix Drugstore 
  • Restaurants in Hamilton City that are open: Flanagan’s Irish Pub - lunch & dinner, Hog Penny Pub - lunch & dinner, Pickled Onion - lunch & dinner, La Trattoria - dinner, Little Venice - dinner, L’Oriental - dinner, Devil's Isle (9am to 10pm), Barracuda Grill (dinner) etc. 
  • On Cup Match Days, restaurants in St. George that are open: Griffins, Wahoo's Bistro, Beach House, Tobacco Bay Beach House, White Horse Tavern, Temptations (Thursday), Wong's Golden Dragon (only Friday). 
  • Swizzle Inn, both locations (Hamilton Parish and South Shore) are open on regular hours. On Cup Match Day, it is usually open only on one of the two days (open on Friday and closed on Thursday). 
    I found your website and it has saved our lives :) Thanks so much for putting this website together and for helping families, like ours, plan our Bermuda vacation...  
    QUESTION... we're cruising to Bermuda in July and just found out we'll be there during the annual cup match and emancipation holiday {July 28th and 29th - 2011} have been told the island virtually shuts down for this holiday and wanted to see whether or not we should change our cruise plans... will the island really shut down? 
    Are the beaches going to be so crowded, we'll be more frustrated than able to enjoy the scenery? really wanted to go to Horseshoe Bay... I'm told the cup match this year is to the far end of the island from where our ships are docked, which would mean attendees would do things closer to where the match is being played, but wanted to check this out with the experts = YOU :) thanks much! 
    Joy Johnson (March 2011) 
    Hello Joy, Good to know that you found useful information in my website and thanks for your comments. Cup Match days in Bermuda are unfortunately not too great for tourists. While the public beaches remain open, they get very crowded with locals who camp virtually everywhere in the island. These two public holidays are more like picnic time for the islanders and you can even find them camping on the roadsides. 
    While there is a section of public who get engrossed with the cricket match, many others take to the street for fun. Also on public holidays, most of the shops and restaurants remain closed. Unless pre-organized by a cruise line, the tour operators also do not work on these two days. 
    However, if you like to meet with islanders and like to see a fun time of their life in the island, then these two days can be seen as an opportunity. July is a peak season and the popular beaches get crowded by tourists on the other days anyway. 
    So if you like some quiet time in a beach like Horseshoe, I suggest that you go early in the morning or choose a beach from some of the secluded ones. You will find those from the ones I have described under Great Secluded Beaches
    Hope this helps .... have a great time! 
    Raj (March 2011)  
    Good evening, 
    Thanks so much for your response... Are the Forts and Caves open on those days? Our plan for Thursday is to follow your recommendation for a Full Day - Bermuda Caves, Forts and lovely beaches in the east 
    1. Ferry to St. George 
    2. Take shuttle bus from Kings Square to Tobacco Bay Beach 
    3. Leave beach and go to St. Catherine’s Fort 
    Our plan for Friday is still being developed  
    Thanks much! 
    Joy Johnson (March 2011) 
    Your schedule looks great! Crystal Caves and Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo are some of the very few attractions that remain open on public holidays except on days like Christmas. St. Catherine Fort should also be open. I remember that in 2009 we were in Bermuda during the cup match days and Crystal Caves was open. However, they are likely to operate with reduced staff as most of them do not work during the public holidays. 
    You may like to call up their information centers to verify and get more details. For example, whether you can get the guided tour to the Crystal Caves on that day. You will find their phone nos. on my web pages. 
    As I mentioned earlier, most of the restaurants remain closed during public holidays. I am not sure if Blackbeard’s Hideout will be open. Suggest you call them up to confirm. Apart from the hotels' restaurants, only one or two remain open during the cup match days. 
    Raj (March 2011) 
    Hi RAJ, 
    BTW {RAJ are my husband's initials} :) 
    You are a wealth of information... we truly appreciate you! 
    Thanks much! 
    Have a blessed day, 
    Joy Johnson (March 2011) 
    Hi RAJ! 
    We've re-vamped our schedule due to the cup match public holiday and wanted your thoughts... is this schedule doable? do we have everything lined up where it makes sense? 
    As always, your assistance/feedback is greatly appreciated. 
    Here goes... 
    1. Ferry to St. George {if running on Holidays}if not take the bus or a cab 
    2. Crystal and Fantasy Caves 
    3. Lunch at the Swizzle Inn 
    4. Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo 
    5. John Smith’s Beach 
    6. Return to dockyard via bus 
    Please let me know your thoughts... thanks much! 
    Joy Johnson (April 2011) 
    Hi Joy, 
    To your question about whether it's doable or not, I would say doable but you need to time it right and be prepared to walk a little. Here is why: 
    1. On any other day, a direct ferry to St. Georges would have saved a lot of time. But on weekends and public holidays, the Orange ferry (between Dockyard and St George) does not usually operate. 
    2. If you take a bus, I am assuming that you will not go all the way up to St. Georges and rather get down at Crystal Caves instead after a change over at Hamilton. Bus trip all the way up to St. Georges takes over 2 hours from dockyard. 
    3. I understand that everyone visiting Bermuda wants to give Swizzle Inn a try. I hope you have done the checking on your part if Swizzle Inn will remain open on that day. If you haven't checked up, then write to them or call them up to confirm. In any case, during the lunch time they have a shorter menu and you essentially get pub fares / sandwiches etc. 
    4. Another option for lunch (nothing great though) would be Cafe Ole located within the Crystal Caves complex. They serve snack items and light meals. You may be able to save time. If Swizzle Inn is open, go for it. An experience and feel of the ambiance there is worth more than the food. 
    5. At BAMZ (Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo), you may consider to skip the zoo and even the museum if you are running out of time. The Zoo here is small. You can pick up some snacks at the Peacocks Pantry located here (just in case you are still starving). 
    6. Now the challenge starts. For you to make it to the John Smith's Bay Beach, you need to take bus #1 or 3 towards Hamilton City. While they were available from Crystal Caves, you won't get them from BAMZ. Only bus #10, 11 serve BAMZ. You will need to walk for about a mile from here to reach John Smith's Bay Beach. By the way BAMZ is in beautiful Flatts Village and its a wonderful walk. 
    7. If you are not willing to walk, how about changing the sequence a bit: 
    Dockyard - BAMZ - Lunch - Caves - John Smiths :-) 
    Raj (April 2011) 
    UPDATE: Bus#3 is available from BAMZ. 
    Saw you message to Joy...can u help me save our vacation too. 
    On the holiday will the mini bus run from St George pier to town center then to Fort or Tobacco Bay? Would like to do walking tour of St George on holiday...will it be worth our while or should we plan on doing this Wednesday? 
    Will Lighthouse/tea room be open on holiday? 
    What beach is our best option to avoid crowds on both holiday days? 
    where could we rent jet ski/boat July 28,29? 
    Thank you 
    Merry Devlin (July 2011) 
    Hi Merry, 
    Mini buses in St. George's should run on the cup match days, although the service/schedules may be changed. I have heard that Bermuda Government is trying to improve the transport services on the cup match days due to heavy demands. Otherwise, the public transport services work on reduced frequency on all public holidays. If you want to be sure, I suggest you call up the St. George Minibus services (Phone: 441/297-8492 or 297-8199). 
    Walking tour on a holiday may not be a good idea as most of the attractions would remain closed. Do it on Wednesday instead. 
    Lighthouse Tearoom (below the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse in Southampton) has closed down :-( A new restaurant 'The Dining Room' has come up in its place which is also good. But it's not a tearoom. It's a proper restaurant. 
    No beaches would be spared by the locals on the cup match days. Here are your best chances (but visit in early mornings): 
    1. Hog Bay Beach in Sandys. This will be close to the dockyard.  It's likely to be relatively empty because it requires some hike through hog bay park. The beach is really tiny. It's accessible only during low tide though and it's a tiny beach. So knowing the tide timing is important. 
    2. Warwick Long Bay in Warwick Parish. 
    Boat operators are unlikely to work on the cup match days. Best is to work through your cruise line and ask them to book in advance. Otherwise try to call up some operators directly and check with them.  
    You will get some of the contacts here: Bermuda Water & Jet Ski 
    Hope this helps! Have a great time in Bermuda. 
    Raj (July 2011) 
    Thank you for the information. It is best to reach Astwood and Warick beach via Hamilton ferry and bus? If so what bus would I take? 
    Merry (July 2011) 
    Hi Merry, 
    Bus #7 from dockyard or Hamilton goes to these two beaches. 
    Raj (July 2011) 
    We are so excited to be cruising again to Bermuda, such a beautiful island. Our one long day in Bermuda happens to be OUR labor day holiday I understand it will impact travel as well as activities on the island. We will be at the dockyard, I would like to get to St George, do the train tour, see the dunking and wander a bit, then head around the island to interesting spots , Hamilton?  Hit the light house. I know the ferry to St George is not an option that day, how best can we get to St George , what are the must sees on our way back.. moon gates especially as well as natural beauty, best to dos in Hamilton.  With the one day once we get to St George what would you recommend? We will get some time at horseshoe after we arrive on Sunday hopefully, and our last morning on Tuesday will either hit sea glass beach and dockyard, or snorkel park near the ship. 
    If we only have the one day to explore the best of Bermuda, help me plan the itinerary and if you think it's doable from public transport? Can we get a taxi/ guide to take us to St George... stay there a couple hours and then get a different tour guide on way back? 
    Thanks for your assistance! 
    Christine Mitchell (May 2012) 
    Hi Christine, 
    Unfortunately it's difficult to plan tours and sightseeing in Bermuda on public holidays. As you may be aware, the buses & ferries are limited and even many taxis do not operate. I would suggest not to depend much on the public transports on labor day. Start the day early and check out the day's ferry timings at the dockyard ferry terminal. If it doesn't work for you, then you will need to take a bus or a cab to get to St. George. 
    In my earlier answers above I have discussed possible itineraries during Bermuda's public holidays. Don't experiment too much on such days as chances are it won't otherwise work. 
    If you want to skip the Caves and the Aquarium, then get back to Hamilton City from St. George and take a half day (2.5 hours) self guided walking tour as suggested below (note that entry to most of the public buildings would be closed on a public holiday) 
    Raj (May 2012) 
    Hi Raj 
    Thanks for your comprehensive reply.. you do an awesome job with that Bermuda website. We only have that one long day which happens to be labor day so booked a tour with Byways (Heidi) and xx fingers we get nice weather to enjoy your beautiful island!! 
    Christine Mitchell (May 2012) 
    I'll be cruising to Bermuda in a couple of weeks and my one full day in port is on Labor Day. I am trying to find out how early the special buses begin running to Horseshoe Bay. Also, will there be ferry service from Rockaway to Hamilton? Will Gibbs lighthouse be open? We would like to go to the beach early, tour the lighthouse and then possibly ride the ferry but I am having trouble determining what transportation will be available on the holiday and when the last ferry or bus back to dockyard will be. Thanks so much for any help. 
    Donna (August 2013) 
    Hi, The minibus service at the dockyard starts at 9am and makes four round trips to the south shore beaches during the day. But I doubt it would operate on a public holiday. Rockway to Hamilton (Green Route) ferry is a commuters service and essentially meant for the office goers and operates on office days. However the Blue Route (Hamilton - Dockyard) and Pink Route (Hamilton - Paget - Warwick) ferries operate on Public Holidays as well but in reduced frequency.  
    Gibbs Hill Lighthouse remains open on Labor day. 
    On Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, the first ferry leaves dockyard at 9:30am for Hamilton and the last ferry leaves Hamilton at 6pm returning to dockyard. From Hamilton, you will get buses at regular intervals for dockyard until 5:15pm. There is just one more service after that... at 10:45pm (bus #8). Regards, 
    Raj (August 2013) 
    On Bermuda Public Holidays are the shops and attractions open in the King's Wharf/Dockyard area? I am specifically concerned about Bermuda Day, 5/26/2014. I have read that transportation is limited on the island for public holidays and that much of Hamilton is shut down. Thank you. 
    Jean Parr (March 2014) 
    Hi, Most stores at the Clocktower Mall in dockyard remain open on Bermuda day. All public beaches remain open on all days of he year. But as you have understood correctly, bus and ferry services get reduced on public holidays, as well as taxi services. However few island tour operators continue to offer tours.  
    Raj (March 2014) 
    Was wondering about National Hero's Day. We will be arriving on Monday morning around 9am with a cruise line. Is there a parade, reinactments, etc. to do on Monday. We were very intersted in going to Horseshoe bay but concerned now about transportation and how crowded it may be. Can you shed any light? Thanks! 
    Danielle (June 2014) 
    Hi, As such there are no public celebrations or festivities on National Heroes Day. But being a public holiday, there will be reduced public transport - bus, ferry and taxi. 
    Raj (June 2014) 
    Subject: Holiday closures July 31 and August 1 
    I will be in Bermuda on a cruise on the above dates and am wondering what to expect in terms of closures, especially the Clocktower Mall and stores in Hamilton and St. George. Will private beaches such as Snorkel Park likely be affected? Would you suggest skipping a visit to St. George given the reduction in bus/ferry service? Any insight you could provide would be appreciated. 
    Brian Haspel (July 2014) 
    Hi, Clocktower mall at the dockyard should be open, at least partially. However almost all stores and activities in Hamilton and St George will be closed. So there is not much point visiting those deserted places. The direct ferry to St George is unlikely to available on public holidays (it doesn't operate even on week ends). Snorkel Park at the dockyard should be open. In fact the Cup Match After Party Soca vs Reggae will take place on August 1 starting at 8:30pm ... lot's of music and dance. There is an entry fee ($65 pp all inclusive) 
    Raj (July 2014) 
    My wife & I will be traveling to Bermuda Memorial Day weekend 2015, to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary, thus will be there for Bermuda Day. I'm excited to be there for that holiday, but Also a bit concerned. It sounds exciting, with the parade, bands & Goombay dancers, and we very much want to experience Bermuda culture. My concern is that I understand many restaurants and shops are closed. I guess we'll plan our strolls in town for shopping on the other days we are there. Will we have trouble finding a restaurant ? Or getting a reservation ? Will the hotel restaurants be open ? Will other activities be suspended ? Aka - catamaran cruises ? Thanks. And any recommendations about Bermuda - things to do, places to see would be greatly appreciated. 
    Bruce Miller (December 2014) 
    In-house restaurants in hotels will be mostly open on Bermuda Day, but outside restaurants will be mostly closed. Tour operators seldom operate on public holidays, scheduled group tours remain closed, but few may operate on charters. You need to check with individual operators or write to Island Tour Center to check (Email: [email protected]). 
    Raj (December 2014) 
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