Betty's Hope#10 in Best Things To Do in Antigua
Established in the mid-17th century and named after the daughter of one of its former owners, Betty's Hope was one of the first and largest sugar plantations on the island. It's no longer a working mill, but it illustrates Antigua's role in British colonial history, including the country's reliance on the system of slavery.
The main mill has been restored with new sails and crushing machinery, while most of the other buildings on the former plantation remain in ruins. You can get a better feel for what the grounds used to look like by making a stop in the former cotton house store room on-site, which is now a visitor center and museum. The museum helps detail the horrific stories of the more than 400 enslaved people who were forced to work at the mill during its most prosperous production years; however, the museum leaves some visitors itching for even more information. Reviewers recommended visiting Betty's Hope with a local guide as part of a larger tour of the island, saying you'll enjoy a broader historical context than if you stopped by on your own.
Hours seem to be sporadic for the museum, according to recent visitors who were disappointed to find it closed, though they still say the site is worthwhile to visit if you want to understand the role enslaved people played in Antiguan history. Others noted that you'll be encouraged to make a donation upon entering the sparse museum.
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#1 Shirley Heights
Wear some comfortable shoes and make the hike from Galleon Beach in English Harbour to the summit of Shirley Heights. On a clear day, the panorama (located approximately 492 feet above sea level) affords views of the southern island of Guadeloupe and the active volcano Montserrat, which recent visitors called simply breathtaking.
It's a challenging hike up to the lookout and the Antiguan heat makes early morning the best time to make the trek. If you're not up for the task, you can also hop in a taxi – a recommendation from many past visitors. The popular Shirley Heights Lookout Restaurant & Bar rests at the summit. Come prepared to party on Sundays from 4 to 10 p.m., when local bands perform Caribbean music live, the barbecue is fired up and drinks are flowing. Be prepared for crowds, though. Recent travelers warned that, while worth it for the awe-inspiring sunset views, this party gets packed.
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