Royal Naval Dockyard

Hailed as the top tourist attraction in all of Bermuda, the Royal Naval Dockyard has plenty to offer visitors, including a maritime museum, a tourist village, and a full-service marina. It has come a long way since it first served as an outpost for the British Royal Navy, now serving tourist needs instead of military ones. The Royal Navy Bermuda Dockyard is located on Ireland Island in the tranquil parish of Sandys, which is the most western of the Bermuda parishes. It might be a bit of a ride out here if you are not staying in western Bermuda, but it is certainly worth it. Visitors can get here by cab, bus, and ferry, and since the multi-million dollar cruise port was built, many folks come by way of modern-day cruise ships, which are basically small, floating cities. In addition to having a cruise ship port, the Royal Naval Dockyard also offers a tourist village and a museum, among other attractions.

After the British lost the American War of Independence, they also lost their ports on America's Atlantic Coast. As a result, construction began on the Royal Naval Dockyard in 1809. It was to be dubbed, the "Gibralter of the West," signifying the same kind of strategic outpost as the one found just off the coast of southern Spain. To build the Royal Navy Bermuda Dockyard, the British Crown enlisted convicts from the UK, as well as slave laborers. Thousands of workers died while helping to build the Royal Naval Dockyard Bermuda base, which gives testament to how difficult the work often was. Hence was the need to supplement the work force with convicts, as they had no choice but to endure the task at hand.

The Royal Naval Dockyard would prove significant for hundreds of years, serving the English forces in such affairs as the American War of 1812. The naval base would remain in operation through the Second World War, when it was then deemed less necessary. After all, the Americans had been allies of the British in both the World Wars, so inherently, the need to maintain the Dockyard became of little importance. Most of the facilities here were closed by 1951, though, interestingly enough, British and NATO ships continued to use it for general purposes up until 1995. Ever since then, it's been on the road to becoming the top rated Bermuda tourist attraction that it is today.

Today, the largest fort at the Dockyard has become the Bermuda Maritime Museum, where you can learn all about the territory's naval history. For a glimpse of the first cast-iron structure to ever grace the earth, you can pass by the Commissioner's House when visiting the Maritime Museum, which has been recognized for its champion restoration. While you're at the Royal Navy Bermuda Dockyard, you can also swim with dolphins at Dolphin Quest. There are excellent dolphin trainers at Dolphin Quest to help you get over your trepidations if you are a bit nervous about entering the water with these intriguing creatures. In addition to Dolphin Quest and the Bermuda Maritime Museum, visitors can also stop by the Dockyard Glassworks to see craftsmen display their skills, or head over to Bermuda Clayworks to see artists crafting pottery items. Shopping at both is possible, and it's nice to take back something so authentic to display back home. It will make for a nice keepsake, always reminding you of your great Bermuda vacation.

When hunger hits at the Royal Navy Dockyard Bermuda, you can see what the vendors have to offer, and there are also some casual restaurants where you can get more of a meal, not to mention a pint. After enjoying the attractions here, you can even see a movie, as there is a 118-seat theater here that shows a nightly movie twice over. On Fridays and Sundays, you can catch a matinee too. Those who arrange a Royal Navy Dockyard Bermuda excursion can rent a scooter here to further explore Sandys Parish, and there is also watersports concessionaire where you can plan out a fun-filled snorkeling adventure. The Royal Navy Dockyard Bermuda experience can easily be paired with a visit to the Bermuda capital city of Hamilton, as you can hop on a ferry from the city and be here in an hour. If for nothing else, the ferry ride over offers some excellent sightseeing along the way. Inner harbor ferry rides in Bermuda are always worth adding to the travel itinerary when possible. The Royal Naval Dockyard is free to all, which only helps to make it the tourist attraction that it is. By the way, while you're at the Royal Naval Dockyard, you can also stop by Snorkel Park to see what you can get into there.

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