Preserving the island’s military history from as far back as 1650, the Barbados Garrison area includes the National Museum and George Washington House among an impressive collection of military buildings.Officially bestowed the title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site (shared with the likes of the Pyramids and Grand Canyon), you can opt to take a guided tour of the area, where you will view one of the most authentic 18th Century British Garrisons and some of the 70 odd buildings of national significance associated with this area.
Tours to the George Washington House gives a you peep inside the 18th Century plantation where the founding father of the United States spent nearly two months as a young man. The young George Washington and his ailing brother Lawrence resided in this historic plantation house, also known as Bush Hill House, for two months in 1751. Barbados was the only country ever visited by the future “First Father” of his country and Bush Hill House the only house he ever lived in outside of the continental United States.
Accessible only from George Washington House and Museum, the tunnels were re-discovered purely by chance in June 2011. Built sometime during the 1820’s the system is soon to be 200 years old and includes at least 9 tunnels in the Savannah area with others. Originally constructed to provide drainage to the area (the first such system in Barbados), oral history has indicated that they were adopted for use as ‘escape routes’ for the Garrison troops, should the area have ever been invaded, and other clandestine uses. You will witness the recently rediscovered “Garrison Tunnels”, a series of secretive underground tunnels dating back to 1820.
You can be one of the lucky few to visit the National Armory Museum, built in 1801, which houses the finest collection of 17th century English cannons in the world, and was also a site for hangings, while firing squad executions were held at a nearby military cemetery.
Though this tour will give you an insider’s in-depth look at the historic Garrison, a second trip to George Washington house for a very different experience is highly recommended. In 1789, the British army converted the Garrison to their headquarters for the windward and leeward islands, where they remained in force until 1905. Now, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the headquarters for much of Barbados’ history.