Family Travel: Barbados with the brood
I should share with you before I start that I am a little biased when it comes to holidaying in Barbados, we’ve been here before, but never with the children. In fact Barbados was our first holiday together as a couple, so for me it represents new beginnings. I have memories of sipping cocktails watching the sunset and planning our lives together. Fast forward a decade or so and we’re now a family of six, the reality of those dreamy plans has, at times, been a challenge, but family time is my happy place, and there’s no place better to spend it than in beautiful Barbados.
Here’s our family guide to Barbados…..
We flew with Virgin Atlantic. The crew were nothing but welcoming and courteous and didn’t even flinch as they greeted all of our smaller family members. Our youngest age 12 months was fussed over, and having a cot space for him was an absolute god send and gave a wonderful 4 hours break whilst he napped (yes we even managed to watch an inflight movie!). The ‘older’ (pre-teen) children watched movies and enjoyed the constant flow of meals and refreshments! The afternoon ice lollies went down a treat and they seemed equally as enchanted with the attentive crew. Arriving stress-free and without delay set us up for a great holiday. Thumbs up Virgin Atlantic
Where to stay
We checked into the beautiful Oceans Two Resort at St Lawrence Gap. Oceans Two accommodation suited our larger group with a two bedroom suite with lounge, dining room, full fitted kitchen including American fridge freezer, dishwasher etc. Set on beautiful Dover Beach with its palm trees and turquoise waters, the service here is attentive and personable and nothing was too much trouble.
The little things:
Ice cold scented flannels brought to your sun lounger to help in the heat of the day.
Complimentary Homemade ice lollies
Friendly attentive team
Great daily housekeeping and turn-down service
Best Barbados Hotels with kids:
Best Barbados Restaurants with kids
Castaways Bar & Grill – St Lawrence Gap
When we travel we always aim never to eat in the same restaurant twice. We broke the rule. This gem of a restaurant is nestled on the edge of the bay at St Lawrence Gap. The terrace is the perfect setting for sundowners and the food was exceptional. Delicious dishes, Caribbean infused and a menu that had you spoilt for choice!
Order: the house ribs (to start) – you won’t be disappointed!
Visit for: great service, amazing views and exceptional food
Primo Restaurant – St Lawrence Gap
We loved this modern Italian restaurant. Delicious Italian dishes with local influence, we had a wonderful meal. It sits beach side at St Lawrence Gap, beautiful interior, attentive service and great menu (and kids menu!).
Order: Jerk port tenderloin, served with scorched onions, friend plantain and sweet potato mash. We also loved the fettucine carbonara served with a poached egg.
Visit for; great pasta and a picturesque sunset
Lonestar Restaurant – Alleynes Bay
A favourite Caribbean beach side restaurant, this place is renowned for its idyllic setting and after visiting for lunch (twice during our week, yes we broke the rule again!), we can understand why. The food is great, but it’s the location that draws the crowd here. It’s great for a spot of people watching and celeb spotting and the children loved the menu!
Order: Pizza is great here and desserts are heavenly!
Visit for: people watching, the view, great cocktails.
Oistens fish fry
Friday night and Oisten fish fry go together like, well like fish ‘n’ chips.
A large number of locals and touirsts turn up for live music and freshly caught fish at the Oistens fish fry. Things seem to get going around 7.30 but arrive earlier before sunset and the children can watch the turtles hanging around off the jetty. For the full Oistens schedule visit www.barbados.org
We found that hiring a car in Barbados gave us more freedom to travel around. There’s a great bus service in Barbados ($2 anywhere on the Island) but as a family with a buggy and bags in tow this seemed like too much hassle for us. We organised car hire simply through our hotel reception. Be sure to haggle though! Our price was halved from our original quote!
Holetown is the best place to head for holiday shopping. A mix of small boutiques selling tourist gifts made locally, independent owned stores selling beautiful beachwear and accessories. For duty free shopping, international brands and luxury goods, Limegrove shopping mall has all the high end labels you’d expect, from Ralph Lauren to Burberry and Bulgari to Longchamp. Limegrove also boasts a cinema and plenty of restaurants – oh and plenty of air conditioning!!
The East Coast
In contrast to the ‘platinum’ West coast with its luxury hotels and international shopping, the East coast gives you a taste of the real Barbados. Small villages perched on hillsides overlooking the fierce Atlantic Ocean. We drove down the east coast and it was a great experience for the children to see a completely different way of living. They loved watching the local fishermen, spotting the colourful wooden houses and waving to the locals!
As with any tourist destination there are plenty of trips and excursions on offer.
An underground guided train trip of the unique limestone formations and streams which have carved out this impressive caves.
We didn’t take the turtle spotting boat trip as there were turtles visible in the surf outside of our hotel and we spent ages watching them from our balcony. We did however find many hotspots around the coast where beach goers (us include!) would just join the turtles in the water and swim alongside them (Alleynes Bay particularly popular). There was something so beautiful about seeing the turtles in their natural habitat! The children loved them.
Plan your trip!
Many operators now package Barbados holidays. We booked through Hayes & Jarvis, flying with Virgin Atlantic and stayed at Ocean Two Resort. You can do as much or as little as you want in Barbados, but for us Barbados is so much more than luxury resorts and designer boutiques. Off the beaten track you’ll find beautiful bays, local eateries, homemade industries and vibrant and friendly people only too happy to show you the real Barbados. Happy Holidays!