Best bits of Antigua

Sunset at Hawksbill by Rex Resorts
Sunset

The stunning Caribbean island of Antigua & Barbuda, most famous for its annual sailing week, has a lot to offer the solo traveller. As well as 365 stunning beaches to choose from, there are a number of cultural, culinary and sporting activities to get involved in too. Having visited here a few times alone, these are some of the best bits of Antigua every solo traveller to the island should be aware of…

1. Best 3* All Inclusive Hotel in Antigua

Starfish Jolly Beach Resort

Starfish Jolly Beach Resort is a firm favourite of mine and having stayed here a couple of times, it feels like staying with family rather than within a hotel resort. The welcoming staff are friendly, lively and fun loving. They will bend over backwards to make your stay a happy one. It’s no wonder there are so many repeat visitors.

Good morning guests!

Nightlife is varied and enjoyable so there is always something to keep you entertained during the evening, as well as during the day. The food quality is good, offering plenty of local and international choices, within several different restaurants on the resort.

African show - entertainment at Starfish Jolly Beach Resort - staying at this resort was one of the best bits of Antigua
Solo holiday to Antigua, African show with beach bonfire

Starfish Jolly Beach resort is well located on arguably one of the best beaches in Antigua. Jolly Beach Marina is not far away with more restaurants, bars and a supermarket.

Antigua, Caribbean, beaches - best bits of Antigua
Jolly Beach

2. Best ‘Room Only’ Resort

Admiral’s Inn, English Harbour

I have stayed here twice and both times I have been impressed. Admiral’s Inn is a boutique hotel that offers unique accommodation within the grounds of Nelson’s Dockyard UNESCO Heritage Site.

One of the best bits of Antigua - staying at Admiral's Inn
Unique accommodation at Admiral’s In

The onsite restaurant, Pillars, offers a fine dining experience in a relaxed, harbour-side setting, with a steel band playing on Wednesday evenings, peak season.

Steel band playing at Pillars
Steel Band at Pillars Restaurant

Guests can take a shuttle boat to the other side of the harbour to enjoy the infinity pool with spa facilities.

Infinity pool at Boom, English Harbour - one of the best bits of Antigua
Infinity pool, Admiral’s Inn, Antigua

Galleon’s Beach is also a short boat ride away. It is excellent for snorkelling and if you are lucky, you will see rays and turtles.

3. Best Bed and Breakfast

Nicole’s Table, Cedar Valley

Nestled in the hills of Cedar Valley, Northern Antigua, is this fantastic bed and breakfast, studio accommodation, perfect for the solo traveller. It will suit those who wish to stay in a residential area of the island for one or two nights, maybe longer.

Studio available at Nicole's Table
Bed and Breakfast accommodation

The studio is within the grounds of a family home and includes a home cooked breakfast by the superb chef, Nicole. She also runs a cookery school from home and I highly recommend taking one of the classes! For further information about the accommodation and current prices, contact the owners, Nicole and Adam directly.

Bed and Breakfast Studio
Interior of the studio

4. Best 4* All Inclusive Resort

St James’ Club

St James’ Club is an impressive hotel resort offering luxurious accommodation within extensive, well kept grounds. The main pool is incredible for exercise or taking a dip. It benefits from plenty of sun loungers around it.

Pool at St James' Club, Antigua
Main pool at St James’ Club, Antigua

Both of St James’ Club’s beaches are stunning. Coco Beach is a stretch of white sand with palm trees.

Coco Beach, St James' Club
Coco Beach, St James’ Club

The other, Mamora Bay, has golden sand, with calm water ideal for watersports.

Mamora Bay, St James' Club
Watersports at Mamora Bay

The majority of the food served here is outstanding and there are plenty of activities for solo travellers to get involved in during the day with varied evening entertainment.

5. Best Restaurant for Dinner

La Brasserie, English Harbour

Without a doubt, my favourite restaurant to go to for an evening meal is the French, family run, La Brasserie in English Harbour. Dining is in a waterfront setting with French music playing. A member of staff will collect you by water taxi, if you are staying at nearby Admiral’s Inn.

Fantastic steak with a peppercorn crust at Le Brasserie, English Harbour
Best steak ever at La Brasserie, Antigua

The food here really is exquisite. I can honestly say, I had the best steak I have ever eaten. It was made the old fashioned way with cognac apparently. La Brasserie is a relaxed place to come for authentic French food at its best.

6. Best Restaurant for Lunch on a Budget

Grace Before Meals, English Harbour

It has to be Grace Before Meals in English Harbour…

Grace Before Meals, English Harbour

Grace has run the restaurant for 30 years. She is now in the process of marketing it for sale but, if it doesn’t sell she will continue. The restaurant is a colourful, timber bungalow by the roadside serving fantastic, traditional West Indian dishes.

Roti from Grace Before Meals - one of the best bits of Antigua
Roti from Grace Before Meals

The delicious food is enjoyed by tourists and locals alike.

7. Best Daytime Solo Activity

Nicole’s Table – Cookery School, Cedar Valley

One of my best bits of Antigua is meeting and conversing with locals. A cookery lesson at Nicole’s Table did just that and was my favourite daytime activity! I was overwhelmed by the hospitality provided by Nicole, her family and some friends who joined us. The cookery school caught my eye when it featured on an episode of ITV’s Ainsley’s Caribbean Kitchen. The Jamaican Chef, Ainsley Harriett, carried out a culinary tour of the Caribbean islands.

Blackened salmon
Blackened salmon made at Nicole’s Table – Cookery School

The hands on cookery lesson got us involved in making several delicious dishes including wanton cups made from plantain, pineapple salsa and blackened salmon. A delicious, refreshing, homemade rum punch was enjoyed by all. Once all the dishes were cooked, we were able to sit and enjoy the meal together.

Nicole's Table - cookery school
Nicole’s Table Cookery School

This was a fantastic daytime activity. As well as taking home superb memories, we took recipe sheets away too!

8. Best evening activity

Shirley Heights

Situated on the most southern tip of Antigua is a restored military lookout offering the most amazing views of Falmouth and English Harbour.  Every Sunday evening from 4pm-10pm there is a party which costs US$8 to enter.  There is a more low key venue on a Thursday evening too. One of the best bits of Antigua is taking in the breathtaking views and sunsets from Shirley Heights lookout.

Shirley Heights - one of the best bits of Antigua
Sunset from Shirley Heights, Antigua

Before sunset, you will be entertained by the fantastic steel band that plays. Then, as night falls, a reggae band takes over for more partying and dancing.

If you enjoyed reading about my best bits of Antigua and want to read more reviews and recommendations of places to stay and things to do, have a look at the following links…

Suggested Further Reading:

Hotels in Antigua – Other places I have stayed solo and enjoyed

Restaurants in Antigua – Restaurants I can recommend dining at solo

Things to do in Antigua – Recommended solo activities

Antigua Gallery

FAQ about Antigua

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