If you’re looking for a winter escape packed with beautiful beaches, glorious sunshine and heaps of activities, then Barbados should go on your bucket list immediately.
The breathtaking Caribbean hotspot boasts an awe-inspiring coastline packed with adventures to be had, whether you want to explore the crystalline blue waters, discover its mouthwatering foodie scene, or fully immerse yourself in the fascinating history and culture.
There’s plenty to fill an itinerary with; sailing, golf, hiking, polo, water sports, horse riding and snorkeling are just some of the activities to be found.
Not to mention there are over 60 festivals and events to keep you busy too from the Food and Rum Festival to Sailing Week.
To give you a helping hand, we’ve searched out seven of the must-see events in Barbados for the holiday of a lifetime…
1. Food and Rum Festival
There’s a reason that Barbados is known as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean – and what better way to tantalise your taste buds and discover the best of local cuisine than at this foodie extravaganza?
Chef Tom Aikens heads up the festival as the Culinary Ambassador, and you can expect cook offs, the Signature Rum event with rum and food pairings, fine dining offerings, as well as an epic beach party at the Hilton Resort Barbados.
Oh and, of course, plenty of delicious foodie surprises at local restaurants for the ultimate Gourmet Safari.
When is it? 18th-21st October 2018.
2. Open Water Festival
Forget your local pool – every year, Barbados hosts the swimming event of a lifetime.
The island’s picturesque Carlisle bay comes alive in early November as hundreds of swimmers from around the world flock to its picture-perfect beaches and crystal-clear waters for a series of fun races.
The protected marine bay makes for quite the unique destination too with its bustling seaport – ideal if you don’t want to swim but want to soak up the atmosphere.
There’s a real sense of camaraderie, not to mention there are races for all abilities; choose from 1.5km, 5km and 10km swims.
When is it? 7th-11th November 2018.
3. Run Barbados Marathon Weekend
If you love running, then this dreamy race needs to be on your radar, especially if you’re thinking of escaping the dreary wintry weather for sunnier climates.
After all, you’ll get to run while taking in epic views as well as discovering some of the island’s prettiest sights and historic landmarks.
Choose from a 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon race and take on the the thrilling course which includes Bay Street, Carlisle Bay and the historic former colonial seaport of Bridgetown, a UNESCO World heritage Site.
When is it? 7th-9th December 2018.
4. Mitsubishi Electric Rugby Barbados World 7s
Previously known as the Tobago 7s, the Rugby International Rugby Sevens tournament moved to Barbados in 2016, and it’s a hit with both islanders and tourists.
There are women’s and men’s tournaments from U-20 matches (eight teams) to Senior matches (12 teams) to watch, as well as a wide array of exciting events including Segway Polo and Racing, as well as community service projects.
This year it’s currently scheduled right after the Run Barbados Marathon, so why not make a sporty getaway out of it?
Oh and for the more festive among you, there’ll be plenty of Christmas events and activities too including carol singing.
When is it? 8th-9th December 2018.
5. Barbados Polo season
Make the most of the laidback atmosphere Barbados is famous for, as you enjoy one of the island’s most popular events.
This family-friendly affair is a hit with parents and children alike, with crowds gathering to watch local and visiting polo clubs face off in the fun-filled tournament.
When is it? 1st January-31st May 2019.
6. Barbados Sailing Week
Get ready for a week packed with sailing and partying at this iconic event, fuelled by Mount Gay Rum.
Everyone from experienced sailors to amateurs flock to the island every year for to take on the epic course that kicks off from Barbados Cruising Club through to Carlisle Bay, before heading off into the ocean round the top of the island, in the Atlantic and back via East Point to the finish line.
Not a sailor? There’s plenty on for spectators thanks to the shore-side parties and festivities.
When is it? 16th-24th January 2019.
7. Sugar and Rum Season
Celebrate the best of Barbados’ unique heritage and culture, which has long boasted strong links to the production of sugar and rum.
Throughout the season there’ll be plenty on across the island; think fascinating rum distillery tours, scrumptious sugar and rum cooking classes, dazzling mixology shows, and a host of lectures sure to be a hit with history buffs.
Meanwhile, a host of hotels and spas will offer up special sugar and rum-inspired treatments, cocktails and fine dining menus.
For something really special, why not embark on one of the Sugar and Rum walking tours of Bridgetown too?
When is it? 15th February – 31st March 2019.