Holetown was the first town in Barbados and was discovered in 1625 by an Englishman called Henry Powell, who was blown off course and discovered Barbados by accident.
He returned to Barbados two years later in 1627 with a group of English settlers who named the area as Jamestown after the then king of England James 1st.
This name only lasted for two years until more settlers arrived and because of the inlet from the sea, they renamed the area Holetown, as it is known today. It soon lost its popularity as a dock once Bridgetown became established as it provided a much safer harbor for ships of that time. Holetown is today the third largest town in Barbados.
Holetown has the perfect mix of history with modern day living; with a beautiful white sandy beach, the tranquil and calm Caribbean Sea, both of which are timeless. Then you have some excellent world-famous restaurants, with exquisite cuisine, giving you some once in a lifetime dining experiences. All this nestles neatly in a backdrop of green hills and a historic town with narrow streets and relics from past years.
In the main Holetown complex, you will find the police station, library, museum (which is only open during the Holetown Festival – see below) and a monument to commemorate those who lost their lives in World Wars I & II.
There is also an interesting memorial to celebrate 300 years since the first settlers arrived in Holetown, which was erected in 1905 and the people of Holetown had a huge party to celebrate. However, somebody made a huge mistake as the 300 year anniversary was actually in 1927, so when the 350th anniversary came around in 1977, a new plaque was erected. This is all built on the site of what was the old James Fort, and some of the iron cannons are still in position.
Holetown is also home to the first Anglican Church, St. James Parish Church, which was built in 1628. The original building was made from wood and rebuilt from stone later that century, but over the years through hurricanes and fire, only an iron bell and the baptismal font remain. The structure that stands today dates back to around 1789. Holetown was also home to the first five plantations in Barbados.
Holetown is located on the west coast of Barbados and has the west coast road running through it with luxury hotels, restaurants, and duty-free shopping can be found at the Sunset Crest shopping centers. There is also the Chattel House village complex with many quaint boutiques selling designer clothes, tourist souvenirs, and luxury items.
On this same stretch of road you will also find the West Coast Mall, here you will find some fast food restaurants and a supermarket. So head to Holetown if you fancy shopping.
Each year on the second weekend in February the Holetown Festival is held, which is a weeklong carnival of song and dance with both English and African influence to celebrate the town’s heritage. You can enjoy live music, stage performances, historical presentations, and street parades.
Further up the coast just past Holetown, you will find Folkestone Marine Park, which is excellent for snorkeling, diving or a trip in a glass bottom boat for a glimpse of some beautiful marine life. They also have a visitor center with educational displays on the reef in that area. Please read our article below on Folkestone Marine Park.
Also in the Holetown area, you will find the Portvale Sugar Museum, which pays tribute to the most critical export in Barbados’ history. For a full description of the sugar museum, please see our article below.
So if you are looking for an excellent place to eat, shop, and some great places to stay or if you want to enjoy some history and culture, then Holetown is the place to visit.
Author: Brett Callaghan