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All the Reasons St. Nicholas Abbey in Barbados Is an Amazing Must Visit!


St. Nicholas Abbey in Barbados is one of the oldest standing sugar plantations in the world. Barbados was one of the largest exporters of sugar cane, leading the island to also become the inventor of rum. Though no longer an exporter of sugar cane, the new owners of St. Nicholas Abbey have developed new life into this 300-year-old home by adding a rum distillery and train ride around the property. If you’re visiting the island, St. Nicholas Abbey in Barbados is a must-visit.

During our time in Barbados staying at Casablanca Villas, they provide an amazing concierge service (Sarah Young Concierge) that arranges an itinerary with all the best places to visit on the island. Given the long and cruel history of plantations, I was a bit hesitant about the experience. However, the tour of the house is really focused on the architecture and historic relics that have been passed down to each owner. There is also a new rum distillery, rum tasting, and a steam train ride through the property that is not to be missed.


History of St. Nicholas Abbey in Barbados

The original St. Nicholas Abbey in Barbados was built in 1658. Its design is known in the world of architecture as Jacobean and it is one of just three Jacobean-style mansions remaining in the Western Hemisphere. Located in the hills of St. Peter, St. Nicholas Abbey encompasses over 400 acres of undulating sugar cane fields, lush tropical gullies, mahogany forests, and formal gardens.

St. Nicholas Abbey was originally a sugar plantation and continued producing sugar until the 17th century. It later also began exporting syrup and molasses, which eventually led to the discovery of rum. Slaves on sugar plantations invented rum by learning that molasses could be fermented into the popular Caribbean alcohol we all know and love today.


The Current Owners of St. Nicholas Abbey

St. Nicholas Abbey has only had a few owners over the years, five families to be exact. The most recent owner, renowned Barbadian architect Larry Warren, purchased the property in 2006. Since then, they have overseen a meticulous restoration of the property as an operating sugar plantation. While restoring the property, the Warren Family also built a new addition while still keeping with the same design. The new editions include a complete rum distillery with a new line of St. Nicholas Rums that guests can sample as well as the Heritage Railway.


New Rum Distillery

Barbados has been credited with inventing rum in the 17th century, when plantation workers experimented with fermenting molasses, a byproduct of sugar production, into alcohol. As part of the St. Nicholas Abbey renovations, The Warren Family has added a rum distillery to the property.

Visitors can tour the new rum distillery and enjoy rum tastings of St. Nicholas Abbey’s very own rum brand. There are 5 different rums available on the property aged from 5 years up to 23 years, including a white rum.

After the rum tastings, there is also a lovely cafe enclosed in a beautiful tropical rainforest setting.


Heritage Railway

One of my favorite new additions from The Warren Family is the new steam train, Heritage Railway. which was completed in 2018. The narrated tour takes you past the historic St Nicholas Abbey Great House, around the lake, and through the mature mahogany woodlands. The tour culminates at Cherry Tree Hill, an elevated point offering breathtaking highland views of the island’s rugged east coast. The round-trip tour takes approximately one hour and is a must-do when visiting St. Nicholas Abbey in Barbados.

During our visit, the owner’s son, Simon Warren, also let us know they plan on expanding the railway even further. The new expansion will be finished within the year.


Best Views in Barbados

Finally, if you’re looking for an amazing photo opportunity, Cherry Hill at St. Nicholas Abby is known for having the best views in all of Barbados. In fact, if you take the Heritage Railway excursion, the train ride stops at the top of Cherry Hill. Many people visit St. Nicholas Abby just to visit this viewpoint.

Why Visit Barbados

Barbados is one of the most beautiful and luxurious Caribbean islands with high-end shops and the most wonderful fine dining restaurants. Barbados is also not prone to hurricanes making it a great winter escape for the US, Canada, and Northern Europe. Direct flights can be booked from the UK, Miami, New York, and Toronto.

Be sure to visit our complete list of the 10 Most Awesome Things to do in Barbados for ideas on planning the perfect Caribbean vacation. St. Nicholas Abby is one of my number one recommendations and is perfect for the entire family. You can learn about the most historical plantation in Barbados, learn how rum is made, enjoy a rum tasting, grab lunch, escape on a gorgeous train ride, and enjoy one of the most beautiful views on the entire island. A visit to St. Nicholas Abby in Barbados is an absolute must-visit!

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DSC_1770 cropSondra Barker
I created this site for purveyor of exceptional eats and escapes; our team is always on a journey to find the perfect bites in the most wonderful places.

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Sondra Barker of Cuisine and Travel is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to recommendations on All Products recommended are from my own opinions and experiences.

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