A trip to St. Vincent wouldn’t be complete without exploring the capital city Kingstown. Lovingly referred to as the “City of Arches”, Kingstown is located on the south west coast of St Vincent. From the oldest botanical gardens in the western hemisphere to the most magnificent view 600 ft above seas level.
Here are our Top 5 things to do in our nation’s capital Kingstown.
Kingstown is a lively town and is in close proximity of the wharf which adds extra vitality and colour to the small but bustling capital. Arches, cobbled stone streets, magnificent churches and historic stone buildings blend with the functional and the modern.
1. Fort Charlotte
Constructed in 1806, sits on berkshire hill 600 feet above sea level is the picturesque historic Fort Charlotte. It is located just to the west of Kingstown.
This historic fort with spectacular views overlooks Kingstown, Bequia and few of the other Grenadine islands.
Fort Charlotte was a significant fortification that housed around 600 troops and a battery of over 30 canons. The canons were mostly pointed inland, to defend against Caribs. With wonderful panoramic views of Kingstown it is certainly worth a visit.
2. Botanical Gardens
Also making it’s way into our Top 5 things to do in Kingstown is the Beautiful and lush Botanical Gardens.
Located on the northern outskirts of Kingstown are the Botanical Gardens. Peaceful, lush, green and colourful, the garden is home to a wealth of tropical plants, flowers, trees and birds.
Occupying 20 acres, the Gardens were created in 1765 by General Robert Melville, governor of the British Caribbean islands, as a plant breeding centre and ‘to provide medicinal plants for the military and improve the life and economy of the colony’.
Three acres were set aside for the established of a Government House. The Botanical Gardens is the oldest of its kind in the western hemisphere, and celebrated its 240th anniversary in 2005. On February 6th 2012 preparations for the restoration of the site were unveiled as part of the celebration of its 250th anniversary in 2015.
3. Kingstown historical buildings
Kingstown has many buildings dating back to the 19th century. A walk through our City of Arches is a pleasant and enjoyable experience.
St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral
St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral of the Assumption presbytery and school is a combination of interesting architectural styles dating back to the 1800s. A steeple and sanctuary were added in 1877. During this century massive renovations undertaken by a Benedictine monk resulted in the present eclectic architectural style.
St George’s Cathedral
The nearby St George’s Anglican Cathedral, also built in the 1800s and has impressive stained glass windows. St. George’s Cathedral was dedicated in 1820, financed in part from the sale of lands taken from the Caribs.
The nave, the lower stages of the tower and the galleried interior are of the Georgian period. The two Victorians transepts were added between 1880 and 1887. Ironically, under the chandelier is a large stone slab memorializing Major Leith, who allegedly duped and killed Carib Paramount Chief Chatoyer in 1795.
Located a little further along Grenville Street is the very pretty Kingstown Methodist Church.
The Methodist Church
In 1790 the Methodist missionaries purchased an old Roman Catholic Church and the congregation of many freed slaves helped to build the Methodist Church that stands there today. The church was dedicated in 1841. The belfry, a more recent addition, was erected in 1907.
The Old Public Library
Opposite the post office on Halifax St. is the old library which was built in 1909 through a donation of £2000 by the famous American philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie. The lovely Carnegie Building is now shared by the St Vincent National Trust and the Alliance Française, and was declared a protected National Heritage Site with effect from February 4th 2009. The new library has moved to Lower Long Lane.
Other heritage buildings in Kingstown are the Court House, Kingstown Police Headquarters and the Peace Memorial Hall.
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4. Visiting the Kingstown Markets
Kingstown’s main produce market is located between Hillsborough Kingstown Market Street and Bedford Street. The best days to go are on Fridays and Saturdays when hucksters and vendors from all over the island bring fresh fruits, vegetables and ground provisions to sell.
Along Bay Street, next to the main bus terminal, is the fish market. Definitely worth a visit, seasonal catches include mahi mahi, bonito and tuna. Watch vendors chop fish into steaks with large machetes, and deftly scale and clean them.
5. Kingstown waterfront
Last but not least making it’s way into out Top 5 things to do in Kingstown is a tour of the Kingstown waterfront.
Along the seafront is Bay Street with the wharf, fish market, bus terminals, police station and The Financial Complex which house The Prime Minister’s office.
The cruise ship and ferry terminals are located on the southern end of the bay, near to the main wharf. Even without cruise ship and ferry passengers coming and going, this area is usually very busy with traders, trucks and men pushing large wooden barrows back and forth between wharf, warehouses and market.
Hope you enjoyed and make sure to tick off these top 5 things to do in Kingstown on your next visit to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Comment and let us know if you have visited before or if you are planning to visit.
If you have any questions or need more information about our beautiful island St. Vincent let us know as well.
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