Government House, also known as the House of Culture, is one of the most beautiful colonial buildings in Belize City. The stately mansion was built in 1812 to house the colonial government of British Honduras, but it was later turned into a residence for the Governor General. Today, it is a creative community center.
As one of the country’s most important historical and political landmarks, the house also provides space for a variety of events. It hosts art exhibitions, music festivals, concerts, and open-air theater. It is also used as a backdrop for weddings and other social functions. Lavish celebrations have been held here, and this is where the Union Jack was lowered and the Belize flag raised in 1981 when independence was declared.
The building has undergone several renovations, but its colonial charm remains. Visitors can still admire polished silver, rich mahogany finishes, antique musical instruments, and period art and furniture. Outside in the grassy gardens, cannon flank the front doors and Baron Bliss’ tender, the Sea King, showcases the skills of Belizean shipwrights. Tours of Belize City typically include a stop at the Government House.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Government House was opened to the public in 1998 and renamed the House of Culture.
- As part of the ongoing Belize City House of Culture and Downtown Rejuvenation Project, the house may be closed to the public for a period of time, so check the schedule before visiting.
- There are several Houses of Culture located around Belize, each hosting cultural activities.
- This sight is popular with birders, as the surrounding vegetation is home to many indigenous birds as well as migratory species.
How to Get There
Government House is located at the southern end of Regent Street in downtown Belize City. It’s a 15-minute walk from the McFadzean and Z line bus stations. Bus tours of the city typically include the house on the itinerary. It’s a 30-minute drive from the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport.
When to Get There
The house is closed Saturday and Sunday, and on national holidays. Also, due to ongoing renovations, it may be temporarily closed to the public. Be sure to check the schedule before visiting. Many special events are held here including a steel drum concert in celebration of Pan Yaad in September.
St. John’s Cathedral
Right across the street from the House of Culture, at the intersection of Regent and Albert Streets, is St. John’s Cathedral. Dating back to the early 1800s, it is the oldest Anglican church in Central America. City tours usually include a stop here to admire its stained glass windows, mahogany pews, and antique organ.