On the Caribbean island of Antigua, Betty’s Hope is a former sugar plantation established by Sir Christopher Codrington in the 1600s. Now a museum and historic landmark, the site is dedicated to the memory and lives of the slaves who endured inhumane hardships on the island.
The site of the former plantation is scattered with ruins from the 1600s, including a stillhouse, distillery, estate house, and two large stone windmills. A small on-site museum displays maps, artifacts, and a diorama that provide context about how sugar was processed, as well as the conditions under which the plantation’s slaves lived and worked. The landmark’s wide open space with views of the ocean creates an atmosphere for solemn contemplation about Antigua’s history.
While the site is accessible via car, all-terrain vehicles are recommended, as some roads leading to the plantation are not paved. Jeep and 4x4 tours ensure you visit without the hassle of driving or navigating, and often include stops at Devil’s Bridge, Shirley Heights Lookout, and Nelson’s Dockyard.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Betty’s Hope is ideal for those wanting to delve deeper into the history of Antigua.
- During summer, dress in light clothes and wear plenty of sun protection.
- Betty’s Hope offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
- The site is accessible to wheelchair users, though dirt paths can be bumpy.
How to Get There
Betty’s Hope is located off of Pares Village Main Road in St. Peter Parish on the east side of Antigua. It’s about a 20-minute drive from St. John’s via Sir Sydney Walling Highway.
When to Get There
Antigua is busiest from December to April, when storms and hurricanes are less frequent. For a quieter trip, visit Antigua during the off-season, from May to November. Betty’s Hope sits off the beaten path and therefore rarely feels crowded.
One of the two windmills still standing on the Betty’s Hope plantation site was restored in the 1990s. Its cane-crushing machinery and sails now look as they would have during the height of the windmill’s use. While the windmill is functional, its stone structure is extremely fragile, so demonstrations occur only on special occasions.