St. Nicholas Abbey Barbados is located in the northern parish of St. Peter. On this property, guests can tour a rum distillery, a plantation house, and a museum that was built in 1658. You can also take a ride on the St. Nicholas Abbey train, also known as the Heritage Railway! If you’re visiting St. Nicholas Abbey, Barbados, here’s what to expect!
About St. Nicholas Abbey, Barbados
St. Nicholas Abbey is a historical plantation property in Northeastern Barbados. It has operated as a sugar plantation since the 17th century and one of the few remaining plantations on the island from this time period.
Contrary to what the name suggests, this isn’t a religious destination. It was named St. Nicholas Abbey by previous owners.
In recent years, the St. Nicholas Abbey Heritage Railway was added to the property. This refurbished train takes visitors around the plantation and up to the Cherry Tree Hill Lookout Point.
St. Nicholas Abbey is a hands-on way for visitors to learn about the fascinating sugar and rum history of Barbados. The owners are working to make this property a self-sustaining plantation so that visitors can enjoy and learn from the estate long into the future.
When To Visit St. Nicholas Abbey
Due to COVID 19, St. Nicholas Abbey has limited visiting hours. For the time being, they are only open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Advanced reservations or bookings are not required. You can simply arrive at the time that works for you and purchase tickets at the entrance gate.
Directions to St. Nicholas Abbey Barbados
The best way to get to St. Nicholas Abbey is by driving or hiring a driver for the day. Directions to St. Nicholas Abbey are available on their official website, and there are road signs for the Abbey marked on most main roads to help you find it.
There aren’t any direct bus routes to St. Nicholas Abbey, but it is possible to see the Abbey as part of an organized tour if you don’t want to arrange your own transportation.
What To See At St. Nicholas Abbey
When you arrive at St. Nicholas Abbey, you’ll purchase a ticket that includes admission to all the attractions on the grounds.
There are five main things to see at St. Nicholas Abbey: the Heritage Railway, the Great House, the rum distillery, the plantation grounds, and the cafe.
Kick off your tour of St. Nicholas Abbey with a ride on the Heritage Railway. Here, you can ride a restored steam engine around the grounds up to Cherry Tree Hill, one of the best viewpoints on Barbados.
On the ride, you’ll listen to a tour guide explain the history of the property and point out impressive natural landmarks. The carriages are open air and there are viewing platforms between cars where you can watch the scenery pass by.
At this time, you don’t need a reservation to ride the Heritage Railway and trains depart 4-5 times per day between 10:00 am and 3:30 pm. (See the daily train schedule here.)
It’s recommended that you arrive at the train station about 20 minutes before your ride. The train station is right across from the main parking area when you arrive. The journey, including the stop at the Cherry Hill Lookout Point, takes about 40 minutes.
The Great House
The Great House is a fascinating piece of history at the St. Nicholas Abbey. Built in 1658, this home is one of the few remaining Jacobean-style mansions and allows visitors to take a walk through a different era.
Inside, guests can see an impressive dining room, drawing room, and study, complete with period furnishings and heirlooms from previous owners.
Outside, visitors can explore the lush gardens and greenery. Just be sure to stay away from the 400-year-old Sandbox tree in the middle of the courtyard, since these fierce trees are poisonous!
The Rum Distillery
As you pass through the courtyard, you’ll see the Terrace Cafe and the St. Nicholas Abbey Rum Distillery. This distillery was created in recent years as a nod to the plantations 350-year sugar and rum heritage.
The St. Nicholas Abbey Rum Distillery sets itself apart by creating small batches and using traditional distillation methods that blend seamlessly into the historical surroundings.
When you visit, you’ll be treated to a tasting of some of their finest rums. They also have bottles of rum and gift sets available for purchase.
St. Nicholas Abbey Terrace Cafe
If you get hungry during your tour of St. Nicholas Abbey, stop by the Terrace Cafe! Located next to the distillery, just beyond the courtyard of the Great House, this cafe looks like it’s nestled deep in the jungle.
You can enjoy typical lunch items like sandwiches and wraps, as well as cocktails, beer, coffee, and tea. Spend some time enjoying the relaxing view of the local flora and fauna surrounding the large outdoor eating space.
The Plantation Grounds
While visiting the St. Nicholas Abbey, you can also spend time exploring the 400-acre plantation grounds.
Home to sugar cane, mahogany forests, herb gardens, tropical flower beds, gullies, and even a Baobab tree, you can see a fine sample of the island’s biodiversity all in one property.
There are also plenty of wild and domesticated animals that call St. Nicholas Abbey home.
Price To Visit St. Nicholas Abbey
Right now, adults can visit St. Nicholas Abbey for $35 Barbados Dollars and children can visit for $10 Barbados Dollars. This price includes access to all the attractions on the property, from the train to the Great House, to the distillery.
St. Nicholas Abbey Cost
- Adults: $35 Barbados Dollars
- Children: $10 Barbados Dollars
You do not need to purchase tickets in advance. When you arrive, you’ll buy tickets at the entrance gate and be directed to a parking lot near the train station. Parking is included in the cost of the ticket.
Final Thoughts Visiting St. Nicholas Abbey
St. Nicholas Abbey provides a unique glimpse into the sugar plantation heritage of Barbados. Perfect for history lovers and rum enthusiasts alike, you won’t want to miss this memorable attraction in Barbados!
Things To Do Near St. Nicholas Abbey Barbados
St. Nicholas Abbey is located in the northern region of the island and is just a short drive from other interesting things to see in Barbados! You can easily combine your visit with a trip to Animal Flower Cave, Cove Bay, or Bathsheba Beach.
Below you’ll find the drive times to these nearby attractions.
- Animal Flower Cave: 20 minutes driving
- Bathsheba Beach: 20 minutes driving
- Cove Bay Viewpoint: 15 minutes driving
Read more about fun things to do in Barbados in this post.