Bermuda's architecture has been called its only endemic art form, in which the functions of limestone and cedar wood determined the form of Bermuda's buildings.
And Bermuda's unique roofs and water catchment system also helped to create an architectural vernacular which resonates through buildings to today.
That architecture, combined with Bermuda's beauty, spectacular light and combinations of beautiful vistas, water and light, have made the Island a treasured place for local and overseas artists for centuries.
Bermuda was a magnet for some of the world's leading artists at the turn of the 20th Century and many works by Winslow Homer, Georgia O'Keeffe and more have been "brought home" to the Island.
There's nowhere better to to learn about Bermuda's early architecture than in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of St George's.
Start in King's Square. The Town Hall is the Square's most iconic building, constructed in 1802. the ground floor, once a market, now boats fine cedar work furniture for the Corporation of St George's members.
From the Town Hall, visit the Globe hotel, now a National Trust Museum and gift shop. Architecturally, it is notable for its gable roof which spanned two rooms and its four massive buttress chimneys. In the American Civil War the Confederate shipping agent used the building as his office, and an exhibit now tells the story of Bermuda's involvement with blockade runners.
Across York Street from the Globe Hotel is St Peter's Church, the oldest continuously operating protestant church in the Americas. The current St Peter's is the third structure built on the site of the original church.
Other sites in St George’s include Mitchell House, home of the St George’s Historical Society. Renowned for its welcoming arms entry, the interior boasts several Edward James paintings, a traditional kitchen and the Featherbed Art Studio is located in the building as well.
On Water Street, you will find Tucker House, home of Bermuda’s Tucker family for centuries, and the location of the Bermuda National Trust’s archaeology display as well as fine displays of Bermuda portraits, furniture, china and a traditional kitchen.
Leave St George’s for St David’s where you can visit Carter House, home of the St. David's Island Historical Society and a replica of a Settler’s Cottage.
Spend the day in Bermuda’s capital, Hamilton, and central parishes, including:
Start at the Hamilton Princess, the grand dame of Bermuda hotels, which still retains many of its 19th Century features. The interior walls are decorated with the owners’ extraordinary modern art collection.
As you leave the hotel and head into Hamilton, on the left you will see the headquarters of Bacardi International, based on a design by Mies van der Rohe.
In Hamilton, visit the Bermuda Historical Society in historic Par la Ville on Queen Street before walking up to Church Street and the Bermuda National Gallery and the Bermuda Society of Arts Gallery, both located in the iconic City Hall, designed by Bermuda’s most renowned architect, Wil Onions.
Also on Church Street, you can see the Anglican Cathedral, Bermuda’s largest Gothic building and the Italianate Sessions House, where Bermuda’s Supreme Court and House of Assembly are located. On the way out of Hamilton, take a moment to admire the Palladian design of the Cabinet Office, set in its own grounds on Front Street.
Out of Hamilton, visit the Botanical Gardens, where you can see Camden, official home of Bermuda's Premier, and visit the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, home of art made in Bermuda by artists including Winslow Homer and Henry Moore. The Gallery also features and encourages contemporary artists.
Not far away on Pomander Road is Waterville, headquarters of the Bermuda National Trust, which has a famous front porch and also features a fabulous rose garden. The National Trust is also the owner of Verdmont in Smith’s Parish, which is well worth a visit.
Visit the Royal Naval Dockyard. Take the ferry from Hamilton or St George's to Dockyard. When you get off, walk to The National Museum of Bermuda , formerly the Bermuda Maritime Museum. Browse around the Queen's Exhibition Hall and the other Keep Yard exhibits before walking up the ramparts to the Commissioner's House where the Hall of History mural by artist Graham Foster is among the highlights.
Commissioner’s House was the first buildings in the world built with the a cast iron frame, with the frame being prefabricated in England.
Leaving the National Museum, stop in the Bermuda Arts Centre, an artists collective, and in the Craft Market, wgere you can buy a range of Bermuda-made goods. All of the buildings in Dockyard were built using slave or convict labour with the Victualling yard and the Clocktower being two of the most spectacular.
Dirving out of Dockyard, note Moresby House, formerly HMS Malabar, which has been recently restored. Driving through Somerset, stop at Heydon Chapel, a former labourer’s cottage converted into a chapel.