Warwick and Southampton Parishes
Bermuda’s most panoramically scenic parishes, with clifftop views of surf-tossed coastlines on one side and the Great Sound’s archipelago on the other, Warwick and Southampton project the quintessential Bermuda experience. The most recognizable images, those that sell the island in magazine layouts, TV ads, and postcards, are often captured here.
Full-blast Waikiki-esque fun in the sun? Check. Secluded azure grottoes? Check. Kitesurfing, golf, tennis, scuba, spas? Ditto. Beaches, water sports, and big-resort indulgences are the key draws for these parishes, whether you’re stopping off for a swim while driving west, or choosing them as home base for a Bermuda stay.
While shopping is limited to convenience stores, groceries, and retail outlets within hotels, and entertainment is almost exclusively of the outdoor variety, both parishes offer food, sports, and accommodations galore.
Sprawling westward between Paget and Sandys, Warwick and Southampton encompass undulating terrain scattered with residential neighborhoods, farmland, nature reserves, hotels, guesthouses, and national parks, to which the miles of south-facing beaches and coastal dunes belong. The two parishes are dotted with historic properties, as well as modest cottages tucked down meandering tributaries bearing soporific names like Sleepy Hollow Lane, Rose Glen, and Tamarind Vale.
When Bermudians talk about going “up de country,” they mean heading west to Somerset through these parishes. There is a choice of routes to do this. Harbour Road on its northern boundary is one of Warwick’s main arteries. It’s a wall-hugging route reminiscent of narrow, sidewalk-free lanes in British seaside towns, meandering from the end of Hamilton Harbour around part of the Great Sound’s southern rim. The serpentine journey poses a dilemma for scooter drivers: Sure, the scenery is alluring, but take your eyes off the road for a second, and you might miss the next hairpin turn—a somewhat common occurrence, based on the number of patched holes in the road’s low wraparound wall. Harbour Road represents one of the island’s most sought-after addresses; hemmed by centuries-old mansions, the drive offers coveted water views and spectacular sunsets.
Near the Southampton border, Harbour Road connects via Burnt House Hill to Middle Road, which, as its name suggests, runs through the belly of the parish. The busy, low-lying route offers few pretty vistas but lots of local interest as traffic whisks Bermudians to and from sports clubs, grocery stores, schools, and residential neighborhoods. South Shore Road, with its wide curves and convenient hilltop pull-over areas, is the most dramatic vantage point from which to admire both parishes’ tumbling dunes, sweeping beach views, and reef-dotted ocean expanses that reveal an intoxicating palette of blues, from swimming-pool turquoise to midnight navy. During the spring, migrating humpback whales—or at least their blowholes—are sometimes visible on the horizon beyond the inshore reefs.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition