Southampton Parish lays claim to a close Shakespearean connection: Like the island’s eight other parishes, it was named for one of the colony’s original investors, in this case, the Earl of Southampton. Henry Wriothesley was a nobleman, soldier, and courtier, as well as a patron of William Shakespeare. In turn, Wriothesley had a poem dedicated to his generosity by the Elizabethan playwright, whose play The Tempest was supposedly inspired by the 1609 shipwreck that led to Bermuda’s colonization by the English.
If he had actually laid eyes on the parish, Shakespeare would not have been disappointed. Southampton is Bermuda’s most sweepingly scenic region, a crescendo of breathtaking seascapes, azure reef lines, heartbreakingly beautiful beaches, and top-of-the-world lookouts like Gibbs Hill Lighthouse.
The Southampton Parish is heavily populated with residential neighborhoods, many capitalizing on the unrivaled views and rugged coastline. It is also home to a large chain hotel (the Fairmont Southampton Princess), as well as award-winning smaller resorts (The Reefs, Pompano Beach Club), all claiming stunning beachfront properties or precipitous Malibu-style real estate. In fact, South Shore Road through Southampton could be considered Bermuda’s version of California’s Pacific Coast Highway, a curvaceous thoroughfare hugging the shoreline and hemmed by horizons worthy of a movie set.
Getting to Southampton Parish
Catch the No. 7 (Hamilton–Barnes Corner/Dockyard via South Shore) to get to the beaches or the lighthouse, or the No. 8 (Hamilton–Barnes Corner/Somerset via Middle Road) for points along the parish’s harborside (buses on both routes run every 15 minutes most of the day). The fare to all points in the parish is $3.
Busy with weekday commuters, the fast ferry service Sea Express (tel. 441/295-4506, www.seaexpress.bm) stops near the parish border with Sandys at Rockaway, Southampton. This ferry stop is accessible off Middle Road, opposite the Port Royal Golf Club. Ferries depart Hamilton every 15 minutes at peak commuter times, every 90 minutes at other times (no service Sun.). The fare is $4 adults, $2 children 5–16, kids under 5 free (no cash or change accepted; tickets or tokens only).
Oleander Cycles (Southampton branch, 8 Middle Rd., tel. 441/234-0629, 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.) rents scooters for exploring the parish.
Taxi stands are located at all the major resorts and cabs can easily be obtained for transport to and from restaurants, but the logistics of catching cabs to the beach and back are more difficult, without prior arrangements. Buses are far more convenient.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition