Behind St. John’s Cathedral , at the southern end of Regent Street and facing the Southern Foreshore, is the House of Culture museum (www.nichbelize.org , 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri., US$5) in the old Government House, which, before Hurricane Hattie and the ensuing construction of Belmopan , was the home and office of the governor general, the official representative of the Queen of England. (Today’s governor general can be found in Belmopan, at Belize House.)
For a long time these grounds were used as a guesthouse for visiting VIPs and a venue for social functions. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip stayed here in 1994. The elegant wooden buildings (built 1812–1814) are said to have been designed by acclaimed English architect Christopher Wren. Sprawling lawns and wind-brushed palms facing the sea surround Government House; outdoor functions and ceremonies are still held here.
Wander through the wood structure and enjoy the period furniture, silverware, and glassware collections—plus a selection of paintings and sculptures by modern Belizean artists. There are special events, concerts, and art shows throughout the year. Stroll the grounds, on the water’s edge, and enjoy the solitude.
Also on-site is the headquarters for the National Kriol Council, whose resource center you may find interesting; it includes a few Kriol language phrasebooks for sale.