St Peter’s Church
Built in 1725 of red brick, this church is handsome within, despite its faux-brick facade of cement. Note the floor paved with original...
Old Gaol House
The only fully restored historical structure in town is the sturdy Old Gaol House, made of cut stone on Gaol Alley. It predates the 1692...
Old Naval Hospital
Behind the old garrison wall off New St stands the dilapidated two-story Old Naval Hospital, built by Bowling Ironworks in Bradford, UK,...
This is a funky watering hole drawing locals who wash in and out, overindulge in white rum, munch on fried fish and pick fights. It has...
Red Jack Restaurant
Offering gratifying panoramic views of Kingston Bay from its outdoor waterfront setting and top-notch seafood, this is Port Royal’s more...
Fort Charles information
Jamaica’s latitude and longitude are measured from the flagstaff of Fort Charles, a weathered redoubt originally laid in 1655. Among Port Royal’s five original forts, only Fort Charles withstood the 1692 earthquake, though it sank 1m. Originally washed by the sea on three sides, the fort is now firmly landlocked due to the gradual silt build-up.
At its peak, 104 guns protected the fort. Many cannons still point out from their embrasures along the restored battlements.
In the center of the courtyard stands the small, well-presented Maritime Museum , containing a miscellany of objects – from glassware and pottery to weaponry – retrieved from the sunken city, plus a fabulous model of the Jamaica Producer cargo ship. Horatio Nelson, who later became one of Britain’s greatest naval heroes, lived in the small ‘cockpit’ while stationed here for 30 months.
Behind the museum is the restored raised platform known as Nelson’s Quarterdeck . It was here that the young Nelson was said to keep watch for enemy ships when put in charge of the fort amid fears of a French invasion. Once you climb to the top you’ll agree that it does offer a splendid vantage point. A plaque on the wall of the King’s Battery, to the right of the main entrance of the museum, commemorates his time here.
A small red-brick artillery store, the 1888 Giddy House (so known because it produces a sense of disorientation to people who enter), sits alone amid scrub-covered, wind-blown sand just behind Fort Charles. The 1907 earthquake, however, briefly turned the spit to quicksand and one end of the building sank, leaving the store at a lopsided angle.
Next to the Giddy House is a massive gun emplacement and one of two equally mammoth cannons – part of the easternmost casement of the Victoria & Albert Battery that lined the shore, linked by tunnels. The cannon keeled over in the 1907 earthquake and the second one disappeared.
Museum entry includes a guided tour.