View from cruise ship of West End and marina at old Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda.

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Royal Naval Dockyard

Top choice in Bermuda

When the British were no longer able to use ports in their former American colonies, they chose this site as their 'Gibraltar of the West'. In addition to the superb Bermuda Maritime Museum, Bermuda's largest fortifications comprise a prison, a Victorian victualling yard, barracks-turned-mall, several restaurants, craft markets, manmade beach and snorkel park, and the island's most comprehensive water-sports center.

The Keep, the sprawling fortress on the edge of the dockyard, was built of limestone blocks in Georgian style and was first used by the British navy as a base to launch their raid on Washington, DC, in 1814. It later served as a North Atlantic base during both World Wars but was abandoned as a costly outpost in 1951. Since then the buildings – including eight historic buildings, old munitions warehouses and the gorgeous Commissioner's House – have been renovated and given a second life as shops and museums.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Bermuda attractions

1. Victualling Yard

In a state of genteel disrepair and lined with palmetto palms, this Victorian victualing yard is where the Royal Navy stored its food and drink supplies,…

2. Snorkel Park Beach

0.12 MILES

This small, manmade beach in the Dockyard typically heaves with families and snorkelers. The shallow water is good for kids and the on-site Hammerheads…

3. National Museum of Bermuda

0.12 MILES

If you only see one museum in Bermuda, make it this. Taking up the entirety of the Dockyard's 19th-century fortifications, it's divided into two main…

4. Casemate Prison

0.34 MILES

Towering over the entrance to the Dockyard, this limestone edifice used to be Bermuda's prison until the early '90s. The prison was originally a military…

5. Spanish Point Park

1.82 MILES

Popular with picnicking and card-playing locals, this tree-fringed park sits on the tip of a promontory at the entrance of the channel to Hamilton Harbour…

6. Daniel's Head Beach Park

3.07 MILES

This peninsula juts out to the west of Somerset Village and comprises two beautiful beaches, one of which forms a half-moon around a tranquil lagoon…

7. Bermuda National Gallery

3.62 MILES

Upstairs inside the City Hall, Bermuda's premier art gallery stages regularly changing exhibitions by contemporary Bermudian artists. Paintings,…

8. City Hall & Arts Centre

3.64 MILES

This striking whitewashed building in the heart of Hamilton looks like an oversized cottage; it was designed by renowned Bermudian architect Wil Onions,…