Southampton Parish is at the lower west end of Bermuda between Sandys Parish and Warwick Parish. It was named after the 3rd Earl of Southampton, Henry Wriothesley. The parish covers an area just over two and a quarter square miles and has a population of approximately 6,500. The parish is well-known for having wonderful beaches.
The beaches of Southampton Parish include Horseshoe Bay Beach, Church Bay, and West Whale Bay. Horseshoe Bay Beach was rated by TripAdvisor as the #8 best beach in the Caribbean in 2019. It is a very popular beach and has lifeguards stationed, which is unusual in Bermuda. In addition it has public restrooms, showers, beach rental concessions, and a small café.
Hazards at this beach include rip currents and Portuguese Man o’War. Church Bay is a small beach known as being the best snorkeling location in Bermuda with its coral reefs located within a few hundred feet of the shoreline. West Whale Bay is a tiny, secluded beach from which whales can be seen migrating from March until May.
There are a few notable attractions in Southampton Parish, particularly Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, the oldest cast iron lighthouse in the world. The 185 steps of the lighthouse can be climbed to get a panoramic view of Bermuda’s coastline. There is a gift shop and restaurant available on-site. Evans Bay Pond is a seven and a half acre nature reserve where visitors can see Bermuda cedars, herons, toads, sponges, lizards, and so on. Whale Bay Fort was built in the mid-1700s. Although the fort no longer exists, the battery’s walls, underground magazine rooms, and barracks are still in place and can be explored free of charge.
There are two excellent golf courses in Southampton Parish: Port Royal Golf Course, one of the best public golf courses in the world, and Turtle Hill, located at the Fairmont Southampton. Bermuda Golf Academy does not have a regular golf course but does have a driving range to practice on. Port Royal Golf Course also has a tennis club with four all-weather courts.
There are a number of restaurants in Southampton Parish, unfortunately very few are inexpensive. Wok Express, Wickets Brasserie, Gulfstream, and Dining Room are moderately priced. Wok Express serves Chinese and sushi take-away. Wickets is at the Fairmont Southampton and serves Bermudian and American fare. Gulfstream is opposite the entrance of Horseshoe Bay Beach and serves Italian and seafood dishes. The Dining Room is located at Gibbs Hill Lighthouse.
The Fairmont Southampton is home to many restaurants including Newport Gastropub, Ocean Club, Waterlot Inn, and Bacci. The Reefs resort is home to Coconuts, Ocean Echo, and Royston’s Restaurant. Pompano Beach Club houses Ocean Grill, the Cedar Room, and Coral Reef Café.
There are three luxury resorts in Southampton Parish: Pompano Beach Club, The Reefs, and The Fairmont Southampton. Pompano Beach Club is located on a cliff and offers a spa and freshwater heated pool as well as rooms with ocean views. The Reefs is also on a cliff and overlooks a private beach. The Reefs features a spa, health club, and outdoor pool. The Fairmont Southampton is a large luxury resort with a shopping arcade, spa, golf course, six tennis courts, outdoor heated pool, a health club, and private beach.