Steeped in history and old world charm, the Royal Naval Dockyard is a must see location when you pay a visit to Bermuda, with the west end attraction combining centuries old history with modern amenities.
Locally, the area is simply called Dockyard, with the name referring to hundreds of years of history dating all the way back to the American War of Independence; when Britain lost that conflict, the British Royal Navy had no base between Nova Scotia and the West Indies, and work began on creating a naval base in Bermuda.
The rest, as they say, is history, and only a personal visit to the Dockyard area will truly tell you the story of a tiny place on a tiny island that played major strategic roles in so many wars, both real and cold.
Dockyard officially closed as a naval base in 1995, and now its victualing yards are pubs, art centres, shops, glass works, a cinema, and museums, while the old officers’ quarters have been turned into homes.
Where warships used to dock or come to be repaired, small boats now tie up in the marina and the majestic Commissioner’s House, where you will find a mural depicting 400 years of Bermuda history, is open to the public after being painstakingly restored.
Dockyard has now become a community in its own right, serving as a fine representation of how history can be maintained alongside modern life.
Dockyard also plays host to the Bermuda National Museum, which garners approximately 50,000 visitors annually, making it the most visited museum in Bermuda.
There are more than 30,000 objects in the museum’s diverse collection, including photographs, documents, plans, books, oral testimonies, archaeological specimens, boats, ship models, and a wide range of maritime artifacts.
Dockyard also is home to the Clocktower Mall, which was originally built in the 19th century by the British Royal Navy, and is now home to a variety of boutiques, shops, and restaurants offering everything from handmade Bermuda goods, linens, and clothes, along with a wide variety of food.
The area retains an old world charm, with beautifully restored cobblestone floors and two large clocks looming above the structure. The South Tower is a regular clock, while the North Tower was a tide clock to mark high tide; valuable information to help seafarers avoid the treacherous Bermuda reefs.
The Clocktower Mall is open from 9am to 6pm seven days a week from April through November, and is also open until 10pm every Monday night during the summer; these summertime hours coincide with the Destination Dockyard event, which features additional vendors and special entertainment.
If you are arriving by cruise ship, chances are it will berth in Dockyard, which is the island’s major cruise port. If you are staying elsewhere on the island, you can access Dockyard by bus, ferry, taxi ,or on a rental scooter.
Dockyard is located on bus routes #7 and #8, which both begin in the City of Hamilton, and is also accessible by ferry. The blue ferry route travels from Hamilton to Dockyard, while the seasonal orange route runs between St. George’s and Dockyard.
Thanks to modern technology, you can get a real life view of this Bermuda attraction, with 24/7 live video streaming from Dockyard available here.
Information on some of the various attractions in Dockyard is below; simply click an arrow to view more.
National Museum of Bermuda
Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the National Museum of Bermuda – formerly known as the Bermuda Maritime Museum – in 1975.
Pay a visit and explore 500 years of local history and culture, displayed in military buildings within the 10 acre Keep citadel, including the award-winning restored Commissioner’s House.
There are more than 30,000 objects in the museum’s diverse collections, including photographs, documents, plans, books, oral testimonies, archaeological specimens, boats, ship models, and a wide range of maritime artifacts.
The largest museum in Bermuda, it garners approximately 50,000 visitors annually, making it the most visited museum in Bermuda.
The Museum’s Spring and Summer Schedule sees the Museum open from 9.30am – 5.00pm every day, with the last admission at 3.00pm. The admission fee is $10.00 for adults, $8 for seniors, while children under 13 are free.
Royal Naval Dockyard
Bermuda Craft Market
Offering wares from more than 60 local vendors, the huge Bermuda Craft Market is a craft lover’s dream. There is very little in the way of handmade goods that you cannot find here, with items like fabric art, glassware, candles, carved wood, needlework, quilts, and much more all available at very fair prices.
Royal Naval Dockyard
Telephone: 441 234 3208
Fax: 441 234 3327
Hours: 9:30 AM – 6 PM daily from May to October; 10:30 AM – 5 PM daily from November to March
Claywork may be practiced less and less, but that only serves to make its beauty that much more unique and compelling, and the Bermuda Clayworks studio is a lesson in this truth. By paying a visit, you’ll get a look at works like vases, dishes, and sculptures, each created by a local resident, and each boasting its own bit of Bermudian flavour.
Royal Naval Dockyard
Telephone: 441 234 5116
Fax: 441 234 3136
Hours: 9 AM – 6 PM daily from April to October; 9 AM – 5 PM daily from November to March
Bermuda Arts Centre
One of the premiere exhibit areas for local artists, the Bermuda Arts Centre at Dockyard is a fantastic place to take in local works, with frequently changing exhibits including work like paintings, sculptures, and much more, all coming together to give you an intense taste of Bermuda art.
Telephone: 441 234 2809
Fax: 441 234 0504
Hours: 10 AM- 5 PM, seven days a week
Dolphin Quest: Swim With Dolphins
Located in Dockyard, Dolphin Quest is a place where people and dolphins can share the wonder of close personal interaction, with the west end location offering a programme where you can swim with the dolphins.
Dolphins can also be seen in the wild; if you find yourself boating in Bermuda’s waters, keep your eyes open, as they have been known to follow boats on their ocean journeys.
Bermuda Fun Golf - Mini Golf
Situated on an acre of ocean side property in Dockyard, Fun Golf features 18 holes of the most challenging and exciting mini golf holes.
Enjoy the panoramic 180 degree vista of sunsets while putting in style. The course also features a waterfall with salt water ponds, each of them displaying beautiful examples of Bermuda’s fish species.
Snorkel Park Beach
One of the most active and exciting beaches that Bermuda has to offer, the Dockyard’s Snorkel Park Beach is a hub of activity all year round. Besides playing host to swimmers along its beautiful shoreline, you’ll also find jet ski rentals, kayaking adventures, snorkeling groups, guided tours of the island, and much more, with Hammerhead’s Bar and Grill and the Club SPB on site in order to provide a different kind of excitement after the sun goes down.
Admission starts from $5
Dockyard Glassworks opened its doors on the 4th of July in 1999, and manufactures handmade art glass, classic blown studio art glass, and Italian technique sculptural glass. You can sit in the studio and watch exquisite glassware items created right in front of your eyes.
Royal Naval Dockyard
Open 7 Days a Week
9:00am to 5:00pm
Open till 9pm when a cruise ship is in
Bermuda Rum Cake Company
The bakers use only Gosling’s Bermuda Black Seal Rum in order to produce a traditional Bermuda Rum Cake. The bakery is built inside an old machine shop, located at the west end of the building, which it shares with Dockyard Glassworks.
Royal Naval Dockyard
Open 7 days a week
9.00am – 5.00pm
9.00am – 5.00pm when a cruise ship is docked
When there is a cruise ship in they remain open until 9pm
K.S. Watersports: Jet Skis, Boats, Parasailing
By the Dockyard Ferry Terminal
Open: 7 Days a Week from 8am – 7:00pm
Fantasea Diving & Watersports
Choose from daily 2 tank dives, discover SCUBA lessons, PADI certifications, SNUBA diving, shipwreck & beach snorkelling, power snorkeling, glass bottom kayak tours and stand-up paddleboard tours, mountain bike tours, pontoon boat rentals, boat charters and more, all within walking distance of the bus, ferry and Dockyard cruise ship terminals.
Bermuda Fudge Co
Offering fudge flavours ranging from the standard chocolate and vanilla to apple pie and gingerbread, the family-owned Bermuda Fudge Co. gives visitors the ability to indulge in a uniquely tasty treat, with the shop’s menu of flavours changing every day.
Located in the Clocktower Mall at the Royal Naval Dockyard, the Bermuda Fudge Co. is easily accessible for those arriving in Bermuda by cruise ship, making it a must-stop location when visiting the island.
Royal Naval Dockyard
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9.00am – 6.00pm
Dining Options in Dockyard
- Bone Fish Bar & Grill offers a variety of food, wines, beer and more
- Frog & Onion Pub serves a selection of traditional English style pub food
- Cafe Amici serves traditional Italian food and is located in the ClockTower Mall
- Freeport Seafood is located just inside the gates of Dockyard
- Nannini’s Ice Cream Parlour offers a selection of frozen treats
- Dockyard Pastry Shop offers a variety of pastries, desserts, sandwiches and more
- Hammerhead’s Bar & Grill is located at the Snorkel Park Beach
Traveling From Dockyard To Hamilton
Dockyard is located on bus routes #7 and #8, which travel between Dockyard and the City of Hamilton. The average running time between Hamilton and Dockyard is around 62 minutes. Fares per ride range from $3.00 – $4.50 [the Bermuda dollar is on par with the U.S. dollar], while children under 5 ride free. Click here for more information on Bermuda’s bus system.
You can also travel from Dockyard by ferry. The blue ferry route travels from Hamilton to Dockyard, and in the summer it operates from 7.10am until 9.20pm from Monday to Friday, and from 9.00am to 6.50pm on weekends. A ferry ride costs $4.50 for adults, and multi-day transportation passes are available. Click here for more information on Bermuda’s ferry system.
You can also travel between Dockyard and Hamilton via taxi, which will cost approximately $45 – $50 and take around 30 minutes. Click here for more information on taxis in Bermuda.
You can rent a scooter in Dockyard and, assuming you don’t get lost along the way, it’s about a 30 minute ride to Hamilton. Rates for renting a motor scooter range from about $40 – $50 per day and about $200 – $280 per week. Click here for more information on renting a scooter in Bermuda.
Traveling From Dockyard To St George's
Dockyard is located on bus routes #7 and #8, which travel between Dockyard and the City of Hamilton, a trip of around 60 minutes. To continue onto St. George’s, you need to transfer buses in Hamilton and take another bus from Hamilton to St George’s, which will take another hour, making for a trip of approximately two hours to travel from Dockyard to St. George’s via bus. Fares per ride range from $3.00 – $4.50 [the Bermuda dollar is on par with the U.S. dollar], while children under 5 ride free. Click here for more information on Bermuda’s bus system.
You can also travel from Dockyard to St. George’s by ferry, with the seasonal orange route running directly between St. George’s and Dockyard, offering a faster method of transportation than bus. Click here for more information on Bermuda’s ferry system.
You can also travel between Dockyard and St. George’s via taxi, which will be the most expensive option. Click here for more information on taxis in Bermuda.
You can rent a scooter in Dockyard and, assuming you don’t get lost, it will take around one hour to ride to St. George’s. Rates for renting a motor scooter range from about $40 – $50 per day and about $200 – $280 per week. Click here for more information on renting a scooter in Bermuda.