In the Caribbean, cricket goes far beyond sport. It’s a part of life, weaving a vibrant strand through the islands’ rich shared heritage.
With such a unique atmosphere and a fantastic climate, it is no surprise that watching England play in the Caribbean tops many a cricket lover’s wish list and this coming winter there are several tempting opportunities to make that reality happen.
We’ve teamed up with market leaders ITC Sport and recently brought them from their Cheshire home to Woodford Wells Cricket Club to present this winter’s itinerary as part of a Bucket List evening of travel.
Cricketing tours are their speciality with a range of options that include match tickets, functions, celebrity-hosted events and sightseeing activities, as well as the expert knowledge of the best places to stay. Whether a compact seven-night holiday or an indulgent six-week tour, there is something for everyone.
When the dark cold afternoons bite in late January, you could seek refuge at the Kensington Oval in Barbados for the first Test Match with subsequent matches in the three-game series taking place in Antigua and St Lucia.
Or maybe you’d prefer warming up for next summer’s UK hosted World Cup with one-day internationals taking place late February in Barbados, Grenada and St Lucia before T20 games in early March in St Lucia and St Kitts.
The below islands and selected hotels are featured in the range of tours available.
Barbados offers an idyllic haven stretching across the northern edge of the Caribbean sea. This exotic gem is nestled next door to St Lucia and St Vincent and with seventy miles of sandy shores, you won’t have to look far to find crystal-clear waters to bathe in.
Beautiful, glittering beaches will greet you at every turn - but be sure to visit Mullins beach, one of the most popular destinations on the West coast. Golden sands and a calm sea is stereotypical of this exceptional beach which couples natural beauty with authentic bars and rum taverns.
The island is blessed with a wealth of acclaimed fine dining restaurants and boutique bars. However, there is something understatedly luxurious about Barbados. It’s a proudly easy-going location where natural wonders meet effortlessly sophisticated resorts.
The newest member of the illustrious Elegant Hotels group, this adults-only boutique hideaway offers a beachfront spot looking out onto the Caribbean Sea. With just 35 one-bedroom suites, a stay here offers a friendly personalised service to each and every guest.
The hotel has its own signature offerings such as Sundowner Hour, where guests can enjoy a featured cocktail at sunset, and the weekly Treasure Art Crawl, which takes you on a tour of the island’s museums and art galleries.
Meals are served at Tapestry Restaurant, where you’ll find creative, flavoursome dishes of freshly caught fish and seafood featuring highly on the menu. For drinks, Batik Bar is the place to be, or you might like to experience The Wine Cellar, with its extensive selection of vintages and speciality events.
The Fairmont Royal Pavilion
An elegant oasis set between 11 acres of lush tropical gardens and a simply gorgeous stretch of platinum sandy beach. This is a property that embraces old-world colonial charm and blends it effortlessly with sophisticated, contemporary elegance and impeccable service.
Plenty of activities are available, including in-room spa services, complimentary watersports and a tennis professional on hand for lessons. Meanwhile, a real ‘must’ for gardening enthusiasts is to take the head-gardener’s tour around the exotic grounds of the hotel.
Dining will delight the most discerning of gastronomes, with the chef’s Michelin-starred experience ensuring that the Palm Terrace and Café Taboras are two of the island’s most sought-after restaurants.
Colourful Antigua is the primary island of Antigua and Barbuda, known as Wadadli by indigenous Antiguans. With just over 100 square miles of paradise, Antigua has a beach for each day of the year, 365 of them.
One of the best ways to explore is by boat, whether dipping into isolated coves and bays, jumping overboard into refreshing waters or committing to full-on yacht life. The remaining vibrant and cheery Creole buildings that welcome you to St John’s, the island’s capital, could be a metaphor for the Antiguan people you’re likely to meet.
This one-of-a-kind hotel blends the absolute beauty of Antigua with distinguished, understated luxury. Laidback, friendly and packed with character, there’s no mistaking this as a luxurious getaway destination.
With this tranquil setting, it’s no wonder that Carlisle Bay is considered one of the most beautiful spots on the island. Guests will have full access to all of this, with all the sights, scents and sounds that come with this gorgeously tropical locale.
You’ll find exquisite suites decked out with simplistic, stylish furnishings and comfortable touches. Pamper yourself at the luxe Blue Spa or, put your feet up poolside and soak up the ambience that oozes from Carlisle Bay’s every pore.
Bordering two beaches, this award-winning resort nestles in a secluded cove on 17 acres of tropical gardens. Blue Waters is a smaller hotel and a superb choice for those who need a break from the fast pace of everyday life. It’s the perfect place to hide away from your mobile phone, laptop and e-mail, and do absolutely nothing… all day long.
With live local music and impromptu gatherings at The Pelican Bar. Guests are invited to dine at the Palm Restaurant surrounded by lavish gardens or take in some of the breathtaking vistas at The Cove Restaurant, directly overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
Golfers will be delighted to know that the Cedar Valley Golf Course is just five minutes away, or if that seems too much like hard work, you could always take a helicopter tour over this beautiful island.
St Lucia is the quintessential Caribbean island. Its fabulously volcanic and mountainous landscapes give that lush, green, tropical backdrop to its idyllic, blue-meets-white shores.
Understand some of the island’s history (and the mark of historical legacy) in the streets of Castries, as the famous local poet Derek Walcott, Nobel Prize-winning and recently deceased, now has a square named in his honour.
The unspoilt beauty of Ladera, up amongst the rainforest verdance of the Pitons, is still only minutes away from the sea.
Life at this easy-going all-inclusive boutique resort is like a low key house party that nobody wants to leave.
Situated on the azure waters of Labrelotte Bay, this is one of the oldest and most loved resorts in St Lucia. It’s idyllically set in 12 acres of lush tropical gardens, bordered by the golden beachfront of one of the island’s most pristine bays. Pretty gardens are dotted with cute cottages, including hexagonal rondavels with king-size beds, walk-in showers and large patios. The resort has a wide variety of elegant facilities to suit any taste. Be sure not to miss Friday’s barbecue on the beach, with its special lobster grill and unobtrusive live music.
Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort
Overlooking the beautiful Labrelotte Bay on the north-west coast this resort boasts spacious rooms, suites and villas with fully equipped kitchens dotted around the hillside. When you’re feeling energetic, it’s a breezy stroll down to the beach, or there is a regular door to door shuttle service. There is an abundant choice of complimentary activities; from paddle boating, windsurfing and snorkelling to tube rides and banana-boat riding.
The atmosphere after dark is one of casual elegance. Choose from a variety of restaurants that include Papa Don’s Taverna with Mediterranean specialities, or à la carte cuisine at the Dragonfly Restaurant on the beachfront.
Sensationally set atop a private oceanfront bluff, this resort combines luxury, elegance, charm and superb service. Boasting spacious suites, many with roof terraces and pools that overlook the sandy beach below, Panoramic ocean views across to Martinique and Pigeon Island can be enjoyed from guest room verandahs, or whilst dining at the cliff top restaurant. The 18-hole course at the St Lucia Golf & Country Club is minutes away, whilst the bustling restaurants and bars of Rodney Bay are also only a short drive.
Known affectionately as ‘the Spice island’ due to the abundance of spice plantations, Grenada is one of the most beautiful of all the Caribbean islands. Retaining much of its traditional West Indian feel, holiday-goers are guaranteed a warm welcome from the locals.
Grenada provides a relaxed contrast to cosmopolitan Barbados and its harbour-town capital, St Georges, with pastel-coloured French villas and narrow, winding streets, is often voted the most attractive in the region.
St Kitts and Nevis
Dive into the irresistible charm of St Kitts and Nevis, where volcanic slopes meet turquoise seas.
The capital of both islands is Basseterre, one of the oldest towns in the Eastern Caribbean, located on St Kitts. Enjoy the capital’s old-world charm, as buzzing, labyrinthine streets radiate out from the central Circus, a roundabout complete with Victorian-style clock-tower.
One activity that should certainly be on everyone’s St Kittian to-do list is a ride on the Scenic Railway. The last of its kind in the West Indies, this railway was built a hundred years ago and can take you on an 18-mile journey along the island, where the open-sided upper deck means a fabulous breeze and unimpeded views.
Mount Liamuiga is a hike for the more active visitor. Catch abundant bird life on the wing, as well as the local population of vervet monkeys and stunning wild orchids, as you climb toward the 1,156m high summit.
With England just embarked upon their autumn tour to Sri Lanka, Abbotts Travel and ITC Sport caught up with one of their long-standing associates and one of cricket’s best-loved characters, ex-player, coach and hugely respected television pundit David “Bumble” Lloyd for a chinwag about everything from cricket itself to curling and cream teas. You can read the interview in full here.
Abbotts Travel and ITC Sports Travel are working together with several packages and tours that can be booked now for England’s forthcoming cricket tour to the Caribbean this coming winter. Contact us or make an appointment to find out more.