Hamilton is the capital and vibrant hub of Bermuda, serving as the home of most government offices and many international businesses. With a population of just over 1,000 it’s one of the smallest capital cities in the world and can easily be explored on foot in just a few hours.
The city is named after Henry Hamilton, Bermuda’s Governor between 1788 and 1794. It is situated on the north side of Hamilton Harbour within Pembroke Parish (not Hamilton Parish as many visitors incorrectly assume).
Front Street runs along the waterfront and is the capital’s main street. Reid Street, Church Street, Victoria Street, and Dundonald Street are the other major streets and run parallel to it. They are linked by Par-la-Ville Road, Queen Street, Burnaby Street, Parliament Street, Court Street, and King Street.
Cruise ships used to dock in Hamilton, but today the port cannot accommodate the modern, larger vessels. All of the ships regularly visiting the island now call at Royal Naval Dockyard instead.
Places to Stay
There are currently no hotels within the boundaries of Hamilton. There is, however, a good choice of places to stay in Pembroke Parish. Options include the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, Edgehill Manor, Oxford House, Rosedon, Rosemont, Royal Palms, and Sunflower. All these properties are located just a short distance west of the city centre.
The Visitor Information Centre (VIC) a good place to begin your tour of the city (it is right next to Hamilton Ferry Terminal). While here we strongly recommend you pick up a copy of the Department of Tourism’s Handy Reference Map. It’s really useful and includes a map of the whole island, detailed area maps (Hamilton, St George, Dockyard, Somerset, and Flatts), plus loads of other useful information.
Queen Street lies just east of the VIC. At the junction of Queen Street and Front Street you’ll see a police traffic box nicknamed the ‘Birdcage’. It was designed by Geoffrey Bird, a city engineer, to keep police officers safe and sheltered while directing traffic. You’ll still see police officers standing there, though their main function nowadays is posing for photographs with tourists.
Wander up Queen Street and you’ll come to the Perot Post Office, a functioning post office with a fantastic period interior. Continue walking north and you’ll come to Queen Elizabeth Park, a charming city centre park and sculpture garden, and the Bermuda Historical Society Museum.
At the top of Queen Street turn right onto Church Street and you’ll see City Hall. Designed by Wilfred Onions, Bermuda’s best known architect, it is home to Bermuda National Gallery, the Bermuda Society of Arts Gallery, and the offices of the Corporation of Hamilton. Victoria Park lies just north.
Sessions House is a little further east and is home to the House of Assembly, one of the oldest parliaments in the world. Go down to Front Street via Parliament Street to see the Cabinet Building and the Cenotaph.
Hamilton hosts a number of events throughout the year. Most are free to attend. They include:
- Bermuda International Film Festival – Held every April
- Bermuda Day – A colourful parade through Hamilton is the highlight of this national holiday
- Harbour Nights – Summer street festival (Wednesday evenings)
- Gombey Saturdays in the Park – Gombey dancing and entertainment in Queen Elizabeth Park
- Bermuda Nights – Summer concerts at Barr’s Bay Park
- Summer Sundays in the Park – Free summer concerts at Victoria Park
- Remembrance Day Ceremony – Held to remember the island’s war dead
Restaurants & Bars
Hamilton’s restaurant and bar scene is the busiest and most varied in Bermuda. Places to eat and drink include:
- Barracuda Grill – Contemporary seafood restaurant upstairs from the Hog Penny
- Bistro J – Small bistro offering daily specials
- Chopsticks – Chinese restaurant and takeaway on Reid Street
- Docksider – Pub and sports bar popular with local youth
- Flanagan’s – Irish pub and sports bar
- Hog Penny – British pub with live entertainment
- House of India – The best place in Bermuda for curries and Indian food
- La Trattoria – Reasonably-priced, family-friendly Italian
- Little Venice – Upmarket Italian restaurant established in 1971
- Lobster Pot – Established restaurant with a good reputation for lobster and other seafood dishes
- L’Oriental – Pan Asian restaurant in the business district of the city
- Pickled Onion – Lively bar and restaurant with a great balcony overlooking the harbour
- Port O’ Call – Upmarket seafood restaurant on Front Street
- Portofino – Long-established Italian in the business district of Hamilton
- Rosa’s – Bermuda’s only Mexican restaurant
Shops and stores in Hamilton include:
- AS Cooper & Sons – Department store
- Astwood Dickinson – Jewellers on Front Street offering the finest jewellery and watches (Tiffany & Co., Patek Philippe, Cartier etc.)
- Bluck’s – High quality china, crystal, tableware, cutlery, gifts etc.
- Brown & Co – Department store (formerly HA&E Smith) offering cosmetics and beauty products, fragrances, gifts, home décor, sunglasses, greeting cards, books, and more
- Chatham House – Cuban cigars, pipes, gifts for smokers etc.
- Clarendon Pharmacy – Pharmacy at the northern end of the city
- Crisson Jewellers – TAG Heuer, David Yurman, Pandora, John Hardy, Movado, Michael Kors, Frederique Constant, Marco Bicego, Swiss Army, Rolex etc.
- English Sports Shop – Good place to buy Bermuda shorts, blazers, silk ties etc.
- ER Aubrey – Jewellers with branches in Hamilton and Dockyard
- Gibbons Company – Department store offering ladies wear, accessories, perfumes, lingerie, menswear, children’s clothes, shoes, household products, luggage, and more
- Irish Linen Shop – High quality bedding, napkins, tablecloths, glasses, serving trays, children’s clothes, books, candles, gifts etc.
- Island Shop – Gifts and souvenirs designed by artist Barbara Finsness
- Makin’ Waves – Large store offering swimwear, beach, and surf apparel
- MarketPlace – Flagship store of Bermuda’s biggest supermarket chain
- Marks & Spencer – Bermuda branch of the famous British department store
- People’s Pharmacy – Independent pharmacy and toy store
- Phoenix Centre – Large pharmacy and store on Reid Street offering over-the-counter and prescription medications, cosmetics, toiletries, newspapers and magazines, toys, stationery, kitchenware, household products, and more
- Petals – Florists owned by Nikki Begg
- Shopping Centre – MarketPlace supermarket on Victoria Street
- Supermart – Supermarket on Front Street
- Swiss Timing – Jewellery and watches
Transport – Buses, Ferries, Taxis, Scooters
Hamilton Ferry Terminal is situated at the western end of Front Street. Here you can catch a ferry to Royal Naval Dockyard (Blue Route), Paget/Warwick (Pink Route), or Southampton/Sandys (Green Route).
Front Street is the best place to catch a taxi. There are taxi ranks outside Gosling’s, Butterfield, and the Port O’ Call. There’s also a taxi stand on Church Street, next to City Hall/Bermuda National Gallery.
There are currently no scooter rental shops within the boundaries of the city. Wheels Cycles used to have branches on Front Street and Dundonald Street but are no longer in business. Both Oleander Cycles and Smatt’s Cycle Livery have branches in Pembroke Parish, just a short walk from the city centre.
Services & Information
A good place to begin exploring Hamilton is at the Visitor Information Centre. It’s situated right next to Hamilton Ferry Terminal. It’s a good place to pick up brochures, maps, and obtain general tourist advice.
There is no shortage of banks in the city. All of the island’s banks are headquartered here. HSBC Bermuda, Butterfield, and Clarien all have ATMs where you can withdraw cash (see our guide to money for exact locations).
The General Post Office is Bermuda’s main post office and is on Church Street, close to Bermuda Cathedral. However, we strongly recommend visiting the Perot Post Office on Queen Street to buy your stamps and post letters and postcards. The landmark building was where Bermuda’s first stamp was printed and boasts a delightful period interior.
The Bermuda National Library lies just a few yards up the road from the Perot Post Office. It carries a good selection of books about Bermuda, international magazines and newspapers, local newspapers (including archived copies). It also offers computers with internet access and free wireless internet access.
WiFi is available across the city centre. The service is provided by TeleBermuda International (TBI). To connect, just search for the TBI network on your device and open your browser to connect to the sign-up page (fees apply).