This impressive Italian-style building, constructed in 1819, dominates Hamilton. The clock tower was added in 1887 to commemorate the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria. Sessions House is the home of both Bermuda’s House of Assembly and Supreme Court.
The House of Assembly meets on the second floor and is the third oldest parliament in the world. The layout is much the same as that of its British equivalent, the House of Commons. The two major political parties sit facing each other and presided over by a speaker. Wearing a long black robe and wig, it is the speaker’s responsibility to maintain order during parliamentary debates. If the scary outfit isn’t sufficient to keep the rabble in check, the speaker is also armed with a silver mace, a blow from which should subdue even the rowdiest of members.
The house is open to the public on weekdays but catch it at its liveliest by getting a seat in the public gallery during parliamentary sessions (from 10 am onwards, Fridays, November – June).
The House of Assembly hasn’t always been here. When the island was first colonised, St George was the capital. The first parliament met in 1620 at St Peter’s Church but later moved to the State House. In 1815 Hamilton became the capital and parliament moved to the old Town Hall on Front Street until Sessions House was completed.
Sessions House is situated on Parliament Street in the centre of Hamilton, just behind the Cabinet Building. It takes about 5 to 10 minutes to walk here from either the bus station or ferry terminal. Its clock tower is one of the most conspicuous structures in the capital so you really can’t miss it.
Tourist attractions and things to do near Sessions House include:
- Cabinet Building (0.1 miles) - Elegant 19th century building
- Cenotaph (0.1 miles) - War memorial
- Bermuda Cathedral (0.1 miles) - Offers great views of Hamilton
Restaurants and places to eat and drink near Sessions House include:
- Rock Island Coffee (0.1 miles) - Coffeeshop in Hamilton known for its delicious baked goods. Walls display works by local artists.
- Bolero Brasserie (0.1 miles) - Upscale brasserie on Hamilton’s main street. Chef owned. Offers a small balcony with view of Front Street and Hamilton Harbour.
- Ruby Murrys (0.1 miles) - Indian restaurant just off Front Street. Reasonable prices.
- The Dog House (0.1 miles) - Popular bar on Front Street. Live music and Premier League/NFL games. Outdoor terrace.
- Docksider (0.1 miles) - Pub and restaurant at the eastern end of Front Street. Menu offers pub grub, burgers, sandwiches, and pizza. Popular watering hole. Live sports, DJs etc. Reasonably close to Fort Hamilton.
- Rosa's (0.1 miles) - Established Tex-Mex restaurant in Hamilton. Offers burgers, burritos, quesadillas, tacos, fajitas, steaks etc. Located above Docksider.
- The Astwood Arms (0.1 miles) - British style pub on Hamilton’s main street. Friendly staff. Live music and NFL/Premier League games.
- Flanagan's (0.1 miles) - Irish pub located in a prime spot on Front Street in Hamilton. Veranda offers excellent views of Hamilton Harbour. Incorporates a separate sports bar.
- Devil's Isle (0.2 miles) - Busy cafe and bar in Hamilton. Hip and casual.
- Barracuda Grill (0.2 miles) - Seafood restaurant in Hamilton, just off Front Street. Specialises in seafood but also offers meat options. Located above the Hog Penny pub.
- Hog Penny (0.2 miles) - British-style pub just off Front Street. Cosy wooden interior. Reputed to be the inspiration for the Cheers pub in Boston. Live music in the evenings.
Nearby Transport Links
Transport links near Sessions House include:
- Central Bus Terminal (0.2 miles) - Bus station in Hamilton.
Map showing location of Sessions House.
Click here for a detailed map showing all points of interest.
21 Parliament Street