Nelson's Dockyard Antigua
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Entrance to the Dockyard

Nelson's Dockyard is one of the premier tourist attractions in Antigua and no visit to the island would be complete without seeing the restored Georgian yard named after the famous English Admiral Horatio Nelson.

Most cruise ships offer an excursion to the dockyard in English Harbour which is on the southern tip of Antigua and around 45 minute drive from the capital of St John's (the main cruise port). Many scenic island tours / shore excursions (4-5 hours) will include Shirley Heights, lunch at the yard and another stopover somewhere on the western coast (Jolly Harbour area) via Fig Tree Drive on the way back to the cruise port.


Falmouth Harbour Antigua English Harbour Antigua Fort Berkeley Antigua Pillars of Hercules Antigua Shirley Heights Antigua Nelson's Dockyard Antigua Galleon Beach Antigua Nelson's Dockyard Map

The yard was originally called "His Majesty's Antigua Naval Yard", it only became known as Nelson's Dockyard after a major restoration project which began in 1951 and is still ongoing today (a previous restoration attempt in 1932 was abandoned).

Brief history: Construction of the naval yard at Nelson's Dockyard began in 1725. The yard in English Harbour was the headquarters of the British Leeward islands fleet during the late eighteenth and early and mid nineteenth centuries.

Admiral Horatio Nelson served as a young Captain in the Caribbean Leeward Islands fleet for three years from 1784 until 1787 and during Nelson's period in Antigua the naval yard was greatly expanded. Nelson was the 26 year old Captain of HMS Boreas, based a the yard. The facility was closed down and abandoned by the British Navy in 1889.

Nelson's Dockyard Wet Dock

Relaxing in the shade at the Dockyard

The Wet Dock

Local women finding shade


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The principle buildings at Nelson's Dockyard include Fort Berkeley, built in 1704 and guarding the dockyard entrance in English Harbour; the 1855 Naval Officers House (now the naval yard museum including Nelson's room) and the Officers Quarters (now shops and a restaurant), the 1789 Copper and Lumber Store (now a hotel), Cordage and Canvas Store and the 1778 Boat House and Joiners Loft.

English Harbour

The old Boat House and Sail Loft was part destroyed by a hurricane in 1871. All that remains of the original building are the massive boat house pillars. The Seaman's Gallery built in 1778 (now a boutique and restaurant), the Pay Office (shops) and the 1788 Pitch and Tar Store (the Admirals Inn).

Nelson's Dockyard in English Harbour is today part of a National Park. It is the most important visitor attraction for the island of Antigua and incorporates a splendid yacht marina (home of the Antigua Sailing Week); a naval museum, nature trail to Fort Berkeley and a visitor centre. It is the only remaining Georgian dockyard in the World and many of the interesting historical buildings are open to the public.

Antigua Map
Travel, holiday, vacation and photograph guide to Nelson's Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua. All text and images are Copyright Paradise Islands org. All photographs on this Caribbean travel guide website are obtained with the permission of the owners and come from various sources including the islands tourist boards.

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Explore the Yard

Nelson's Dockyard Museum

Museum Building

Copper and Lumber Store Nelson's Dockyard Antigua

Copper Lumber

Nelson's Dockyard Marina


Boat House and Sail Loft, Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua

Boat House

Nelson's Dockyard Harbour


Aerial Photograph English Harbour Antigua

Aerial View

Shirley Heights Antigua

Shirley Heights

Fort Berkeley Antigua

Fort Berkeley

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