Step back in time at Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, offering insights into Antigua’s colonial history.

Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, Antigua and Barbuda

Step back in time at Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, offering insights into Antigua’s colonial history.

Matt and Britney Weidert

Matt Weidert

Nelson's Dockyard National Park, located within English Harbour on the southern coast of Antigua, is a historical and cultural gem. This UNESCO World Heritage site offers visitors a unique blend of history, scenic beauty, and modern amenities, making it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Antigua.

Where is Nelson's Dockyard National Park located?

Nelson's Dockyard National Park is situated in English Harbour, part of the St. Paul Parish on the southern coast of Antigua. The park encompasses the historic Nelson's Dockyard, which is nestled within the larger English Harbour area. For more information about English Harbour, visit English Harbour.

History of Nelson's Dockyard

Nelson's Dockyard is named after Admiral Horatio Nelson, who was stationed there from 1784 to 1787. Established in the 18th century, the dockyard served as a strategic naval base for the British Royal Navy, playing a crucial role during the age of sail. The dockyard has been meticulously restored and now stands as the only continuously working Georgian-era dockyard in the world.

Nelson's Dockyard as seen from Shirley Heights

Attractions and Activities

Nelson's Dockyard National Park offers a variety of attractions and activities that cater to different interests, including history, shopping, dining, and outdoor adventures.
  • Historical Tours: Explore the well-preserved Georgian architecture and visit the Dockyard Museum to learn about the site's maritime history and its role in the British Royal Navy. The museum houses artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that provide a deep dive into the dockyard's storied past.
  • Shopping and Dining: The park features several shops and restaurants, offering a mix of local crafts, souvenirs, and gourmet cuisine. Popular dining spots include The Admiral's Inn and Copper & Lumber Store Historic Inn, where visitors can enjoy meals in a historic setting.
  • Provisioning: For sailors, the dockyard offers excellent provisioning options. Stores within the dockyard provide fresh produce, dry goods, and other essentials needed for restocking boats.
  • Sailing Events: Nelson's Dockyard is the heart of Antigua's sailing community and hosts several major sailing events, including Antigua Sailing Week and the Classic Yacht Regatta. These events attract sailors from around the world and create a festive atmosphere in the park.
  • Outdoor Activities: The national park also offers hiking trails with stunning views of the harbor and the surrounding landscape. Popular trails include the Lookout Trail, which leads to Shirley Heights, a renowned viewpoint offering panoramic views of English Harbour and Falmouth Harbour.
Stern to anchoring is available for a unique experience

Docking and Anchoring

  • Nelson's Dockyard: Boaters can dock stern-to at Nelson's Dockyard, enjoying modern facilities amidst a historic backdrop. The dockyard offers amenities such as water, electricity, Wi-Fi, and easy access to shops and restaurants.
  • Freeman Bay Anchorage: For those who prefer anchoring, Freeman Bay is a nearby option providing more space and excellent protection. This anchorage is well-loved for its tranquility and scenic beauty.


Nelson's Dockyard National Park is a vibrant blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you're exploring the historic dockyard, enjoying a meal at a waterfront restaurant, or hiking to scenic viewpoints, the park offers a diverse range of activities for all visitors.
  • Historical Significance: Home to the only continuously working Georgian-era dockyard.
  • Modern Amenities: Shops, restaurants, and provisioning options within the dockyard.
  • Events and Activities: Hosts major sailing events and offers hiking trails with stunning views.
  • Docking and Anchoring: Options for stern-to docking at the dockyard and anchoring at Freeman Bay.
For more information about the surrounding area, check out our guide to English Harbour. To learn more about the UNESCO World Heritage status of Nelson's Dockyard, visit the UNESCO World Heritage site.

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