The Best Things to Do in and Around Road Town, British Virgin Islands

Explore the marina and yachts of Sopers Hole, Tortola
Explore the marina and yachts of Soper's Hole, Tortola | © Walter Bibikow / Getty Images
Sadie Whitelocks

The characterful capital of Tortola, the largest of the British Virgin Islands, is a great jumping-off point for uncovering the rest of the island. Discover beautiful beaches and rum distilleries at Cane Garden Bay, as well as fine-dining restaurants and botanical gardens in Road Town itself.

1. Go sailing around Tortola

Natural Feature

boating and snorkeling around Sandy Spit, British Virgin Islands
© iStock / Getty Images Plus

Sailing is by far the best way to explore the waters around Road Town, the island and beyond. Head over to Scrub Island and climb aboard a plush yacht, ready for Culture Trip’s eight-day sailing adventure around the British Virgin Islands. You’ll get the chance to see The Baths on Virgin Gorda, the Anegada flamingos, and kayak around Peter Island (just opposite Road Town) before returning to Tortola.

2. Indulge in retail therapy at Tortola Pier Park

Shopping Mall

Tortola Pier Park in the Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Brick paving leads to a pink and red two-floor building
© Panther Media GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Hit the shops at Tortola Pier Park, which sits on the waterfront just a short walk from the Moorings Marina. The open-air colonial-style mall features more than 70 retail outlets offering everything from clothing at Blanc du Nil to local rum at That’s the Spirit. Refuel afterwards on baked chicken and potato wedges at Camdem Gourmet Market.

3. Whizz through the trees on the Original Virgin Canopy Tour

Natural Feature

A panoramic view of Road Town, with the harbor and sea in the distance
© Jim Monk / Alamy Stock Photo

Climb high into the treetops with the Original Virgin Canopy Tour, just a 15-minute drive from Road Town. You’ll be clipped into a harness and led along a high ropes course through the hilltop canopy; it’s been designed for adventurers of all ages. The tours last about 90 minutes and include a safety talk and equipment fitting. Make sure you pack a camera – a GoPro is best – and closed-toe shoes.

4. Enjoy an unusual tour at the North Shore Shell Museum

Museum

A shell shop, with seats and the shopfront lined with assorted shells
© mauritius images GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Set your eyes on one of Tortola’s quirkiest attractions: the North Shore Shell Museum. Located about a 20-minute drive from Road Town, this ramshackle museum features thousands of shells and locally made crafts. The owner, Egbert, is friendly and happy to show you around, regaling you with tales as he goes. There is no entrance fee but you can make a donation (or purchase a souvenir to take home).

5. Tuck into a fine meal at the Brandywine Estate Restaurant

Bistro, Restaurant, Mediterranean

Brandywine Estate Restaurant: a building on a peninsula surrounded by clear blue sea
Courtesy of Brandywine Estate Restaurant

Escape the confines of your boat’s galley for a spot of fine dining at the Brandywine Estate Restaurant. This acclaimed restaurant, located on the waterfront and just a short drive from Road Town, serves up Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, quaffable wines, and great views. Standout dishes include duck wellington, tuna tartare, as well as a crab, artichoke, and spinach dip served with baked pita bread.

6. Sample local rum at the Callwood Distillery

Bar, Caribbean

A queue forms into a historic two-floor building made of grey and black stone
© agefotostock / Alamy Stock Photo

Step back in time and channel your inner pirate with a trip to the Callwood Rum Distillery, which prides itself on being one of the Caribbean’s oldest continuous pot distilleries. The family-run factory, on Cane Garden Bay, still makes rum from pure cane juice, the same way it did 400 years ago. Many of the historic buildings are still standing, with several repurposed as a gift shop, museum, and art gallery.

7. Soak up the natural beauty at the J.R. O’Neal Botanic Gardens

Botanical Garden

JR ONeal Botanic Gardens in Road Town on the island of Tortola: A woman stands on a bridge overlooking a pond
© Andre Jenny / Alamy Stock Photo

For green-fingered travelers, a trip to the J.R. O’Neal Botanical Gardens is a must. These gardens serve as a tranquil oasis in the heart of Road Town and they’re the perfect place to seek out shade in the heat of the day. Highlights include an avenue of palm trees leading to a fountain and sections representing different habitats in the BVIs from rainforest to dry forest. The gardens, established in 1979, were named after the BVI’s first conservationist, Joseph Reynold O’Neal, and there is a small fee to enter.

8. Sip a painkiller cocktail at Pusser’s Road Town Pub

Pub, Bar, Caribbean

A red-roofed building surrounded by palm trees
© Paul Thompson Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Make sure you line your stomach before a trip to Pusser’s Road Town Pub, which serves up punchy painkiller cocktails in their droves. The creamy concoction features a moreish blend of Pusser’s Rum, pineapple juice, cream of coconut, and orange juice with a grating of nutmeg on top. While the painkillers are one reason to visit Pusser’s Pub, the historic Victorian-era interiors are a wonder to behold. The wood-paneled walls are lined with historic knick-knacks, creating an inviting atmosphere.

9. Relax at Cane Garden Bay Beach

Natural Feature

Sun loungers line up on a beach, backdropped by palm trees
© Walter Bibikow / mauritius images GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Looking for a beach to recuperate? Take a taxi from the marina over to Cane Garden Bay Beach (or anchor offshore). The curved bay makes for a dreamy scene with powdery white sands, aquamarine waters, and a mountainous backdrop. Its location on the north shore of Tortola means it’s sheltered from strong winds. If you’re feeling active, try stand-up paddleboarding before seeking refreshment at the Paradise Club Lounge.

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