The Parish of Saint John on Barbados
The Parish of Saint John on Barbados is located just above the Parish of Saint Philip along the eastern coastline. It’s not one of the original six parishes on the island but instead was created in 1654 when the religious and political boundaries on the island were reconfigured to encompass the entirety of the landmass. While it’s not a top tourist destination on Barbados, visitors are missing out if they simply pass through without taking the time to explore this hidden gem.
The Geography of the Parish of Saint John on Barbados
The Parish of Saint John on Barbados is gorgeous in its own special way. While Saint Philip (to the south) is relatively flat and low-lying and the parishes farther north feature breathtaking views from atop rolling hills and rocky promontories jutting out into the Atlantic, much of Saint John is a mix of the two. Essentially the parish builds gradually as the Barbadian coast grows more rugged as you travel up the coast.
Things to See in the Parish of Saint John on Barbados
If your idea of a great daytrip is sitting in the sand while you enjoy the sun before slipping into the sea to cool off a bit Bath Beach has your name all over it. This gorgeous sandy beach is the attraction in the Parish of Saint John, drawing hundreds of locals and visitors every day.
Here families can safely enjoy the sea–a rarity along the island’s east coast–because Bath Beach is protected from the strong currents and harsh waves of the Atlantic Ocean by a magnificent coral reef. Snorkelers and scuba divers visit this natural wonder in person for an up-close and personal introduction with the colorful sea creatures which live around Barbados.
St. John Parish Church on Barbados
St. John Parish Church (rebuilt in 1836 after its predecessors succumbed to fires and hurricanes) is one of the few Parish Churches on Barbados that has a scenic view of the Atlantic. This piece of authentic Gothic architecture is made from coral stone and sits atop a prominent cliff overlooking the bright blue ocean below. A more picturesque scene you could not ask for.
Interestingly enough, this church is viewed as the architectural prototype of the particular Barbadian brand of Anglican Gothic architecture (which is considerably restrained when compared to the European style). History buffs will also note that the graveyard St. John Parish church on Barbados is filled with numerous notables from the island’s history including some from the 18th century.
Consett Bay (nearby to Bath Beach) features another sandy stretch safe for swimming. However, this beach is really a working beach in the middle of a thriving fishing village. Here visitors can watch the local fisherman ply their trade like they have for generations, walk along the beach and collect shells, or watch the sun set from the end of the long jetty which juts out into the sea.
On Friday nights Consett Bay comes to life with a party atmosphere as the locals light the fires for a good old fashioned fish fry. Unlike the crowded scene you’re likely to find at Oistins on the weekend, Consett Bay is a little more laid back but still features fresh-caught fish that just minutes from the sea to the fire to your plate.
The Parish of Saint John is also home to Codrington College, an Anglican theological college affiliated with the University of the West Indies. While you may not typically think of a school as a tourist attraction, Codrington College has wonderfully manicured grounds that prominently feature colorful flowers and lush greenery. The grounds are open to the public during the day.
Even if you simply stop at one of these attractions for a bit on your way to a destination, you’ll be glad you did.