The best winter festivals in Barbados

By: Lauren Hill

October 2, 2015

Illuminated parliament building in Barbados © Shutterstock

Illuminated parliament building in Barbados © Shutterstock

With the arrival of the winter months, what better way to escape the cold than with a trip to Barbados to enjoy its year-round, sun-soaked days and balmy nights? Hop between secluded bays and sheltered coves, dive into coral-rich waters and explore the UNESCO World Heritage capital, Bridgetown. And to make your time on the island even more memorable, coincide your trip with one of these brilliant festivals in Barbados. From watersports to marathons, celebrate the coming of winter, Caribbean style.

Open Water Festival

The best winter festivals in Barbados
Dive into the island’s sublime waters at Open Water Festival © Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc

Over five days in winter, visitors to Barbados are encouraged to take part in water-based activities across the island as a part of the Open Water Festival. Open-water swimming, races and kayaking relays all take place along the coast, with prizes for the winners. If you don’t feel like competing, join in on the festival’s superb beach parties instead.

Food & Wine and Rum Festival

The best winter festivals in Barbados | Food Fest Barbados
Discover the local dining scene at Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival © Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc

The annual Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival hosts top international chefs, like Michelin-starred chef Andrew Pern, at locations across the island. One of the most anticipated winter festivals in Barbados, this week-long event gives visitors the chance to take part in rum and food trails while tasting the food and drink on offer.

Run Barbados Series

The best winter festivals in Barbados | Run Barbados Series
Get into the team spirit at the Run Barbados Series © Run Barbados

Fitness enthusiasts will love the island’s high-energy Run Barbados Series, which comprises 5K and 10K races, a Fun Mile Run, half-marathon and marathon, with after-race parties for the runners to celebrate and reward themselves for their hard work. The event culminates in an esplanade party with plenty of food, drink and music.

Classical Pops

The best winter festivals in Barbados | Classical Pops
Catch world-class performances at Classical Pops © Classical Pops Festival

In celebration of the diverse musical influences in modern pop, Classical Pops showcases the top collaborations between pop stars and classical, jazz, opera and film composers. Look out for Broadway performers and orchestral film scores.

The Holetown Festival

The best winter festivals in Barbados | Holetown Festival
Immerse yourself in the vibrant celebrations of Holetown Festival © Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc

In commemoration of the arrival of English settlers in 1627, The Holetown Festival is a week-long celebration of live music – gospel, classical, Tuk band and calypso – and folk dancing, with an arts and crafts exhibition and street fair, all making the event one of resounding popularity.

Header image: Barbados is an island of year-round celebrations © Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc

Get into the festival spirit by booking a flight to Barbados with Virgin Atlantic.


Lauren Hill

Between living in Japan, Singapore and London, Lauren has spent the past few years working as an editor, sub-editor and travel and lifestyle writer, with a focus on luxury and adventure travel. She is currently based in London, exploring the city’s eating and drinking scene and seeking out its outdoor green spaces.

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