"Known as Little Bristol, after the west of England city that received much of its sugar and rum exports in the 18th century, Speightstown has one main street of faded historic buildings, small shops and market stalls running alongside an idyllic Caribbean beach. Few holidaymakers spend much time in the town, beyond the odd drink at the beachside Fishermen's Pub or a glimpse of the night fish market. However, that could change thanks to upgraded roads and parks, the transformation of neglected buildings into museums dedicated to design and local history and a new beachside esplanade for live music.
"Speightstown is a town that is going to happen," says [Paul] Altman, who is converting the local car park into a commercial village of traditional wooden chattel houses selling crafts. "When everywhere is cleaned up, you'll see foreigners coming here far more."
Second-home resorts have started to spring up on the fringes of town. One of Barbados's biggest new inland communities is The Lakes, a hilltop retirement resort two miles away, but even closer is Schooner Bay, a development with tropical gardens leading to the beach that is also within walking distance of the town's central galleries, workshops and potteries. One-bedroom apartments start at $695,000 and Aylesford has already sold 80 per cent. Meanwhile, in Mullins Bay, which is designated a "special development area" where the government hopes to broaden the scope of property bought by foreigners, UK developer Bacassa's Battaley's Mews homes have sold out, mainly to British buyers, at prices from $750,000." -more-