Montserrat — Attractions
Montserrat is working hard to rebuild its tourism industry after the damage caused by Hurricane Hugo and the 1995 Soufrière Hills volcanic erruption. Two natural attractions which escaped the devastation are Runaway Ghaut, the most famous of Montserrat’s unique rainwater carrying ravines, and the Carr’s Bay site where a replica of Plymouth’s War Memorial and Clock Tower stands next to the remains of a much older fort. The Montserrat Volcano Observatory’s viewing balcony and Jack Boy Hill are the safest places to see the Soufrière Hills volcano in action.
Montserrat Cultural Center
Many decades after Sir George Martin opened Montserrat’s now destroyed Air Studios, the legendary Beatles producer returned to the island to open an official cultural center in 2007 that was funded by "Music for Montserrat," a charity concert put on by some of the world's greatest performers. In 2009, a Wall of Fame exhibit of bronze handprints from musicians who recorded at Air Studios was added alongside the building’s gift shop, bar, conference center, 500 seat auditorium, and recording studio.
Address: Montserrat Cultural Centre, Little Bay
Montserrat National Trust
The Montserrat National Trust is headquartered in Olveston’s Oriole Complex. Committed to preserving Montserrat’s unique heritage throughout the year, its three biggest exhibits are a St Patrick’s week display, a summer Calabash arts and crafts exhibit and year-end tales of Montserrat’s people. The facility's small research library and botanic garden, where many of the island’s traditional medicinal herbs grow, are open year round. The guided Dry Forest tour is recommended.
Address: Montserrat National Trust, P. O. Box 393, Olveston
Legend has it that people who drink the fresh spring water from Runaway Ghaut’s fountain will repeatedly return to Montserrat in upcoming years. This deep ravine, first created to transport rainwater from Montserrat’s mountains to its shores, received its name from the French who used it as an escape route after the English drove them out in 1712. In 1965, Runaway Ghaut became Montserrat’s most reliable drinking source during the drought which lasted nearly a year.
Address: Main Road south of Woodlands
Several cannons are aimed towards the smaller island of Redonda at the remnants of a fort which stood guard over Montserrat centuries ago. Today, the biggest threat in Carr’s Bay is the huge iguana who roams the surrounding rocks. A replica of Plymouth’s destroyed war memorial and clock tower also stand in Carr’s Bay.
Address: Northwest Montserrat
Montserrat Volcano Observatory
Nobody knows more about the Soufrière Hills volcano than the staff at Montserrat’s official observatory. Posters depict many of the techniques the staff use to carefully monitor the mighty volcano, whose devastating 1995 explosion is depicted in a dramatic video. Volcanic artifacts and interactive kiosks are found throughout the observatory, but visitors can get even closer views through a telescope. The observatory’s spacious balcony, open 24 hours a day, boasts spectacular views of the entire surrounding exclusion zone which is otherwise off-limits to visitors.
Address: Montserrat Volcano Observatory, P. O. Box 318, Flemmings, Salem
Jack Boy Hill
Jack Boy Hill is the most accessible place in Montserrat to see the Soufrière Hills volcano outside of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. The same Japanese architect who designed Jack Boy Hill’s visitor center also helped build homes for many of the displaced Plymouth residents after Montserrat’s capital was destroyed. The visitor center features a barbecue pit, picnic tables and a small trail. However, the main attractions are the viewing telescope and platform from where visitors can see the volcano, W H Bramble Airport’s remains and the ruins of Plymouth, now a dusty ghost town with deep canyons across lunar-like landscape.
Address: Northeast Montserrat