The Heritage Collection Museum is a great place to learn more about the history of Anguilla. Island artifacts, early 20th-century photographs, old postage stamps, and important documents trace the island’s history, from the days of the Taino to the present.
The museum’s convivial curator, Colville Petty, is an authority on Anguilla’s history and an author on the subject.
The small, rambling Valley is Anguilla’s capital and the geographic, commercial, and political center of the island. A good place to start a sightseeing tour is the Anguilla National Trust, with exhibits on the island’s natural and cultural history. You can also organize other tours here such as the Anguilla Heritage Tour, birding tours, and nature hikes.
One of the main tourist attractions on the Heritage Trail is Wallblake House, a plantation home built in 1787 – advance notice is required to organize a tour inside.
Art lovers will enjoy browsing some of the colorful Caribbean art in The Valley’s small galleries, and if you want to go shopping in Anguilla, you can often buy unique souvenirs in these galleries.
Divers will be pleased to know that a double reef system wreaths Anguilla, with a large variety of corals. The island is also known for its wrecks, including intentionally sunken ships that become thriving artificial reefs.
Seven marine parks surround the island: Dog Island, Prickly Pear, Seal Island Reef System, Little Bay, Sandy Island, Shoal Bay Harbour Reef System, and Stoney Bay Marine Park. Turtles, stingrays, and garden eels inhabit many of the dive sites, and at Scrub Island, you can regularly see sharks and barracuda.
On the island’s northeastern side, the sheltered fishing village of Island Harbour is the launching point for local fishermen. This a great spot to catch a slice of local life. Stop by late in the afternoon to watch the fishermen park their brightly colored boats along the narrow beach and unload the day’s catch.
A few tourist attractions are sprinkled around Island Harbour. Just off the main road in the village, Big Spring National Park protects a partially collapsed cave containing 28 Amerindian petroglyphs dating from the 9th to the 15th centuries. Ask about tours at the Anguilla National Trust.