PLACES TO SEE
MONTSERRAT VOLCANO OBSERVATORY
The Soufrière Hills Volcano is constantly monitored by the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) in Flemmings. The MVO Interpretation Centre is open to visitors from Monday to Thursday from 10:15am to 3:00pm. There are poster displays explaining the techniques used in monitoring seismic (earthquake) activity, gas emissions, ground deformation and environmental impacts; and dramatic video shows including a synopsis of the activity and examples of the recent events on the volcano, along with touch screen kiosks and volcanic artefacts on display. Further information on the MVO here.
PLYMOUTH – A MODERN-DAY POMPEII
Abandoned in 1997, Montserrat's capital Plymouth has been compared to a modern-day Pompeii. Buried deep in ash and volcanic debris including boulders up to the size of the houses that once stood there, the once thriving business and commercial centre of the island now resembles a dust-covered lunar landscape through which deep canyons have been gouged. Plymouth lies within the volcanic exclusion zone and access into the town is not currently possible. The devastation of Plymouth however can be safely viewed from several safe vantage points. These include the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (you will need binoculars), Garibaldi Hill or by taking a boat tour. A listing of the boats that conduct such tours can be found here.
JACK BOY HILL
In the north east of the island is a viewing facility at Jack Boy Hill, which also provides an excellent vantage point for volcano viewing. This facility overlooks the destroyed WH Bramble Airport, the old estate house, the site of destroyed eastern villages, now covered by volcanic pyroclastic flows and of course the volcano. The facility includes a viewing platform, picnic areas, a viewing telescope, a mini trail, landscaped grounds, and washroom facilities.
THE MONTSERRAT NATIONAL TRUST
Located in Olveston, the Montserrat National Trust is dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the island’s historical sites and natural environment and has been a leading agency in the development of the island’s tourism products over the past 35 years. The Trust operates a Natural History Centre, a small library, a gift shop and offer walking tours of its gardens which house a recreated Amerindian garden - The Monserrat National Trust.
THE MONTSERRAT PHILATELIC BUREAU
If you are into stamp collecting you are in the right place. The Montserrat Philatelic Bureau has a host of interesting and unusual stamps to choose from, including attractive first day covers. Tel: (664) 491 2042. E-mail. Website
CARR’S BAY HISTORICAL SITE
In the Carr’s Bay area in the north of the island, you will find remnants of a fort, with several canons pointing out at sea in the direction of Redonda.
MONTSERRAT CULTURAL CENTRE
Located in Little Bay, this spectacular building was the dream of former Beatles' producer Sir George Martin. Through many fundraising efforts, including the sold-out Music for Montserrat concert held at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1997, Sir George was able to give back to Montserrat an arena in which its history and culture can thrive. Early 2009 Sir George Martin and Sir Trevor McDonald helped install the new ‘Wall of Fame' exhibit, featuring bronze hand-prints of famous musicians who had recorded in Montserrat during the 1980s, including Elton John and Paul McCartney. The Cultural Centre is open to visitors free of charge. Donations toward the upkeep of the Centre are appreciated.
Montserrat's ghauts (pronounced guts) are deep ravines that carry rainwater down from the mountains to the sea. Runaway Ghaut is one of Montserrat’s more famous ones and is a popular tourist stop. Legend has it that people drinking the cool spring water flowing to the drinking fountain at Runaway Ghaut will be drawn to return to Montserrat again and again. The exact wording of the legend is “if you drink the waters from this burn, to Montserrat you will return.” Runaway Ghaut is so named as it was used as the escape route in 1712 for the French when they were driven off the island once again by the English.
BLAKES FOOTBALL FIELD
Financed by FIFAs Goal Programme this beautiful floodlit football field in Blakes, located just past Lookout, was opened in 2002. With its lush green grass and spectacular views of the ocean and mountains, this field and facilties are quite a sight.
Montserrat’s beaches, with their soft black volcanic sand, are special. The only non-volcanic white sand beach is Rendezvous Beach, the furthest north, which is only accessible by boat or a stiff hike but is well worth the effort.