Flower Forest Review

The Flower Forest is on the historic grounds of the Richmond Plantation, Barbados, 850 feet above sea level in the middle of the island. This botanical garden offers incredible scenery and views across the island’s forest. Originally a sugar cane plantation, the area has been transformed into a lush first walk for nature lovers to explore and get away from the sun on the beach or the hustle of the capital.

View of the flower forest in barbados

History of Flower Forest: Transforming a Sugar Plantation into a Botanical Haven

The Flower Forest of Barbados has an interesting history that spans over a century.

Early History: A Sugar Plantation Era (1800’s – late 1900’s)

Originally, Richmond served as a sugar cane plantation. Despite its stunning landscape, it struggled to stand out as a leading sugar producer. The land, characterized by its lush greenery and fertile soil, was ideal for its eventual botanical conservation and tourism.

The Birth of Flower Forest (1983)

The began in 1983 under the leadership of Don Hill. With expertise from Richard Coghlan of Kew Gardens, who took two years to plan the layout, and supported by a cohort of garden enthusiasts who invested both ideas and funds, Flower Forest was born. It officially opened its doors to the public in December 1983.

Expansions and Enhancements (1990 – Present)

In 1990, a significant addition was made with the construction of a new, larger pavilion. This structure incorporated the original boiling house and its giant copper boilers, and retained the old bamboo patch. The pavilion offered expanded space for dining and hosting special events, both indoors and outdoors, enhancing the visitor experience.

The garden itself underwent a complete rejuvenation in 2009, refreshing its landscapes and facilities to better showcase its plants.

In 2015, further improvements were made with the addition of a new deck that provided spectacular views over the garden.

The most recent upgrades in 2017 included a renovated kitchen and the addition of handicap-accessible facilities, including bathrooms.

Paul and Margo Ellmore on a flower forest path

Opening Hours

The Flower Forest welcomes visitors daily from 8 AM to 4 PM, providing ample time to explore the garden’s natural beauty and tranquility. Please note, the forest is closed on Christmas Day and Good Friday, allowing our staff to spend these holidays with their families. We encourage visitors to plan their trips accordingly to make the most of their experience in this botanical paradise.

Entrance Fees

The Flower Forst pricing structure is as follows:

  • Adults: US$15 (BDS$30)
  • Children (ages 4 – 12): US$7.50 (BDS$15)
  • Children under 4: Free admission

These fees help them maintain the garden and the pathway.

Accessibility

At the Flower Forest, they try and make their space accessible to all visitors:

  • Building Accessibility: The main building, including the bathrooms, is designed to be handicap accessible.
  • Garden Pathways: While the pathways throughout the garden are flat, there is an elevation change of about 15 meters. This terrain may require that visitors who use wheelchairs or have limited mobility have a strong companion—or preferably two—to assist in descending and ascending certain areas of the garden.
Teddy Ellmore holding an umbrella next to a huge tree in the flower forest

What Can You do at the Flower Forest

The Flower Forest of Barbados offers a lovely walk in the forest along with a few extras!

Walking Around the Trails

The main part of the Flower Forest experience is its expansive network of trails. Spread across 53 acres, these well-maintained paths invite visitors to walk through the trees and see the flowers that bloom vibrantly all year round. As you wander along the main walkways, you’ll be surrounded by dazzling tropical colors.

Along the paths you will find spots to pause and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding countryside and the distant eastern coastline. For those with a spirit of adventure, the forest also features smaller, less-traveled paths and cul-de-sacs. These hidden routes lead to even more flowers away from the main paths.

Weddings & Events

The Flower Forest provides an incredible backdrop for weddings, receptions, birthday parties, and other special events.

Gift Shop

Visitors can take a piece of the Flower Forest home with them from the gift shop, which features locally made art and crafts. This shop is a great place to browse for unique gifts and souvenirs, including handmade jewelry, ceramics, textiles, and original artwork, all crafted by talented Barbadian artisans.

Forest Cafe

The Forest Cafe is a charming spot to relax and refuel after exploring the trails. Situated on a terrace with views of the garden, the cafe offers a menu of refreshing drinks, snacks, and lunches, including local favourites like fishcakes.

Flower Forest Cafe Menu

The Flower Forest Cafe offers a wide selection of refreshments and meals that cater to all tastes. Before you set off to explore the Flower Forest, make sure to place your order at the Forest Cafe first. Their “order ahead” system allows you to enjoy your walk without any rush, knowing that a delicious meal will be waiting for you upon your return.Here’s the Flower Forest Cafe Menu:

Drinks

  • Local Beers and Soft Drinks
  • Barbados Rums – alone or mixed
  • Selection of Fruit Juices
  • Conventional teas or bayleaf and lemongrass teas from our garden
  • Homemade rum punch

Snacks

  • Fish Cakes (the best!)
  • A variety of sandwiches (Chicken, Egg, Ham, Flying Fish)
  • ‘Kid stuff’ – hot dogs, fries, etc.
  • Desserts: coconut bread (toasted with butter and jam or plain), locally made sweets, iced lollies

Salads

  • Bajan Greek Salad
  • Caesar Salad
  • Green Salad

Sandwiches

  • Chicken
  • Egg
  • Ham
  • Flying Fish

Entrees

  • Salads with chicken or fish
  • Fish and Chips
  • Build your own lunch menu (order before touring, dine upon return)
Teddy and Paul Ellmore with panoramic view of barbados from the flower forest

Getting to the Flower Forest

Located near the middle of Barbados, the Flower Forest is accessible via several routes. Here’s a link to the Flower Forest on Google Maps: Flower Forest Map. This map will help you plan your route and ensure you find the quickest way to reach this beautiful destination. It’s actually very close to Huntes Gardens, and is a very similar destination. The Flower Forest is cheaper than Huntes Gardens, but different in its layout and its vibe, we like both!

Directions to the Flower Forest

  • From Bridgetown: Take Highway 2A north towards Warrens, then continue on the Ronald Mapp Highway. Follow signs for Flower Forest, turning right onto the road leading directly to the location.
  • From the East Coast: Drive west through the villages and along scenic coastal roads until you join the central roads leading towards the interior of the island. Look for signage directing you to the Flower Forest.
  • From the North: Take the westward roads down through Speightstown and connect to Highway 2A south. Follow the highway until you see signs for the Flower Forest.
  • From Villa Sunnyside: It’s an easy trip from our Holetown villa, follow Highway C to the East and then cut across.

Parking at the Flower Forest

There is ample parking available at the Flower Forest, accommodating both hire cars and tour buses.

Our trip to the Flower Forest

Our recent visit to the Flower Forest (April 2024) was pretty spectacular. The journey from Villa Sunnyside took us into the countryside and away from the busy west cost.

Parking was straightforward, albeit in the overflow lot due to the limited space near the main building. We had a warm welcome from the friendly staff. There was no wait to enter, and we paid and given tickets right away, also we were provided with a map and umbrellas – a nice touch given the unpredictable weather.

The trail itself was magical, winding through lush vegetation and stunning flora. It took us about an hour to complete, including several stops to take photos and hang out on the benchs. We saw a huge variety of plants like lilies, shell ginger, lobster claws, and pink touch ginger. The viewing platforms along the way offered breathtaking views of the eastern coast.

The trees and hanging vines were absolutely massive, like stepping into another world.

Although we thoroughly enjoyed the walk, the paths, while well-maintained, might be a challenge to get around the entire circuit for those in wheelchairs due to some rugged terrain.

We stopped at the cafe for a drink and a slice of coconut cake, which we shared with the local birds!! Overall, the Flower Forest proved to be excellent value for money, a peaceful retreat with some lovely scenery! We highly recommend it.

Afterwards, we took the short drive to Bathsheba Beach, just a short drive from the flower forest. This beach is known for its dramatic scenery and huge waves.

Lucy and Guy bridge viewing the palms of the flower forest

Flower Forest Rules for Guests

To ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable visit, the Flower Forest has established a set of guidelines. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with these dos and don’ts before you begin your exploration.

What they want you to do

  • Wear Comfortable Shoes: The paths can be uneven, and comfortable footwear will make it easier to explore the garden.
  • Take Lots of Photos: Capture the beauty of the lush landscapes and vibrant flowers. Photography is encouraged!
  • Supervise Children: Make sure children in your care are always within sight.
  • Dispose of Garbage Properly: Help us keep the Flower Forest pristine by using the bins provided throughout the garden for your litter.
  • Inquire About Plants: If you’re interested in purchasing plants, please ask at the front desk. The garden is cultivated with care, and plants must not be taken without permission.

What not to do in the flower forest

  • Avoid Inappropriate Footwear in the Rain: If it’s raining, avoid wearing flip-flops or any footwear that might be slippery when wet to prevent falls and injuries.
  • Don’t Climb Trees: For your safety and to preserve our natural environment, climbing on trees is strictly prohibited.
  • Respect the Plants: Do not touch the plants or flowers, especially when taking photos. This helps protect the botanical collections.
  • Do Not Remove Any Plants: Removing plants from the garden is not allowed. Each plant is part of a curated collection and should be enjoyed by all visitors.
  • Keep Music Personal: To maintain a peaceful atmosphere, please use headphones if you wish to listen to music during your visit.
  • Follow the Pathways: For your safety and to protect our garden beds, please stay on the paved walkways. Straying off the path can damage the plants and is done at your own risk.

What Flowers are at the Barbados Flower Forest?

Here’s a list of the flowers you can find at the Flower Forest in Barbados:

  • Flower Forest Ginger Lily
  • “Flower Forest” Heliconia
  • Amethyst Curcuma
  • Anthurium Lily
  • Beefsteak Heliconia
  • Blue ‘Ginger’
  • Blue Tango
  • Pink and Green Bromeliad
  • Bromeliads
  • Butterfly Ginger
  • Chinese Hat Plant
  • Christmas Candle
  • Christmas Red
  • Crepe Ginger
  • Dancing Ginger
  • Flowering Banana
  • Green Calathea
  • Heliconia Caribbaea
  • Heliconia Latispatha
  • Heliconia Psittacorum
  • Hibiscus
  • Jade Vine
  • Jungle Drum Honeycomb
  • Lobster Claw
  • Pink Torch Ginger
  • Pride of Barbados
  • Red Begonia
  • Red Ginger Lily
  • Red Hot Cat Tail
  • Red Ixora
  • Red Mussaenda
  • Shampoo Ginger
  • Shell Ginger Flowers
  • Shell Ginger
  • Shooting Star
  • Siam Rose
  • Tulip Torch
  • Upside Down Heliconia (hanging)
  • White Begonia
  • White Torch Ginger
  • Yellow Calathea
Close up of white flower in the flower forest

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john, Lucy, Teddy & Margo at hunts gardenss
Lucy Bridge

I love to travel with my family. Over the years, we’ve found ourselves coming back to the magic of Sunset Crest. So much so, that we finally decided to take the plunge and buy Villa Sunnyside in 2022!