We thought it would be nice to hear from a mum's experience. Soraya has kindly written about her move to Bermuda and what she enjoys doing on the Island with her family. Soraya hopes this provides a useful insight into mum life in Bermuda, for other families considering a move to Bermuda or as a new mum...
Hi, I'm Soraya and am a stay at home mum to three children (5, 2 years old and 10 months old). We moved from UK to Bermuda for my husband's job. Back then, my daughter was 2,5 years old and I was pregnant with our son.
I'd just like to start by giving an overview of Bermuda. Bermuda is a cluster of mostly-interconnected small islands, in the North Atlantic and it is Britain's oldest British Overseas Territory. Nicknamed "Bermudaful", it is a beautiful place full of culture, history, architecture and fun. The average sea temperatures are 23 degrees Celsius and the water is clear aqua blue. The sand here is known as "pink sand" and it is the softest sand I have ever felt. My first thought when I stepped onto the beach, was "flour", because it feels just like "flour".
When I first moved to Bermuda I didn't know anyone, and was worried being a stay at home mum would be lonely. However, I joined a lovely group called MAMA Bermuda where they organised weekly activities and playgroups. It was here that I met lots of lovely mums and now have a solid group of friends that I can lean on for support if ever I need it - being so far from family I find having a support network invaluable!
As much as I enjoy being a stay at home mum I do find it challenging, keeping my two year old son and baby girl entertained and stimulated is hard work. This is where MAMA really helped me. Their baby playgroups was a great way to meet other mums with babies and a way to start socialising for me and the baby. As my kids got older the Church playgroups were lovely for them to play with toys, other children, have a snack and do some singing! My son and eldest daughter particularly enjoyed the MAMA activities that involved trips to the petting farm, pony rides, train rides, boat days and of course the Trampoline Park. Without fail we'd always book onto these activities!
The island is set up very much for outdoor life. Outside of MAMA we enjoy the railway trail walks, which spans the length of the island. The railway trail is no longer there, but the path still exists and cuts a beautiful walk through the island, where you can see wildlife, beautiful sea views, weave through woodland, nature reserves and past volcanic stone. If you enjoy nature walks then you should also check out Spittle Pond, Blue Hole and Southlands. These are great for exploring nature, discovering some of Bermuda's hidden caves, woodland, cliffs and ponds.
Other activities we enjoy are beach and pool days. There are lots of beautiful beaches including Clearwater near the airport which has a lovely nature walk on Cooper's Island - this leads to an old lighthouse that you can climb up for some lovely views. Other nice beaches where the water is calm and great for kids to swim is Jobson's Cove and Horshoe 'baby beach'. They are sheltered and so makes swimming conditions ideal for young children. You can also do a nice walk starting from Jobson's Cove that will take you past some more secluded beaches, ending up on the large (most popular beach for tourists) - Horsehoe Bay.
If you want some added fun in the sea head to Rosewood Bermuda. There is a fun inflatable obstacle course in the sea, which always reminds me of the UK program "Total Wipeout". This is a super, fun family activity.
Bermuda has also, lots of limestone caves formed millions of years ago. You can find them all over the island, but the most magnificent are the Crystal Caves, discovered in 1907, when a couple of kids climbed down after their cricket ball. This is a must see.
If you want great views across the island head to Gibbs Hill Lighthouse. For a small fee you can go up the lighthouse and you will get fantastic views across Bermuda.
Forts - this is one of my kids favourite activities. There are three forts I would recommend. St Catherines Fort in St George's which provides a lot of history and insight into life in Bermuda when the forts where built, and occupied. Alternatively you can head to my favourite - the Dockyard Museum at the other end of the Island. The Museum there is large, so not only are you visiting the fort, but you can go inside the old Commissioners House which is stacked full of history and artefacts. You can also see the dolphins and the daily 'Dolphin Demonstration. The added bonus is the playground located right next to the Dolphins.
Hamilton fort is free - and my kids love it for the underground tunnels! They love exploring. Outside on the grassy hill you also have great views of Hamilton City.
There are lots of playgrounds to chose from. Shelley Bay and Clearwater are great as they are also right by the beach so you can have fun on the beach and ther play ground if you wish! We often go to Warwick playground as it is a nice playground close to home.
When we first moved to the island we didn't have a car so I was very reliant on trying to find activities we could do that were in (or very near to) town - Hamilton. So if you find yourself in the same situation you can visit Pembroke playground, or the only soft play on the island at Magnum Gym (on Church St). This is a gym that has a soft play inside. You can just pay to use the soft play, or if your kids are older you can work out whilst the kids go to the soft play! There's also a kids library a few doors down that does a free kids story/ rhyme time session (you just need to check their website to see when they run). The local Pet Shop on Queen St was always a hit, as well as Speciality Cinema if you have older children.
There are lots of clubs you can join such as singing and music classes (KinderMusik, Tapping Tree Frogs), dance classes, tumble tots, gymnastics, kids cross-fit, tennis, karate, jujitsu, football and rugby to name a few. Just ask other mums, post question on MAJ's List Facebook Group, or if you are a MAMA member post on the Friends of MAMA Facebook page, and you will be flooded with class recommendations depending on what you are looking for.
In conclusion, I just want to finish by saying that for us, the great thing about our move to Bermuda was the work-life balance. Bermuda is a very small island 1 mile wide and 26 miles long! So commuting is super quick on the island. My husband gets much more quality time with the kids and it's great for him as a dad to be able to be home by 5.30pm and jump in the pool with the kids before dinner. As a mum I find the evening the most challenging time with the kids, doing the dinner and getting them ready for bed is exhausting and rather chaotic. In the UK my husband wouldn't get back until 8pm after his London commute and so our daughter would already be in bed. However, since our move to Bermuda he can help me during dinner and bedtime, and spend family time in the evening, which is so lovely.