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Fort Charles
Fort Charles

Fort Charles

End of Norman Manley Hwy., Port Royal, Jamaica

The Basics

Constructed in the shape of a ship, this well-preserved, sea-facing fort features a history museum as well as a long line of cannons, arranged as they were during its military heyday. Also on the grounds is a former artillery storehouse now called the Giddy House because it was twisted sideways by another earthquake in 1907. Guided tours of the fort, which take in both the museum and the storehouse, are a good choice for travelers who want a deeper understanding of Jamaican history.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • Fort Charles is a must-visit for travelers with an interest in military history.

  • Wear sunscreen and comfortable shoes for exploring the fort.

  • Tours of the fort and Port Royal are available, with discounted prices for children.

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How to Get There

Fort Charles is the main attraction of Port Royal, located at the end of a long, narrow peninsula t stretches around the outside of Kingston Harbour, just west of the airport. To get there, take Norman Manley Highway to the end of the peninsula. Travelers without a rental car may find joining a tour from Kingston is the easiest way to visit.

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When to Get There

Fort Charles is open daily from 9am to 5pm, except on Good Friday and Christmas Day. Visit first thing in the morning to take advantage of cooler temperatures. Note that rainfall can be extreme in the area during the rainy months of May through October, when hurricane risk is also high.

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Horatio Nelson

Among the most famous former residents of Fort Charles is Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, one of the most admired British officers in the Napoleonic Wars. Nelson was placed in command of the fort in 1779 after news spread that a fleet of French warships was approaching the island. However, the ships never came, so the famed Nelson was transferred to the ship HMS Hinchinbrook later in the year.

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