In the area
Whether you are interested in finding out more about your own heritage, or are curious about the rich history of South Africa, the frontier town of Bathurst is a fascinating place.
The area around the Historic Pig and Whistle Inn is full of interesting things to see and do. Some of the nearby attractions include:
- Many National Monuments
- Stunning wildlife reserves
- Art galleries and curio shops
- Blue Flag beaches
Historical places of interest
Thanks to careful preservation of national heritage and respect for history, the town of Bathurst still looks much like it would have in the 1820s. Bathurst is home to the oldest continuously licensed pub in the country, the oldest unaltered Anglican Church in the country, the oldest primary school in the country and many other original 1820 settler buildings.
The Wesleyan Chapel
Built in 1832 by settler Samuel Bradshaw, The Wesleyan church is one of the many National Monuments in Bathurst. This church is an archetypical example of the type of Wesleyan churches that would have been present throughout rural areas in the early 1800s. The church houses 1820 settler Jeremiah Goldswain's Family Bible, it survived being besieged in the Frontier Wars, and services are still held in the church every Sunday.
St John's Church
The oldest unaltered Anglican Church in South Africa, St John’s Church was built in 1834 and provided sanctuary for the settlers through the Frontier Wars of 1834, 1846 and 1851. St John’s church is also a National Monument
Now a coffee shop, private residence and National Monument, Bleak House was originally built circa 1825 for Lt. Alexander Bisset and was restored in 1883 by Brigadier Nauhaus.
Built in 1859 with stones from original settler dwellings, the Toposcope marks the place from where the 1820 would survey the surrounding settlements. Details about the various settlements are recorded on bronze plaques around the monument. The view from the Toposcope is spectacular, and it is possible to see for miles around, from the Great Fish River to Kwaaihoek.
This building, built in 1821, was originally used by the settlers as a wool mill, so that wool from their sheep could be used to make cloth. A third storey was added to the Mill in 1835 for corn milling. Today the restored Bradshaw's Mill is home to one of the few working water wheels in southern Africa.
Built in 1828 by Thomas Hartley, Morley House is preserved as a National Monument because of its historical value. It is one of the few 1820 settler dwellings to have survived looting during the Frontier War of 1834. It was home to settlers Jeremiah Goldswain and Henry Hartley, the notable big game hunter and founder of Hartley in Zimbabwe. As it is a private residence, Morely House is not open to the public.
The Bathurst Agricultural Museum
Founded in honour of the tenacity and ingenuity of the farmers that settled in the area The Bathurst Agricultural Museum boasts a collection of over 1400 rare and interesting agricultural artefacts and implements.
Historic Powder Magazine
Believed by many to be the oldest building in Bathurst, the Old Powder Magazine was built in the 1820s by the British Military to keep ammunition and weapons safe. The Store was built atop a hill for tactical reasons, and now provides explorers with a landmark for their walks around the historic village of Bathurst that promises uninterrupted views of the countryside.
The original Clumber Church was built by the Nottingham party of 1820 settlers in 1825. The church was subsequently damaged in the frontier wars, and was replaced in 1837. The church then served as a defense station for British forces in 1846. The church which now stands was opened in 1867.
Centenary Memorial Hall
The Centenary Memorial Hall was erected in 1920 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the 1820 settlers, and also in honour of the coronation of King Edward VII.
This modest settler cottage was built in 1837 for the Reverend James Barrow when he was left without accommodation after the home of the family he was staying with was struck by lightning and burnt down. The walls of the cottage are basketweave watling with a surface of lime plaster, held upright by sneezewood poles.
Arts and crafts
Possibly because it is only 40 km from the thriving university town of Grahamstown, Bathurst boasts a rich intellectual and artistic community.
The Wiles Art Gallery
Home to art from generations of the Wiles family of artists, the Wiles Gallery is not to be missed if you have an eye for fine arts. Visitors can admire or purchase pieces by Walter Wiles, Lucy Wiles, Brian Wiles and Jane Wiles.
Richard Pullen Ceramics
The Richard Pullen Ceramics open studio showcases the work of one Bathurst's talented artists. Pullen creates hand-made functional ceramics, such as jugs and bowls, as well as collaborating with his wife to create decorative pieces.
The Bathurst Farmers’ Market
A trip with the family to the Farmers’ Market held every Sunday from 9:30 to 12:20 makes for a fun day out for the whole family, and you can purchase local arts and crafts as well as fresh produce and homemade jams, cheeses and other food products.
The Penny Whistle Antiques Shop
Once housed inside the inn, The Pig and Whistle’s own antiques shop outgrew its confines and is now the Penny Whistle Antiques Shop. A wander around the little shop will reveal collectables, silver cutlery, antique crockery, jewellery and other interesting and unique pieces sourced from around the country. You will also find beautiful hand-crafted items such as lamb's wool shawls and oil paintings by local artists, and a range of Historic Pig and Whistle Inn memorabilia.
The Corner Gallery | Stowe & So
The Corner Gallery is the exclusive stockist of all Stowe & So products and also features a charming collection of the best in local art, craft and produce. We only source from local suppliers. The Corner Gallery celebrates the global revival of all things handmade and heartwarming.
Relix and Thingz
Relix & Thingz's aim is to create a new shopping experience, where you are encouraged to relax and enjoy your time in Bathurst. This growing community is perfect for you and your family. We have a lot to offer at our home The Village Green: Collectables, books, bric-a-brac, porcelain, unique bar decor, items for your mancave, vinyl records, glassware, kitchenalia, weather instruments and now part of the new home of The Village Bistro.
Things to do
The surrounding natural landscape is almost completely untainted, and is very similar to the land in which the brave and desperate 1820 settlers would have found themselves 200 years ago. Therefore, many of the activities enjoyed by locals and visitors involve appreciation of nature.
Waters Meeting Nature Reserve
At the Waters Meeting Nature Reserve, explorers can enjoy hikes in beautiful scenery and canoeing adventures take place on the river. For the less active, a viewing deck providing stunning views over the Horseshoe Bend is set up near the entrance to the park.
Lushington Valley Nature Reserve
In the frequently drought-stricken Eastern Cape, the area surrounding the perennial Lushington River is a perfect habitat for game, and a picturesque place for visitors to experience nature. The reserve is home to a variety of game, and visitors can enjoy walks, self-drive safaris, picnics, trail runs, and mountain-biking routes. Reservations can be made through the Pig and Whistle.
The Big Pineapple
Rather quirkily, Bathurst is also home to the biggest model pineapple in the world. Pineapples are farmed extensively throughout the region around Bathurst, and in honour of the pineapple’s contribution to the community, The Big Pineapple was erected. Standing 16.7m high, the three-storey pineapple houses a gift shop, informative presentations about the farming of pineapples, and an observation deck that provides views of the surrounding farmlands.
Blue Flag Beaches
Bathurst is only about a 15-minute drive from the Sunshine Coast and sprawling beaches. Nearby popular beaches include Kelly Beach of Port Alfred and Kariega Beach at Kenton on Sea, both of which boast Blue Flag status. Surfing is a popular pastime among locals and there are places for visitors to try out water-sports as well.