Bermuda Dockyard has seen a long history of growth and changes and gain and loss of strategic importance. It was known as the ‘Gibraltar of the West', the Royal Naval Dockyard . To compensate for the defeat of the British in the American War of Independence, resulting in the unimaginable loss of the use of the ports of its former colonies, work was started on the dockyards of Bermuda .
The Bermuda Dockyard persisted as a major Atlantic outpost for the British Royal Navy. But only a limited number of buildings and facilities remained functional to support the British and NATO ships until complete closure in 1995, although the phase out had begun way back in 1951.
Royal Naval Dockyard, which is also known as King's Wharf, is in Sandys Parish and can be arrived at by bus or ferry from Hamilton. The Bermuda Dockyard has now been transformed into one of Bermuda's most popular tourist draws, and provides free admission to tourists.
The erstwhile Keep has become the Bermuda Maritime Museum and Dolphin Quest , whilst the Royal Navy's administrative headquarters are now shopping areas, the Clocktower Mall. The Cooperage, original barrel making workshop is now home to the Frog and Onion Pub, the Bermuda Art Centre, the Bermuda Craft Market and the Neptune Cinema.
Repair works buildings at King's Wharf now house the Bermuda Clayworks and Dockyard Glassworks. The Victualing Yard, on the Bermuda Dockyard,once meant for packing food now houses the Visitor Information Center and its friendly staff are happy to answer questions and can supply informative brochures and guides.
The Royal Naval Dockyard is a port used by Bermuda visiting cruise ships and is the venue for the annual Bermuda Jazz Festival.