Soaked in maritime heritage, Plymouth is a prominent port city as well as the culture capital of Devon. There are myriad things to do in this southwest gem, especially if you’re a culture-vulture that loves all things boaty! Plymouth is made up of five districts each with a slightly different flavour: City Centre, The Hoe, The Barbican and Sutton Harbour, Millbay and West Hoe, and Royal William Yard.
One of the largest shopping areas in the southwest, Plymouth City Centre is pedestrianised and has a pleasing blend of high street names, boutique stores and popular eateries so you can really make a day of it.
Offering striking view across the Sound, at Plymouth Hoe you’ll find a statue to commemorate Sir Francis Drake who enjoyed a game of bowls here before setting sail to overthrow the Spanish Armada. Don’t miss the 72-foot-high Smeaton’s Tower lighthouse or the Royal Citadel, the defender of Plymouth’s coast since the 17th century. The Hoe is also the setting for a number of popular annual events including Plymouth Armed Forces Weekend, with its brilliant parades and air displays, and the British Fireworks Championships, which lights up Plymouth Sound each August.
The heart of Plymouth’s heritage, the Barbican and Sutton Harbour feature cobbled lanes packed with antique shops, galleries, cafes and world-food bistros as well as some of the city’s oldest architecture including a former monastery that’s now a world-renowned gin distillery and the Mayflower Steps – why not walk the Sutton Harbour Heritage Trail and find out more? While here, you’ll want to dive in to the National Marine Aquarium, the biggest in the UK. Not only is it home to more than 70 sharks in Britain’s deepest tank but it also offers conservation boat trips and opportunities to sleepover with the sharks!
Millbay, host to the America’s Cup Worlds Series yacht racing in 2011, is the place to visit to find out more about the surviving crew of the Titanic disaster. While the Plymouth School of Creative Arts fuels the area’s fame as a culture-hub. West Hoe offers a range of eateries and promises plenty of fun for young buccaneers at its pirate themed Treasure Island Park. Royal William Yard – with its own harbour – is great for theatre, arts and crafts or a bite to eat.
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