The Hoe still dominates Plymouth's waterfront, much as it did in Drake's Day. The green sward and Victorian Belvedere offers great views of the busy Plymouth Sound as fishing boats, sea-going yachts and Brittany ferries manoeuvre around Drake's Island, along with steely grey naval frigates coming home.
This is a great place to visit when a storm is brewing and walk along the waterfront overlooking the crashing waves while being buffeted by wind and spray. It's even better on a hot sunny day when you can enjoy a cup of coffee and a saffron bun or a tub of rich clotted cream ice cream at one of the outdoor cafés.
The red-and-white candy-striped lighthouse is Smeaton's Tower. It may seem an odd place to find a lighthouse, and you're right! It once stood 14 miles out at sea on the Eddystone Rocks and has since been replaced by the Eddystone Point Lighthouse.
Smeaton's Tower is a well-known local landmark standing high on the Hoe. The tower is open on certain days for visitors to climb the steep staircase for the bargain price of £2.50. From the top of this 72-foot high tower you get fantastic views of Plymouth Sound and the city from the lantern room. Incidentally, Plymouth Sound is not only the protected waterfront, it is also the apt name of Plymouth's local radio station!
Anyone for a game of bowls?
You can just picture Drake in his Elizabethan finery, calmly bowling on the green grass here while awaiting news of the approaching Spanish armada. Burning beacons were the latest means of communications in those days, rather than the instant electronic messaging today.
Over to the east is the huge wall of the Royal Citadel, a fortress built in the 17th century and now open for tours although it is still in active use by the military. Each summer it hosts the popular Music of the Night open-air concert within its parade ground and includes big guns and fireworks.
Walk down the zigzagging path to the waterfront and beach where the sectored Tinside Pool is a seawater lido. This semicircular pool is open from May to September for bathers and has a large fountain in the centre. Grab a deckchair or sun lounger and enjoy one of the best views of Plymouth Island and the ships constantly going in and out of the harbour.
Get on the boat
If you've got time the spare, join one of the boat tours that leave from the nearby stone pier. Some tours go up the River Tamar, beneath Brunel's famous railway bridge and inland as far as Calstock, where you can get fish and chips before the return ride. These trips offer the best views of the Tamar Valley scenery with Devon on one side and Cornwall on the other. Trips take around four hours.
Shorter scenic and naval cruises last one hour and give a lively commentary of the ships and sights as you travel. They regularly depart from the nearby Mayflower Steps between 11:00 and 15:30 and trips cost around £7.50 for adults. Learn about the history of Drake's Island as you head into the Tamar River where the warships and nuclear submarines are berthed in the dockyard awaiting repairs, refits or supplies before heading out across the seven seas again.
As a waterfront city Plymouth has plenty to offer visitors. Have you taken a tour of one of these attractions? What was your opinion of it? Did it offer value for money?