Introduction to Plymouth
Plymouth is the biggest city on the English south coast and the gateway to surrounding Devon and Cornwall.
The city’s harbour, located between the mouths of the rivers Tamar and Plym, is one of the world’s most awe-inspiring natural harbour. Plymouth has a long history of seafaring, with the Royal Dockyard that was built at the banks of the Tamar in the late 17th century. From here, the Pilgrim Fathers set sail to the new world to escape from religious persecution in 1620.
More than 11 million people visit Plymouth each year – no surprise, as few places offers such a brilliant mixture of all the amenities of a big city and easy access to beaches, lush footpaths and the rugged shorelineDartmoor.
Culture & attractions in Plymouth
To get started, visit the Plymouth Dome where you can learn all about the city’s history. The museum features reconstructed old streets and also offers excellent views across the Plymouth Sound where cruise ships, fishing boats, passenger ferries and warships alike can be seen.
A great view over the historic area of the city, the Barbican, can be had from the Royal Citadel, which was built as a military base by Charles II. Then head towards this historic area to explore the Mayflower steps, where you can learn about the Pilgrim’s escape and everything about the famous Mayflower.
In the National Maritime Museum, you can learn the ins and outs of English seafarer history. Kids will enjoy the many interactive displays just as much as grown-ups!
If all that history has tired you out, take a tour of the Black Friar’s Distillery with still provides the Navy with authentic Plymouth Gin, some of which you can try yourself.
For a night out you won’t forget, take a look at the current listings of the Plymouth Royal Theatre which often hosts famous theatre companies from all over the world, from the West End to Broadway and even from much further afield.
Must-do highlights in Plymouth
One of the most important icons of Plymouth is the Plymout Hoe, a large open space that faces south and into the sea via stunning limestone cliffs. It’s perfect for a sunny day out and on clear days, you cannot only see the Plymouth Sound and Drake’s Island, but even as far as to Mount Edgcumbe over in Cornwall.
Undoubtedly the best aquarium in Britain – and the deepest in Europe – is the National Marine Aquarium, where you can see fish and other sea creatures from around the world, from the nearby shores of Devon and Cornwall to tropical coral reefs.
Film lovers will enjoy a visit to Saltram House which is featured at the beginning of the 1999 film ‘Sense and Sensibility’. The patrons of Sir Joshua Reynolds and the Parker family lived here in real life.
One of the best areas of Plymouth to wander around is the Barbican, the city’s historical heart which is crammed with restaurants, shops, art galleries and more. Many of the art galleries and craft shops offer workshops for creative minds of any level – why not join one to make your own holiday souvenir for a change!
The Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery not only offers information about the city, but impressive Natural History galleries and a big selection of chinaware and other pottery from all over the world that made it to the city’s harbour.
Eating & drinking in Plymouth
As with any big city, there is a wide choice of restaurants and cafés of any kind in Plymouth.
Located slightly outside the city centre, Rock Salt Brasserie is worth a short detour for its mouthwatering mixture of Pan Asian dishes and classic English food, only with the freshest seafood, of course!
If you are looking for a place to relax after a long day exploring the Barbican area, head to the Menu Café and Gallery which in addition to a quirky design offers some of the best coffees around town!
Accommodation in Plymouth
Most holiday homes in Plymouth are located around the historic Barbican area and the city centre, and offer great views of the Hoe, the cliffs and the sea itself.
One of those central apartments is the Durnford Apartment, which is part of a restored Victorian terrace. The one bedroom apartment is perfect for a romantic short trip.
For a group of up to four guests, Brownlow House in the Milbay conservation area is just a 10 minute walk away from the centre and Barbican and is furnished and decorated in a modern style.
So that’s our round up of things to do on a weekend in Plymouth. Have you ever been there? What would you recommend doing if someone went there for the weekend? Please share you experience with us…