Plymouth, South Devon

Plymouth, South Devon

Arguably the best located city in the UK with a fascinating and internationally important maritime history

Plymouth looks out across the sea to the Cornwall and Devon coastlines. Dartmoor rises behind. Some of the world's most important historical and intellectual figures travelled from the city. Easily accessible by train from London, Plymouth is a magnificent place.


Why holiday or weekend break in Plymouth?

To help you choose Plymouth, we've listed some of the local attractions below.


Plymouth Hoe

Provides one of the great Westcountry views. Climb to the top of Smeaton's Tower. Picnic on the grass. Swim in Tinside Lido or head down to the water's edge. Look out for the statue of Sir Francis Drake. There's another in Tavistock and an original model in the National Trust's Buckland Abbey. Plymouth Hoe is a great introduction to Plymouth's remarkable maritime history.


The Barbican

Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, the Pilgrim Fathers, Captain Cook and Charles Darwin all sailed from Plymouth. The Barbican fringes Sutton Harbour. Learn more about its history in the Mayflower Museum. Stand by the Mayflower Steps. Visit the Elizabethan House. Spend a few hours at Plymouth Gin. Book a tour of the Royal Citadel. This area of Plymouth is packed with places to eat and drink.


National Marine Aquarium

Across Sutton Harbour from the Barbican is the amazing National Marine Aquarium. It's a top Westcountry family attraction. There's a cinema sized tank.


Boat trips

Ferries. Ferries run from the Plymouth Barbican Landing Stage which is located in front of the Mayflower Steps by the Mayflower Museum on The Barbican. There are plenty of information boards advertising ferry/boat trips by the Mayflower Steps. Buy tickets from the kiosk by the Plymouth Barbican Landing Stage. Note that there's a cafe/restaurant called The Boathouse where you can grab food and drink whilst waiting for your boat or on return from your trip.

Take ferries to Cornwall. One runs between Plymouth Barbican Landing Stage and Cawsand.  Another goes between Plymouth Barbican Landing Stage and Mount Edgcumbe. There's also the Cremyll Ferry that runs between Plymouth Stonehouse (by Royal William Yard) and Mount Edgcumbe. See Plymouth Boat Trips website for details.

Take a ferry to South Devon. One runs between Plymouth Barbican Landing Stage and Mount Batten. You can then follow the South West Coast Path along the South Devon coast.

Take a ferry to Royal William Yard. One runs between Plymouth Barbican Landing Stage and Royal William Yard Harbour.

Dockyard/warships. Take the Harbour Cruise with Plymouth Boat Trips and see the warships at the Royal Navy Dockyard. Boats leave from Plymouth Barbican Landing Stage near the Mayflower Steps. Again, Plymouth Boat Trips booking office and The Boathouse Cafe are located on the Barbican.

Plymouth Sound. Explore Plymouth Sound on the Breakwater Cruise supplied by Plymouth Boat Trips.

River Tamar. Head up the River Tamar to Calstock Quay and the National Trust's Cotehele on Plymouth Boat Trips' Calstock Quay Cruise and Cotehele Quay Cruise.

River Yealm. Leave Plymouth Sound and head east along the coast on the River Yealm Cruise with Plymouth Boat Trips.

Rib Rides. Take a rib ride in Plymouth Sound.

There are many information boards/kiosks on The Barbican providing information/tickets for boat trips.


South West Coast Path

Take the ferry from Plymouth to Mount Edgcumbe and walk the Cornish coast. Alternatively, take the ferry from Plymouth to Mount Batton and walk the South West Coast Path on the Devon side of the Plymouth Sound.


[Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery. Currently closed for redevelopment.]


Drake's Trail

Cycle Drake's Trail between Plymouth and Tavistock on the western side of Dartmoor National Park.



Mount Batten Watersports and Activities Centre. TK Watersports. Reactive Watersports Academy.


Plymouth Royal William Yard

Superb visitor destination by Plymouth Devil's Point Park. The location is exquisite.


Plymouth beaches and beaches in the surrounding area

Plymouth Sound is lined with beaches. Mount Edgcumbe Beaches, Kingsand Beach and Cawsand Beach. Batten Bay Beach, Rum Bay Beach, Jennycliff Bay Beach, Bovisand Bay Beach and Wembury Beach.


Food and drink

Restaurants. The Greedy Goose. Rhodes at the Dome (Plymouth Hoe). The Waterfront (Plymouth Sound). The Dock (King Point Marina, Millbay). Harbourside (Barbican). Rockfish (Sutton Harbour). The Stable (Sutton Harbour). There are plenty of restaurants in the Royal William Yard.

Bars. Le Vignoble (Royal William Yard). Tigermills at The Duke of Cornwall. The Refectory Bar (Plymouth Gin, Barbican).

Cafes. The Real Food Kitchen (Barbican).

Fish & chips. West Hoe Fryers Takeaway. Harbourside Takeaway (Barbican). Rockfish Takeaway (Sutton Harbour).

Festivals. Plymouth Flavour Festival (August). Plymouth Seafood Festival (September).


Explore the surrounding area

Plymouth is a great hub from which to explore South Devon, Dartmoor National Park, the Tamar Valley AONB and South East Cornwall.