Known as Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth is one of the most vibrant waterfront cities in Europe. The jewel in the crown is the harbour and the water front with the dazzling views, rich history and the number of attractions, Plymouth has everything you could need for a day trip or a longer holiday.
History, culture and more
Plymouth is split into several smaller regions, each with their own set of popular attractions.
Visitors travel from all over to see the Barbican and Sutton Harbour. Famous for quaint cobbled streets, a picturesque harbour and a wealth of independent shops, galleries, bars, cafes and restaurants line the water's edge. This part of town is also home to the Elizabethan Gardens and a bit of American heritage, the Mayflower Steps, where the Pilgrim fathers set sail on their first voyage across the pond. The Barbican’s Historic Quarter is a lure for any art fans, where you can pick up unique pieces of art or just marvel at the talent on display.
Not just content with having a piece of American history, Plymouth is full of British history too. Head to Plymouth Hoe to where Sir Francis Drake set sail to engage with the Spanish Armada. Once you’ve had your fill of the history, stop for a picnic under Smeaton’s Tower for some spectacular views and be sure to visit Tinside Lido, the Royal Citadel and keep your eyes peeled for the many memorials that can be found around this part of the city. The Hoe is a truly spectacular places with jaw dropping views and interesting places to visit.
Another famous area of the city is the Royal William Yard, constructed in the 1800s, it is still considered to be one of the most important historic military buildings in the country. It is also the largest collection of Grade 1 listed military buildings in Europe. These days, although there is still a strong maritime and military atmosphere in Plymouth, visiting the Royal William Yard is full of eateries and you’d be hard pressed to find somewhere else quite as impressive to have your dinner.
World class shopping centre
The Independent quarter is the place to browse if you want to see what the independent and specialist retailers in the city have to offer. If shopping is your thing, the city centre has many places for you to spend your money and pick up a few items. There are outdoor markets as well as national brands and independent retailers for you to choose from. Drake Circus is the landmark shopping centre should you be looking for a gift or particular item.
When it comes to nightlife and entertainment, you’ve come to the right place. Plymouth is full of theatre, arts and film culture, as well as a lively music scene and some of the best comedy gigs in the region. You’ll also find a great mix of pubs, bars and clubs making it ideal for celebrating a special occasion or if you fancy going out just because.
Whether you’re looking to be active, to shop, to be entertained or just to learn more about the heritage of the area, Plymouth has everything you could want and more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Plymouth have a beach?
Plymouth is surrounded by beaches - the closest sandy beaches are Bovisand and Wembury, which are just 15 minutes from the city centre by car.
Bovisand beach is a sandy beach and is popular with visitors, especially those that like swimming, it is within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and can be accessed via the South West Coast Path. Dogs not allowed May 1st to September 30th, when a seasonal ban is in place.
Wembury is managed by the National Trust and can be accessed via the South West Coast Path, the beach is a mixture of pebbles and sand and there is a historic mill and a marine centre for visitors to explore.
Find out more to do around Plymouth here.
Can you get to Plymouth by train?
Plymouth has its own train station which is managed by GWR, travelling from London takes around 3 hours via train. You can travel around Devon using the rail network, as there are connections to and from Plymouth across the county. This station has step-free access to all platforms / the platform and has staff on hand should you have any additional access needs.Find more information about travelling to and from Plymouth by train
Can you fly to Plymouth?
Plymouth does not have its own airport, but there are three within easy distance. Exeter airport is around an hour away, while Bristol airport is 2 hours and Newquay airport is just over an hour away. From Exeter airport, there are several transport links to help you with your onward journey.Travel to Plymouth from Exeter Airport