Royal Citadel

An awesome fortification whether seen from land or sea, the Royal Citadel is bounded by 70ft walls. It lies on the site of Plymouth Fort which was originally constructed in 1596 at the request of Sir Francis Drake who feared for Plymouth's safety in the face of the antagonistic Spanish Armada. After England's Civil War and the Dutch Wars, Charles II realised it was high time to protect his interests and work on the Royal Citadel began. However, Plymouth's enthusiastic support for Oliver Cromwell and the Parliamentarian cause was not easily forgotten. Having enemies both at home and abroad, the Royal Citadel was marked by an unusual feature with guns pointing both out to sea and inland towards the city.

Most of the old Plymouth Fort was destroyed as new walls were constructed out of local limestone but the lower fort was incorporated into the new Royal Citadel. You can still see Fisher's Nose Blockhouse (1490-1540) in the south-east corner. The Royal Citadel's new design, by Sir Bernard de Gomme, was a six-walled bastioned fortification. Although the Royal Citadel has been modified over the centuries, many of the original 17th century features still exist. As such, with its 17th century guardhouse, Governor's House, Queen Anne's Battery and great store, the Royal Citadel is still considered to be one of the finest extant examples of a 17th century fortification in Europe.

The Royal Citadel is now home to the 29th Commando Regiment of the Royal Artillery and its Baroque Gate is still manned by armed sentries. However, between May and September, the Royal Citadel's doors are opened to the public for tours by Blue Badge guides.

Address: Royal Citadel
Town/city or near: Plymouth
County: Devon
Adults: 3.50
Children: 3.
Opening Times
By guided tour only at 2.30p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays between May and September.
English Heritage

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