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Plymouth

"We didn't land on Plymouth Rock, my brothers and sisters, Plymouth Rock landed on us!"
Malcolm X

The largest city in Devon, Plymouth also boasts one of the largest and most beautiful natural harbours in the world, the Plymouth Sound. Plymouth's past and present is intimately connected with the sea and these shores have been the departure for some of history's greatest adventures, the sailing of the Mayflower and founding of the New World, Sir Francis Drake's defeat of the Spanish Armada and Captain Cook's search round unmapped territory.

Plymouth's strategic location with access to the English Channel and its naval base at Devonport made it a prime target for Luftwaffe bombs in WWII. The city was almost entirely reduced to rubble with the exception of the Barbican, a historic quarter predominantly dating to the Tudor era. In a fortunate turn of fate for the tourist, most of Plymouth's main attractions are centred around this area. (See below for more information and attractions here).

Just a few minutes a away from the Barbican, looking imposingly over the Plymouth Sound, the Royal Citadel is another key attraction with an unusual feature. Built by a wary Charles II, Plymouth's Royal Citadel is marked by guns pointing both to sea and inland towards a rebellious town. Also worth a visit is the Plymouth Hoe, a blaze of green lying next to the Royal Citadel. An open plateau, the Plymouth Hoe is an excellent spot for a picnic or spotting ships on the Plymouth Sound. Historically renowned for Sir Francis Drake's patronage and a game of bowls, the Plymouth Hoe is also home to some favourite tourist attractions. There's Smeaton's Tower, a lighthouse and a work of engineering genius and the Plymouth Dome, a new hi-tech visitor centre treating you to sights, sounds and smells of Plymouth in the Elizabethan age.

The Barbican
Situated in Sutton Harbour, the Barbican is one of the few areas in Plymouth that the Luftwaffe bombs missed in WWII. The old harbour area now has a charming ambience that is lacking in other parts of the city. Resplendent with old architecture, Plymouth's Barbican is an historic site in its own rite. It was from here Captain Cook's adventures started and thousands of convicts were shipped off to Australia. The Pilgrim Fathers spent their last night here in 1620 in Island house (now the tourist office) before setting sail on their North American quest. The Mayflower Steps now commemorate this historic event.

The Barbican is the best place to start your sightseeing as many of Plymouth's main attractions are located within a stone's throw of each other. You can visit the Mayflower Steps or the Plymouth Mayflower for more info on Plymouth's nautical heritage, take a rest in the charming Elizabethan Garden or visit the Elizabethan House, a former sea-captain's dwelling. On a less sober note there's the famous Plymouth Gin Distillery, famed for its high quality gin and the Dolphin Pub, a local landmark. Studded with café's, restaurants and bars, the Barbican also vibrates at night. Just across from the Barbican, at Coxside is one of Plymouth's premier attractions, the National Marine Aquarium, the largest and most spectacular of its kind in Britain.

Beyond Plymouth

Head to the east of Plymouth and out of the hustle and bustle of city life. Here you can take the Plymbridge Valley Cycle and Walkway, an easy and excellent route littered with mining relics and tunnels. Visitors interested in historic houses can head to Hemerdon House, a Regency House dating from the 1790's or Saltram, a marvellous Georgian house and film location for Austen's Sense and Sensibility. To the northwest of Plymouth, visitors can't fail to delight in Sir Francis Drake's home, Buckland Abbey.

One of the best ways to enjoy Plymouth is upon its water. From the pontoons near the Mayflower Steps in the Barbican, you'll be able to a cruise around Plymouth Sound, see the warships at Devonport or take a ferry to Cremyll. Here you'll find Mount Edgcumbe House, a restored Tudor house boasting magnificent gardens within 865 acres of country park. Another excellent attraction is the River Tamar Line, a 14 mile scenic railway running from Plymouth to Calstock and Gunnislake.




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Plymouth : Sightseeing and Attractions

Plymouth Prints
Plymouth Prints in the Barbican’s historic New Street houses the works of local historian, artist and writer, Chris Robinson. It's an excellent stop for some authentic souvenirs - original pictures, prints, postcards, notelets, or pictorial books.
Address: Plymouth Prints, 34 New Street, Plymouth, Devon
Postcode: PL1 2LA Street Map
Contact: PH +44 (0)1752 228120
Website: http://www.chrisrobinson.co.uk/pages/index.shtml

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Royal Citadel
An imposing fortification, the Royal Citadel looms from the sea beckoning sailors home and warning enemies against invasion. Built in the 17th century, the Royal Citadel is one of the finest fortifications of its time in Europe. .. more
Admission: £3.50 Adults £3. Children
Address: Royal Citadel, Plymouth, Devon

St. Andrew's Anglican Church
The largest church in Devon and Plymouth's Mother Church, St Andrew's is built upon a site that has witnessed holy worship since the 11th century. .. more
Admission: Free entry
Address: St. Andrew's Church, Royal Parade, PLYMOUTH, Devon
Postcode: PL1 2AD Street Map
Contact: PH 01752 661414
Website: http://www.standrewschurch.org.uk

Farmers Market
Held twice monthly, the Farmers market takes place in Plymouth's city centre near the Sundial, the 27ft structure which stands in a pool of water. A lively event in which 25 stalls sell local produce and goods. The Farmers Market is held every second Saturday between 9am and 5pm.
Admission: Free entry
Address: Farmers Market, Armada Way, Plymouth, Devon
Postcode: PL1
Website: http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/homepage/communityandliving/citycentre/panniermarket.htm

Lord Mayor's Day
An annual event, Lord Mayor's Day is held on the 20th May and run by the Plymouth City Council. A fun-day for adults and kids alike, the event kicks off at Plymouth Hoe. Various displays and stalls set Plymouth alight in colour and fun but the main event is the float competition. Competing to a theme set by the Lord Mayor, various groups compete and show off their hard work in a procession while clowns, majorettes and marching bands all keep time to the fun.
Contact: PH 01752 307000

Plymouth Beer Festival
A festival celebrating a real English tradition and in inherent part of UK's culture, the Plymouth Beer Festival has been an outstanding success for three successive years. You'll be able to sample some of the country's finest brews to the beat of live music. Usually held around the end of June.
Admission: £6 Adults £3 Children
Address: Plymouth Pavilions, Millbray Road, Plymouth, Devon
Postcode: PL1 3LF Street Map
Contact: PH 01752 22 99 22
Website: http://www.plymouthpavilions.com/events/

Plymouth Bonfire and Fireworks
Celebrated throughout England and the UK, Guy Fawke's Night (November 6th) is a great event wherever you happen to be. Throughout the country, the skies are set ablaze in multi-coloured lights as fireworks are sent soaring to the skies. In Plymouth, the fireworks are set off from the Royal Citadel while thousands congregate on the Plymouth Hoe to watch the event.
Admission: Free entry
Address: Heritage & Leisure Dept, c/o Plymouth City Council, Plymouth, Devon
Postcode: PL1 1PH Street Map
Contact: PH +44 1752 30 7000

World Powerboats Championships: British Grand Prix
Watch these technological wonders fly on the surface from any spot along the coast or with the crowds on Plymouth Hoe. Various stages are held throughout the world, Round Four is held in Plymouth.
Website: http://www.class-1.com

Plymouth's Annual Thanksgiving Festival
Every year, Plymouth (Devon, UK) the Mother City of over 40 Plymouth towns worldwide, celebrates its connection to the United States inviting all Americans to join its Thanksgiving celebrations. The historic connection is of course the sailing of the Mayflower. Leaving from Plymouth, 102 Puritans braved the seas in 1620 to found a new colony which they named Plimoth. The Plymouth Annual Thanksgiving Festival spreads over four days with a Festival Welcome, Band music by the HM Royal Marines, Raising of the Stars and Stripes and a Historic Barbican Thanksgiving Evening. This yearly event is organised by the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Address: Plymouth Chamber of Commerce & Industry, 22 Lockye, Plymouth, Devon
Postcode: PL1 2QW Street Map
Contact: PH +44 (0)1752 220471

Saltram House
A fine Georgian mansion set within 20 acres of parkland, Saltram House overlooks the Plym estuary. Beautiful English garden with follies, 19th century chapel, Saltram also boast works by Joshua Reynolds and Angelica Kauffmann... more
Admission: £8.00 Adults £4.00 Children
Address: Saltram House, Plympton, Plymouth, Devon
Postcode: PL7 1UH Street Map
Contact: PH 01752 333500

Smeaton's Tower
Built in 1759, Smeaton's Tower was the fourth tower to guide ships safely through Plymouth's port. It replaced the earlier Rudyerd Tower (1709) which was set ablaze when the lantern house caught fire. .. more
Admission: £2.25 Adults £1.25 Children
Address: Smeaton's Tower, Hoe Road, Plymouth, Devon
Postcode: PL1 2NZ Street Map
Contact: PH +44 (0)1752 304 386
Website: http://www.plymouthdome.info/

Elizabethan House
A historic house lying in the heart of Plymouth's old town, the Elizabethan House is the former home of a sea-captain who lived here in the 1500's. The displays are spread out over a series of period rooms over three floors. The old pole staircase is just one of the original architectural features which you'll enjoy on your visit.
Admission: £1.30 Adults £0.80 Children
Address: Elizabethan House, 32 New Street, Plymouth, Devon
Postcode: PL8 7FW Street Map
Contact: PH +44 (0) 1752 304 774

Hemerdon House
A private home that has always been the property of the Woollcombe family, Hemerdon House is open from 1st May to 30th September every year... more
Admission: £4 Adults
Address: Hemerdon House, Plymouth, Devon
Postcode: PL7 5BZ Street Map
Contact: PH +44 (0)1752 337 350

The National Marine Aquarium
Currently the best and largest aquarium to visit in the UK, the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth is centrally located in Sutton Harbour. The National Marine Aquarium first opened its doors to the public in 1998 and has enjoyed an enduring popularity ever since. Placing emphasis on marine conservation and education, the National Marine Aquarium is spread over four levels. You'll be able to watch fish in the Shallows, Coral Reef or Atlantic Seas. Alternatively, you can visit the Twilight Zone, Discovery Centre, Maritime Gardens or look at some marine art in the Waterfront Gallery. The greatest attraction here is feeding time when all the fish gather in a frenzy. You'll also be able to watch sharks, seahorses and a range of other fish and marine creatures. Don't miss the Mediterranean exhibits, a major attraction boasting the deepest tank (10.5M) in Europe. It holds a staggering 2.5 million litres of seawater. The National Marine Aquarium is a wonderful attraction for all the family and is sure to inspire you whatever your age.
Admission: £9.50 Adults £4 Children
Address: The National Marine Aquarium, Rope Walk,, Plymouth, Devon
Postcode: PL4 0LF Street Map
Contact: PH 01752 600 301
Website: http://www.national-aquarium.co.uk/

Merchant's House Museum
An attraction for anyone interested in social history, the Merchant's House Museum in Plymouth is a Jacobean town house situated just behind the Barbican. The four-storey building was constructed in 1608 for William Parker, then Lord Mayor of Plymouth. The Merchant's House Museum will take you back in time to the construction of the Great Western Railway and Brunel's railway bridge. Displays include the history of Plymouth, its tale of hardship during the Blitz and the subsequent rebuilding of Plymouth's devastated remains. You can also visit the Rich Man's Room, a Victorian classroom, the Tailor Room or learn more about pharmaceutical history and herbal remedies.
Admission: £1.30 Adults £0.80 Children
Address: 33, St. Andrew Street, Plymouth, Devon
Postcode: PL8 6DZ Street Map
Contact: PH 1752 304774

Plymouth's Dome
The Plymouth Dome is a hi-tech complex designed to bring to life Plymouth's history and the lives of its inhabitants. On your trip, you'll visit an Elizabethan street and watch audio-visual displays on the lives of Sir Francis Drake, Captain Cook and the Mayflower Pilgrims. Plymouth Dome also boasts an observation deck which monitors the harbour through radar and interactive computers. Other attractions at Plymouth's Dome include the new interactive Smeaton's Tower oil-room and an audio-visual display featuring a devastated Plymouth during the Blitz.
Admission: £4.75 Adults £3.25 Children
Address: Plymouth Dome, Hoe Road, Plymouth,
Postcode: PL1 2NZ Street Map
Contact: PH +44 (0) 1752 603 300
Website: http://www.plymouthdome.info/

Plymouth Mayflower
An interactive exhibition displayed over three floors, the Plymouth Mayflower details the history of the Pilgrim Fathers, the city of Plymouth, Sutton Harbour and the historic Barbican. High-tech displays, interactive graphic panels such as the genealogy screen and models of historic ships such as the Golden Hinde and the Mayflower all contribute to making Plymouth's history a rather interesting experience. Head out to the terrace on the top floor of the Plymouth Mayflower for great views over the Barbican. You'll also find a tourist information office on the ground floor.
Admission: £4.00 Adults £2.00 Children
Address: Plymouth Mayflower, 3-5 The Barbican, Plymouth, Devon
Postcode: PL1 2LS Street Map
Contact: PH +44 (0) 1752 306 330

Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery
Situated near Drake Circus and the University of Plymouth, the City Museum & Art Gallery lies somewhat outside the main sphere of attractions. Nevertheless art buffs will enjoy the Cottonian Collection which comprises Reynolds material, some 7,000 fine prints, oil paintings, watercolours and Old Master and English drawings. As well as touring exhibitions, the City Museum & Art Gallery also displays collections of natural and social history and naval art.
Admission: Free entry
Address: City Museum & Art Gallery, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon
Postcode: PL4 8AJ Street Map
Contact: PH +44 (0) 1752 304 774
Website: http://www.plymouthmuseum.gov.uk/

Plymouth Hoe
This grassy plateau provides a great, relaxing view-point to watch ships sail in and out of Plymouth Sound. Hoe means a high place and your perspective will give you views out to Drake's Island, Mount Batten, Mount Edgecumbe Park and the Eddystone Lighthouse. Dotted with memorials to Plymouth's past, the Hoe also boasts a bowling green which is said to have witnessed Sir Francis Drake loath to leave an unfinished match to fight the in-coming Spanish Armada. His portly statue now looks out to sea. Also located within the Plymouth Hoe are two other popular Plymouth attractions; Smeaton's Tower and the Plymouth Dome. Lying adjacent to the east side of the Plymouth Hoe is the Royal Citadel, a huge structure built by King Charles II to defend Plymouth's port.
Admission: Free entry
Address: Plymouth Hoe, Plymouth,
Postcode: PL1 2P Street Map

Plymbridge Woods and Valley
Lying to north-east of Plymouth at the edge of the city Plymbridge Woods comprises some 200 acres of woodland and meadows. A much-needed green space through which the River Plym flows, Plymbridge Woods is a regenerating woodland and a haven for flora and fauna. The area is also a historic site which once bore the brunt of industrialisation. Noisy mines and quarries were once serviced by railway lines but nowadays all you'll hear are bird calls and the Plym River splashing on its way. As you go along your way, you may expect to see broadleaved trees such as oak, ash, sycamore and chestnut. The Old Cann Quarry is a good place to spot Peregrine Falcons but many other birds such as woodpeckers, wood warblers, jays and buzzards are also frequent visitors here. Along the water's edge keep a look out for heron, kingfisher and mandarin and mallard ducks. As well a herd of deer, you may also spot otters, stoats, weasels, badgers and water voles. Much of this area is managed by the National Trust. For more information, call a local Devon Tourist Information Centre.
Admission: Free entry

The Plym Valley Cycle and Walkway
The Plym Valley Cycle and Walkway lies on the Devon Coast to Coast Path, a route which stretches for 97 miles from Plymouth to Ilfracombe. Cruising through National Trust land for much of the way, the easy route leaves from the grounds of Saltram House and gently climbs through woodland towards Dartmoor. As you mersey along the Plym River, you'll pass a folly dating from the 18th century folly and a bird hide. Bypass the busy Marsh Mills traffic and head towards Coypool you'll soon pass the Plym Valley Railway (an alternative start point for the route). You're route follows the River Plym taking you by the Old Cann Canal and a good place to spot Peregrine Falcons. Your track will now take you along the path of the Old Great Western Railway winding through tunnels and across viaducts. You'll then pass the old Shaugh Prior Station and Shaugh Tunnel, a curved (and lit) tunnel cut out of solid rock by Brunel, the railway engineer. The trail soon ends at Clearbrook. A great track, the path is easily accessed from Marsh Mills, Laira Bridge, Coypool, Plym Bridge, Bickleigh, Shaugh Prior and Clearbrook. You're best bet is to head towards Clearbrook as this you'll avoid steep gradients and enjoy gentle descents. For more information contact a local Devon Tourist Information Centre or the National Trust.
Admission: Free entry

The Tamar Valley Line
A 14 mile scenic railway line running between Plymouth and Gunnislake. Passing Devonport, Bere Ferres and Bere Alston, the Tamar Valley Line crosses the Calstock Viaduct which joins Devon and Cornwall. Historically a mining route, the railway dodges round the Tamar River taking you through the scenic landscape which is also a designated 'Area of Outstanding Beauty'. Alternatively, you may also want to try the Tamar Valley Rail Ale Trail giving you the oppurtunity to sample tradition and locally brewed real ales along your way. For more details of this attraction visit http://www.railaletrail.com/.
Website: http://www.tamarvalley.org.uk/6_13_train.htm

Brittany Ferries
If you're planning to go overseas, taking a ferry from Plymouth may be an enjoyable option for you. Brittany Ferries sail to various destinations in Spain and France and also offer services from Poole and Portsmouth.
Address: Brittany Ferries, Plymouth, Devon
Postcode: PL1 3EW Street Map
Contact: PH 08703 665 333

Sound Cruising
Sound Cruising No better way to enjoy this historic harbour than upon its water. Sound Cruising offer trips through the tranquil waters of Plymouth's natural harbour. Taking you to Plymouth's Dockyards and Warships, you'll sail in the wake of Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake and Captain Cook. You'll tour Plymouth Sound taking in the Plymouth Hoe, Royal Citadel, Smeaton's Tower, Drake's Island, Mt. Edgecumbe Country Park and Europe's largest Naval Dockyard. Also on offer is a Mountbatten Ferry service, private charters and a four hour Calstock Cruise. To book give them a ring or visit their pontoon near the Mayflower Steps.
Admission: £Vary Adults
Address: Sound Cruising, Hexton Quay, Plymouth, Devon
Postcode: PL9 9RE Street Map
Contact: PH 07930838614
Website: http://www.soundcruising.com

Plymouth Gin Distillery
Could there be a better place for a distillery than a port? Plymouth boasts the oldest gin distillery in the world. In production since 1793, Plymouth Gin is produced in Black Friars Distillery. This attraction is also housed in one of the oldest buildings in Plymouth. Originally the Black Friars monastery, the building was put to various uses after Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries. The oldest part is the refectory room which dates to the 1400's and boasts a fine hull-shaped timber ceiling. Your tour will also take you to the distillery room, still room and tasting room. Be sure to stop in the refectory now housing a cocktail bar where you'd do well to sample one of the oldest and certainly one of the tastiest gins in the world.
Admission: £5 Adults £Not allowed Children
Address: Black Friars Distillery, 60 Southside Street, Plymouth, Devon
Postcode: PL1 2LQ Street Map
Contact: PH +44 (0) 01752 665 292
Website: http://www.plymouthgin.com/

Info CentrePlymouth Tourist Information Centre
Housed in a 16th century building, the Plymouth Tourist Information is conveniently located near the Barbican. As well as booking your Plymouth attractions and accommodation, you'll also be visiting the last place the Pilgrim Fathers stayed in England before setting sail for America in the Mayflower.
Address: Island House, No 9, Plymouth, Devon
Postcode: PL1 2LS Street Map
Contact: PH (01752) 304849

Info CentrePlymouth Discovery Centre
For more information on Plymouth and attractions in the area and booking your accommodation.
Address: Crabtree, Near Marsh Mills Roundabout, Plymouth, Devon
Postcode: PL3 6RN Street Map
Contact: PH +44 (01752) 266030/266031


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