Plymouth is a vibrant waterside city, benefiting from major investment with plenty to entertain everyone, from arts & crafts, to stylish cafes, bars & restaurants, quaint tea rooms and traditional fish & chips. High end shops and unique boutiques can be found within the main city centre.
Plymouth Pavilions is the South West's largest entertainment, concert and leisure venue, and holds many events throughout the year including comedians, orchestras, rock & pop groups and sporting events. There is also an ice rink and swimming pool with wave machine, Jacuzzi and flumes.
Come rain or shine you’ll find something for everyone among the city streets, surrounding countryside and marine environment beyond.
There are well-known landmarks, historical sites and natural assets to explore across Plymouth’s many unique areas and districts.
Wander the Barbican’s quaint cobbled quayside following in the Pilgrim Father’s footsteps or visit the National Marine Aquarium with its deep water fish tanks. Sample Plymouth’s finest export at the Blackfriars Gin Distillery or take a boat trip around Plymouth Sound from Mayflower Steps.
Plymouth holds a very special place in history. It is the place where Sir Francis Drake played bowls before defeating the Spanish Armada; the point of emigration for the Mayflower, its Pilgrims and countless others setting sail for America; where Darwin set sail on the Beagle, and birthplace of Scott the polar explorer. It is the city of discovery.
Whilst incredibly proud of its rich maritime heritage, Plymouth is not a city that lives in the past and today its lively port on the edge of the Atlantic has a distinctly European feel. This comes from its marinas, restaurants, galleries, seafront bars and historic buildings, and from the strong modernist architecture that lines Armada Way, the city’s central boulevard. Of course it also has an impressive natural setting.
From Plymouth Hoe the sight of boats, yachts and naval vessels on Plymouth Sound is truly inspiring. The views to the south across Plymouth’s natural harbour to the Atlantic Ocean beyond, and then northwards to Dartmoor, make you want to follow all the vantage points along the Waterfront or even get out on the water for a whole new perspective.
There’s more family fun to be had up on the Hoe where you can climb the iconic Smeaton’s Tower lighthouse or enjoy the spectacular vista from Plymouth’s very own Big Wheel. Take the plunge at Tinside Lido, Plymouth's restored Art Deco swimming pool, or simply take in the panoramic view of busy boating activity from this stunning natural amphitheatre.
Out on the water you can take a floating tour of Drake’s Island, the Naval Dockyards and River Tamar, book a behind-the-scenes tour of Devonport Naval Base, or stick your own paddle in the water at Mountbatten Water sports Centre.
If its entertainment you’re after the nationally acclaimed Theatre Royal showcases some of the UK’s biggest and best productions throughout the year, whilst the Pavilions has leisure and entertainment under one roof with its packed events diary of live gigs and shows, along with the ice rink. And there’s art aplenty at the City Museum and Art Gallery, Plymouth Arts Centre and the Peninsula Arts venues.
Further a field you can stroll round the many stately homes and gardens in the area, get up close to some big cats at Dartmoor Zoological Park, travel down the Tamar by rail or take to the (dry) slopes at the John Nike ski and leisure centre.
And if the great British weather is really inclement there are also indoor play centres at Jump and Drake’s Den, a multiplex cinema and ten-pin bowling at the Barbican Leisure Park, plus the Discovery Bus Tour – all guaranteed to keep the children amused.
The fun and excitement in Plymouth doesn’t stop when you leave the city centre – there are a whole host of other areas to explore and hidden gems to discover during your stay.
Whether it’s eating freshly caught seafood in one of the waterfront restaurants on the Barbican, relaxing in the sunshine with a picnic on the Hoe, or taking a behind the scenes tour of Devonport Dockyard, each area of Plymouth has something special and unique to offer visitors.
To discover Plymouth’s marine heritage, take a trip to Sutton Harbour and the Barbican, Royal William Yard or Mount Batten – all of which can be reached by ferries and water taxis as well as by bus and on foot.
The surrounding areas of Plymouth have plenty to offer too – take the Cremyll foot ferry from Stonehouse to tour the beautiful Mount Edcumbe House and Gardens or travel further inland for the remote beauty of Dartmoor or cycle through the National Trust woodland of the Plym Valley.
If you have time to venture further afield, Devon and Cornwall are full of family-friendly visitor attractions and places of interest including the world-famous Eden Project in Cornwall and English Riviera in South Devon.