Discover Devon: Plymouth

There are only two cities in Devon: Exeter and Plymouth. Plymouth is early accessible and full of history and stories to uncover so, why haven’t you visited yet?

Throughout my time at university, I have travelled to Plymouth a handful of times and each time, it hasn’t disappointed. Only an hour from Exeter on the train, you can travel to Plymouth from St David’s station with an open return ticket for £7.95 according to Trainline, if you have a 16-25 railcard. Plymouth station is a little way outside of the city centre but, with a 15 minute-or-so walk you will find yourself at the famous Barbican. The Barbican is just one of the many pockets of activity that Plymouth has to offer. Here, you can walk alongside the marina and appreciate the boats and music from the nearby restaurants. It has become a bit of a tradition amongst my friends to pick our favourite boat whenever we come across a harbour; a fun little activity. The Barbican is the ‘old town’ of Plymouth and is home to the Plymouth Gin museum and shop, many Cornish pasty shops and lovely pubs and restaurants. This is a real tourist hub within the city and certainly worth a visit.

Walking alongside the harbour, you will also find the Mayflower Steps Memorial and during my most recent visit, we sat here to read about the history whilst tucking into a pasty. I had a less traditional Chicken and Leek pasty and I can report that it was delicious and worth the (for me) slightly more adventurous choice. The Mayflower was the name of the ship that is believed to have departed from Plymouth; the first ship to cross the Atlantic Ocean and settle in North America in 1620. Though there is not too much to see here, a few plaques and the steps themselves, it is still worth a look to see this site of history.

Moving on from the Mayflower Steps, the next stop of a Plymouth tour is the Hoe. The Plymouth Hoe is a large expanse of grass adorned with flags and a lighthouse. It is thought that this was also the spot where Sir Francis Drake first saw the Spanish Armada approaching and finished his game of bowls before taking action, knowing that the wind wouldn’t permit the boats to land. The lighthouse here is actually Smeaton’s Tower which was built in 1759, though it was relocated to the Hoe during the 1880’s. Visitors are able to go up to the top of the tower on certain days. This is also another great lunch spot with a Tesco store nearby for your meal deal purchases.

My final must-see Plymouth attraction is the Royal William Yard. This is a 35-40 minute walk from the station but completely worth it as the architecture is very interesting. The Yard used to operate as a depot of the Royal Navy but has since been converted into offices, restaurants and galleries; it is a lovely place to visit. Not too far from the yard, you can also catch a ferry to Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park. Admittedly, the most memorable part of my trip across the water was using the public toilets here…the biggest spiders I have ever seen! Though, don’t let that put you off, it’s a great place for a walk!

Wear comfortable shoes, you’ll definitely get your daily steps in on a trip to Plymouth.

Amie Greenhalgh

Featured Image Source: Plymouth Hoe by Amie Greenhalgh

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