A Quick Guide to Plymouth: Top Places to Visit & Things to Do
09 December 2016
While many of those who visit Talland Bay come for the beauty and seclusion of the coast, it is easy to forget that you are just 25 miles from Devon’s biggest and liveliest city. Indeed, one of the unsung highlights of staying in East Cornwall is that can enjoy all the relaxation you like but also squeeze in a trip to Plymouth, whether you plan a day excursion or simply stop en route.
From a spot of shopping and sightseeing to trips to some of Devon’s best attractions, Plymouth has to be one of the best places to visit on the way to Cornwall. Whether you enjoy live entertainment, eating out or a taste of local history and culture, there are some great places to go and see, as well as brilliant activities in Plymouth. If we had to pick just a few for a day or so itinerary though, the following would be high on the list
1.Stroll the Barbican
An area at the heart of Plymouth’s rejuvenation as a buzzing modern city, the Barbican (pictured above) is a great place to stop for lunch, take a stroll or head for cocktails and perhaps some live music in the evening. Most charming of all is the way it combines classic cobbled streets and old fashioned boozers with more modern developments. Within the same few hundred yards you can browse quirky shops, catch a tour or find the Mayflower Steps, where the Pilgrim Fathers are said to have set sail for North America in 1620.
2. See the biggest and best aquarium in Britain
If sea life is your thing, an absolute must on your day out has to be an immersive trip beneath the waves at the Plymouth National Marine Aquarium. This is an epic, fascinating place worth coming to Plymouth for in its own right. From watery worlds in miniature to giant sharks, it has hypnotic fascination for visitors of all ages. For time to loiter and explore the deep at your own pace, weekdays are recommended in the summer and other busy times.
Plymouth is blessed with a truly outstanding collection of sea life (Image: National Marine Aquarium Facebook page)
3.Take a cruise aboard Plymouth ferries
As an age-old seafaring city, another of the charms of Plymouth is that you can hop onto any one of several ferries for a fun, alternative method of getting around or seeing the sites. Perhaps the most scenic, interesting and best of all the cruises is the Cremyll to Plymouth Ferry, however, which not only takes you from Cornwall to Plymouth by boat, but shows you the wonderful coastline and heritage of the area, including the Mount Edgcumbe, Royal William Yard and Plymouth Sound locations.
4. Sample local tipples from craft beer to Plymouth Gin
Besides shops and attractions in the city, you’ll also find some great places to sample local drinks in superbly hospitable and historic places. Try pubs in and around the Barbican area such as The Fisherman’s Arms or The Admiral Macbride for treats such as Skinner’s beers and Dartmoor Jail Ale in an old school setting. Or, for a more immersive voyage into the city’s most legendary and lethal drink of all, a visit to Plymouth Gin Distillery is also a great option, where you can take a fascinating tour and sample the good stuff for yourself. Booking is a must (CLICK HERE for more details on Plymouth Gin Tours).
Plymouth Gin Distillery; much easier to find when you're sober!
5. Stop off at the Plymouth shops
For any travelling shopping addict, Plymouth also has some great places to pick up fashion, food and, well, just about anything you can think of. Drake Circus Shopping Centre is the biggest and brightest for all the biggest high street stores and brands, while Plymouth City Market keeps it more local with a variety of stalls. It’s also a fair bet for a quick bite, whether you grab a traditional pastie or something spicy from the excellent “Taste of Thailand”. Visit on a Saturday for the busiest of the action with friendly local stallholders.
6. Rub shoulders with pilgrims and pirates
Another terrific part of the city is its vast amount of history. There are heritage sites all around the city, but two locations are particularly worthwhile for travelling culture vultures. Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery is the best historic attraction of the lot, with various permanent exhibitions such as “Plymouth: Port and Place”, fine art and an intriguing “Ancient Egypt” section. For military history buffs, however, Devonport Naval Heritage Centre is also something of an unsung gem (do note that visits and tours must be booked: CLICK HERE for further information).
7. Enjoy a picnic on iconic Plymouth Hoe
Should you arrive on a hot day and fancy an alfresco lunch, why not set out on foot and find some of the best Plymouth views and famous landmarks? The Hoe packs acres of green space with iconic sights such as the Francis Drake Statue and Smeaton’s Tower in plain sight. Be sure to pack a camera and take your time; better still, if the weather is fine you could bring a blanket and make it a picnic.
On a fine day, head to Plymouth's greener edges for fine views and some iconic sights.
8. Enjoy entertaining evenings out
The shops might shut at the usual hour in most of Plymouth, but with so much waking up in the evening, you needn’t call it a day just yet. In fact, another huge draw these days is the variety of live entertainment in Plymouth, whether you enjoy theatre productions or jazz gigs. The Theatre Royal and Barbican Theatre are both worth a look for touring drama and comedy shows, while Plymouth Pavillions host some huge acts every year, from chart toppers to cult musicians.
The best of West Country Cuisine & Hospitality at Talland Bay
Just a little further over the Tamar Bridge, nestled in one of the most spectacular parts of the Cornish coast, Talland Bay makes a delightful place for breaks in the South West. At little over half an hour from Devon's capital, we are one of the best luxury hotels near Plymouth, with stunning views, excellent cuisine and a uniquely quirky, colourful location. Why not join us for one of our special West Country breaks and take in both the sights of Plymouth and the best of Cornwall in one stay? See our other blog entries and Facebook page for further ideas and inspiration, while our special offers and events page has some cracking deals on luxury breaks in East Cornwall.