The top attractions and things to do in Plymouth are listed below.
One of the biggest seaports and naval bases in the United Kingdom is located in Plymouth, in the lovely English county of Devon. It is one of the nation’s most historically significant ports as a result. The English navy’s victory over the Spanish Armada just off the coast of Plymouth served as the catalyst for the nation’s ascent to global supremacy.
Plymouth, which today encompasses Stonehouse and Devonport, is a sizable city located near the mouth of the River Tamar, which serves as the border between Devon and Cornwall. This means that there are many of fantastic sites and enjoyable things to do close by for tourists.
This charming coastal community is tucked between hills that reach down to the neighboring bays, and is bordered by a rocky and occasionally steep shoreline dotted with protected beach spots excellent for swimming. A large number of parks and gardens give the city an open, appealing appearance, along with the nearby woodlands and meadows.
This historic harbor has a direct connection to well-known figures in British nautical history like Sir Francis Drake and the Mayflower. These and other important sites are simple to tour on foot because to the Barbican waterfront area’s numerous cobbled streets and narrow lanes as well as its broad seaside promenade.
Be sure to frequently consult our list of the top attractions and activities in Plymouth, England as you plan your England trip.
1. Take in the Views at Plymouth Hoe And Smeaton’s Tower
The Plymouth Hoe, often known as the Hoe, offers some of the best views of the city and Plymouth Sound. The expansive Hoe Park, which is spanned by the Promenade and stretches past Drake’s Island to the lighthouse on Eddystone Rock, 14 miles away, was established in 1817.
There is also the Armada Monument, which was built in 1888 and bears the coats of arms of the communities that participated in the fight against the Spanish. Both the neighboring Sir Francis Drake Statue and the enormous Naval War Memorial are impressive. Other monuments along the spacious, paved Hoe Promenade include the Royal Air Force and Allied Air Forces monument and the Plymouth Naval Memorial, which honors the lives of sailors from Britain and the Commonwealth who lost their lives in two world wars.
Additionally at the Hoe, the upper level of Smeaton’s Tower, which was constructed with materials that were previously part of an offshore lighthouse built in the 18th century, is accessible as a viewing platform. To access the lantern area and its wonderful views, be prepared to climb the tower’s 93 stairs, which include some narrow ladders. If you’re in town in August, try to time your trip to coincide with the annual British Fireworks Championship, which attracts a sizable throng from all around the nation.
Don’t forget to spend some time exploring West Hoe Park, which is located at the westernmost point of the Hoe. The kid-friendly rides and miniature railroad make it a favorite among families.
Address: 4 Osborne Place, Plymouth, Devon, England
2. Visit Historic Saltram House
John Parker started building Saltram House, three miles east of Plymouth, in 1750, and very little has changed since then. Joshua Reynolds, who lived in the nearby town of Plympton, produced 14 of the paintings that make it noteworthy.
The ruler of the house and his family were depicted in paintings by the artist, who enjoyed living at Saltram. The 1767 portrait of the artist by Angelika Kaufmann that hangs on the stairwell is her own creation. The artwork of Rubens, Stubbs, American presidential painter Gilbert Stuart, and magnificent china collections are all noteworthy.
After admiring the home’s lovely interior, take some time to stroll over its spectacular grounds, which include pristine woodlands and serene gardens. Also worth seeing are the vistas of Plymouth Sound. When purchasing tickets, visitors can choose self-guided tours of the vast grounds, which are crisscrossed by a network of hiking and biking routes.
There are also manor home tours available, and for those who want to stay for longer, there is a cafe and tearoom.
Address: Saltram, Plympton, Plymouth, Devon, England
3. Have Fun at the Barbican Waterfront
The ancient port district of Plymouth, often known as the Barbican, is enjoyable to stroll through. One of the city’s most well-liked dining areas, it features cobblestone pathways and picturesque vistas of fishing boats and pleasure boats with casual seafood shops and cafés that offer outdoor al fresco dining.
At Sutton Harbour, formerly known as Sutton Pool, pleasant excursions around the port and Plymouth Sound are offered by pleasure ships, and regular ferry services can take you to different locations throughout the city.
The Mayflower Museum, which chronicles the interesting history of this legendary ship’s voyage to the New World, is especially fascinating to American tourists. You can also go to the Mayflower Steps Memorial, which is close by and marks the location where the Pilgrims are thought to have set off on their historic journey.
A memorial honoring the arrival of British aviators Alcock and Brown, who were the first to fly a seaplane across the Atlantic in 1919, lies nearby.
The National Marine Aquarium, the Barbican Theatre, the Plymouth Arts Centre, as well as various dining options, are some of the other features of the Barbican. Numerous events, including concerts and food festivals, take place at The Barbican.
4. Explore the Royal Citadel
In the 17th century, a previous fortification was demolished to make way for the Royal Citadel. Only guided tours, which must be scheduled ahead of time, are allowed entry.
The Royal Chapel of St. Katherine-on-the-Hoe is a must-see attraction. Over the years, it was rebuilt after receiving its initial authorization for services in 1371. The citadel is encircled by a road with lovely views, and there is also a pleasant footpath for strolling.
Address: Lambhay Hill, Plymouth, Devon, England
5. Take the Kids to the National Marine Aquarium
The largest aquarium in the UK is located in Plymouth. The world’s waters are covered in the exhibits, from the English coast to the Pacific coral reefs. Visitors have a rare opportunity to witness these incredible creatures at night during a “shark sleepover.”
Address: Rope Walk, Coxside, Plymouth, Devon, England
6. The Mayflower Museum and Mayflower Steps Memorial
The Mayflower Museum honors the voyage taken by the Mayflower by the forefathers of America. Highlights include the opportunity to try on historical attire, a ton of entertaining interactive games, and a miniature model of the renowned ship. Visitors interested in the lengthy naval history of Britain should also pay this place a visit.
After that, take a fun walking tour of the old town and Barbican to see the sites associated with the region’s maritime history.
Address: 3-5 The Barbican, Plymouth, Devon, England
7. Plymouth City Center
Armada Way and Royal Parade are two huge avenues that make up the lively city core of Plymouth. The oldest house in the city, the 15th-century Prysten House, is close to St. Andrew’s Church. A pedestrian-friendly area with lanes lined with shops and eateries is the Drake Circus Centre.
Address: St. Andrews Street, Plymouth, Devon, England
8. Tour the Historic Elizabethan House
The Elizabethan House in Plymouth is a superb illustration of 16th-century construction. You are taken through the building’s lengthy history as a boarding home through fascinating exhibits. The nearby Elizabethan Gardens and the additional 100+ recognized historic sites are also worthwhile visits.
Address: 17-19 New Street, Plymouth, Devon, England
9. Follow the Heritage Trail through Historic Devonport
In Plymouth’s Royal Dockyard, which William III founded in 1691, there is a monument honoring arctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott. The 1718 structure Gun Wharf is very intriguing architecturally. The historic dockyards of the city are featured in displays and exhibits at the Devonport Naval Heritage Centre.
Highlights include seeing a former Royal Navy submarine and having the chance to visit the still-in-use naval base.
Address: Vivid Approach, Off Granby Wy., Devonport, Plymouth, Devon, England
10. Spend a Night at Crownhill Fort
The largest and best preserved of Plymouth’s ring of Victorian forts is Crownhill Fort. Along with ramparts and a sizable dry moat, there are cannons and tunnels to explore. Consider making a reservation for one of the Fort’s distinctive overnight stays for an unforgettable experience.
Address: Crownhill Fort Road, Plymouth, Devon, England
11. Take the Ferry to Mount Edgcumbe Country Park in Cornwall
There is a boat service from Plymouth to Cremyll, Cornwall, and the sizable Mount Edgcumbe Country Park. There is an 18th-century mansion from the Sense and Sensibility novel that overlooks this vast area of land, which in fact includes two villages, Kingsand and Cawsand.
Location: Cremyll, Torpoint, Cornwall, Devon, England
12. Take a Drive to Cotehele House
The Edgcumbe family constructed Cotehele House in the late 15th century. Beautiful 14-acre grounds with a view of the River Tamar are well worth exploring. A magnificent tearoom, formal gardens, a tower, and a summerhouse from the Victorian era are just a few highlights.
Address: St. Dominick, Saltash, Devon, England
13. Cotehele Mill
A water-powered mill from the Middle Ages, Cotehele House & Mill is still in good condition. Local grain is still being milled now exactly as it would have been centuries ago. The wonderful baked goods you can sample here also use the mill.
Address: St. Dominick, Callington, Devon, England
14. Bridging the Tamar Visitor and Learning Centre
2019 saw the opening of the Bridging the Tamar Visitor and Learning Centre. gives an interesting overview of the two main bridges that span the River Tamar. In the 1960s and the 1850s, respectively, the Tamar Bridge and the Royal Albert Bridge were constructed. When they were built, each bridge significantly changed the region.
Address: Pemros Road, St. Budeaux, Plymouth, Devon, England
15. Visit the Cornish Town of Saltash
Saltash is located on the west side of the River Tamar, immediately across from Plymouth. The town, which may be reached by train or water, is frequently referred to as the “Gateway to Cornwall.” The old Mary Newmans Cottage and Elliott’s Shop supermarket are highlights.
Where to Stay in Plymouth for Sightseeing
Looking for a quality place to stay while visiting Plymouth? We wholeheartedly endorse the following charming lodgings that are close to popular tourist destinations like Plymouth Hoe and the historic district of Barbican:
- Just a few minutes from Plymouth’s city, the opulent Boringdon Hall Hotel and Spa is housed in a magnificent ancient manor home and has a wellness spa and an indoor heated pool.
- Plum Holidays – Drake’s Wharf is a waterfront property that offers luxurious lodgings in a history naval building with modernized decor and sea views.
- Rooms by Bistrot Pierre, another distinctive experience housed in a historic location, provides opulent lodging in the center of the gorgeously renovated Royal William Yard. Just a short stroll away are serene walking trails, a marina, lovely gardens, and superb eating.
- The equally luxurious 1 Elliot Terrace offers roomy apartments with spectacular views of Plymouth Hoe.
- The Invicta Hotel, a favorite in the mid-range pricing range, is a fantastic family-run hotel in a handy location with a very welcoming staff.
- Another wonderful choice is The Grosvenor Plymouth, which offers reasonable pricing, a great location close to Plymouth Hoe, contemporary interior design, and a superb complimentary breakfast.
- It’s also worth checking availability at the Crowne Plaza Plymouth, which offers high-quality rooms with breathtaking views and is only a few steps from Plymouth Hoe.
- The Premier Inn Plymouth City Centre (Sutton Harbour) Hotel is a wonderful option for those on a tight budget; it is close to the National Marine Aquarium and all rooms, including the bigger family rooms, have tea and coffee machines.
- The Duke of Cornwall Hotel, albeit slightly above average in this category, is well worth considering for its lovely setting and reasonable prices.
- Rainbow Lodge provides B&B-style rooms with a delicious cooked breakfast included, which is also good.