What to do in Plymouth (by Jessica)

posted in: Blog, UK | 8

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Jess writes:

Mum and I really enjoyed exploring Plymouth. We had a great time and did lots of things, but these were our highlights…We were also lucky that the sun shone!

The Barbican

We spent most of our time in the Barbican, which is the name given to the western and northern sides of the old harbour area of Plymouth. It is home to a variety of things, especially LOADS of sweet and fudge shops! These shops consisted of pretty much every single flavour of fudge you could think of – from Crunchie bars to lemon meringue, rum and raisin to Bounty bars. Our favourite fudge was millionaire’s shortbread flavour! We also enjoyed a variety of ice creams, including nougat wafers, which were vanilla ice cream sandwiched between a thin wafer and nougat covered in chocolate. They were delicious.

If you’re in Plymouth, do take a walk around here, and visit some of the lovely places to eat the sweet stuff! We’d recommend Valenti’s and Pilgrims.

A delicious nougat wafer from Petres
A delicious nougat wafer from Petres

There is also lots of history in the Barbican, from The Mayflower to Elizabethan merchant house and the old, Elizabethan cobbled streets.

The Barbican is home to the National Marine Aquarium, which is supposed to be amazing. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to visit.


The pilgrims set sail from Plymouth in the 17th century
The pilgrims set sail from Plymouth in the 17th century

The Mayflower Steps

The world famous Mayflower Steps are the spot closest to the site on the Barbican where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for North America in 1620. It is a beautiful setting, and there are loads of plaques to read.

The Mayflower Museum

The Mayflower Museum is a really interesting museum telling you about Native America and the Pilgrim Fathers. It’s not huge, but it’s got lots of interactive things to do for kids and a top floor which gives you good views of the harbour. It would also be interesting for any American visitors as it will tell you all you need to know about the famous trip from one Plymouth to another!

It costs £2.50 for adults and just £1 for kids (aged 5-16)

Plymouth Hoe

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Plymouth Hoe is a fantastic place with breathtaking views over Plymouth Sound, a picturesque natural harbour. There are statues, restaurants and of course, some absolutely beautiful walks to take. Mum and I had a great time walking across the seafront. On a sunny day, like the one we had, the views are sublime, with unpolluted water and green grass. Something we particularly liked looking at was the statue of Sir Francis Drake – who, of course, was supposed to play a game of bowls as he waited for the Armada to arrive.Plymouth 009

Smeaton’s Tower Lighthouse

Smeaton’s Tower Lighthouse looks fabulous from the outside, and is definitely worth a visit, although it’s only got 93 steps, they are steep (so not great for very little ones). However, it’s definitely worth it as the views are incredible, and you can see the harbour, cliffs and beyond. It’s also got a little museum which is really interesting and tells you about museums, engineering and more.

It’s open every day from 10am till 5pm and costs £4 for adults and £2 for children.


Tinside Lido looked gorgeous!
Tinside Lido looked gorgeous!

The Tinside Lido

Mum and I hadn’t brought our swimming costumes, but the Tinside Lido is a glorious outdoor art deco swimming pool which had a £3.3 million restoration in 2003. The Lido reopened in 2012 and now has fountains, inflatable fun sessions, views across Plymouth Sound, a sunbathing terrace, lounger, deckchair and wetsuit hire and refreshments. It looked extremely tempting.

 Royal Citadel

The Royal Citadel is one of the most impressive 17th century fortresses in Britain and for many years was England’s most important defence against attack from the sea. The Citadel has been in constant military occupation since it was built and today it is home to the troops of 29 Commando Royal Artillery. There are tours of the Royal Citadel on Tuesday, Thursdays and Sundays, but only from May to the end of September and you have to book them in advance. This meant we couldn’t visit – although we enjoyed walking round the outside.


Obviously, there are many more things to do in Plymouth, but these were definitely some of our favourites. Plymouth is a beautiful city, and we would definitely recommend a visit.

More by me:

No 1 Royal Crescent in Bath

An awesome time at Hever Castle


8 Responses

  1. Christine

    I used to live near Plymouth so it was one of those places that I’d go shopping but never dream of being a tourist in. Great to read the blog post though as it does sound like there’s lots to see – all of which I missed out on!

  2. Erica Price

    I’ve been to Plymouth, but from these ideas we only managed a trip to the Hoe. I think we went to a museum too, but the Mayflower one doesn’t ring a bell.

  3. Ami Elizabeth

    I’ve never been to Plymouth before but it looks like such a lovely city with so much to do. We are planning a tour of the UK while I am on maternity leave so will try and add it to our map!

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