15 Best Things to Do in Plymouth

Things to do in Plymouth, South Devon

Attractions and Places To See Around Plymouth, Devon

Looking for things to do in Plymouth? The historic maritime city of Plymouth has plenty of attractions to keep adults and children entertained.

From outdoor adventures to cultural experiences, here are some of the top family activities for this corner of Devon.

15 Things to Do in Plymouth

1. The Hoe

Take a stroll along the iconic Plymouth Hoe, offering stunning views of Plymouth Sound and Smeaton’s Tower lighthouse. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic or to watch the sunset.

2. Explore Dartmoor National Park

Just a short drive from Plymouth, Dartmoor National Park is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts. Hike through the rugged landscapes, spot wild ponies, and discover ancient tors.

3. Go Kayaking or Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard and explore Plymouth Sound, offering a stunning perspective of the city’s coastline and maritime heritage.

4. Plymouth Gin Distillery

Take a tour of the historic Plymouth Gin Distillery and learn about the distilling process while sampling their renowned gins.

5. National Marine Aquarium

Discover the largest UK aquarium, the National Marine Aquarium, featuring sharks, rays, and a variety of marine life from around the world.

6. Royal Citadel

Step back in time at the Royal Citadel, a 17th-century fortress that played a crucial role in Plymouth’s military history. Explore the ramparts, galleries, and exhibitions.

7. Mount Edgcumbe Country Park

Spend a day at the beautiful Mount Edgcumbe Country Park, with its lush gardens, historic house, and coastal walks offering panoramic views of Plymouth Sound.

8. Mayflower Museum

Learn about the Pilgrims’ journey to the New World at the Mayflower Museum, featuring interactive exhibits and a replica of the famous ship.

9. Smeaton’s Tower

Climb the iconic Smeaton’s Tower lighthouse for breathtaking views of Plymouth and the surrounding coastline.

Smeaton's Tower lighthouse in Plymouth

10. Central Park

Looking for an activity to keep the kids entertained? Spend the afternoon at Central Park, featuring a lake, gardens, and playgrounds.

11. Tinside Lido

Take a dip in the art-deco-style Tinside Lido, an outdoor saltwater pool offering stunning views of Plymouth Sound. The lido is open in the summer months between May and September.

12. Royal William Yard

Wander through the historic Royal William Yard, a former naval victualling yard now home to restaurants, shops, and galleries.

13. Saltram House

Tour the magnificent Saltram House, a Georgian estate with beautiful gardens, offering a glimpse into the lives of the wealthy families who once lived there.

14. Mount Batten Beach

Relax on the sandy shores of Mount Batten Beach, a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. The beach is dog friendly all year round.

15. Visit Local Areas

Use Plymouth as a base to explore other nearby attractions like Dartmoor National Park, Tamar Valley, and the surrounding coastal towns and villages.

Free Things to Do in Plymouth

Some free things to do in Plymouth include:

  • Stroll along the Plymouth Hoe and visit the historic Barbican area
  • Explore the Royal William Yard and admire the architecture
  • Visit the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery
  • Take a walk through Central Park or Mount Edgcumbe Country Park
  • Watch street performers or attend free events and festivals

A 1 Day Itinerary for Families

9:00 AM – Start your day at the iconic Plymouth Hoe, taking in the stunning views of Plymouth Sound and Smeaton’s Tower lighthouse. Enjoy a leisurely stroll or have a picnic breakfast.

11:00 AM – Head to the National Marine Aquarium, where you can explore the fascinating underwater world and learn about marine life through interactive exhibits and impressive aquariums.

1:00 PM – Grab lunch at one of the family-friendly restaurants or cafes in the historic Royal William Yard or the lively Barbican area.

2:30 PM – Visit the Mayflower Museum to learn about the Pilgrims’ journey to the New World through engaging exhibits and a replica of the famous Mayflower ship.

4:30 PM – Spend some time at Central Park, where kids can burn off energy at the playgrounds or feed the ducks at the lake. Or, you could visit Mount Edgcumbe Country Park for a scenic coastal walk.

6:30 PM – End your day with a meal at one of the many delicious restaurants. Or, grab some fish and chips and choose a spot to eat overlooking the sea.

Where is Plymouth?

Plymouth is a maritime city located in the county of Devon, in the southwest of England. It is situated on the coast of the English Channel, approximately 190 miles (306 kilometres) west of London and 38 miles (61 kilometres) southwest of Exeter.

Plymouth is bordered by the rivers Plym and Tamar, with a natural harbour that has played a vital role in its maritime history.

History of Plymouth

Plymouth has a rich maritime history dating back to the Bronze Age. It gained prominence as a shipping port in the Middle Ages and became a major naval base during the Tudor and Stuart eras.

In 1588, Plymouth played a crucial role in the defeat of the Spanish Armada, and in 1620, the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, carrying the Pilgrims to the New World.

During World War II, Plymouth was heavily bombed by the Germans due to its strategic importance as a naval base, resulting in significant destruction.

What is Plymouth Famous For?

Plymouth is famous for its maritime heritage, being the departure point for many famous voyages, including the Mayflower’s journey to the New World in 1620. It is also renowned for its naval history and as a major port city.

Plymouth is also well known for its stunning natural landscapes, with easy access to Dartmoor National Park and the picturesque coastline of Devon.

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