Plymouth Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > United Kingdom > Plymouth > History

City Centre

Plymouth's original city centre was almost completely destroyed in the last war. It has been totally restored, its modern grid pattern of wide, mainly pedestrian streets, making shopping a pleasure. The whole shopping area has been attractively landscaped, the trees and flowing streams cooling the hottest summer day. Plymouth has a wealth of fascinating shops, both large and small, including all the big names. There are a wide variety of pubs, clubs and restaurants within the centre too. You can still see some places of historical interest amidst the modern buildings. St. Andrew's Church was rebuilt after the Blitz, but still retains much of its ancient history, as do the nearby Prysten House and Merchant's House. There are outstanding centres for drama and music here including the Theatre Royal, and the Athenaeum.

Plymouth Hoe

The Hoe is undoubtedly Plymouth's most well known place, with its wonderful view of Plymouth Sound and the bevy of ships and boats that pass through. Here, five hundred years ago, Sir Francis Drake played his famous game of bowls. Today it's where Plymothians gather to celebrate everything from Bonfire Night to pop concerts to Pentecost, its broad expanse of green holding tens of thousands of people in convivial comfort. Many of the hotels and guest houses are situated here, some with outstanding views. The most obvious landmark is Smeaton's Tower, a large lighthouse, re-erected on land. Close by is Plymouth Dome, Britain's most up-to-date visitor's centre and also the Royal Citadel, a huge 17th century stone fort, still in military use today.

The Barbican

Follow the road down past the Citadel and you'll take a step into history as you come to the Barbican, a group of parallel streets linked by narrow lanes and bursting with historic buildings, which survived the bombing. It's now a vibrant shopping and dining district, offering art galleries, exotic shops, ethnic food experiences, craft and antique stores. Sutton Harbour and the new National Marine Aquarium are unmissable, as is a visit to the Mayflower Steps, the Elizabethan House and a score more, all within a few moments walk. There is probably more to see and do in this tiny area than in any district of Plymouth.

Mutley and Peverell

Just north of the city centre you'll find the heart of community life, in the busy area around Mutley Plain. Here are many small shops, banks and services, catering for the more basic needs of the city's residents and the large student population, whose bedsits abound. A few minutes walk takes you to Mannamead, an area of higher income housing. Peverell is mainly a middle class residential district, with the huge Central Park on its edge. Apart from acres of greenery and beautiful trees, you'll find the Mayflower Leisure Centre, Plymouth Argyle Football Ground and Central Park Leisure Pool here.

Stonehouse, Devonport and Stoke

Stonehouse and Devonport are two of the original 'Three Towns' of Old Plymouth. Stonehouse's most interesting landmark is now the Royal William Victualling Yard, a 14 acre site currently undergoing large scale development, but soon to be open to visitors. The large Royal Marines Barracks at Stonehouse is an unexpected sight, amidst rows of expensive Georgian houses. Devonport was famous as the city's naval centre. Devonport Dockyard, which once played a very prominent part in the life of Plymouth, still remains the main place in Britain for the refitting of naval vessels and can be visited by the public on Navy Days. Stoke is chiefly a residential area, but Stoke Damerel Parish Church is worth a visit, as it has been a centre for worship for nearly a thousand years.

East Plymouth

The suburbs of Plymouth stretch out in military precision along the hills and valleys of the estuary of the River Plym, offering residents low cost housing. In complete contrast is the Georgian splendour of Saltram House with its vast gardens, a popular venue for walking in all seasons. Historical Cattewater is still used as an industrial port, particularly by oil tankers. Queen Anne's Battery is a purpose built marina, home to the Royal Western Yacht Club and also the main water sports centre, Mount Batten. Plympton, an eastern suburb, is mostly new housing estates, but glimpses of the medieval past of its two original settlements can still be seen.

North Plymouth

The main industrial areas lie to the north of the city, with centres in manufacturing and high technology. Here you'll find the factories making Sensodyne toothpaste and Wrigleys chewing gum, as well as Toshiba, British Aerospace and many more. Plymouth Albion, our rugby team has its home here too. Low cost housing covers the many hills, although the main route north towards Dartmoor is a high price residential area. Here you will find Derriford District General Hospital and the small Plymouth City Airport.

North of the city

This is a pleasant area of countryside, bounded on the east by Cornwall and on the west by Dartmoor. It has a few small towns and many interesting places to visit. Tavistock has been a centre for marketing, industry, trade and culture for many centuries. It's an attractive, prosperous town, where you can visit the Wharf Arts Centre for creative entertainment, Meadowlands for exciting watersports and Tavistock Pannier Market for shopping. Buckland Monachorum, just north of the city, has two interesting attractions, 13th century Buckland Abbey and the 8 acre Garden House. Fishing and other water sports can be enjoyed at Roadford Reservoir.

East of the city

Wonderful riverside spots can be found here, such as Plymbridge Woods, and Shaugh Bridge, where the rivers Plym and Meavy meet. Apart from the natural beauty, there are several fine attractions in this area. Animal lovers should look for the Dartmoor Wildlife Park at Sparkwell, the Donkey Sanctuary and Prickly Ball Hedgehog Hospital, while the Shire Horse Centre has a lot more than horses to offer.

Dartmoor

This last great wilderness in southern England has many moods; misty and mysterious, bleak and foreboding, natural and unspoilt. Three hundred million years of history are on display, from the naturally eroded tors and the Bronze Age settlements like Grimspound to 20th century imitation Castle Drogo. There are many sites to visit here, depending on your personal preferences and, of course, the weather. There are museums, such as the Museum of Dartmoor Life; historic buildings like Buckfast Abbey; fishing and walks around Burrator Reservoir; animal sanctuaries such as the Butterfly Farm and Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary; visitor centres like the High Moorland Centre, beauty spots like Dartmeet, hosts of fascinating small towns and the famous Dartmoor Prison.

South Hams

This district stretches from South Dartmoor to the South Devon coast and covers many miles of Devon's traditional rolling countryside, historic old towns, quaint little villages, clean beaches and no less than five river estuaries. There are many tourist attractions in this area, from the watercoasters and death slides of Woodlands Leisure Park to popular stately homes like Overbecks. A wealth of historic and beautiful small towns abound, including Totnes, Dartmouth, Kingsbridge and Salcombe, each with its own highly individual attractions. This is a wonderful place to explore by car, steam train, ferry, bike or even on foot.

Cornwall

Before the Cornish rise up and declare war, let me assure you that Cornwall is not an actual district of Plymouth! But we have only the River Tamar, with its magnificent Tamar Bridge, between us, so the land of our nearest neighbours is a constant source of pleasurable days out from Plymouth. The beautiful countryside, rugged coastline and fascinating towns offer many delights. Sample traditional cuisine at the Jubilee Inn and explore history at Antony House and Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park. Enjoy sporting venues such as St. Mellion Golf and Country Club and modern visitor centres like Flambards. With astounding natural beauty everywhere you look, Cornwall is worth many visits.

Weather

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg. High 47° 46° 49° 53° 58° 63° 67° 66° 63° 58° 52° 49°
Avg. Low 38° 37° 39° 41° 46° 51° 55° 55° 52° 48° 42° 39°
Mean 43° 42° 44° 48° 53° 58° 61° 61° 58° 53° 47° 45°
Avg. Precip. 4.5 in 3.6 in 3.4 in 2.3 in 2.4 in 2.2 in 2.2 in 2.7 in 3.0 in 3.7 in 4.0 in 4.6 in

Fahrenheit temperature scale is used.