Plymouth, Dartmoor National Park

Plymouth, Dartmoor National Park
  • 'Britain's ocean city' is situated just south west of Dartmoor National Park. Plymouth is arguably the best located city in the UK overlooking Plymouth Sound and the South Devon and East Cornwall coastlines. The city's waterside areas are stunning
  • Visit top attractions including the National Marine Aquarium, Smeaton's Tower and the Tinside Lido
  • Take a boat trip and try watersports in Plymouth Sound
  • Discover Plymouth's internationally important maritime history. Drake, Raleigh, the Pilgrim Fathers, Captain Cook and Charles Darwin all sailed from the city
  • Enjoy top Westcountry food and drink. Plymouth Royal William Yard and the Barbican are highlights
  • Main photo: Plymouth Barbican


Arguably the best located city in the UK with a fascinating and internationally important maritime history

Plymouth looks out across the sea to the Cornwall and Devon coastlines. Dartmoor rises behind. Some of the world's most important historical and intellectual figures travelled from the city. Easily accessible by train from London, Plymouth is a magnificent place.


Why holiday or weekend break in Plymouth?

To help you choose Plymouth, we've listed some of the local attractions below.


Plymouth Hoe

Plymouth Hoe provides one of the great Westcountry views. Climb to the top of Plymouth Smeaton's Tower. Picnic on the grass. Swim in Plymouth Tinside Lido or head down to the water's edge.

Look out for Plymouth Sir Francis Drake Statue. There's another in Tavistock and an original model in the National Trust's Buckland Abbey (National Trust). Plymouth Hoe is a great introduction to Plymouth's remarkable maritime history.


Plymouth Barbican

Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, the Pilgrim Fathers, Captain Cook and Charles Darwin all sailed from Plymouth.

Plymouth Barbican fringes the beautiful Plymouth Sutton Harbour. Learn more about its history in Plymouth Mayflower Visitor Centre. Stand by Plymouth Mayflower Steps and the Pilgrim Fathers.

Visit Plymouth Elizabethan House. Spend a few hours at Plymouth Gin. Book a tour of Plymouth The Royal Citadel.

This area of Plymouth is packed with places to eat and drink.


Plymouth National Marine Aquarium

Across Sutton Harbour from the Barbican is the amazing Plymouth National Marine Aquarium. It's a top Westcountry family attraction. There's a cinema sized tank.


Plymouth Royal William Yard

Plymouth Royal William Yard is a superb visitor destination by Plymouth Devil's Point Park. The location is exquisite.

Mount Edgcumbe is across the water in East Cornwall. Visit on the Cremyll/Plymouth Ferry.


Plymouth ferries and boat trips

Ferries to East Cornwall

One runs between Plymouth Barbican Landing Stage and Cawsand. Cawsand and Kingsand are beautiful coastal villages. If you're a keen walker, we'd recommend taking the Plymouth/Cawsand Ferry and then following the South West Coast Path to Mount Edgcumbe. You can then catch a ferry to Plymouth Barbican Landing Stage or use the Cremyll/Plymouth Ferry to hop across the water to Plymouth Royal William Yard. Explore then return to your starting point on the Royal William Yard Ferry to Plymouth Barbican Landing Stage or on foot via the South West Coast Path. Having taken every variant of this trip, we recommend them all!

Another ferry goes between Plymouth Barbican Landing Stage and Mount Edgcumbe.

There's also the Cremyll/Plymouth Ferry that runs between Plymouth Stonehouse (by Royal William Yard) and Mount Edgcumbe.

See Plymouth Boat Trips website for details.

Ferries to South Devon

One runs between Plymouth Barbican Landing Stage and Mount Batten. You can then follow the South West Coast Path along the South Devon coast.

Ferries to Plymouth Royal William Yard

Take a ferry to Royal William Yard. One runs between Plymouth Barbican Landing Stage and Royal William Yard Harbour.

Boat trips

You can also book a local trip to experience Plymouth and the local area from boat.


Take the Harbour Cruise with Plymouth Boat Trips and see the warships at the Royal Navy Dockyard. Boats leave from Plymouth Barbican Landing Stage near the Mayflower Steps. Again, Plymouth Boat Trips booking office and The Boathouse Cafe are located on the Barbican.

Plymouth Sound

Explore Plymouth Sound on the Breakwater Cruise supplied by Plymouth Boat Trips.

River Tamar

Head up the River Tamar to Calstock Quay and the National Trust's Cotehele on Plymouth Boat Trips' Calstock Quay Cruise and Cotehele Quay Cruise.

River Yealm

Leave Plymouth Sound and head east along the coast on the River Yealm Cruise with Plymouth Boat Trips. Note that these boat trips are limited. Refer to the River Yealm Cruise Timetable on the Plymouth Boat Trips website for detail.

Plymouth RIB rides

Take a rib ride in Plymouth Sound.

There are many information boards/kiosks on The Barbican providing information/tickets for boat trips.


Plymouth South West Coast Path walking

Take the ferry from Plymouth to Mount Edgcumbe and walk the Cornish coast. Alternatively, take the ferry from Plymouth to Mount Batton and walk the South West Coast Path on the Devon side of the Plymouth Sound.

See our Plymouth South West Coast Path Walk listing for more information.


Drake's Trail and Plymouth cycling

Cycle Drake's Trail between Plymouth and Tavistock on the western side of Dartmoor National Park.


Plymouth watersports

Try Mount Batten Watersports and Activities Centre, TK Watersports and Reactive Watersports Academy.


Plymouth museums and art galleries

[The Box/Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery. Currently closed for redevelopment.]

Plymouth Mayflower Visitor Centre.

Plymouth College of Art and Plymouth Arts Cinema.


Plymouth theatre

Theatre Royal Plymouth.

Note that the Messenger Sculpture is situated outside Theatre Royal Plymouth. It's the UK's largest bronze sculpture.


Plymouth shopping

Plymouth Drake Circus.


Plymouth beaches and beaches in the surrounding area

Plymouth Sound is lined with beaches.

Batten Bay Beach, Rum Bay Beach and Jennycliff Beach. Take the water taxi from Plymouth Barbican to Mount Batten and follow the South West Coast Path.

Bovisand Beach. Popular holiday beach near the mouth of Plymouth Sound.

Wembury Beach. National Trust beach on the South Devon coast.

Cremyll Beach and Mount Edgcumbe Country Park beaches. Take the Cremyll/Plymouth Ferry to enjoy the beaches that line Mount Edgcumbe Country Park.

Kingsand Beach and Cawsand Beach. Very pretty sand beaches. Take the ferry from Plymouth Barbican.

Whitsand Bay. One of the Westcountry's great stretches of sand. Given its size, this huge arc of sand is divided into separate beaches.


Plymout food and drink

Food and drink experiences

Plymouth Gin.


The Greedy Goose. Rhodes at the Dome (Plymouth Hoe). The Waterfront (Plymouth Sound). The Dock (King Point Marina, Millbay). Harbourside (Barbican). Rockfish (Sutton Harbour). The Stable (Sutton Harbour). There are plenty of restaurants in the Royal William Yard.


Le Vignoble (Royal William Yard). Tigermills at The Duke of Cornwall. The Refectory Bar (Plymouth Gin, Barbican).


The Real Food Kitchen (Barbican).

Fish & chips

West Hoe Fryers Takeaway. Harbourside Takeaway (Barbican). Rockfish Takeaway (Sutton Harbour).


Time your visit for Plymouth Flavour Festival (August) or Plymouth Seafood Festival (September).


Major visitor attractions in the area around Plymouth

Plymouth is a great hub from which to explore South Devon, Dartmoor National Park, the Tamar Valley AONB and South East Cornwall.

Mount Edgcumbe.

Saltram (National Trust).

Buckland Abbey (National Trust).

Antony (National Trust).

Dartmoor Zoo.

Morwellham Quay which is part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Burgh Island.