Intriguing History

There’s a journey of discovery to be taken when you visit The Duke of Cornwall Hotel. Since 1863 when it was built as Plymouth’s first luxury hotel through to the present day, the hotel has an intriguing history that is sure to capture your imagination. Described by Sir John Betjeman “as one of the nation’s best examples of Victorian architecture’ the style and generous proportions of the hotel evoke the grace of years gone by, while our commitment to excellent service provides all the modern facilities you would expect.

Since the heyday of passenger liners docking at Millbay many famous guests have taken their rooms at the Duke.

From Ernest Shackleton and his party the night prior to their Antarctic expedition over a hundred years ago, to Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth, Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Suzi Quatro, Lionel Blair and Dame Janet Fookes, these are just a few of the names you would see if you perused our visitors book.



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The Duke of Cornwall Hotel played a part in the
story of the Titanic

Following the infamous sinking of the Titanic in 1912, some of the surviving crew members arrived in Plymouth on their return. Of this group, 20 stewardesses spent their first night here at the Duke. We have shone a light on this little-known fact by hosting two free exhibitions at the hotel. Organised by local Titanic enthusiast Nigel Voisey, these events have showcased a fascinating collection of items relating to the cruise ship and its parent company, White Star Line. The exhibitions have attracted thousands of visitors from the city and much farther afield. We’ve been proud to help share this forgotten chapter in Plymouth’s rich history.

The City of Plymouth went through a period of rebuilding from the early 1950’s with the Duke of Cornwall standing like a beacon in this sea of change.

Millbay station, the reason for the hotel’s construction, was finally demolished in the mid 1970’s making way for the regeneration of this area including the opening of the Theatre Royal and the building of the Pavilions. More recently Brittany Ferries started their cross channel service, once more linking the hotel to its maritime guests.

Having undergone a major refurbishment in recent years the hotel has lost none of its charm or character, ensuring your stay with us is comfortable and relaxing. Our staff are always on hand with a commitment to making your time at the Duke of Cornwall a fond memory.