Prepare to fall in love with Devon!
How blessed are we to live in such a stunning region? Plymouth is perfectly nestled right in the heart of Devon and Cornwall, and as the UK’s greenest city we have so much to celebrate that is right on our doorstep. This guide of all things good is for our lovely visiting guests to make the most of their time in the South West and for lucky residents who may have forgotten a hidden gem…
Let’s start with what is right on our doorstep…. Britain’s Ocean City! Look around and you will soon start to see the beauty in our stunning city and fabulous waterfront. Did you know that Plymouth is the greenest city in the UK with 40% of the city being green space. Now that’s something to celebrate! Plymouth is such an up and coming area and is a destination for fine food, high class education and some of the best events in the South West. Flavourfest, the British Fireworks Championships and MTV Crashes are just three of the events that are giving Plymouth the reputation it deserves as THE city to visit in Devon and that is something we should be shouting from the rooftops. With such a strong calendar across the year do check out our events page for what might be happening when you visit.
Plymouth has such a fascinating history and this can be seen and enjoyed in every corner of the city, from Plymouth Hoe to Crownhill Fort, from Saltram House to the Barbican. Enjoy walking the highest concentration of cobbled streets in the UK, looking around over 100 listed buildings and standing on the very steps (well ish) that the Mayflower set sail from 396 years ago in 1620!
The Royal William Yard with its trendy shops, bars and restaurants is considered to be one of the most important groups of historic military buildings in Britain, it is also the largest collection of Grade 1 listed military buildings in Europe. You can even do a walk from Devil’s Point to the Barbican if you’re looking to work up an appetite! However if your feet won’t carry you that far you can pop into the Royal William Yard and get the ferry – Plymouth Waterfront Partnership has created a handy timetable for you to use.
Not to forget:
Plymouth is home to the first artificial diving reef in Europe. The Ex-HMS Scylla was sunk off Whitsand Bay by the National Marine Aquarium and is now the UK’s most dived reef and home to thousands of marine creatures, of course for families the Aquarium provides the perfect day out and with the Super Shark Summer about to launch you’re in for a treat!
Theatre Royal Plymouth is the best attended and largest regional producing theatre in the UK and launches many major productions bound for the West End, do check out there diary, we cannot wait for the big shows that are about to come here! For live music Plymouth Pavilions is just across the road and has some fantastic acts set to perform this year.
Plymouth Life Centre is one of the country’s leading centres of sporting excellence, and was an official pre- Olympic Games training camp for the Canadian diving and Lithuanian swimming teams. Today you can swim, climb, use the gym or join their classes if you are looking to keep fit whilst away.
Now you cannot come to Plymouth and not enjoy our most celebrated international brand – Plymouth Gin! It is the oldest working gin distillery in England – they provide tours of the distillery, they have an in house shop (perfect for gifts!) or you can pop into the Refectory Bar and enjoy a classic G&T or a cocktail (or two)!
Plymouth is quickly becoming a foodie heaven with new restaurants serving up exciting flavours to appeal to all palettes… We have everything from Anton Piotrowski (who once worked at this hotel!) opening up the Treby Arms to the Tanners Brothers indulging us with their delicious dishes, there is something for everyone – the difficulty will be in choosing where to try first!
If you haven’t visited Dartmoor National Park yet we strongly suggest you pack a picnic and your wellies (just in case) and go up on the Moor! Dartmoor is an area of outstanding natural beauty covering 400 square miles; the biggest and wildest area of open country in southern England. There is more to do there than you can shake a stick at (while holding a stick in your hand why not pop to Clapper Bridge and play a good old fashioned game of Poohsticks!) Steeped in history, legends and ghost stories there is plenty to keep young and old minds amused. Pop over to Jay’s grave (or Kitty Jay’s grave) or Hairy Hands Bridge (just a couple of the spooky folklore tales from Dartmoor). Or for something more lighthearted there are many walks you can take over the Tors – the most famous one is Hound Tor (made known by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in his tale Hound of the Baskervilles) – just FYI at this tor you can find a food truck perfectly named “Hound of the Basketmeals” – now if this isn’t a reason to go then I don’t know what is!
Here is what else is available on the Moors:
Walking family strolls, guided walks and challenging long distance trails
Camping find out about campsites and where you can go wild camping on Dartmoor.
Cycling traffic-free trails, quiet forest tracks and bridleways to enjoy at your own pace.
Horse riding ride out across common land on the open moor and trot along woodland trails and bridleways
Climbing Dartmoor’s granite tors offer both challenging routes and exciting bouldering opportunities
Canoeing enjoy Dartmoor’s rivers during the winter months
Letterboxing a Dartmoor activity that combines orienteering with treasure hunting and puzzle solving
Geocaching find carefully hidden caches using maps and GPS devices
Here in Devon we pride ourselves on our beautiful beaches…we have won awards for them don’t you know! The Blue Flag beach award is widely considered the gold standard for beaches. Awarded by the Foundation for Environmental Education, the Blue Flag is internationally recognised. Devon has eight beaches listed on this site including Blackpool Sands, Sandy Bay and Oddicombe Beach. Some may agree that some of the best we have aren’t even on the list (for example the one above which is Mothecombe Beach!)! Take a look for yourselves here. Our particular favourite is Wembury, a National Trust location. With easy parking, a lovely little café, facilities and fantastic rock pools it is definitely a brilliant day out.
If beaches aren’t you…