A few hours from London, and easily accessible by car, coach, train or ferry, you can reach the calming coast of Britain’s Ocean City in many different ways
Plymouth channels an urban edge thanks to Drake Circus and The Barbican area, Plymouth’s delightful old port, full of narrow cobbled streets, Elizabethan warehouses, specialist shops, art galleries, cafes and restaurants.
The city also boasts all the benefits of a coastal town from a Lido for lounging, a plethora of picturesque walks and views, freshwater activities from fishing to jetski safaris, the freshest selection of seafood at restaurants indoor and out, and a whole host of sites steeped in history.
Only 25 minutes from the breath-taking scenery of Dartmoor National Park, Plymouth offers an endless bucket list of activities that can’t be done in London, making it the perfect place for a daycation or staycation this summer.
If you’re looking for inspiration on ten things Plymouth has on offer this Summer that you simply can’t do in London, keep reading.
Take the Plunge in Plymouth:
1) Go on a Safari on the Sea
A jetski safari that is……Coined as Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth’s enviable location offers an array of unique experiences when it comes to water related activities. And they don’t come much more unique than a jetski safari. New to the city, a team of experts have launched jetski safari experiences around the picturesque Plymouth Sound. Perfect for friends, families, or couples, the thrill-seeking experience is open to novices and enthusiasts and allows you to explore the Plymouth coast from a unique viewpoint.
And it’s not just jetski safaris – whether you’re looking for high octane adrenaline sports such as wakeboarding or coasteering or would prefer the slightly more relaxing pace of kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding, there is something for everyone in Plymouth.
2) Bathe in the Coastal View at one of Europe’s Top Ten Outdoor Pools
While London is home to a number of Lidos, Plymouth’s Tinside Lido offers the ultimate setting to soak up the great British summer and is consistently voted in Europe’s top ten outdoor pools. Perched on the shore, the Grade II listed outdoor saltwater swimming pool allows you to bask in the saltwater pool and look out to the picturesque coastline. This outstanding example of art-deco style boasts a swooping rounded design and allows you to swim, sunbathe and soak up the calming coastal setting.
3) Perfect your Dolphin Pose at the UK’s Largest Aquarium
What better way to create calm and connection that with ashtanga in the aquarium – a yoga session set in the majestic marine backdrop of the ocean. Given the Ocean and other blue spaces are proven to increase relaxation, calm and improve your mood, the UK’s largest aquarium adds a truly unique element to an ashtanga yoga session. Breathe, bend and stretch to the rhythm of ocean animals from the British coasts including local sharks and rays viewed through the largest single panel in the UK.
The National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth is the UK’s largest Aquarium and is run by the Ocean Conservation Trust, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the Ocean. Even if a yoga is not for you, a visit to the Aquarium will take you on a journey across the world’s Ocean, from the shores of Plymouth Sound to the coral reefs of the tropics of Australia. With over 4,000 animals to meet – more than any other UK Aquarium – including sharks, sting rays, octopuses, jellyfish and a cheeky turtle, there will be something different on every visit.
With four main zones, their exhibits include the UK’s deepest and largest tank, the UK’s largest native exhibit, the UK’s largest single viewing panel and many more interactive displays.
Go on a Tour with a Twist:
4) Tour a Deserted Island
Situated in Plymouth Sound between Plymouth and the Cornish Coast, visitors now have the chance to be one of the first to set foot on Drake’s Island as they open for exclusive guided tours.
Explorers can learn about the history of the island, walk the tunnels, see the wildlife, and view Plymouth from a whole new perspective. There’s also a VIP tailored route, which will include exclusive use of the boat, choice of boarding points, personal guide, and rangers and much more, to make your visit just that little bit more special…
5) Tour England’s Oldest Gin Distillery
Plymouth Gin’s Black Friars Distillery is the oldest working distillery in England. Head to The Barbican where you’ll be taken on a guided or connoisseur tour where you’ll learn all about the fascinating art of making the infamous Plymouth Gin. Guests are invited to enjoy a tutored tasting of their delicious range of Gin before relaxing in the Refectory cocktail lounge, where it is thought the Pilgrim Fathers spent their last night in England here in 1620.
6) Tour a Dramatic Working Fortress
The Royal Citadel is a 17th century fortress that was built to defend the coastline from the Dutch (and keep an eye on a recently rebellious town) but the Royal Citadel is still in use by the military today.
Visitors are invited to join this unique walking tour and enjoy over 350 years of historical tales. Commanding a prominent position on Plymouth Hoe, looking out over the Sound and into the Channel and Western Approaches, the Royal Citadel has seen a lot.
7) Tour a Lighthouse Tower that Inspired All Others
One of the South West’s most recognisable landmarks – Smeaton’s Tower is a memorial to civil engineer John Smeaton, designer of the third and most notable Eddystone Lighthouse. Subsequently dismantled and rebuilt on the Hoe, the structure, standing 72-feet tall was originally built on the Eddystone reef in 1759, represented a major step forward in lighthouse design and remains a key British landmark today. The views across Plymouth Sound and the city that can be enjoyed from its lantern room will make the ascent up the 93 steps to the lantern chamber more than worthwhile.
The top of tower might soon be adorned by a new artifact too: a new bust of Smeaton, carved in Cornish granite by sculptor Philip Chatfield who has close links with Plymouth and survived a shipwreck off the Cornish coast is waiting to be unveiled…
Become a Coastal Culture Vulture:
8) See the Sky Light Up at The British Fireworks Championships
The world-famous British Firework Championships is set to return to Plymouth’s waterfront in August. Under the sparkling night sky, viewers will enjoy spectacular pyrotechnics that will illuminate Plymouth Sound, as six top firework companies battle it out over two nights, each putting on an awe-inspiring ten-minute display in an attempt to be crowned the winner.
9) Enjoy Europe’s Only Immersive Dome (Opening on 15th July)
Market Hall will be launched on the 15th of July as a world-class space for creative, digital and immersive experiences, situated in the heart of Plymouth. The Market Hall will boast a 15m immersive dome – the only one of its kind in Europe – inspired by the dome at SAT in Montreal. Alongside work, meeting, and event spaces, a café with outside seating will offer food and drink, to be enjoyed before or after experiencing this futuristic new space.
10) Come face to face with a Giant Dragon
This August (14th & 15th), theatre-makers Trigger will stage The Hatchling, an extraordinary outdoor performance bringing a worldwide myth to life, part of the Mayflower 400 Commemorations. Catch a glimpse of a giant puppet in the form of a dragon, roaming through the city, exploring its new surroundings and interacting with the public.
At over 6.5m tall, this is the largest ever puppet to be solely human operated. A team of 36 puppeteers working in rotation in groups of 15 will be the beating heart of the dragon, originally designed by a palaeontologist and based on the pterosaur, a prehistoric reptile that was one of the largest flying animals ever to have lived.
At sunset on Sunday 15 August this symbol of unity between people will undertake an incredible metamorphosis into a kite, unfolding her wings (spanning over 20m) and flying from a clifftop, for the delight of everyone present. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.