15 Best Things To Do Plymouth, England

15 Best Things To Do Plymouth, England

By will

Plymouth is an amazing coastal city in the UK that is packed with lots of activities and attractions. From the historic Mayflower Steps to the iconic Plymouth Gin Distillery, there’s something for everyone in this charming town.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day of sightseeing or an action-packed adventure, there’s plenty to explore. In this article, I’ll share the 15 best things to do in Plymouth, England.

From incredible marine life experiences to delicious local cuisine, you’ll be sure to find something to delight your senses. So come along and join me while I explore the best of what this fascinating city has to offer.

Visit the Plymouth National Marine Aquarium

The National Marine Aquarium
Photo by Ron Strutt

A must-visit spot in Plymouth, England is the Plymouth National Marine Aquarium, so get ready to explore its wonders!

Here you will find a stunning array of sea life, from native species to exotic creatures from around the world.

You can explore the aquarium’s galleries, get up close with the marine life in the interactive rockpools, and take part in their interactive talks and feeds.

Plus, you can also take part in educational workshops, and witness the feeding of the sharks and other large fish.

The aquarium also features a unique 4-D Cinema Experience, which allows you to explore the wonders of the deep ocean in an immersive experience.

Plus, you can also take a virtual dive into the aquarium’s Ocean Tank and explore the diverse sea life living within it.

There are also plenty of other activities available, such as touch pools, play areas, and even a seal show.

All in all, a visit to the Plymouth National Marine Aquarium is sure to be a memorable experience.

Take a Trip to the Mayflower Steps

Mayflower Steps
Photo by N Chadwick

Take a stroll down memory lane with a visit to the iconic Mayflower Steps, a must-see for those travelling to the historic port of Plymouth.

Located on the Barbican, the Mayflower Steps are a reminder of the Pilgrims’ voyage to the New World in 1620, and the original departure point of the Mayflower. The area is filled with history, and the steps themselves are a registered ancient monument.

The Mayflower Steps are a popular tourist destination and offer a unique experience. Visitors can take a tour of the area, exploring the fascinating history of the Pilgrims and the port of Plymouth. There are also plenty of activities to do nearby, including walking tours, boat trips, and a wide variety of restaurants and pubs.

The Mayflower Steps are the perfect place to get a feel for the history and culture of Plymouth.

Check Out the Plymouth Gin Distillery

Plymouth Gin Distillery
Photo by N Chadwick

Visitors to Plymouth can’t miss the chance to explore the renowned Plymouth Gin Distillery. The distillery has been producing gin since 1793, making it the oldest working distillery in England.

The distillery is located in the historic Barbican district, and consists of four listed buildings. It is an unforgettable place to visit, with knowledgeable and friendly staff providing guided tours of the building and its history.

The tour includes a visit to the gin production area, where visitors can learn about the processes of distilling gin from over 250 years ago to the present day. Guests will also have the opportunity to sample the distillery’s flagship product, Plymouth Gin.

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The distillery also sells a range of merchandise, including their famous gin, as well as other spirits, liqueurs, and gifts.

The visit to the Plymouth Gin Distillery is a unique experience that will be remembered for years to come.

Spend the Day at Plymouth Hoe

Spend the day exploring the stunning Plymouth Hoe – with its sweeping views of the English Channel and its iconic monuments, you won’t want to miss out!

Whether you’re looking for a fun day out with the family, or a romantic outing for two, Plymouth Hoe has something for everyone.

The seafront promenade is the perfect spot to take a leisurely stroll, take in the view, or fly a kite.

You can also explore some of the area’s historical monuments, such as the famous Smeaton’s Tower, the Elizabethan fortifications, and the white lighthouse.

There’s even a children’s playground, café, and toilets.

Make sure to take some time to explore one of the area’s most iconic sights, the Royal Citadel. Built in the mid 1600s, it is one of the largest, best-preserved fortresses in Europe, and offers a fascinating insight into the area’s past.

So, why not take a day out to explore Plymouth Hoe – you won’t be disappointed!

Walk Along the Barbican Harbour

Stroll along the picturesque Barbican Harbour for a unique glimpse into Plymouth’s maritime heritage. Built up on the original site of the Plymouth Dock, the Barbican offers a historic backdrop for a leisurely evening walk.

With a wide variety of shops, restaurants, and pubs, the Barbican is an ideal spot to spend an evening. The harbour is lined with cobbled streets and pathways, lined with colourful buildings that make for a pleasant stroll.

There are plenty of places to stop and enjoy the view, including the Elizabethan House, the National Marine Aquarium, and the Plymouth Gin Distillery. Visitors can also take a tour of the Mayflower Steps, where the Pilgrim Fathers set off on their voyage to America in 1620.

The Barbican Harbour is a popular spot for sailing and fishing charters, with plenty of boats to explore. Whether you’re looking for a romantic evening or a family outing, the Barbican Harbour promises an unforgettable experience.

Explore the Royal Citadel

Having finished my leisurely stroll along the Barbican Harbour, it was time to explore the Royal Citadel.

Located on the hill of Mount Batten, this star-shaped fortress has a long and fascinating history. It was first built in the 1660s under orders from King Charles II and originally served as a military defense. Nowadays, it’s open for visitors to explore and offers some of the best views of Plymouth.

The Royal Citadel offers a range of interesting attractions and activities. Visitors can explore the museum, which features artifacts and displays about the history of the Citadel and the surrounding area. There are also guided tours hosted by experienced guides, providing insight into the history of the fortress.

The grounds are also open for exploring and offer some great photo opportunities. All in all, the Royal Citadel is a great place to explore and learn more about this historic city.

Visit the Plymouth Synagogue

Discover the Plymouth Synagogue, an architectural marvel that has stood as a testament to the city’s long Jewish history.

Located in the Barbican district, the Plymouth Synagogue is the oldest Ashkenazi synagogue in the United Kingdom and one of the oldest functioning synagogues in the world.

Built in 1762, this synagogue has been a place of worship for the city’s Jewish population for over 250 years.

Inside, visitors will find a unique blend of traditional and modern elements, creating a rich and inviting atmosphere.

Not only is the synagogue a masterpiece of architecture, but it’s also an important site for Jewish history and heritage.

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For many visitors, the Plymouth Synagogue offers a chance to learn more about the city’s Jewish history.

The synagogue’s rabbi can provide tours of the building and its artifacts, and visitors can view the synagogue’s collection of historical documents and artifacts.

There are also occasional lectures and events hosted by the synagogue, providing further insight into the long and storied history of the city’s Jewish community.

The Plymouth Synagogue is a must-see for anyone looking to explore the city’s unique cultural history.

Enjoy the Views from the Smeaton’s Tower

Enjoy breathtaking views of Plymouth from Smeaton’s Tower, a historic landmark that sits atop the Barbican district.

Built between 1756 and 1759, the tower was originally a wooden structure established as an Eddystone Lighthouse.

After being dismantled and rebuilt in Plymouth, the Smeaton’s Tower has become a popular tourist attraction, and a perfect spot to take in the beauty of the city.

The tower stands 66 feet high and is open for visitors who can climb the 93 steps up to the top of the tower.

Once there, visitors are rewarded with stunning views of Plymouth Sound, Drake’s Island, and the Mount Edgcumbe Estate.

On a clear day, the view extends up to Dartmoor and the Cornish countryside.

From the tower, visitors can also see the Mayflower Steps, where the Pilgrim Fathers began their journey in 1620.

Visiting Smeaton’s Tower is a great way to experience the beauty of Plymouth and learn about its history.

Explore the Elizabethan House Museum

Explore the Elizabethan House Museum and experience a unique piece of Plymouth’s history come alive. Located in the heart of the Barbican area, the Elizabethan House Museum is a Grade I listed building that dates back to 1690.

The museum features an array of artifacts that have been collected over the centuries, giving visitors an insight into what life would have been like in the past. Visitors can also explore the museum’s gardens, which feature a variety of plants and flowers.

In addition to the museum and gardens, the Elizabethan House Museum also hosts a number of events, such as craft fairs and lectures. These events offer a great way to explore the history of the city and learn more about the culture.

The Elizabethan House Museum is a great way to experience a unique piece of Plymouth’s history and get a glimpse into the city’s past.

Stroll Through the Central Park

From museums to parks, Plymouth is full of great activities for any visitor to enjoy. After spending time at the Elizabethan House Museum, why not take a relaxing stroll through Central Park?

Located in the heart of the city, Central Park is a great place to spend an afternoon. Central Park has something for everyone – from the outdoor fitness area, to the fountain, to the playground.

With plenty of benches and green spaces, it’s easy to find a peaceful spot to take in the beauty of the park. The park is also home to a number of events throughout the year, including music festivals and outdoor movies.

Whether you’re looking for a place to relax and enjoy some fresh air or a destination for a fun day out, Central Park is a great place to visit.

Relax at Tinside Lido

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and unwind at Tinside Lido. Located in Plymouth’s city centre, this lido is a great place to soak in the sun and escape the hectic atmosphere of the city.

It was first opened in 1935 and is a Grade II listed building, offering a unique experience to its visitors. With clear views of the Plymouth Sound, this spot is a great place to take in the views or to unwind with a book.

Tinside Lido offers a variety of activities for visitors. There is a heated outdoor pool open from April to September, and there is a children’s paddling pool as well. Visitors can also take advantage of the sun loungers and umbrellas available.

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For those looking for something more active, there is a miniature golf course, and the surrounding area is great for walking and biking. Tinside Lido is the perfect place for a relaxing day out in Plymouth.

Sample Local Cuisine at the Barbican Food Market

After a relaxing day at Tinside Lido, I’m ready for a delicious dinner. Fortunately for me, the Barbican Food Market is just a few minutes away.

This bustling marketplace offers a variety of local and international foods, perfect for sampling the flavors of Plymouth. The market is open from Wednesday to Sunday, so it’s easy to fit into any schedule.

There are numerous stalls selling fresh produce and prepared foods, so it’s easy to find something to tickle your taste buds. Whether I’m in the mood for a light snack or a full meal, I’m sure to find something to please my palate.

Take a Boat Trip to Drake’s Island

Heading out to Drake’s Island is an adventure like no other! Just a short boat ride from Plymouth Harbour, this isle off the coast of England is a must-visit destination.

Uninhabited since the 17th century, the island is home to a variety of historical sites, as well as a host of flora and fauna. It’s a great way to explore the area, as well as get a taste of the local culture.

The island features an array of attractions, including the ruins of a 16th-century fort, several shipwrecks, and an old chapel. Visitors can also take a tour of the island’s lighthouse, as well as the nearby St Nicholas’s Island.

Drake’s Island is a great spot for nature enthusiasts, as it hosts a variety of birds, insects, and other wildlife. It’s also a great destination for a romantic walk, or a peaceful picnic. Whether you’re looking for a bit of history or just want to enjoy the beauty of nature, Drake’s Island is the perfect spot for a day trip.

Enjoy a Show at the Theatre Royal

Experience the wonders of Theatre Royal in Plymouth, and let the vibrant atmosphere transport you to a different world!

Theatre Royal has been providing world-class performances since 1758, making it the oldest working theatre in the UK. This iconic theatre offers a variety of entertainment, from musicals and dramas to comedies and ballet.

With its stunning interior design, diverse selection of shows, and excellent acoustics, it’s no wonder why Theatre Royal is one of the most beloved venues in Plymouth.

The Theatre Royal is a great place to enjoy a night out, whether you’re with friends or family. With its friendly staff, comfortable seating, and great range of refreshments, it’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy a show.

And with its convenient location, it’s easy to find and get to. So why not come along and experience the magic of Theatre Royal for yourself? It’s an experience you won’t soon forget!

Go Shopping in the City Centre

Explore the bustling city centre of Plymouth and browse the wide range of shops and boutiques to find something special! From independent stores and thrift shops to major chain retailers, there’s something for everyone in the city centre.

Whether you’re looking to find unique items or the latest fashion trends, you can find them all in the city centre of Plymouth.

There’s also a great selection of cafes and restaurants to choose from, so you can take a break and enjoy a delicious meal.

Shopping in the city centre of Plymouth is a great way to explore the vibrant atmosphere and culture of the city, as well as find amazing deals and treasures.


After a day of exploring Plymouth, England, there’s so much to look forward to. From the National Marine Aquarium to the Mayflower Steps, the Plymouth Gin Distillery, and Plymouth Hoe, you can explore the area’s rich history and culture.

There’s plenty of shopping and dining opportunities in the city centre and Barbican Harbour. Take a boat trip to Drake’s Island or catch a show at the Theatre Royal.

No matter what you do, there’s something for everyone in Plymouth, England. It’s a city that offers visitors a memorable experience every time.

About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.