Royal Citadel Plymouth
English Heritage
The Hoe
Plymouth
Devon PL1 2PD
 
 
At the east end of Plymouth Hoe, overlooking Plymouth Sound is a walled fortress – the Royal Citadel. Although this is an historical site cared for by English Heritage, it is also a military establishment and access is by guided tour only - See English Heritage Site, link below.
 
Plymouth has a complicated history.
 
City Walls Built by the Townspeople
In the 14th and 15th centuries the port was owned by the King who did nothing to protect it from attack by the French. The townspeople asked for walls to be built around the town but were denied this by the King. They then applied for permission to build the walls themselves and were refused but they went ahead anyway. Fortifications were built and manned by the townspeople themselves.
 
Civil War
During the Civil War Plymouth (no lover of Royalty) sided with the Parliamentarians and withstood a 3-year siege by the Royalists. For some 25 years England, Scotland and Wales was a Commonwealth, and then King Charles II was restored to the throne.
 
In 1665 the walled fortress was built on the site of the old castle, ostensibly to protect this important Channel port from Dutch attacks but Charles also ensured that cannons could fire on the town as well, just in case the townspeople got any revolutionary ideas!
 
A small harbour was included where ships could berth, arm and provision the Citadel under cover of the guns of the lower fort. This harbour is now the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club.
 
An Imposing Structure
The Citadel is an imposing fortified structure built of local limestone with 70 feet (21.4 metre) high walls, surrounded by a moat and a drawbridge at the main entrance. It was regularly strengthened, particularly in the 1750s when the fortress was equipped with 113 guns!
 
The main entrance in Hoe Road is an elaborate baroque affair built of Portland Stone. It is a tribute to the restored King and his Royalist supporters. At the top is the Royal Coat of Arms supported by a lion and a unicorn, each holding a shield displaying the cross of St George. Below is the date 1670. There is a niche underneath that was meant to hold a life-sized statue of King Charles II but it is empty – three cannon balls occupy the space.
 
When William of Orange landed at Brixham in November 1688, the Royal Citadel was the first fortress in England to declare their support for him.
 
In 1888 the drawbridge was removed and the moat filled in to make the attractive gardens.
 
Plan Your Visit 
English Heritage Membership - Join here:   External Link

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Opening Times & Admission Costs
For information, go to English Heritage website - link below.
 
Contact & Further Information
Telephone   +44 (0)1752 306 330 (Plymouth TIC)
 
Getting There
- By Public Transport
Take Plymouth Citybus 25 to the Citadel - Web:  Plymouth City Bus Timetable    External Link
 
Google Map - Royal Citadel, Plymouth