Devon PL1 9
The City of Plymouth is 190 miles (306 km) south west of London. Its position on the Devon coast, at the confluence of the Tamar and Plym Rivers made it a very important naval port.
Plymouth is a very large city with a population of over one quarter of a million and includes the suburbs of Plympton and Plymstock.
During the Second World War much of the city was bombed and has been rebuilt. Nevertheless, Plymouth has tried to keep as many of its historical buildings and sites as possible.
The most well-known are Plymouth Hoe where Sir Francis Drake allegedly finished his game of bowls before going out to defeat the Spanish Armada and the Mayflower Steps where the Pilgrim Fathers finally set off for the New World.
An Important Port
The city site was an important settlement and trading port in the Bronze and Roman ages. When the river silted up the port moved further south to Sutton, now known as The Barbican, Plymouth. Plymouth’s importance as a channel port was recognised by the building of the Royal Citadel in the1600s on the site of an old fort.
By the 19th century the port was thriving importing and exporting goods, handling passengers and building ships for the Royal Navy. The naval activities made it a prime target during the Second World War.
Today, Plymouth is home to HMNB Devonport (the largest operational naval base in Western Europe), a large University, educational facilities, and ferry links to Spain and France.
Plymouth played a major role during the Second World War and many Allied Servicemen spent time there. There are a lot of war memorials, most to be found on Plymouth Hoe except the one commemorating the civilians lost in the Plymouth Blitz. This is commemorated by the burnt out remains of Charles' Church.
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The city is linked to Cornwall by two spectacular bridges across the River Tamar. Brunel designed the Royal Albert Bridge which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2009 and is an iconic emblem of Plymouth.
The city centre is highly pedestrianised and parking is at a premium. Visitors are advised to make use of the ‘park and ride’ facilities on the outskirts of town, and the plentiful council buses and ferries. Comprehensive information can be obtained by clicking on Web: Plymouth Council/ Public Transport External Link
Museums & Heritage
There are a number of museums such as the Elizabethan House (a great place to find out what life was like in Drake’s time), the 16th/17th century Merchant's House Museum in Plymouth’s oldest street, and Smeaton's Tower (a lighthouse with great views over Plymouth Sound).
There are many things for the tourist to see and do, as well as several international events held throughout the year. For a full list go to Web: Plymouth Council/ Tourism External Link
Tourist Information Centre
The Centre is located beside the Mayflower Steps in the heart of the picturesque Barbican, Plymouth’s historic, maritime quarter. Friendly and knowledgeable staff will provide information on attractions, street maps, tours, entertainment and a ticket booking service. Bear in mind that Plymouth is a large, spread out city but most of the attractions are concentrated on the foreshore around Plymouth Sound.
For visits to places further away it may be possible to take a ferry across the harbour. Mount Batten can be reached via a pedestrian ferry from the Mayflower Steps and there is a vehicle/passenger chain ferry running every ten minutes between Devonport and Torpoint on the other side of the Tamar River.
There are some delightful historic houses and gardens in the vicinity of Plymouth such as Mount Edgcumbe House & Country Park. A pleasant way to visit this Country Park and house is to take the pedestrian ferry across the Tamar estuary from Stonehouse to the little Cornish village of Crenmyll.
Plan Your Visit
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Getting Around Plymouth
Plymouth Citybus is the biggest public transport provider in Plymouth Web: Plymouth Citybus/ Routes & Timetables External Link
- By Car
The A38 runs from east to west across the north of the city. Heading east, it connects Plymouth to the M5 Motorway about 40 miles (64 km) away near Exeter and heading west it connects Cornwall and Devon via the Tamar Bridge. This is a toll bridge – for toll information, visit Web: Tamar Bridge & Torpoint Ferry External Link
Head for the South West on the M5 from Bristol to Exeter, then the A38 Devon Expressway to Plymouth. Drive time from London is around three and a half hours.
- By Rail
From London (Paddington) to Plymouth the train journey takes about 3½ hours.
Direct services also run from South Wales, the Midlands, the North of England and Scotland. Call Plymouth National Rail Enquiry Office on Tel: 08457 484950 (credit card bookings Tel: +44 (0)8457 000 125) or contact your local station. For information & Bookings go to Web: National Rail Enquiries External Link
Companies servicing Plymouth are First Great Western, Cross Country and South-West Trains. Smaller stations are served by local trains on the Tamar Valley Line and Cornish Main Line.
- By Coach
National Express Coachlines service Plymouth Web: National Express External Link
- By Air
Plymouth has no airport. It is served by Exeter International Airport in North Devon Web: Exeter International Airport External Link
A regular international ferry service provided by Brittany Ferries operates from Millbay Docks, taking cars and foot passengers directly to France (Roscoff) and Spain (Santander) Web: Brittany Ferries External Link
Local bus services are provided by First Bus Group Web: First Group Bus/ Devon & Cornwall External Link
For route maps and other details, go to Web: First Group Bus/ Devon & Cornwall - Route Maps External Link
Google Map - Plymouth