The Historic Barbican
Bring your camera, lots of film and a good guide book with you! Plymouth is so full of history that it is difficult to know where to start this VT journey. Without doubt the most attractive and historic area today (my belief, but others may disagree) is the Barbican. Raleigh's was the first practical attempt to colonise the New World, and the spirit of enterprise that he and his companions exhibited bore fruit in 1606, when charters for colonising North America were granted by James I. to two companies - one formed in Plymouth and the other in London.
A few years later - in 1620 - Plymouth shared in another great colonising movement, when the 'Mayflower' sailed to New England. We are all familiar with the story of this little barque of only 180 tons, how it sailed from Southampton and was forced to take refuge in Plymouth Sound; how the hundred and one emigrants for conscience sake were courteously entertained and kindly used by divers Christians there living; and how, when the terrors of the passage across the Atlantic were at an end and they landed on the barren shores of Massachusetts Bay to found the great Republic of the West, they gave the name of Plymouth to the spot at which they landed. The photo is of the Mayflower Memorial and Steps. The plaques in the wall either side of the Memorial are reminders of other historic events, and I hope to place this information in a separate travelogue in due course.
Australia and New Zealand
Remember what happened after the 'Pilgrim Fathers'. Nearly 150 years later it was a Plymouth expedition that opened up Australasia to the English settlers. In 1768 Captain Cook left Plymouth in the ship 'Endeavour', and explored the shores of New Zealand and New South Wales. This voyage was followed by another in 1772, when Cook, in the two warships 'Resolution' and 'Discovery', again weighed anchor in Plymouth Sound and sailed to Australian waters, on further explorations. These two voyages revealed something of the potentialities buried in the then almost unknown continent, and the British Parliament, having no place of banishment for criminals since the loss of the American colonies, determined' in 1786, to found a penal colony in Botany Bay, and early in 1787 the first party of 800 convicts left England for Australia. (Another picture to follow)
Favorite thing: Another view of the Barbican. This is Sutton Harbour with the National Maritime Aquarium in the centre of the picture. On the extreme left is the Mayflower Memorial and the steps, where the Pilgrim Fathers left for America in 1620.
The Tamar Bridges
Or rather on your departure from Plymouth on crossing the River Tamar into Cornwall, do look at the magnificent Royal Albert Bridge, which carries the railway line over the river. Built by Isambard Kingom Brunel, and opened in 1859 by Prince Albert (husband of Queen Victoria), it is one of his greatest triumphs. It is constructed of malleable iron plates, is nearly half a mile long, and crosses the Tamar at a height of a hundred feet above high water by two arches, each 445 feet wide. They are both spanned by oval tubes, 17 feet by 12 feet in diameter. The construction of the bridge at that time was a remarkable feat of engineering, and the bridge today is little altered from its original design. The bridge was built at this height on insturctions from the British Admiralty in order that the masts of the warships, at that time powered by sail only, should clear the bridge at all states of the tide. The photo shows one of the spans, nearest to the Cornish side of the river. The less attractive bridge behind it was built in 1961 and carries the main A38 road from Devon into Cornwall. It was built to replace the old chain-ferry which crossed the river just below the bridge. The ferry was a major link between Devon and Cornwall. A similar ferry is still in use further down the river between Torpoint and Devonport.
This is the sea port from where Sir Francis Drake, Sir Francis Raleigh, Capt. James Cook, Charles Darwin and of course the Pilgrim Fathers all sailed. It was largely rebuilt after the World War II bombings and is now a large city. The Old Plymouth is centred around the Hoe. This is the famous green where Raleigh finished hid game of bowls as the invading Spanish Armada approached the port in the year 1588. Today The Hoe is a pleasant park and parade ground with memorials to important naval men.
Charles II built the Royal Citadel (near The Hoe) in the 1660’s to guards the harbour. It is open from May to September daily.
The Mayflower Stone and Steps mark the place where he Pilgrim Fathers set sail for the New World in 1620.
What do you find between these B roads?
Moors and moors!
Gorgeous green plains, all kind of shades of green, separated with rock fences and spiny hedges. It's beautiful when it's sunny... it's equally beautiful when rainning and/or foggy.
Use the B roads, avoid the highway like the pest unless you are in a hurry to get nowhere.
What is a B road... it's a one-way highway (not one way in each direction, just one lane), wavy like a snake, usually trapped between 2-3 meters high hedges where the indigenous drive at 100 km/h!!!
Too narrow to have 2 cars pass at the same time, if you meet someone coming the other direction, one of the two needs to back up to the nearest passing spot.
This is the only way to see Cornwall!
try to come to plymouth at the beginning of june every four year... (next time is 2004). You can see a really excityng show... The start of the single handed transatlantic race. It's really interesting to follow all the rigging...
Fondest memory: the first time I went to plymouth I was 14... quite a long time ago! I was fishing in newquay, cornwall... while I was coming back home with all my fishes, I was stopped by a crazy one who was really excited and astonished.... My english, at those time, was poorer than now: I was barely able to say YES and NO (now I can even say perhaps)... Ok what that strange men wanted was a mistery to me since I found a friend of mine speaking English.. One of the fish I had was probably the world record!!! We went to the plymouth acquarium to omologate it.... unfortunately it was not a 'first price one' but I was able to visit all the backstage of plymouth acquarum....
Go to the Famous Jamacia Inn just near to Geoffs on Bodmin moor.
Fondest memory: Visiting Geoff_Wrights Cottage and meeting him Mary and the family, see picture.
Fondest memory: In a climate as humid and damp as Cornwall, vegetation is so happy. Every square inch is covered with something.
As beautiful as the land body of Cornwall is, the jagged shoreline is breathtaking.
Here is the closest you might get to a beach (just joking).
Go to the Plymouth Gin Distillery..
It has been in continuous use since 1793 and is the oldest in England..
When you have finished looking at the Pilgrim fathers stone, cross the road to the pub and have a beer!!
Admiral McBride Pub
The Barbican.. It is the oldest part of Plymouth and the place from where The Pilgrim Fathers left to discover inhabit the New world!!
Pic: Stone Commemorating Pilgrim fathers leaving