Favorite thing: Not so much a favourite thing, but worthy of a mention, and this is the best category, so... This is nothing but a street, but it is THE place where all of Plymouth's parades, such as on The Lord Mayors Day are held and there a lot of historical monuments along it. So, if you orient yourself with this in mind, you are well away. There are nine things worth seeing along this one strip alone, so don't be so fast to dismiss it as just another street.
It is also good to know because it is central and everybody knows where it is.
The sorts of things you will see, will include the Theatre Royal, 'The Bank' Public House, St. Andrews Cathedral, The City Guildhall, Prysten House (Old Building and Museum) and the Painted Underpass which shows the history of Plymouth in pictures.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Favorite thing: This helpful Tourist Information Centre is situated in the Maritime Barbican Village. The Centre can advise the visitor about accommodation, sightseeing, events and so forth. There is a wide range of leaflets on attractions not just in Plymouth but in Devon and Cornwall.
Here is the centre's website for planning a trip to Plymouth.
The Mayflower Exhibition is also housed in the building and there is a shop selling a variety of souvenirs and gifts.
The Tourist Information Centre is opened everyday in high season and Monday to Saturday in low season.
- Family Travel
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: Pilgrims Point, Mayflower Steps, Barbican, Plymouth
For those who are experience Plymouth on a day to day basis it often comes as a little to bump into things that pertain to its more illustrious past. Generally speaking, as a town it's definitely a 6/10, could do better. (See me after the class please.)
It's incredibly easy to see only the shops, pubs and drunks and ignore its history.
To this end I offer some shots and the like of the Pilgrim Steps - the area from which a band of brave souls decided to try to create their own future and build a new culture in their own image.
It was a noble gesture - and a very brave one.
The first plaque reads: 'On the 6th of September 1620, the Mayorality of Thomas Townes after being kindly entertained and courteously used by divers Friends there dwelling, the Pilgrim Fathers sailed from Plymouth in the Mayflower in the Providence of God to settle in New Plymouth and to lay the foundations of the New England States The ancient Cawsey whence they embarked was destroyed not many Years afterwards but the Site of their Embarkation is marked by the Stone bearing the name of the MAYFLOWER in the pavement of the adjacent Pier.
This Tablet was erected in the Mayoralty of J T Bond 1891, to commemorate the Departure, and the visit to Plymouth in July of that Year of a number of their Descendants and Representatives.'
And, lest we forget the Kiwis: 'This tablet commemorates the departure for Plymouth in May 1839 of The Tory, the pioneer ship in the colonisation of New Zealand'
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: Exeter, right, we're talking about Exeter.
Many tourists don't know that in hidden places around Exeter there are some fantastic community mosaics, mostly made or devised by mosaics expert Elaine Goodwin. My mum wrote a book about them! This isn't a commercial but you can see it on Amazon at http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0950587389/qid=1015956189/sr=1-4/ref=sr 1_0_4/026-3129144-4998842 (v cheap!).
We had a lovely half day last time I was down, walking round and having a look. They are unusual in that they often include non-tile objects like badges, scrabble tiles, etc - I'm going to add some photos v soon. There are quite a lot in St Thomas (the area over the river) but you might need a local to point them out to you.
Fondest memory: My teenage years were spent sitting on the Cathedral Green or in Hoopern Fields with big gangs of friends. In the summer there are often guitarists on the Green.
Favorite thing: 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.
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.
Favorite thing: 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.
Favorite thing: 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)
Fondest memory: Cornwall is beautifull. Along the sea, beaches, cliffs and rocks, it is great to walk around. Sometimes it felt like I was the only person on earth. It is something I can not really describe, it is something you have to feel. So all I can say is...go there and feel what I felt.
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: 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.
Favorite thing: 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!
Fondest memory: 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.
Favorite thing: 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....
Favorite thing: Avoid taking a taxi from the train station to the city centre.
Firstly it's only 5minutes (easy) walk to the main shopping streets.
Secondly, you'll be ripped off in a cab.
Thirdly, help the environment by cutting out unnecessary short journeys by car(taxi).
For those looking to reach the University, this is about 3-5minutes walk from the Train Station.
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: Most of the city centre is a pedestrian zone with only one of its cross streets accessible by motor vehicles, including buses. In order to help people find there way around the city council has put up these useful street maps at strategic locations.
At first sight you might think the map is a sort schematic diagram (a bit like that of a railway or the London Underground) but the city centre rea\lly is laid out like this. The post-WWII planners designed the city to be pedestrian-friendly, open and easy to navigate and the map is a pretty accurate representation.
- Hiking and Walking
- Budget Travel