We've put together our top ten recommended local attractions to help you plan your visit!
The history of Plymouth extends back to the Bronze Age as a fishing port. With its natural harbour and open access to the Atlantic, the town found wealth and a national strategic importance. In 1620 the Pilgrim's departed from Plymouth to establish the second English colony in America. During the English Civil War, the town was besieged between 1642-1646 by Royalists. Throughout the Industrial Revolution, Plymouth grew as a major mercantile shipping industry including imports and passengers to the USA. It also become important as a naval base and a ship construction town, building battleships for the Royal Navy which led to its partial destruction during World War II in a series of air raids.
Interesting facts about Plymouth:
- Plymouth Original Strength Gin has been distilled at England’s oldest working distillery, Black Friars on Plymouth’s historic Barbican since 1793
- Jackas Bakery, located on the Barbican, is reputed to be the oldest commercial bakery in the world still in operation
- In 1919 Nancy Astor became the first woman Member of Parliament, representing the constituency of Sutton in Plymouth
- In 1882 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle worked at a friend’s medical practice in Durnford Street, Stonehouse
- The original Eddystone Lighthouse (1698 - 1703) was the first offshore lighthouse in the world and constructed of wood. The third Eddystone Lighthouse was re-erected on Plymouth Hoe in 1882 and is a now popular tourist attraction. The fourth Eddystone Lighthouse is still in use
- Aircraftsman Shaw (better known as T E Lawrence – Lawrence of Arabia) served with the RAF in Plymouth
- The Port of Plymouth serves the biggest Naval Base in Western Europe with base ported vessels including nuclear submarines and large warships, and many ships from foreign navies visit Plymouth for Operational Sea Training
- Sir Francis Chichester left Plymouth on 27 August 1966 in his ketch Gipsy Moth IV and circumnavigated the world singlehanded, arriving back in Plymouth on 28 May 1967 after 266 days
- Sir Joshua Reynolds (first president of the Royal Academy) and Captain Bligh (of Bounty fame) were both born in Plymouth, in 1723 and 1754 respectively
- Since 1850 Plymouth has been a destination for cruise liners, including trans-Atlantic ships. Famous people to have disembarked at Millbay include Walt Disney, Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy
- A young Charles Darwin left Plymouth Barbican on The Beagle in 1831
- Catherine of Aragon – first wife of Henry VIII – arrived in Plymouth in 1501
- Napoleon left Plymouth on the Bellepheron in 1815 on his way to exile in St. Helena