Plymouth close to the Devon – Cornwall border promotes itself as Britain’s Ocean City, the sea has and continues to be central to the city’s economy with its important naval base and continental ferry port. It is a city of contrasts with plenty for the visitor to see. Plymouth has a wide choice of accommodation with some hotels enjoying sea views furthermore, it’s a good base to explore the nearby attractions of Dartmoor.
Sir Patrick Abercrombie, the famous post war construction architect planned the rebuilding of the main shopping area after WWII. The modernist architecture is not to everyone’s taste but it is spacious and traffic free. It is a classic example of mid twentieth century British architecture and the nearby post war Civic Centre is grade II listed by English Heritage. The Drake Circus shopping centre opened in 2006 housing many famous brands.
In complete contrast to the post war shopping area, the Barbican area has many historic listed buildings. These include the Plymouth gin distillery, the oldest operating in the UK which is open for tours and samples. Whilst here you can relax in one of the numerous bars and restaurants many overlooking the water or take a boat trip. The Mayflower Steps is a place of pilgrimage for US visitors since it is where the Pilgrim Fathers left for the New World establishing Plymouth Colony, only the second English settlement in what we now know as the USA. Close by is the famous aquarium.
Plymouth Hoe, Space to breath
Between the modern city and the sea, lies the Hoe. This open area of parkland houses many events throughout the year. It is where Sir Francis Drake reputedly finished his game of bowls before leading the successful attack on the Spanish Armada. Also on the Hoe there are many final memorials to the many fallen military heroes. The iconic symbol of the city, Smeaton’s Tower is here. This was the third lighthouse built on the dangerous Eddystone Rocks, it marked a breakthrough in lighthouse design. In 1882, after more than one hundred years service, it was part dismantled and rebuilt on the Hoe. Below the cliffs, you can find the lovingly restored Tinside Pool, an increasingly rare example of a 1930’s Art Deco Lido.
The new Waterfront
One of the most recent additions to the list of visitor attractions is Royal William Yard. This former naval victualling yard has many early nineteenth century grade one listed buildings. These solid stone buildings are being sympathetically converted to provide an exciting waterfront development. There are modern apartments, shops, bars and restaurants. During the day a regular passenger ferry operates to and from the Barbican.
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