If you’re planning a trip to Plymouth, you’re in for a great adventure. Plymouth has a range of exciting attractions and experiences for the whole family, including beautiful parklands, intriguing historical sites and impressive wildlife sanctuaries. 

    Whether you want to take it easy and experience the local culture or want to create exciting memories with the kids, take a look at our list of popular things to do in Plymouth to prepare for your holiday.

    What are the best things to do in Plymouth?

    1

    Plymouth Hoe

    Have a picnic with views of the Plymouth Sound

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    Overlooking the Plymouth Sound, Plymouth Hoe is an expansive parkland that’s home to many unique attractions, such as the Tinside Lido, the iconic Smeaton’s Tower historic lighthouse and a statue of Sir Francis Drake. Visit the 17th-century Royal Citadel for a glimpse into the past. 

    You can find many great spots in Plymouth Hoe for a picnic with your partner or family, especially near the shoreline. The park hosts numerous events throughout the year, including the British Firework Championships.

    Location: 4 Osborne Pl, Plymouth PL1 2PU, UK

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    2

    Smeaton's Tower

    An 18th-century lighthouse in Plymouth Hoe

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    Smeaton’s Tower is a prominent memorial and lighthouse in Plymouth Hoe. Originally built in 1757 on the Eddystone reef, it was moved, stone by stone, to its current position in the 1880s. You can tour the restored lighthouse to see its interior and climb to the lantern room, where you’ll see spectacular views of the Plymouth Sound and surrounding area. 

    While you’re there, you can explore the rest of the parkland and spend some time enjoying the sunshine.

    Location: Hoe Park, W Hoe Rd, Plymouth PL1 2NZ, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)1752 304774

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    3

    The Barbican

    Explore Plymouth's entertainment, shopping and activity hub

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    The Barbican is the hub of entertainment, shopping and activity in Plymouth. Found on Sutton Harbour, you’ll find an array of things to see and do, including the Mayflower Steps, the commemorative portico of the Mayflower’s voyage, and the accompanying Mayflower Museum. 

    You can visit the Barbican Leisure Park for outdoor fun and the Plymouth Gin Distillery for distillery tours and samplings. If you have kids, stop by the Barbican Theatre to see a show or take part in a programme or event.

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    4

    National Marine Aquarium

    Learn about the ocean through interactive exhibits and massive tanks

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    The National Marine Aquarium offers a variety of fish and marine creatures in naturalistic habitats. It focuses on zones like the British Coasts, Atlantic Ocean, Plymouth Sound and Blue Planet, taking you through a journey of both local and global marine species. 

    You can see exotic sea animals like moon jellies, barracuda, tarpon, turtles, nurse sharks, zebra sharks, seahorses, and loggerhead sea turtles. Check out the Laboratory, a behind-the-scenes look at aquarium biologists and fish husbandry.

    Location: Rope Walk Coxside, Plymouth PL4 0LF, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)844 893 7938

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    5

    Saltram House

    A Grade-I-listed mansion just outside Plymouth

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    Saltram House is a Grade I-listed mansion just outside of Plymouth. Regarded as one of the most impressive homes in the region, it dates back to the George II era and features a Georgian style, original decor, fine furnishings and large collection of paintings and artwork. 

    After touring the house, you can explore the lush gardens and venture into the nearby woodland to see views of the estuary and coastline. There’s also a trail that leads to the Blaxton saltmarsh, which has an abundance of wildflowers in spring.

    Location: Devon Expy, Plymouth PL7 1UH, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 4.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1752 333500

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    6

    Royal Citadel

    See the historic Plymouth fortress

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    The Royal Citadel is a fortress in Plymouth that was constructed in the 17th century to defend the coastline from Dutch invasion. It's still in use by the military, but you can book tours to see parts that are open to the public. 

    The Royal Citadel has an array of architectural marvels, such as the baroque main gate, a blockhouse and bastions. Along with seeing the gorgeous building, you can take in the views of the sound and coast from the grounds.

    Location: Royal Citadel Plymouth, Lambhay Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PD, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)370 333 1181

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    7

    Plymouth Naval Memorial

    Dedicated to the fallen sailors of WWI and WWII

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    The Plymouth Naval Memorial is dedicated to sailors who lost their lives during WWI and WWII. The memorial has a central obelisk with the names of the deceased – the base has names of sailors who died during WWI, while those from World War II are found on the wall panels. 

    Along with British sailors, the Plymouth Naval Memorial has the names of sailors from Australia, India and South Africa. Take a moment to see the spectacular memorial and show appreciation for the fallen sailors.

    Location: Hoe Promenade, Plymouth PL1 2PU, UK

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    8

    Wembury

    Enjoy sunbathing and swimming at its pristine beach

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    Wembury is a small village near the Plymouth Sound and the South Devon Heritage Coast. It's best known for its picturesque beach, which attracts sunbathers, swimmers and water sport enthusiasts on clear days.

    Some flock to Wembury to hunt game in the forest or explore the rock pools on the coast. You can take the kids to the Devon Wildlife Trust’s Wembury Marine Centre, where they can learn about the marine and land environments of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

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    9

    Plymbridge Woods

    Hit the trails by foot or bicycle

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    The Plymbridge Woods is a vast woodland that’s managed by the National Trust. It’s home to a historic bridge over the River Plym and miles of trails through the woods. 

    The environment serves as a habitat for many native English species, including mandarin ducks, peregrine falcons, fallow deer and goosanders. For a challenge, take the Devon Coast to Coast Cycle Route through the woods, which takes 2 or 3 days to complete.

    Location: Plymbridge Rd, Plymouth PL7 4SR, UK

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    photo by Stephen McKay (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    10

    Dartmoor Zoo

    See adorable animals from different parts of the world

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    The Dartmoor Zoo, or Dartmoor Zoological Park, is a wildlife sanctuary that was featured in the book and film, We Bought a Zoo’. Spanning 33 acres of parkland, it's home to over 70 animal species, including endangered and critically endangered species. The zoo has a big cat collection that includes jaguars and lions. 

    You’ll find a lot of adorable animals, including slender-tailed meerkats, marmosets, sugar gliders, wallabies, fallow deer and raccoon dogs. The Dartmoor Zoo is around 11 miles northeast of Plymouth. 

    Location: Sparkwell, Plymouth PL7 5DG, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 4 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1752 837645

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    photo by Sharron (CC BY 2.0) modified

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