Devon LivingIssue #02
The city by the sea
Plymouth, the charming and unassuming city on the Devon-Cornwall border is a fascinating destination in which to enjoy a city break.
Thanks to its location on the coast, Plymouth is popular with those seeking a top-notch shopping experience, as well as visitors who want to make the most of seaside walks and provenance of seafood that can only be found this close to the sea.
It’s a fantastic city for anyone hoping to enjoy some retail therapy, offering a shopping experience that’s all about mixing top high-street names with wonderful, independent shops, along wide, tree-lined, pedestrianised streets.
“… with so many ways to spend your time in Plymouth, you’ll be tempted to stay for an extra night or two”
There are also some wonderful experiences to be had for those looking to maximise their time in the city. Indeed, with so many ways to spend your time in Plymouth, you’ll be tempted to stay for an extra night or two, and with accommodation options like Boringdon Hall and The Duke of Cornwall Hotel available, one could hardly blame you! The Duke of Cornwall Hotel, dating back to 1863, stands as an iconic piece of Plymouth history. Created as Plymouth’s first luxury hotel, it was designed to project Victorian grandeur and splendour.
Having survived the bombardment of the Second World War while so much around it suffered destruction, many visitors are impressed by its architectural merits alone and indeed, it’s strength and fortitude during that time reflected that of the Plymouth people.
At Boringdon Hall, every effort has been made to restore and retain the dramatic, original architecture of each sleeping suite. What’s more, the three AA Rosettes that the restaurant has been awarded make staying within the bounds of the hotel very tempting indeed! However, if you do manage to pull yourself away and go in search of things to do, why not pay Plymouth Gin Distillery a visit? Established in 1793, visitors can take a tour and experience this distillery’s unique character while sampling its much-acclaimed gin. Tour options include a classic tour, an enhanced ‘Gin Connoiseur’s Tour’ with dedicated tasting of a number of gins, and ‘The Master Distiller’s Tour’, where you take responsibility for selecting your own botanical recipe and create your very own gin!
Alternatively, for something a little more child-friendly, the Barbican Leisure Park is just a short walk from the Barbican waterfront, with plenty on offer to keep everyone entertained. From the large Vue Cinema complex showcasing the latest blockbusters, to Tenpin, which offers bowling, pool and an arcade – the leisure park is ideal when the weather’s not so fair! You’ll also find a number of restaurants to choose from, including a few family favourite chains.
And then there’s the National Marine Aquarium. One of the south west’s premier attractions and a hub of oceanic discovery, the NMA has four zones: Plymouth Sound, displaying the surprisingly vast array of creatures living in Plymouth’s waters; British Coast, showcasing the breathtaking Eddystone Reef Exhibition; Atlantic Ocean, Britain’s deepest tank and home to the aquarium’s majestic sharks as well as a whole host of other species; and Blue Zone, with the beautiful Great Barrier Reef tank. This really is a must, whether you’re with the family or enjoying some quality time away with just the two of you.
For those in search of high-profile companies, cafés and restaurants, Royal William Yard is well worth a trip. With names such as Seco Lounge, Prezzo, Royal William Yard Bakery, as well as a number of galleries and the ever-popular Good Food Market (running on the first Sunday of every month, offering a range of locally sourced produce to sample and buy), this is truly a lifestyle destination. It’s steeped in history too, having been built in 1831 and being home to Europe’s largest collection of Grade I listed military buildings.
When it comes to food, there are plenty of fine-dining options available to sate that sea-air appetite. Why not enjoy a selection of local fish and meats at The Tanner Brothers – Barbican Kitchen, located in the Plymouth Gin Distillery? Or, if a steakhouse experience is more up your street, perhaps you’ll want to book a table at Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill, located at the top floor of the Crowne Plaza Hotel and offering exceptional panoramic views of the city and waterfront. Alternatively, Mitch Tonks – Rockfish seats 200 opposite the National Marine Aquarium, serving seafood that the team sustainably sources, mostly from local fishermen, making it the ‘must-try’ establishment for anybody looking for a true flavour of the coast.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Plymouth Barbican has the largest concentration of cobbled streets in Britain!
Look out for Plymouth’s most iconic landmarks, including the bombed out Charles Church – a victim of the Second World War – and the famous Smeaton’s Tower, a lighthouse now occupying its second home since being relocated from out-to-sea on Eddystone Reef.
"... with so many ways to spend your time in Plymouth, you’ll be tempted to stay for an extra night or two"