Visit the waterfront area of Britain’s Ocean City for an unforgettable day out, says Rachael D’Cruze-Sharpe

One of the best things about Plymouth’s Barbican and Hoe is that there’s just so much to see and do – it’s virtually impossible not to have a good time!

Plymouth Gin Distillery on the Barbican is the oldest working gin distillery in Britain, boasting a colourful and fascinating history dating from 1793! Book one of their fabulous tours for £7 and you’ll learn all about it and enjoy a tasting session as well as a complimentary gin and tonic in the stylish contemporary bar. If you don’t do the tour you should still visit the bar – best cocktails in town! Such a fabulous place, there’s little wonder it won silver in the 2014/2015 Visit Devon Awards.

A visit to the National Marine Aquarium will leave you in awe of the underwater world and the part we all pay in conserving it. As you walk around you’ll travel through the world’s oceans, from the shores of Plymouth to the coral reefs of the tropics. There’s so much marine life to see, including over 70 sharks; you’ll be amazed!

You can’t miss Smeaton’s Tower up on the Hoe – it’s a real local landmark. Open to the public all year round this iconic lighthouse offers amazing views from its lantern room. It’s a great sight to behold from the ground too! Along the Hoe’s shoreline, just down from the lighthouse, you’ll see the beautiful Art Deco Tinside Lido – if you visit during a hot summer’s day don’t forget your swimmers – a fantastic place to relax.

History buff’s should take in the statue of Sir Francis Drake, intrepid explorer and local hero, which sits proudly on the Hoe – just a few metres from the green where he finished his game before heading out to defeat the Spanish Armada in 1588.

Head to the eastern end of the Hoe to marvel at The Royal Citadel. This 17th century fortress was once England’s most important defence against attack from the sea and has been in constant military occupation since it was built! English Heritage do tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from May to September.

There’s a lot to be said for just grabbing yourself a spot on the waterfront and just watching the world (and the boats) go by too – such a beautiful place, you’re sure to find it very relaxing.

Eat & Drink

Plymouth Barbican has a couple of eateries that really are local legends and if you visit you should definitely give them a whirl. The world-famous Cap’n Jaspers has been serving food on the Barbican since 1978. This outdoor café boasts some of the best views and serves proper food and hot drinks in proper mugs – the hotdogs are awesome!

For the freshest, tastiest fish and chips head to Harbourside on the Barbican. Chances are there’ll be a little queue but there’s a reason for that! For a hearty lunch try Dutton’s Cafe Bar and Restaurant on Madeira Road. Enjoy breath taking sea views across to Mount Batten and out over Plymouth Sound while you enjoy eating something lovely and local – we love their crab sandwiches!

In the evening, catch the ferry across from the Barbican to the Royal William Yard and visit French restaurant Le Bistrot Pierre – fantastic food, ambience and service creating an upmarket continental experience.


Plymouth Barbican is a mecca for independent shops. There’s an array of art boutiques and antique shops that you’re bound to enjoy mooching around. Make sure you visit The House That Jack Built on the High Street for lots of quirky shops under one roof – the Jasmine Rose Vintage Clothes is especially good. Parade Antiques, tucked away on New Street, has an abundance of curiosities and some great collectables. Finally to top it all off, no shopping trip is complete without fudge from The Old Quay Tuck Shop.

For more information on visiting Plymouth, see:

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