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GO Museums in Plymouth

Museums in Plymouth Whether you want to learn more about local hero Sir Francis Drake or want to see what life was like in Elizabethan Plymouth, pay a visit to one of the city’s many museums.

For starters there’s the renowned Plymouth Dome [map] on The Hoe, which is undoubtedly the best way to learn about the two most important periods of the city’s history: the Elizabethan era and the World War II. Here you can travel back in time to experience the sights, sounds and even smells of historic Plymouth. Travel with Drake, Cook and the Pilgrim Fathers on their voyages; see the troops gather to protect the city in the Civil War and witness the destruction suffered in the Blitz.

To uncover more of the city’s illustrious past head for Plymouth City Museum [map] on Drake Circus, which hosts a number of historical research projects as well as permanent displays of natural history and ceramics.

If you want to see what life was really like for merchants during Queen Elizabeth I’s reign, where better to go than Elizabethan House [map], which has been restored to how it would have been in the 16th century. Located on New Street in The Barbican, the house is spread over three floors and period features include low wooden beams, a spiral staircase, windows with tiny panes, an inglenook oven, and original floors and furniture.

Another old house worth checking out is the Merchant’s House [map] on St Andrews Street, a four-storey Jacobean town house that has been converted into an enchanting museum. Built in 1608 for William Parker, a friend of Sir Francis Drake and Lord Mayor of Plymouth, this house now tells many different stories of the city’s past. You can discover how the Great Western Railway and Isambard Kingdom Brunel's railway bridge were constructed, see a Victorian schoolroom, and learn about the growth of trade in the Tailor Room.

As a port town, fishing has always been important in Plymouth, so important in fact there’s even a museum dedicated to its history!

The Turner Fishing Museum [map] on New Street in The Barbican offers a fascinating insight into the history of fishing from the ancient port of Plymouth. Here you’ll find lots of model fishing boats, two touch tanks and examples of all the equipment old fashioned fishing boats carried. There are also life-sized models of sharks.

Last but certainly not least, why not pay a visit to a 15th century distillery and see the famous Plymouth Gin being made. Tours of the Blackfriars Distillery [map] on Southside Street are available everyday and the shop sells a good range of products, such as Sloe, Damson or Navy Strength gin.

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