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Places Of Interest in Plymouth

Places of Interest in Plymouth Plymouth is a fascinating city that is packed to bursting with historic memorabilia, maritime activity and a wide range of interesting places to visit.

First on your list should probably be the famous Plymouth Hoe [map], where Sir Francis Drake reputedly finished his game of bowls while the Spanish Armada sailed in on the horizon. This green plateau is home to many interesting landmarks, including three war memorials and a large statue of Drake. You will also find Smeaton's Tower [map], Plymouth's famous red and white lighthouse that dates back to 1759 but has stood on the Hoe since 1882.

On the east side of the Hoe is the magnificent Royal Citadel [map], a dramatic fort that was commissioned by King Charles II in 1665. The fort, which is still in use today, was originally designed as a star-shaped fortress but was later extended to take in Drake's Fort, including some of the Tudor gateways and mounted 152 guns.

Just up the road from here is a later addition to the Hoe, the high-tech Plymouth Dome [map], which takes visitors on a journey through the ages.

The city’s other famous district, The Barbican [map], also takes you back in time as you see what life was like for a 16th century merchant in the Elizabethan House [map] on New Street, and tour the 200-year-old Plymouth Gin distillery [map].

A must-see along The Barbican is The Mayflower Steps [map], where the Pilgrim Fathers set off on their journey to America in 1620. Situated at the entrance of Sutton Harbour, the first Mayflower stone was laid in 1891 by descendants of the Pilgrims before the Mayor of Plymouth added a stone gateway in 1934. A plaque with the names of the Pilgrim Fathers, their wives and servants is displayed closeby on the side of the Tourist Information Office.

Located on Southside Street in The Barbican is the Elizabethan Garden [map], a delightful little oasis of tranquillity in an area usually full to the brim with shoppers and sightseers. The garden has been designed to look as it would have done in the 16th century, with low box hedges, colourful flowers and fragrant herbs in the old Elizabethan manner.

Plymouth is also home to one of the world's great natural harbours, Plymouth Sound [map], and you can enjoy a trip along this picturesque estuary thanks to Plymouth Boat Cruises Ltd, which also offer excursions along the River Yealm and to Calstock.

To make the most of the city’s wonderful sea views on foot head along the Waterfront Walkway [map], a marked path from Admirals Hard in the west to Jennycliff in the east at a distance of 10 miles. Along the route you will meet famous historical characters, such as Drake and Raleigh and visit parts of Plymouth not usually seen by tourists as well as stop off at quaint little pubs and cafés.

For those who want to see what lurks beneath the waves, pay a visit to the National Marine Aquarium [map] on Rope Walk, a registered charity that was the first aquarium in the UK to be set up solely for the purpose of education, conservation and research. In the four years it has been open to the public, nearly two million people have embarked on the journey through the deep reefs, shallow seas, and river estuaries to meet sharks, seahorses and an array of fish.

Finally, if you fancy heading out of the city centre then make sure you visit Buckland Abbey [map] at Yelverton, a National Trust property that was once home to Sir Francis Drake. Among other exhibits devoted to his adventures and achievements, you’ll find Drake's Drum, which will beat a warning if England is in dire peril, or so they say, anyway. In addition, the grounds of the house boast a magnificent monastic barn, craft workshops, herb garden, Elizabethan garden and country walks.

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