Known as Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth offers historic spots, plenty of exclusive offers for groups, charming city scenery and more. 

The Box

Boasting cutting-edge galleries, high profile exhibitions and a programme of great events, The Box is the result of a multi-million-pound project creating a new major cultural and heritage attraction for Plymouth. 

There are plenty of offers for groups including a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour as well as a tour of the highlights with the option to add cream tea and private dining to their visit. 

The Figureheads display at The Box in Plymouth

Source: Wayne Perry

Visitors to The Box will be struck by this unique suspended display featuring 14 Victorian Royal Naval figureheads.

Some of the displays which showcase The Box’s extensive collection of more than two million objects include: 

  • Figureheads: a display of 14 monumental ships’ figureheads, collectively weighing over 20 tonnes prompting a visit from Anne, The Princess Royal in June 2021. 
  • Mammoth: Plymouth’s incredible natural history collections featuring 1,000 pickled marine creatures and a full-size mammoth replica. 
  • Media Lab: an interactive room featuring the UK’s largest regional film and television archive. 

The National Marine Aquarium

There is discounted entry for groups of 12-plus at the National Marine Aquarium, the UK’s biggest and home to more than 4,000 ocean animals.

Some of the fish on display at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth

Source: Summit Imagery

It’s the UK’s largest aquarium with more than 4,000 animals.

Run by the Ocean Conservation Trust, groups can take a tour with one of the expert rangers to learn about marine conservation work and discover four aquarium zones, starting with the local waters of Plymouth Sound and going round the world to end up in the Great Barrier Reef.

Exhibits include the UK’s deepest and largest tank, the UK’s largest native exhibit, the UK’s largest single viewing panel and many more interactive displays. 

Plymouth Gin Distillery

Black Friars Distillery, the working home of Plymouth Gin since 1793, is the oldest working gin distillery in England. 

Plymouth Gin Distillery

Source: Dom Moore

Also known as Black Friars Distillery, it’s the oldest operating distillery in the UK and was established in 1793.

The building dates back to the early 1400s with the oldest part of the building, the Refectory, a medieval hall with a fine hull-shaped timber roof, dating back to 1431.

Small groups can book one of the Connoisseur Tours to discover even more fascinating secrets and group evening tours are also available by appointment. Afterwards, relax in the Refectory cocktail lounge where the Pilgrims are said to have spent their last night before setting sail in the Mayflower to the New World.

Royal William Yard

Enjoy a walk around Royal William Yard, which features restaurants, bars, shops as well as its own marina, steeped in history. Considered to be one of the most important groups of historic military buildings in Britain, it is also the largest collection of Grade I listed military buildings in Europe.

Accessible by land and sea, the Yard has its own harbour with mooring facilities and Royal William Yard’s own ferry service, which makes regular daily trips from the Yard to the Barbican Landing Stage and back.

Royal William Yard in Plymouth pictured during sunset

Source: Jay Stone

Surrounded by water, the Royal William yard offers scenic views over Plymouth Sound and across to Cornwall.

Climb the impressive staircase which links the Yard with the rest of the South West Coast Path and will take you to Devil’s Point which offers views across the Sound.

The Mayflower Museum

Groups receive discounted entry at The Mayflower Museum which takes visitors on a journey through time with four floors and four centuries to explore.

The exhibition explores the story of the famous Mayflower ship in new ways. It begins with Wampanoag history and culture thanks to an on-going partnership with members of the Native American tribal nation. Their insights are shared alongside the stories of earlier English voyages to America, which shaped histories and legacies on both sides of the Atlantic. The exhibition considers the impact of English colonisation on indigenous communities – then and now. It also reflects on commemorations through time, and England’s changing, and enduring, relationship with America.

The Mayflower Steps

Flanked by the British and American flags, the Mayflower Steps mark the final English departure point of 102 passengers who set sail on the Mayflower in 1620 to cross the Atlantic Ocean and settle in North America. 

The Mayflower Steps in Plymouth

The Mayflower Steps are flanked by the British and American flags and mark the final English departure point of 102 passengers who set sail on the Mayflower in 1620.

The actual steps the pilgrims left from no longer exist. A granite block bearing the ship’s name marks the approximate site, while a tablet commemorating the voyage was erected alongside in 1891.

The best effort by local historians to place the actual site of the Mayflower finally casting off is roughly where a Victorian public house, the Admiral MacBride, now stands.

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