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As Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth comes with a rich maritime history. From its iconic seafront to its old port, this coastal city in the UK has lots to explore. Its harbourside was a once bustling centre where merchants, mariners and privateers walked along its cobbled streets. Today its historic atmosphere remains, however a new generation of foodies and adventure-seekers have revitalised the city.
Hostels in Plymouth are mostly within walking distance of the historic port and seafront. You can expect a comfortable stay with free bed linen, towels and cosy communal spaces. High-speed Wi-Fi helps you keep your online life up to date, while extras like games rooms and pool tables make it easy to meet other travellers. Some Plymouth hostels also offer shared kitchens and a free breakfast of tea, coffee, toast and cereals.
The Barbican, along the harbourside, is Plymouth’s historic area with Tudor, Jacobean and Georgian buildings and waterfront restaurants. To the front of the city is Plymouth Hoe: a wide, green headland with views over the bay. In the city centre, you can shop the high street or catch a show at the theatre. To the south west, Royal William Yard has a line-up of Grade II listed buildings, alongside contemporary cafés and seafront lunch spots.
One of the city’s most iconic sights is Smeaton’s Tower, a red and white lighthouse standing tall over Plymouth Hoe. This vast headland is home to the 1935 Art Deco Tinside Lido, which overlooks the ocean and a 17th-century fortress, The Royal Citadel. Visit England’s oldest gin distillery in Barbican, dating back to 1793. Now also a bar, you can book a tasting session and guided tour. A short drive out of the city centre will take you to some of Plymouth’s countryside settings, like Plymbridge Woods and the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Bristol is the nearest airport with international flights. From here, as well as Exeter and Taunton, you can get the coach to Plymouth. From other parts of the UK, hop on a National Express coach or a train. From London, the train takes about 3 hours. The local bus service is the best way to get around the city, but don’t miss the opportunity to sail the seas in a water taxi. They connect the Barbican with Mount Batten and the Royal William Yard, as well as Mount Edgcumbe in Cornwall.