If you ever find yourself wondering what to do in Plymouth, our activities guide for the city can suggest boat trips, the largest aquarium in the UK, wonderful walking spots and some of the finest beaches in Devon.
Activities in Plymouth
Let’s start with a blast from the past! Plym Valley Railway occupies a section of the Great Western train line running between Plymouth and Tavistock that was closed in 1962. Today, it’s been restored to its former glory so you can once again ride in the old-style carriages of some wonderful steam locomotives. Be sure to check what’s on via their website, as the trains only run on certain days.
Plymouth Boat Trips are always a popular choice if you’re looking to take to the seas in the south west. It’s a family run business that operates tours, cruises, fishing trips, private charters and ferries to both Cremyll and Cawsand, in Cornwall. Whether it’s a tour of Plymouth’s historic waterfront or the warship cruise that takes in the naval dockyard, Plymouth Boat Trips has something for all ages to enjoy.
The Cawsand Ferry is quite an attraction. The service has been running for over 100 years, and during the summer months, the ferry runs daily, operating between the Barbican Landing Stage and the beautiful Cornish village of Cawsand. The journey takes about half an hour, transporting you from the hustle and bustle of the city to the lovely beach and picturesque village of Cawsand. It’s quaint, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be shy of options; there are pubs, restaurants, shops and cafés, as well as walking trails for you to enjoy while you’re there.
If you want to get even closer to the action, The Mount Batten Centre is open all year round, giving guests the chance to try their hand at all types of water sports activities, including paddleboarding, kayaking, dinghy sailing, powerboating and windsurfing. You can practically see The Mount Batten Centre from our Lockyers Quay hotel, but as it’s on the other side of the Plym estuary, you’ll need to drive 20 minutes around to reach it. But it’s worth it; there’s so much to do and the instructors make the whole experience a lot of fun.
The Mount Batten Centre
South West Coast Path
Dartmoor National Park
When the weather’s less than friendly, it’s nice to know Plymouth has many great things you can enjoy away from the rain. Some of the best indoor activities in Plymouth. Are ticked off on our dedicated page. As a taster, can you be tempted by the largest aquarium in the UK, go-karts, escape rooms, climbing walls and laser tag?
Cycling and Walking Tours
Surrounded by the lovely Devon countryside and glorious panoramic coastal views, you can’t go wrong with a country walk or a bike ride to pass the time while you’re in Plymouth.
Plymouth is one of the landmark points on the South West Coast Path. The National Trail is the longest waymarked footpath in the country at a whopping 630 miles. As you’d expect, the city centre route doesn’t really offer much in the way of scenery, but you can pick up the trail heading west from Mount Edgcumbe, or east from Jennycliff, which will lead you to some of the best beaches in Plymouth, too.
Drakes Trail offers something for people of all ages and abilities across its network of trails. The full route is 21 miles long, running between Tavistock and Plymouth and has many historical points of interest that have close links to the heritage of the area, including Gem Bridge and Grenofen Tunnel. And as the trail runs past the western edge of Dartmoor, you can expect some stunning scenery, too, including wooded river valleys and open moorlands.
Plymbridge Woods is less than a ten-minute drive from our Plymouth East hotel. It’s a haven of peaceful tranquillity; an ancient woodland with trails that skirt the River Plym. Plus everyone can enjoy it as the trails are accessible for pushchairs and prams, and there are picnic areas by the water where you can stop for a packed lunch. There are all kinds of wildlife to be seen too, including rabbits, kingfishers and deer. If you’re lucky, while walking along the viaduct you might even spot the pair of peregrine falcons in the old quarry.
Even on its own, Saltram House is a great day out. But being able to explore the grounds around this Grade I listed Georgian mansion house makes it even more enjoyable. Being less than a ten-minute drive from our Plymouth East hotel, you don’t have to head far out of town to walk, run or cycle around its 500 acres of wonderful farmland, beaches, salt marshes, meadows, woodland and more. Plus, Saltram’s a dog friendly place, and there are play areas for the kids, too.
Of course, a nod need to be given to Dartmoor, although it hardly needs much in the way of introduction. Spanning nearly 1,000km² you can lose yourself in the National Park’s wide open moorlands and deep river valleys. Whether you fancy a walk, going horse riding, climbing, canoeing, orienteering or whatever else, Dartmoor ticks all the boxes.
If you want to get away from the city to relax and unwind on one of Devon’s sandy beaches, there are plenty to choose from near Plymouth. There’s an entire page dedicated to Plymouth beaches so whether it’s rock pooling at Wembury, surfing at Bantham, or the golden sands of Mothecombe, whatever you like to do at the beach, you can find something for you near Plymouth.