Mount Edgcumbe House & Gardens - Visit Plymouth - Things to do in Plymouth

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Museums, Galleries & Attractions in Plymouth

We have put together a list of our top attractions in Plymouth which we think are awesome. Time to start planning your trip!  

The cobbled streets of the Barbican could tell a tale or two but today they’re lined with smart galleries, restaurants, the famous Plymouth Gin distillery and small independent shops. Head up to The Hoe (where Drake famously finished a game of bowls before defeating the Spanish Armada), climb the iconic Smeaton’s Tower for fabulous 360 degree views over the city and across the harbour.  Britain’s maritime city has a rich historical past. In 1620 The Pilgrim Fathers set sail on the Mayflower to start a new life in America. An  epic voyage to Cape Cod which took 66 days and if you walk from the Barbican to the Hoe you’ll pass a commemorative plaque alongside Mayflower Steps marking the point of departure. 


The Box Museum & Art Gallery

Add The Box to your ‘to do’ list when visiting Plymouth. This inspirational educational culture hub is home to thousands of fascinating artifacts, kids will love the giant ships’ figureheads displayed in the cafe! So, for a deep dive into the city’s history, make sure you book a time slot at Plymouth’s museum, art gallery and cultural centre – and it’s FREE! (Photo credit: Visit Plymouth)

Plan your visit to The Box here

Smeaton’s Tower

You can’t miss Smeaton’s Tower!  Whether you’re on the water or strolling across the Hoe, this towering centrepiece stands proud and is one of the most iconic attractions in Plymouth. 

Reaching the dizzy heights of 72 feet, Smeaton’s Tower offers unrivalled views of the city and across the Sound. Step inside and appreciate the painstaking restoration work carried out in the tower as you ascend the steps to the Lantern Room for the most awe inspiring views.   

Finest tip – Buy the Heritage Pass online for reduced ticket prices for Smeaton’s Tower, The Mayflower Museum and Elizabethan House. The ticket is valid for 7 days from the date of purchase. (Photo credit: Visit Plymouth.)

Things to do in Pl.ymouth

Theatre Royal

The Theatre Royal is one of the largest regional theatres in the UK, it’s also the best attended. Staging musical productions (many pre West End) plus contemporary and classic drama, ballet and National Opera. With productions such as The Devil Wears Prada and Hamilton, there’s something for everyone! Check out the programme for the Theatre Royal Plymouth before your stay.  (Photo credit: Visit Plymouth)

Things to do in Plymouth - Cotehele


A Tudor House with its roots steeped in Medieval history. This intensively atmospheric National Trust property is perfect for a day out. Park at the bottom of the hill by the quay and stop for a coffee at the tea room. Then head uphill to the house. Stroll around the 14 acres of gardens with fabulous views. Wander around the 12 acre orchard, enter the house and discover its history. This dog friendly estate is perfect for exercising the pooch. Make time to explore the many walking trails through countryside and woodland down to the Victorian watermill. (Where they still grind flour.) If you’re visiting in December check out amazing Cotehele 60 ft garland which is strung up in the house. It’s lovingly created every year out of 30,000 dried flowers.

More about Cotehele here (Photo credit: Visit Plymouth)

Buckland Abbey - things to do in Plymouth

Buckland Abbey

Buckland Abbey is the former home of Sir Francis Drake. The estate sits on the edge of Dartmoor with its rugged countryside and wild ponies. The Abbey is surrounded by the most beautiful formal Elizabethan garden and has a rich 800 year history. It was once occupied by Cistercian monks and seafarers. Take a stroll around The Great Hall with its original stone floor and carvings which date back to Elizabethan times. Don’t miss the Medieval Great Barn, it’s incredible and remains virtually unchanged. There’s plenty for a dog walk around Buckland Abbey with some lovely circular woodland paths..

More about Buckland Abbey and the Great Barn here (Photo credit: Visit Plymouth)

Saltram House - Things to do in Plymouth - Visit Plymouth

Saltram House

Saltram house is a treasure trove of delights packed with intrigue and tales. The interiors are simply stunning with many original furnishings including Chinese wallpapers and an impressive collection of paintings with a number by Sir Joshua Reynolds. The property comes complete with a secret garden, charming summer house, 18th century orangery, follies and chapel gallery tea room. Look out for the ha-ha to the front of the house. (This ‘sunken fence’ was a common feature in 18th century gardens and parks). Stroll around the gardens which merge into a rolling landscape leading down to the banks of the River Plym. It’s the perfect spot for cycling and dog walking. Saltram really does tick all the boxes for a fabulous day out. A truly beautiful property! More about Saltram House here (Photo credit: Visit Plymouth)

Mount Edgcumbe House & Gardens - Visit Plymouth - Things to do in Plymouth

Mount Edgcumbe House & Country Park

Hop on the Cremyll Ferry which departs Admirals Hard at Stonehouse in Plymouth. It’s just a 7 minute trip across the River Tamar to Mount Edgcumbe.

The entire country estate is vast, extending to some 865 acres on the Rame Peninsula, South East Cornwall. The beautiful gardens feature the National Collection of Camellias! The grounds are perfect for adventure with some exciting and unusual activities. Brush up on your circus skills with Baba Yaga’s Circus, glide along with a safari segway expedition. Hire bikes, scooters and all the equipment for a fun day of cycling with the Rame Riders. You can even go Alpaca trekking! There really is something for everyone. The gardens are dog friendly. (Photo credit: Visit Plymouth)

Mayflower Steps - Visit Plymouth - Things to do in Plymouth

The Mayflower Steps

We can’t talk about attractions in Plymouth without mentioning the famous Mayflower Steps. It’s here that the Pilgrim Fathers finally left England aboard the Mayflower on their epic voyage to America in 1620. The ship pulled into Plymouth to shelter and carry out repairs caused by bad weather in the English Channel. The passengers had no links with Plymouth but it’s believed they stayed in what’s now the Plymouth Gin Distillery building for a couple of nights. More about the Mayflower Steps here (Photo credit: Visit Plymouth)