Updated: Jun 2, 2020
Having studied and read about a city is one thing, visiting it quite another. Plymouth has such a rich history and standing at its marvelous port can be quite overwhelming. Sir Francis Drake, the Mayflower, the oldest surviving lighthouse in the world and even the Beatles have left their mark. A good place to start is at the Hoe www.visitplymouth.co.uk/things.../smeatons-tower where the Smeatons light tower was moved in 1884 after having served over a hundred years at sea! It is well worth climbing to the top and gaining a fabulous view of Plymouth. The "lantern" of the lighthouse is quite literally that. No Fresnel lens here.
At the other end of the park is a statue of Sir Francis Drake who is supposed to have played a game of bowls here in 1588 while waiting for the tide to change before sailing out with the English fleet to engage with the Spanish Armada. A short stroll along the waterfront took us through parts of the old town towards the famous Mayflower Steps.
The ship carrying the "pilgrims" to America set sail here an there is a museum dedicated to the ship and journey www.visitplymouth.co.uk/.../mayflower-museum. History buffs will have their fill of facts and figures as they walk along the path leading to the mayflowers steps and read the various plaques commemorating the many important events that took place there throughout the cities history.
After a morning visiting historic sites, museums and parks, a visit to a museum of a different kind is a very pleasant change. The oldest Gin distillery in the world fits the bill perfectly. The distillery established in 1793 is housed in a former black friars monastery and offers tours and tasting events. plymouthgin.com. The tour is fun and offers a good insight into the history of Gin. The tour ends in the historic bar where participants are offered a complimentary drink and can relax and read the list of names of those who set sail on the mayflower in 1620.
There are plenty of pubs and bars around Plymouth offering gins of all descriptions to try with a variety of tonics or mixed in cocktails. Restaurants serving family meals, fish and chips and international cuisine are spread over the old town. We chose to eat sushi which was an unusual choice but one we were very please with. The restaurant Goto serves delicious sushi of the highest quality. It is not easy to find as it is located on the first floor and the sign at street level is one most people miss. Service is rather slow but the food is well worth the wait. Prices are about average for sushi but the portions are large and the presentation beautiful.
Plymouth is definitely worth a visit.