Why I Love Plymouth Hoe
Plymouth Hoe is one of Plymouth’s most beautiful places. The stunning sea views over the Sound mean that you can watch yachts, speedboats, tourist boats, navy frigates and every other kind of vessel you can think of, as they chug across the wide blue waters. Visitors to Plymouth Hoe can see the breakwater, Drake’s Island and glimpse the greenery of Mount Edgcumbe Country Park in the distance.
Those of us lucky enough to live in Plymouth can sit and enjoy this fabulous vista from one of the many benches on the Hoe, or whilst reclining on the vast grassy expanse at the feet of our very own historic lighthouse. Alternatively we can experience these amazing surrounding from one of the Hoe’s many outdoor cafes and restaurants. Plymouth Hoe is a favourite lunchtime spot for Plymothians who work in the city centre.
The impressive freestanding breakwater in Plymouth Sound was built to provide a safe berth for the Channel Fleet. Designed by engineer John Rennie, construction began in 1812. The breakwater is an impressive 1,560 metres long and is constructed of limestone blocks. To prevent ships from wrecking on the breakwater itself a lighthouse of white Cornish granite was constructed on the west end and a beacon on the east end. This impressive structure is still protecting Plymouth Sound today from stormy seas and south-westerly gales.
Plymouth’s famous lighthouse was built by John Smeaton in 1759 and situated on the Eddystone Rocks. When the rocky base was discovered to be crumbling, two thirds of the lighthouse was moved to the Hoe, stone by stone and rebuilt in 1877. It is now 72 feet high and if you climb up the steep spiral staircase to the lantern room, the views over the Sound and the city are truly fabulous regardless of the weather.
The Royal Citadel
The Royal Citadel was constructed in the late 1660’s after the Restoration of the Monarchy, on the orders of King Charles II. It’s purpose was twofold: to protect the port and to send a clear message to the people of Plymouth, who had supported Parliament during the Civil War. The King wanted to discourage anything like that ever again. This is the reason that several of the guns are pointed towards the city rather than out to sea. The Citadel is still in active military use today, but guided tours are available at certain times and are certainly worth joining in if you have time.
Our 1930’s Art Deco semi-circular outdoor pool, has been fully restored in recent years. Tinside Pool is one of Plymouth’s gems. Jutting out into the sea itself, the pool is a truly unique place to swim on a warm day.
Between dips in the sumptuous blue waters, you can relax on a deck chair or play table-tennis by the pool side. This iconic location was even accorded the rare honour of being featured on a UK postage stamp. Anyone that visits Plymouth’s Tinside Pool can’t help but feel reminded of the elegant beauty of the Art Deco movement. Every time I visit I’m reminded of the classic Agatha Christie books as it’s easy to imagine her hero Hercules Poirot strolling past in the sun.
The Belvedere reminds me of the building in Rome known as the Wedding Cake, but on a much smaller scale. It was built in 1891 and has three tiers. Sitting in this elegant colonnaded structure looking out to sea is a reminder of Plymouth’s historic past.
The War Memorial
The memorial to the first and second world wars on the Hoe is striking and definitely worth a look. A huge structure with carved lions, walkways adorned with flowerbeds and steps, and rows of cast iron plaques to the many soldiers who sacrificed their lives for us in the two wars. It is a beautiful and dignified memorial, and in the sunlight, a wonderful place to sit and enjoy Plymouth Hoe. The central obelisk is by Robert Lorimer in 1924, and the surrounding garden area was added in 1954 by Edward Maufe.
The Sensory Garden
Tucked away near the Lockyer Street entrance to Plymouth Hoe, is the small but charming Sensory Garden. Planted with flowers and shrubs that are designed to stimulate the senses, it has benches for visitors to sit quietly and enjoy the peaceful setting. The recent addition of a giant statue of a tortoise, big enough for children to ride on, adds a quirky but friendly touch. A lovely spot for a rest.
West Hoe Park
Set on a low plateau, nearer to Millbay Ferry Terminal, is West Hoe Park. This is popular with families as it has outdoor play equipment, a putting green, a miniature railway, trampolines and crazy golf. A grassy area is also perfect for games and picnics. The park has toilet facilities and a kiosk selling refreshments. With it’s sea views, West Hoe Park is a fabulous place for children to play.
Plymouth Hoe is Great in Any Event
How wonderful it is to have Plymouth Hoe! I haven’t even mentioned the historic Bowling Green where Drake played before fighting the Spanish Armada, or the sweeping route along to Plymouth Barbican yet.
We are truly lucky to have Plymouth Hoe. I can’t think of any other city in Britain that has such a beautiful waterfront, let alone one so close to its city centre. A short walk takes you from our busy shops to a truly unique marriage of nature and architecture. From the elegant historic buildings lining the Hoe Promenade all the way to the blue seawater lapping along the walls of Tinside Pool, it is all here for locals and visitors alike to enjoy.