A Tour of Plymouth City Centre
Plymouth is one of the most beautiful cities in the UK. Bursting at the seams with history, it is a pleasure to stroll around Plymouth. Here we present some ‘virtual’ tours that may give you a sense of some of the experiences that awaits visitors to Plymouth.
Note – This tour of Plymouth only covers the city centre and the waterfront. There are many fascinating outlying areas in the city that are worth exploring, from the suburb of Stoke to Central Park with its extensive sports facilities.
Plymouth City Centre
There is more to Plymouth than its waterside location, great asset though this is. If you walk from the Hoe towards Plymouth city centre you will shortly reach Royal Parade, where Plymouth’s Theatre Royal is situated. Plymouth’s flagship theatre is well respected. Many major productions have opened here before going on to London’s West End and beyond.
Theatre lovers should also take note that a stone’s throw away, hidden among the cobbled lanes of the Plymouth Barbican, you can find the charming Barbican Theatre, which is well worth a visit.
Further along Royal Parade, you come to the Plymouth Pavilions, an extremely popular multipurpose venue for entertainment both day and night. In the evening it becomes one of Plymouth city centre’s premier venues for popular entertainment, attracting big name acts such as Jools Holland, One Direction and Jack Dee.
Plymouth’s Outdoor Events Area
Crossing Royal Parade, you reach Armada Way which opens onto a wide paved area lined with Spanish trees. This is Plymouth’s city centre’s outdoor event area, and over successive Christmas periods it has been home to an outdoor ice rink, craft markets, real reindeers. In the Spring and Summer, a host of events take place among which is the annual Flavour Fest event that draws thousands of visitors to the city. During Wimbledon fortnight it is transformed into a grassed arena where passers by can sit and enjoy their strawberries and cream whilst watching the tennis tournament on Plymouth’s Big Screen.
The Plymouth Sundial
Armada Way is fully pedestrianised and provides wide safe areas to walk with children. At the centre, you will discover the Plymouth Sundial. This is the focal point of Plymouth city centre and is a popular meeting point for locals and visitors alike. You will always find people, young and old gathered here. Designed by architect Carole Vincent from Boscastle in Cornwall, this 27 feet high stainless steel sundial and fountain, pours water continuously upon a circular pond, ringed by granite and metal seats highlighting countries of the world.
Shopping in Plymouth City Centre
From the Plymouth Sundial you can see Plymouth city centre’s extensive shopping area. Large department stores mingle with smaller chain stores and specialist shops. Nearby, you cannot fail to see Drake Circus, Plymouth’s fabulous new indoor shopping mall.
Drake Circus Shopping Centre
Known as Drake Circus, (though the less pedantic are referring to it as Drakes Circus) four of the most enormous cranes you could hope to see helped to build Plymouth city centre’s new enclosed shopping mall. This represents a huge investment in Plymouth’s future (£200 million!) and was eagerly awaited.
Drake Circus has put Plymouth’s shopping on the map with a range of new high street names and brands appearing for the first time in the city. Plymouth’s Drake Circus Shopping Centre opened in October 2006.
Academia – Plymouth University
From Drake Circus, you can see some of the main buildings of Plymouth University. Our university enjoys a good reputation nationally, respected for its research and popular with students for its mix of traditional and innovative courses, particularly based on the marine and environmental sciences. Many new buildings have been added to the University recently and it is an increasingly important and positive influence in the development of the City of Plymouth.
Antiquaria – Plymouth City Museum
Across the road from Plymouth University, is Plymouth Museum and Plymouth Central Library. Housed in beautiful, ornate, historic buildings, the museum and library, although not huge, are worth a visit. The Egyptian section in the museum is interesting, as is its collection of taxidermy, and special exhibitions are organised on a regular basis.