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Plymouth - Britain's Ocean City

Lighthouse on the Hoe

Ours is one of more than 50 Plymouths in the world, but it all started here.

Plymouth is a fascinating city with plenty to discover. Offering the unique combination of craggy coastlines, beautiful beaches and rolling moors, it’s a great position from which to explore the rest of the South West - and beyond. The University campus is located to the north of the city, but connections in and out are straightforward, so you can enjoy a day or a night out before returning safely to campus.

When you’re in a new city, the benefit of a little inside knowledge can go a very long way. So we’ve put together a short guide that highlights some of the best places to eat, some amazing day trips and where to head after dark to let your hair down. So, although the campus is well equipped for food and fun, read on to discover the places you simply must visit during your time with us. 

Ship on the water

A City with past and presence

The Barbican is a great place to spend time if you want to head back in time. Wander the cobbled streets to be transported back to Sir Francis Drake’s victory over the Spanish Armada, the departure of the famous Mayflower, or the send-off for explorers Scott of the Antarctic, Captain James Cook and Charles Darwin. All these historical, much-celebrated events took place right here.

Lighthouse on the Hoe with sunset

Plymouth Hoe

Plymouth is Britain’s Ocean City, and there’s no better place to take in the beauty of Plymouth Sound than on the Hoe. Sit in the shadow of Smeaton’s Tower lighthouse with a picnic or an ice cream, and watch the water shimmer as ships come in and out of the city. The Hoe provides an unrivalled view of the city and its surrounds and hosts major events including the British Firework Championships and the MTV Crashes music weekend.

Crowd of people watching a show outside

Arts and music scene

Plymouth’s laidback vibe creates the perfect environment to enjoy its rich cultural experiences. If you enjoy theatre, you’ll love Plymouth’s Barbican Theatre and the Theatre Royal, which is the largest regional producing theatre in the UK, attracting some of the top touring shows in the country, as well as promoting smaller, local shows too.

The city is also home to the largest music and entertainment venue in the South West: Plymouth Pavilions. This venue hosts performances from top national and international musicians, as well as top comedians and dance performers. The city is home to many small music venues. Mutley Plain is home to some of these smaller venues, such as The Junction and The Underground, as well as a thriving bar and pub scene.

Art fans and history buffs will enjoy exploring Plymouth’s museums and galleries, including The Box, the city’s new historical and cultural hub. And last, but by no means least, we've got Marjon Arts Centre right here on campus!

Boats on the water in the dark

Where to eat

We’ll start with the traditional - if you’re after good old fish and chips, the Barbican is the place to be. Southside Street’s Harbourside Fish & Chips and Rockfish in Sutton Harbour are both award-winners, where you'll be served up local seafood with a smile. The Barbican is also home to the famous Cap’n Jaspers, which provides some of the best burgers and hot rolls in the city.

International dining in Plymouth is on the rise, with intriguing new hotspots cropping up on a regular basis. For canteen-style Asian cuisine, head to the Pannier Market. Upstairs, @Kitchen serves deliciously fresh Vietnamese food, while downstairs, A Taste of Thailand will throw together a delightful plate of noodles or Thai green curry for you in mere minutes. And for great dim sum? Head straight for Hakka on the Barbican. Close to campus, you can find Koh Thai Noodle, serving tasty Thai dishes.

Surrounding the Pannier Market are a wide variety of culinary options – with three Greek restaurants (Zeus, The Leandra and the Grecian Taverna), as well as Café Brasil (strong coffee and South American treats) and Mama Rita’s Kitchen (Caribbean delights), among many, many more.

Closer to campus, you can find award winning curry at Nibana in Crownhill Village, or traditional carvery roasts just up the road at the Toby Carvery. Both are short five-minute drives away!

Barbican lit up in the dark

Where to go out

After dark, Plymouth comes alive! There are a few different hotspots in the city, catering for any type of night out– from a relaxed evening, to something more raucous.

Pryzm nightclub and a variety of North Hill pubs and clubs are popular choices among younger students, and Jake’s on North Hill is a staple of Plymouth’s late-night cuisine.

A slightly more mature crowd might choose Annabel’s on the Barbican for their night out, or one of the many bars with outdoor seating areas just around the corner. Popworld on Union Street offers revolving dancefloors and classic dancefloor-filling tunes, and is a stone’s throw from other popular clubs such as Revolution and Fever.

For craft beer, visit Vessel on Exeter Street, Bread and Roses on Ebrington Street, or Roam Brewing, just off Mutley Plain. The Fortescue, a classic Plymouth pub, also has seriously good ales and beers.

The Barbican is home to the famous Plymouth Gin Distillery, as well as Barbican Botanics, a new craft gin bar. Both are must-visits for any gin lover!

Tor on the Moors

Coast and countryside

Plymouth is surrounded by marvellous beaches. A day trip to Bovisand, Mothecombe or Wembury beaches promises magnificent views and choice sunbathing spots. Travel a little further to local surf hotspots at Bantham and Bigbury-On-Sea. Or visit Saltram House, tucked under the caring wing of the National Trust, this grand building and gardens offer plenty to discover. You can get there off-road by walking through the nature reserve next to our campus.

Right on Marjon's doorstep is Dartmoor National Park, a short drive away and an incredible place to explore. Dartmoor provides a landscape of stunning views, awe inspiring granite tors, deep  valleys with fast flowing rivers, and wide open spaces that are perfect for an outdoor adventure, or a more relaxed picnic, followed by a cycle or walk along the easy to follow trails. 

Exploring Plymouth’s surrounds by water is also a must, with regular water taxis departing from the Barbican for Mount Batten and the beautiful fishing villages of Kingsand and Cawsand, whilst another service from Stonehouse heads for Mount Edgecumbe and its grand house and sweeping gardens.

In Plymouth, we are very lucky to have an amazing blend of city, coast and countryside.

3 people with surfboards running in the water

A home for adventurers

Britain’s Ocean City, with its fantastic waterfront location has no shortage of things to do if you’re a water sports enthusiast including sailing, diving, wakeboarding and kayaking. Wembury beach is just 20 mins away and across Devon and Cornwall you’ll find beautiful beaches for moonlit campfires, surfing weekends and picnics at secluded coves.

Map of Plymouth

How to get here

Links to Plymouth are many and varied, so we’ll run you through how to find us, whichever direction you’re coming from. 

More info

It’s not hard to see why so many students flock to Plymouth for their university experience. Where else can you get this rich blend of town, coast and countryside in one scenic, accessible location? Plymouth is definitely the city with something for absolutely everyone.

See the links below for tips from students on things to do in and around Plymouth: