Family Holidays in Plymouth family holiday guide


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The port city of Plymouth is steeped in history and makes a wonderful destination for a family holiday. In addition to all the attractions in the city itself, there are also many nearby open spaces you can explore with the children. Plymouth’s well-known landmarks and historical sites can help to bring the history of this fascinating city to life, and there are plenty of attractions where the children can make wonderful memories.

Here are the top 10 things we love about family holidays in Plymouth:

  1. The city is home to the iconic Plymouth Hoe.
  2.  There are beautiful sandy beaches nearby.
  3.  You can take family boat trips across the bay or along the Tamar Valley.
  4. There are lots of parks in the surrounding area – perfect for youngsters.
  5. The city has excellent restaurants and shops.
  6. The UK’s largest aquarium is in Plymouth.
  7. The Barbican has a fascinating history.
  8. Plymouth hosts many special events for families.


Plymouth’s vibrant waterfront is steeped in history and packed with attractions and activities for all the family. The Pilgrim Fathers left Plymouth on the Mayflower on September 6th 1620 to sail across the Atlantic and start a new life in North America and you can explore the quayside with its quaint cobbles where they once trod. Close by, the grassy headland of Plymouth Hoe is where Francis Drake is reputed to have spied the Spanish Armada. The bowling green he was playing on was probably where his statue stands today.


    • Nearby attractions. There are many attractions nearby to entertain the children. These include:
      • The National Marine Aquarium. Situated beside the Barbican harbour, the National Marine Aquarium is the largest in the UK and has many impressive displays. The Atlantic Ocean tank contains more than 2 million litres of water and is the deepest in the UK. Here you can see lemon sharks, sand tiger sharks, rays and barracuda. There is also a replica of a World War II seaplane. Other zones include Plymouth Sound, Eddystone Reef and the Great Barrier Reef.
      • The Mayflower Museum, also at the Barbican, tells the story of the Pilgrim Fathers. There is a 1:11 inch scale model of the Mayflower Ship in the Mayflower Pilgrims, Plymouth and Beyond Gallery and you get a wonderful view of the whole Barbican area from the top floor balcony.
      • Dartmoor Zoological Park. In addition to being home to an amazing collection of animals, this family-owned zoo will keep the children entertained with different activities such as face painting and quiz trails. When you have seen all the big cats and other animals you can enjoy a picnic in one of the open spaces in the zoo or perhaps eat in the restaurant where there is also a dedicated space for the under-fives to play. There are regular daily events including animal encounters and talks at feeding times.
      • Tinside Lido. This open air salt water swimming pool was voted one of Europe’s best outdoor pools and is open throughout the summer. The distinctive Art Deco design dates from 1935 and remains very popular today. The pool is unheated but there are hot showers available.
    • Beaches. There are many beaches to explore near Plymouth. These include:
      • Bovisand beach consists of a sheltered bay where the flat expanse of yellow sand between the cliffs is ideal for all sorts of beach games.
      • Wembury beach is great for children who can spend hours exploring the rock pools while you enjoy sunbathing on the sands.
    • Events. There are a plethora of events to enjoy in Plymouth. These include:
      • Plymouth Pirate Weekend takes place in May and is a great event for all the family. The two tall ships docked in the harbour can be visited and children dressed as pirates get a free ride on the Sutton harbour ferry.
      • The British Firework Championships are held on the Hoe on two nights in August when spectacular displays illuminate Plymouth Sound.
    • Exploring the city. Discover Plymouth and all of its delights: 
      • There are heritage walks where you can explore the city and find out about its history and architecture at the same time. There is also a treasure hunt with picture clues for the children to complete so this activity is suitable for children aged six and over.
      • There are many other attractions and leisure activities for all the family in Plymouth and its surroundings, making it an ideal family holiday destination.
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