Get up close and personal with the ocean’s deepest denizens in Britain’s largest aquarium. The National Marine Aquarium’s four visitor zones begin at home, with tanks dedicated to the fauna of the Plymouth Sound; and take the visitor on an ocean journey across the world. The extraordinary Blue Planet zone includes a Barrier Reef tank, with a showstopping recreation of a section of the world’s most famous coral edifice. The Aquarium’s biggest tank is in the Caribbean portion of the Atlantic zone, which houses sharks and stingrays among other large marine animals. There are dozens of events and exhibitions throughout the year to educate and entertain.
Plymouth has a special place in British history. For centuries, the South Devon city has been associated with the might (and decline) of the Empire – home to the armadas of ships that explored the globe, planted the Union Jack on foreign shores, and founded the New World. It was here that Sir Francis Drake played bowls while the Spanish fleets hove into view, and it was in the immense port in the city’s natural harbour that the UK’s importance as a maritime trading centre was cemented, during the Industrial Revolution.
Great places to visit in Plymouth!
Modern Plymouth retains some architectural evidence of all this history, mainly in the Barbican area – which is still laid out as it was when the city was a medieval fishing village. While the ravages of the Blitz are still evident, the city is resurgent: and the Tudor beauty of the Barbican is its mascot, an emblem of Plymouth’s slow regeneration.
National Marine Aquarium
Dartmoor Zoological Park
Brilliant animals, heaps of things to see and do and ample visitor facilities make the Dartmoor Zoological Park a must-see for visitors to Plymouth. Superbly located on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park, and home to species including lions, tigers, jaguar and wolves, the Zoo has something for every little nature lover: and every big one too! Many of the animals roam in large enclosures, and there’s an education centre in the middle of the Zoo to teach visitors about the challenges facing the animals they’ve seen. Make sure you stop at the Jaguar Restaurant to refuel with locally sourced food.
Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery
More than 100 years of obsessive collecting has left Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery with an enviable roster of artworks and artefacts. Permanent exhibits include archaeological treasures; fine art; and natural history specimens. There are guest exhibitions too, plus events and education days. Don’t miss the Museums at Night experience for the ultimate way to se the collection. Join locals and fellow travellers exploring the museum until 9pm on designated Friday nights. Admission is free, and the museum is normally open Six days a week at a minimum. The museum is on Drake Circus in the heart of the city