Plymouth History Festival is now in full swing, but there’s still plenty of time to explore the fascinating history of Britain’s Ocean City before the festival ends on 31 May.

Here are some of the unique and unusual things you can see and do over the next couple of weeks.


Lotions, Potions and Devotions

Sunday 19 May

Park Pharmacy Trust, Thorn Park Lodge

Booking advised but not essential, donations of around £2.50 are invited

Explore treasures from Mr Park’s old fashioned family pharmacy of bygone days and discover the magical world of natural remedies for your ailment on this special tour.


The History of Plymouth Freemasonry

Sunday 19 and Sunday 26 May

Mount Edgcumbe Masonic Hall, The Barbican

Free, booking advised but not essential

Dive into the rich history of Freemasonry and then enjoy a tour of the Mount Edgcumbe Masonic Hall, which stands on the site of Trinity Church and School, which was destroyed in World War II. You’ll also visit the catacombs and see the large section of the medieval wall of Plymouth that can be found underneath the building!


Behind the scenes at the Council House

Saturday 25 May

Plymouth Council House, Armada Way

Free, advance booking required

The Council House has opened its doors to the public for guided tours by the Lord Mayor’s Macebearers.

Learn more about the fascinating history of Plymouth's democracy as you go behind the scenes, exploring the interior of the incredible Council House building. The tour will show off some of the exciting artefacts in the city’s possession, as well as giving you a unique insight into the role of the Lord Mayor.


Medieval Food

Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 May

Liner Lookout Café, Plymouth Hoe

No need to book, costs apply

Try some medieval food made using the original recipes. The Liner Lookout will be selling the Original Plymouth Pasty based on a recipe from 1510, made using venison, turnip, leeks and clotted cream.

Or try Pottage Stew, a historic recipe of turnips, carrots, parsnips, leeks, onions and cabbage, thickened with oats and barley. This will be served with bread and cheese.


Old Jewish Cemetery Audio Trail

Sunday 26 May, 11am to 5pm

Old Jewish Cemetery, Lambhay Hill

Advance booking required

Located on Plymouth’s historic Hoe, in the shadow of The Citadel, lies a hidden secret: The Old Jewish Cemetery. Contained within high stone walls it has always remained hidden from public view and the only clue to its existence is an insignificant door in the wall.

Follow the audio trail that brings to life the lives of the people buried within this hidden gem, you’ll find a wealth of history and culture and discover a new side of Plymouth.


The story of Charles Church

Wednesday 29 May, 2.30pm

Minster Church of St Andrew, Royal Parade

Free, no need to book

One of Plymouth’s most famous landmarks, Charles Church stands proudly in the city centre. Enjoy this talk from local historian Graham Naylor to learn more about the church, which was burned out by incendiary bombs during the 1941 Blitz and left unrestored to stand as a monument to the memory of those of the city who died in the Second World War.


200 Years of the Athenaeum Building

Until Friday 31 May, 10am to 5pm

Plymouth Athenaeum, Derry’s Cross

Free, no need to book 

Visit this illustrated exhibition commemorating 200 years of the Plymouth Athenaeum building, which tells the story of the original neo-classical ‘Athenaeum’ which opened in February 1819, through to the second building, which rose from the ashes of the Blitz to open in June 1961.

Learn about its history and the eminent scientists and artists, like the Beatles and Charles Darwin, who played their part in its 200-year story.


But that’s not all - there’s loads more to experience so head to the Plymouth History Festival website to see the full range of talks, tours and exhibitions on offer until 31 May.


In partnership with GWR, Destination Plymouth’s lead travel partner



  1. jennyw
    I went on a tour of the Prysten House, and the talk on Nancy Astor, and found them both fascinating. Have booked up a couple of other events also. Well done To all the organisers!

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