Plymouth, Britain’s Ocean City, has so much to offer families during the summer holidays, come rain or shine!

From the UK’s largest public aquarium, to spectacular firework displays and fantastic theatre shows, there’s plenty to see and do.


1. Dive into an underwater world

Head to the National Marine Aquarium for a wander through the world’s oceans. Come face-to-face with unforgettable characters like Friday the green turtle, Neptune the giant Pacific octopus and Howie the sand tiger shark as you explore the underwater world.


2. Laugh out loud at The Three Musketeers

Theatre company and funny foursome, Le Navet Bete, are bringing their brand new comedy adventure to Plymouth Athenaeum this summer. The whole family will enjoy this show (suitable for 7+) as four actors play 40 characters in their own unique, inimitable style. It’s going to be a rip-roaring ride and a brilliant way to spend a summer’s evening.

The Three Musketeers runs from 31 July to 17 August, with tickets starting at £17.


3. Hunt for Elmer the elephant

A herd of elephants have taken to the streets of Plymouth this summer! Elmer’s Big Parade Plymouth is on until 16 September and there are 65 beautifully decorated elephants to discover (40 large Elmers designed by artists and 25 smaller Elmers that have been decorated by local schools), spread across the waterfront, city centre and over at Mount Edgcumbe too.


4. Go for a dip

On the waterfront, you’ll find the stunning Tinside Lido – Plymouth’s art deco outdoor swimming pool. Regularly topping the list of Europe’s best outdoor pools, this is an unmissable attraction. Enjoy a leisurely swim in the saltwater pool, with the natural beauty of Plymouth Sound as a backdrop, or kick back and relax on the sun deck.


5. Summer fun in the city centre

Enjoy a stress-free shopping trip thanks to Plymouth Summer of Fun, which sees a whole host of activities taking place in the city centre. You can shop ‘til you drop at the great range of high street favourites and unique independents, then enjoy some free entertainment – ranging from street performers to ping-pong sessions. Check out the full programme on the Summer of Fun event page


6. Experience our incredible events

Plymouth is known for its packed events calendar. This summer, the famously challenging Rolex Fastnet Race will finish in the city and the race village is open to the public from 6 to 8 August, with live music, free paddle boarding sessions, the chance to walk the dock and meet the competitors, as well as free children’s activities including circus workshops and face painting.

Another unmissable event is the British Firework Championships. Six top firework companies will battle it out over two nights on 14 and 15 August, putting on spectacular pyrotechnic displays in a bid to be crowned the country’s best. The displays are best viewed from Plymouth Hoe – and best of all, it’s totally free to attend.

Check out our What’s On calendar to see all the family friendly events taking place throughout the summer.


7. Take to the water

Make the most of being in Britain's Ocean City by getting out on the water. Sign up for a session at the Mount Batten Centre, where you can learn how to sail, kayak or canoe, or try your hand at paddle boarding with South West SUP, based in Royal William Yard.  


8. Pack a picnic 

The summer holidays can get expensive but luckily there's plenty of free things to do in Plymouth. Save some money by packing a picnic and enjoying the beautiful natural surroundings on offer. Head to the Elizabethan Gardens to enjoy quiet, shady seclusion on the Barbican on a hot summer's day, or take a trip to Plymouth Hoe to enjoy the amazing panorama over the Sound while you tuck into lunch - don't forget to treat yourself to an ice cream afterwards! 


9. Hop aboard a boat trip

Explore the history and heritage of Plymouth with Plymouth Boat Trips hour-long harbour cruise. Taking in the stunning local coastline, you'll learn more about the history of the area, including Drake's Island and the Royal Naval Dockyard. Alternatively, use the waterlinks to explore further afield. Mount Edgcumbe and the old smuggling villages of Kingsand and Cawsand are just a short ferry ride away. 


10. Walk on the wild side 

Kids will love meeting all the incredible animals that live at Dartmoor Zoo. From lions and tigers, to wolves, meerkats and monkeys, there's plenty to discover in their 33 acres of beautiful woodland.  Slightly further afield is Wild Futures Monkey Sanctuary, home to 40 rescue monkeys. For a more domesticated experience, plan a trip to Pennywell Farm where you can bottle feed baby animals, groom ponies and even cuddle miniature ponies! 


You could WIN a family getaway to Plymouth with our #SummerInPlymouth competition, including an overnight stay at Future Inns Plymouth, family entry to the National Marine Aquarium, a £75 voucher for Barbican Theatre shows and £100 Bella Italia voucher.

Remember to share your #SummerInPlymouth photos with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too!

In need of more inspiration? Check out our 115 things to do in Plymouth in 2019 blog for loads more suggestions.  

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



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