You read that right – we have pulled together an epic list of 200 things you can do in and around Plymouth in 2020!

The start of the new decade is going to be a huge year for Britain’s Ocean City, with the Mayflower 400 commemorations – marking 400 years since the Mayflower Pilgrims sailed to America – bringing a vibrant line-up of amazing events, exciting cultural happenings and more.

Plus, Plymouth’s new museum, cultural and heritage attraction, The Box is opening this spring. It will house some of the most incredible artefacts from the city’s past, alongside beautiful and significant artwork, and a changing programme of exhibitions.

But that’s not all, because we’ve still got our usual line-up of spectacular events for you to enjoy, alongside beloved family attractions, brilliant shopping, delicious foodie delights and of course the unbeatable south west coast and countryside right on our doorstep.

Whether you’re entertaining teenagers, need free things to do with the kids, looking for exciting date night ideas or want to make the most of Mayflower 400 commemorations, there’s something for everyone.

How much can you tick off from this ultimate Plymouth bucket list during 2020? Here are the top things to do in and around Britain’s Ocean City…

     

Click here to jump to sections: Mayflower 400 | Family | Arts & Culture | Music & Festivals | History & Heritage | Sport | Food & Drink | Shopping | The Great Outdoors | Extra Special Experiences

      

Mayflower 400

1. Marking exactly 400 years since the ship set sail, the poignant Mayflower Ceremony will take place on Plymouth Hoe on 16 September

2. Get your feet wet with activities on the water – and on dry land – at the Mayflower Ocean Festival from 4 to 10 May

3. Visit the newly refurbished Mayflower Steps monument, near the spot where the Pilgrims set sail from

4. Explore the Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy exhibition at The Box, Plymouth’s new cultural and heritage attraction

5. Enjoy spectacular displays from the UK, US and Dutch armed forces at the Mayflower Muster Weekend on 19 to 20 September

6. See powerful Native American art installation, Settlement, in Central Park from 6 July to 2 August

7. Be awed by stunning projections and interactive displays at light-based festival Illuminate, which will officially close the Mayflower commemorative year from 26 to 29 November

8. Learn more about the story at the Mayflower Museum on the Barbican

9. Get active with activities during Mayflower Sports Week in March

10. Watch ‘This Land’ at the Theatre Royal, an innovative international piece of theatre with 120 citizens from Plymouth, UK and 30 members of the Wampanoag Tribe from Massachusetts, US

11. Take part in Roots Up!, an incredible mass street dance led by the award-winning Street Factory on 25 July

12. Discover the city’s history by following the free Mayflower Trail around the Barbican

13. Listen to ‘Some Call It Home’ at the Theatre Royal, a provocative multi-media music drama

14. Enjoy Mayflower-themed classical concerts, by the University of Plymouth Choral Society, Plymouth and District Organists’ Association, Plymouth Symphony Orchestra and Plymouth Philharmonic Choir

15. Laugh along with comedy theatre group Le Navet Bete as they perform The 400, an irreverent take on Britain’s special relationship with the USA

16. Learn more about our cultural connection to the Wampanoag people who met the Mayflower with touring exhibition Wampum: Stories and Shells from Native America

17. See folk musician Seth Lakeman’s ‘A Pilgrim’s Tale’ tour in Plymouth on 15 February

18. Gaze at stunning displays during the Mayflower-themed Flower and Quilt Festival from 9 to 16 September

      

Family

19. Dive into an underwater world and meet more than 4,000 animals at the National Marine Aquarium

20. Look up as the skies light up with spectacular pyrotechnics for the British Firework Championships on 12 to 13 August

21. Take a walk on the wild side and meet monkeys, lions, tigers and more at Dartmoor Zoo

22. Bounce around at indoor trampoline park Super Tramp  

23. Challenge your friends – whatever the weather - with indoor adventure golf at Paradise Island Adventure Golf

24. Or head outside for a family-friendly game of golf in the sunshine at Putters on the Hoe

25. Ahoy me hearties! Get your Jolly Rogers at the ready for Pirates Weekend Plymouth on 9 and 10 May

26. Become a Polar Bear Explorer and follow the free trail of 20 polar bear cubs around the waterfront before 1 March

27. Play around in West Hoe Park, ride the Gus Honeybun train and enjoy the entertainment in the Treasure Island park

28. Get involved with free activities at Plymouth Libraries – from rhymetime to storytelling sessions, gaming groups and knit and natter sessions, there’s something for everyone.

29. Muck in at Pennywell Farm – cuddle piglets, bottle feed baby animals, collect eggs and even take a goat for a walk!

30. Test your head for heights on one of the 38 climbing walls – suitable for all ages and abilities – at Clip ‘n Climb Plymouth

31. Get festive at Christmas Lights switch-ons in the city centre and on the Barbican in November

32. Enjoy a refreshing dip at the three free outdoor swimming pools at Mount Wise

33. Kickstart their love of theatre young with one of the specially created shows for children at Stiltskin’s Soapbox Children’s Theatre

34. Glide around the beautiful surroundings of Mount Edgcumbe with Adventure Segway

35. Paint your own pottery at ClayArt on the Barbican

36. Watch a film in IMAX or 4DX at Cineworld in Drake Circus The Barcode

37. Enjoy a day of free family fun in the city centre at Lord Mayor’s Day

38. Train fans will love a ride on the Plym Valley Railway

39. Put your puzzle solving skills to the test at Roomsmiths Escape Rooms

40. Warm up with the huge fire and free firework display on Plymouth Hoe for Bonfire Night

41. Meet the rescued monkeys enjoying a new lease of life at Wild Futures Monkey Sanctuary

42. Let off some steam at the newly refurbished Central Park Play Space, which has been kitted out with new trampolines, hammocks and a double zip wire

43. Show off your bowling skills at Tenpin Plymouth

44. For all-weather fun for the kids take a trip to the largest dedicated indoor soft play centre in the South West, Jump Plymouth

45. Visit Poole Farm and meet the animals at an open day

46. Splash around in the stunning art deco, open-air Tinside Lido - with amazing views of Plymouth Sound

47. Get competitive with a session at Twist Board Game Cafe - there are over 400 games to choose from 

       

Arts & Culture

48. Watch the best foreign and arthouse films at Plymouth Arts Cinema

49. Or see blockbuster films and classic musicals along the waterfront as part of  their summer Open Air Cinema programme

50. Immerse yourself in 360° dome when The Market Hall, a new world class digital space, opens in Devonport

51. Make the most of everything on offer at Theatre Royal Plymouth, from experimental productions in The Lab, which supports up-and-coming artists…

52. … or see some of the biggest and best productions on the theatre’s Lyric Stage – the line-up for 2020 includes huge musicals like 9 to 5, Mamma Mia and the world premiere of My Best Friend’s Wedding  

53. …or check out innovative work and child-friendly shows on the Theatre Royal's smaller stage, The Drum 

54. You can even take a backstage tour to see behind the scenes at the theatre

55. Step outside the theatre on Royal Parade to snap a selfie with Messenger – the UK’s largest cast bronze sculpture

56. Laugh yourself silly with superstar comedians taking to the stage at Plymouth Pavilions – the 2020 line-up includes Ed Byrne, Jimmy Carr and Russell Howard  

57. Experience The Arts Institute’s programme of exhibitions, films, talks and concerts

58. Enjoy captivating talks from celebrities or watch the best stand-up comedians on the circuit at Red House Theatre

59. See the Riverdance 25th Anniversary Show when it visits Plymouth on tour in April

60. For an intimate theatrical experience, head to the small-but-perfectly-formed Barbican Theatre

61. Hone your creative skills with a session at Ocean Studios, where artists offer workshops in everything from lino printing to pottery

62. Create something special at a workshop run by Crafts By You

63. Explore an exhibition at Plymouth’s largest independent contemporary art venue, KARST

64. Visit The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art to see a changing programme of exhibitions and events

65. Watch home-grown amateur theatre productions at Devonport Playhouse

66. Head to Animangapop, the South West’s best anime, manga and pop culture event on 8 and 9 February

67. Cosplay fans won’t want to miss Plymouth Comic Con and Gaming Festival on 17 May

68. Add to your collection at the Stamp Exhibition and Collectors Fair on 20 June   

     

Music & Festivals

69. Relax with the smooth sounds of summer at the Ocean City Blues N Jazz Festival from14 to 16 August

70. Sing along with pop favourites Little Mix and Westlife when they perform at Home Park in July

71. Book to see big name musicians of all genres at Plymouth Pavilions, artists including Boyzlife and Elbow will be performing in 2020

72. Celebrate the LGBTQ+ community in style with the biggest party of the year, Plymouth Pride, on 8 August  

73. Dust off your wellies and get the glitter ready for Plymouth’s brand new festival, The Weekender, at Newnham Park – run by Casa, the line-up includes Becky Hill, Danny Howard and Roger Sanchez

74. Check out Casa’s other events throughout the year, with club nights featuring big names

75. Open to everyone, the fully inclusive Funky Llama festival returns to Plymouth Hoe on Saturday 27 June

76. Dance the night away at the Tropical Summer Festival at Plymouth Guildhall from 24 to 27 July

77. Listen to a great range of live music at events throughout the year in B-Bar

78. Head to The Junction, which is known for being a great venue for rock, punk and metal bands

79. Raise a glass and celebrate St Patrick’s Day at Kitty O’Hanlons 

80. Enjoy live music every weekend at Annabel’s Cabaret and Discotheque on the Barbican

81. Bike fans can see hundreds of motorbikes at the Ocean City Motorcycle Festival on 15 and 16 August, which includes Plymouth Megaride and a bike show on the Hoe

82. Book tickets to Plymouth Folk and Roots festival, celebrating the life of folk legend Cyril Tawney - a Royal Naval seaman and a folk singer/song writer from Plymouth - on 12 October

83. Celebrate Plymouth’s diverse communities at the annual Respect Festival

84. Take a seat with your musical heroes on the Beatles Bums on Plymouth Hoe

    

History & Heritage

85. Hop aboard The Matthew when it visits Sutton Harbour during Mayflower Week

86. Remember the end of World War II at VE Day 75, with a remembrance event on Plymouth Hoe on Friday 8 May

87. Be awed by the painstakingly restored naval figureheads, suspended in the entrance of The Box

88. See the commemorative statues on Plymouth Hoe, including the Naval War Memorial and tributes to Lady Nancy Astor, Sir Francis Drake and the Merchant Navy.

89. Climb the 93 steps to the top of Smeaton’s Tower, the former lighthouse that stands on Plymouth Hoe

90. Take a tour of the carefully preserved Elizabethan House at 32 New Street when it reopens in summer 2020

91. Take an audio tour of Devonport Guildhall to discover its spooky secrets

92. Climb to the top of the 124 foot high Devonport Column to enjoy panoramic views

93. Set off on a walking tour of Plymouth Barbican and the Hoe to learn more about the history of Britain’s Ocean City

94. Visit the 15th century Minster Church of St Andrew, damaged in World War II and refurbished in the 1950s

95. Arrange a tour of Plymouth Synagogue, the oldest Ashkenazi Synagogue in the English speaking world

96. Take part in one of the many talks, tours and events organised as part of Plymouth History Festival from 8 to 31 May

97. Explore a 17th century landmark during a Mount Batten Artillery Tower open day

98. Visit Saltram, a beautiful Georgian mansion with 500 acres of land to explore

99. See the memorial at Saltash Passage which commemorates the embarkation of US soldiers for the 1944 D-Day landings in Normandy

100. Discover 700 years of history at Buckland Abbey

101. Pay your respects at the annual Remembrance Sunday service on Plymouth Hoe

102. Take a trip across the water to Mount Edgcumbe House, first built in the 1500s

103. Wander through the Firestone Arches at Royal William Yard for glorious sea views

104. Book a tour of the Royal Citadel, a dramatic 17th century fortress which is still in use today

105. Take a themed guided walk around Ford Park Cemetery – you could learn about everything from shipwrecks to circus families

106. Head to an open day at Crownhill Fort, a mid-Victorian fort which is a brilliant example of cutting edge fortress design from that time period

107. Slightly further afield, learn about 300 years of Cornish military life at Cornwall’s Regimental Museum

     

Sport

108. Cheer on the country’s best divers at the British Diving Championships at the Life Centre from 24 to 26 January

109. Wave off the intrepid OSTAR sailors on 10 May, as they race across the Atlantic

110. Learn to sail, powerboat, windsurf and more with a lesson at the Mount Batten Watersports Centre

111. Paddleboard around the historic Royal William Yard with South West SUP

112. Watch the Euro 2020 games (keep an eye out for more info)

113. Catch a Plymouth Raiders basketball game at Plymouth Pavilions – with cheerleaders and Foxy the mascot, there’s entertainment for the whole family to enjoy

114. Try out indoor bouldering at the 13,000 square feet Climbing Hangar

115. Cheer on the Plymouth Argyle – the Pilgrims - at Home Park as they play in League 2

116. Rugby fans can enjoy a game at Plymouth Albion

117. If golf is your thing, treat yourself to a round Boringdon Hall or St Mellion Resort

118. Swim in the 50 metre pool, train in the gym or join a fitness class at Plymouth Life Centre

119. Take on the challenging but scenic 13.1 mile course of Britain’s Ocean City Half Marathon on 17 May

120. If a half marathon is too far, why not try out the Plymouth 5k or 10k on 4 October instead? 

121. Explore the city on two wheels with bike hire from Rockets & Rascals

122. Enjoy a weekend of adventure at South West Paddlefest on 29 to 31 May – there’s camping, kayaking, canoeing and stand up paddle boarding for the whole family

123. See A Question of Sport on its live tour at Plymouth Pavilions on 23 May 2020

124. Watch the Rokit World Seniors Snooker British Open at Plymouth Pavilions in April 2020

125. Learn to scuba dive – or dive HMS Scylla if you’re an experienced diver - with Aquanauts Dive Centre

126. Take to the artificial slopes at Plymouth Ski and Snowboard Centre

127. All abilities are welcome to skate at Plymouth Pavilions Ice Rink

128. Enjoy all-weather skateboarding at Prime Skatepark

129. Play a game of 5-a-side football with friends at Goals

130. Thrill seekers should check out Plymouth Devils, the only Speedway track in Devon and Cornwall

131. Skaters and BMX riders can try out the newly revamped Central Park Skate Park

132. Walk for St Luke’s Hospice, with  the Midnight Walk or Men’s Day Out

133. Play a game of tennis at Park Tennis Plymouth’s public courts in Central Park

134. Relax and unwind with Yoga at the Aquarium, with the tanks as a calming backdrop

    

Food & Drink

135. Don’t miss the largest free food and drink festival in the South West, Flavour Fest, from 29 to 31 May

136. Or sample the freshest fruits of the sea at the Seafood Festival on 12 and 13 September

137. Take a tour of Plymouth Gin Distillery, the oldest working gin distillery in England – you can even make your own gin!

138. Relax with a drink in Plymouth Gin’s historic Refectory Bar

139. Enjoy a quintessential British tradition with afternoon tea at one of Plymouth’s best eateries

140. Tuck into a traditional pasty – a classic South West treat  

141. Treat yourself to award-winning fish and chips from Harbourside Fish & Chips

142. Learn to bake or try the award-winning bread from Column Bakehouse

143. Hop on board with Plymouth Boat Trips to catch your own dinner with Fish ‘n Trips

144. Check out new fish restaurant, The Hook & Line, when it opens in Royal William Yard

145. Discover tasty treats and unique gifts at Royal William Yard’s monthly Good Food and Craft Market

146. Taste wines from around the world at Le Vignoble or HonkyTonk Wine Library

147. Eat at a Plymouth institution. You’ll find Cap’n Jaspers on the harbour side, try their famous Jasperizer burger or attempt Half a Yard of Hot Dog!

148. Take a gin flight to try a range of flavours at the Barbican Botanics Gin Rooms

149. Enjoy a drink with a view at The Terrace, Pier One or The Waterfront, all located on the edge of Plymouth Hoe, right by the water.

150. Have a drink at the Bread & Roses, Plymouth’s only social enterprise pub

151. Dine in style at one of Plymouth’s AA Rosette-winning restaurants, like The Greedy Goose or The Gallery at Boringdon Hall

152. Head out for drinks and then dance the night away at big name clubs, from PRYZM to Popworld

153. Find your favourite cider with a tasting board from The Stable

154. Indulge in cocktails with a healthy twist from Bonne Santé

155. Watch cookery demos and browse more than 70 stalls at Plymouth Vegan Festival on 19 September

156. Spoil yourself – or a loved one – with an indulgent chocolate afternoon tea at Chocaccino

157. Dine at the Barbican Kitchen, housed in the gin distillery and run by celebrity chefs, the Tanner brothers

158. Tuck into a delicious brunch with waterfront views – try The Boathouse Café or The Dock

159. Treat yourself to an ice cream on a sunny day on Plymouth’s waterfront, you’ll find ice cream vans along the Hoe or shops on the Barbican

160. Check out the amazing independent eateries in Plymouth Market, serving up everything from Thai and Vietnamese dishes to classic British treats, or delicious desserts

     

Shopping

161. Shop at 70 of the UK’s top brand names – with some of the biggest stores in the region – at Drake Circus

162. Visit the treasure trove of independent shops at the 150-stall Plymouth Market

163. Wander through the West End of Plymouth city centre with its great community of independent retailers

164. Do your bit for the environment by trying out zero waste shop, Jar Plymouth

165. Browse the antiques and curios on offer from the largest collection of antiques traders in the South West at 27 New Street

166. Pop in to community market and pop up cafe The Clipper on Union Street

167. Pick up unique gifts at Plymouth Christmas Market

168. Buy from the region’s most creative makers, at the twice yearly Native Makers markets

169. Step inside quirky arcade The House That Jack Built on the Barbican, home to a great mix of retailers

      

The Great Outdoors

170. Get out on the water with an hour-long guided Harbour Cruise

171. Race across Plymouth Sound with a jet ski safari

172. Explore on a scooter bike – or hop on for a guided tour

173. Take a leisurely walk through the 865 acres of country park at Mount Edgcumbe

174. Enjoy the great views across Plymouth Sound from Jennycliff Beach

175. Build sandcastles and splash around in the sea at Bigbury, where you can hop on the sea tractor to Burgh Island

176. See what you can find in the rock pools at Wembury beach

177. Stroll along Plymouth’s Waterfront Walkway, part of the South West Coast Path, with stunning views

178. Look for the nesting peregrine falcons in Plymbridge Woods

179. Step back in time as you discover the hidden Elizabethan Gardens on the Barbican

180. Catch the Red Pig ferry to the old Cornish smuggling villages of Kingsand & Cawsand

181. Enjoy a picnic on the broad panorama of Plymouth Hoe, enjoying the amazing views over the sea

182. Ride your bike along the Plym Valley Trail

183. Relax in the city centre oasis of Drake’s Place

184. Visit 18th century mansion, Antony House, with gardens that were used as a film set for Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland, directed by Tim Burton

185. Walk through Central Park, the largest park in Plymouth

186. Swim in the outdoor pool at Devil’s Point

187. Explore the aboretum and views over Hooe Lake at Radford Park

188. Just a few miles north of Plymouth, you’ll find lovely walks to enjoy at Lopwell Dam

189. Discover 10 acres of beautiful gardens at The Garden House

190. Spend a day rockpooling at Batten Bay

191. Explore the Tamar Valley, an area of breathtaking natural beauty

192. Take a dip in the river at Cadover Bridge, on Dartmoor

     

Extra Special Experiences

193. Become a keeper for the day at Dartmoor Zoo, a hands on experience where you can get up close to the animals

194. Treat yourself and a friend to Tea at the Top of the Duke of Cornwall Hotel, an afternoon tea with your own private butler

195. Book a deluxe Murder Mystery dinner at Boringdon Hall Hotel

196. Dine in style with stunning sea views at Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill

197. For a special treat for children, book a sleepover with the sharks at the National Marine Aquarium

198. Immerse yourself in a world of relaxation at the award-winning Gaia Spa 

199. Visit Pentillie Castle for afternoon tea, the stunning hotel is used as the location for Sky 1’s Delicious, starring Dawn French, Emilia Fox and Iain Glen  

200. And if you want an expert to show you around, then take a luxury guided tour of Plymouth or Devon with the helpful team from Select South West Tours

    

What are you most looking forward to in 2020? Make sure you share your Plymouth adventures with us using #VisitPlymouth.

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

1 Comments

Comments

  1. Lou
    Brilliant collection!!
    For the more adventurous, you could add the Devon Wild Swimmers....follow on Facebook for swimming locations and times.
    Thanks

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