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Travel Guide 2   >   Europe   >   UK   >   Towns and Cities   >   Plymouth



Plymouth is a coastal city in Devon in Southwest England. The city is located between the mouths of the rivers Tamar and Plym, and is about 190 miles (310 kilometers) to the Southwest of London.

The city today has a population of approximately 250,000 people. The city is particularly known for its importance as a commercial shipping port, especially during the Industrial Revolution, and for its importance to the Royal Navy for shipbuilding and as a dockyard. The Royal Navy Base in Plymouth, HMNB Devonport, is the largest operational naval base in Western Europe (formerly known as "HMS Drake").

Key Facts about Plymouth

Here are some key facts about Plymouth:
  1. Plymouth is a city in Devon in Southwestern England.

  2. As of the 2011 census, Plymouth had a population of 256,384.

  3. Plymouth has a well-established reputation as a commercial shipping port.

  4. Plymouth is home to HMNB Devonport, the largest operating naval base in Western Europe, and an important centre of shipbuilding, as well as a dockyard, for the Royal Navy.

  5. The University of Plymouth is the 9th largest university in the UK (by number of students). The University has over 30,000 students, and nearly 3,000 staff.

  6. Plymouth's main road connection is the A38 dual-carriageway. The A38 runs East to West across the North of Plymouth. To the East, the A38 connects to the M5 motorway. To the East, the A38 connects to Devon and Cornwall via the Tamar Bridge (the longest suspension bridge in England).

  7. Plymouth is connected by rail to the CrossCountry Network. Additionally, the city is home to a number of smaller stations and local train services.

  8. Ferry services from Plymouth provide links to France and Spain.

  9. Until 2011, Plymouth was served by Plymouth City Airport, which was about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) North of the city centre. This aiport however closed in December 2011, and the nearest airports are now Exeter International Aiport and Newquay Cornwall Airport.

Weather in Plymouth

Like other parts of Southwest England, Plymouth has a temperate oceanic climate. Generally speaking, the region is on average milder and wetter than other the average for England, and the moderating effect of the sea, also means that seasonal variations is somewhat less marked than other parts of the UK.

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Books about Plymouth

Here are some books about Plymouth:

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Lonely Planet New England's Best Trips (Travel Guide)

By Lonely Planet, Amy C Balfour, Adam Karlin, Regis St Louis & Isabel Albiston

Lonely Planet
Paperback (352 pages)

Lonely Planet New England s Best Trips (Travel Guide)
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Lonely Planet: The world’s number one travel guide publisher

Whether exploring your own backyard or somewhere new, discover the freedom of the open road with Lonely Planet’s New England’s Best Trips. Featuring 32 amazing road trips, plus up-to-date advice on the destinations you’ll visit along the way, you can tour Cape Cod, fall foliage and the Appalachian Trail – all with your trusted travel companion. Jump in the car, turn up the tunes, and hit the road!

Inside Lonely Planet’s New England’s Best Trips:

  • Lavish color and gorgeous photography throughout
  • Itineraries and planning advice to pick the right tailored routes for your needs and interests
  • Get around easily - easy-to-read, full-color route maps, and detailed directions
  • Insider tips to get around like a local, avoid trouble spots and be safe on the road - local driving rules, parking, toll roads
  • Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, prices
  • Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss
  • Useful features - including Stretch Your Legs, Detours, Link Your Trip
  • Covers Massachusetts, Connecticut & Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Coastal New England, Boston, Plymouth, White Mountains, Newport, and more
  • The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet’s New England’s Best Trips is perfect for exploring New England in the classic American way – by road trip!

About Lonely Planet: Lonely Planet is a leading travel media company and the world’s number one travel guidebook brand, providing both inspiring and trustworthy information for every kind of traveler since 1973. Over the past four decades, we’ve printed over 145 million guidebooks and grown a dedicated, passionate global community of travelers. You’ll also find our content online, and in mobile apps, video, 14 languages, nine international magazines, armchair and lifestyle books, ebooks, and more. 

‘Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other.’ – New York Times

‘Lonely Planet. It's on everyone's bookshelves; it's in every traveler's hands. It's on mobile phones. It's on the Internet. It's everywhere, and it's telling entire generations of people how to travel the world.’ – Fairfax Media (Australia)

South Devon and Dartmoor: Local, characterful guides to Britain's special places (Bradt Slow Travel)

By Hilary Bradt

Bradt Travel Guides
Released: 2018-06-07
Paperback (248 pages)

South Devon and Dartmoor: Local, characterful guides to Britain s special places (Bradt Slow Travel)
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This new second edition of South Devon and Dartmoor is part of Bradt's distinctive ‘Slow travel' series of guides to UK regions, offering in-depth exploration of one of England's most popular areas, a part of the country that has deep, historic ties with the USA. Written by resident experts Hilary Bradt and Janice Booth, it is the essential companion guide to discovering not just the obvious and most popular sites, but also for getting off the beaten track.

South Devon has many links with the USA. The port city of Plymouth is where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail from on the Mayflower in 1620 (a wide range of events is in the pipeline to mark the 400th anniversary in 2020). The region was also the birthplace of several US-connected sons, including Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh, while in more recent times it was the site of the ill-fated and little-known ‘Exercise Tiger' during World War 2, in which up to 1,000 American lives are thought to have been lost. And for family history enthusiasts, the guide's detailed descriptions of village churches are used by visiting genealogists searching for ancestors from Devon.

Colourful and witty writing, along with the authors' enthusiasm for their subject, makes reading the guide a pleasure. Much of the information has appeared in no other guidebook as the authors uncover the lesser-known charms of the region and different aspects of the more popular places, together with colourful characters from the past, folk history, and literary links from Agatha Christie to Conan Doyle. Discover the region's new whisky distillery; learn what really goes on at a wassail gathering; find out what you should do if you're harassed by pixies on Dartmoor; and discover unique local events like the annual Orange Race held in Totnes.

The guide has a special emphasis on car-free travel: walking, cycling and river boats, as well as local buses and trains. Local food is covered, while accommodation and places to eat and drink have been hand-selected with additional advice from a Devon-based tour operator, from idyllically located campsites to stylish boutique B&Bs.

Historic England: Plymouth: Unique Images from the Archives of Historic England (Historic England Series)

By Ernie Hoblyn

Amberley Publishing
Released: 2018-09-01
Paperback (96 pages)

Historic England: Plymouth: Unique Images from the Archives of Historic England (Historic England Series)
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This illustrated history portrays one of England’s finest cities. It provides a nostalgic look at Plymouth’s past and highlights the special character of some of its most important historic sites.The photographs are taken from the Historic England Archive, a unique collection of over 12 million photographs, drawings, plans and documents covering England’s archaeology, architecture, social and local history. Pictures date from the earliest days of photography to the present and cover subjects from Bronze Age burials and medieval churches to cinemas and seaside resorts.Plymouth’s location on Devon’s south coast, at the natural harbour created by the mouths of the Rivers Plym and Tamar has shaped its history as one of England’s most important ports. It was the home of the famous Elizabethan privateers Drake and Hawkins and at the heart of the developing Atlantic trade. The neighbouring town of Devonport, now merged with Plymouth, also became an important naval dockyard and shipbuilding centre and its strategic significance drew repeated aerial attacks during World War 2 so that by the end of the war much of the centre of Plymouth had been destroyed. The city was rebuilt after the war in the postwar style of modern town planning, expanding to take over outlying towns, and today it is a major city in the southwest of England. This book will help you to discover its remarkable history.


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