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Plymouth is home to a quarter of a million people, making it the biggest city in Devon. Known as Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth’s economy has historically been linked to the sea. There is a Royal Navy base at Devonport Dockyard, and the city also proudly hosts the Royal Marines. Plymouth was heavily bombed during the Second World War because of its naval importance, and much of the city had to be rebuilt.
The historic Bretonside area is famed for its cobbles and centuries-old streets, now populated with restaurants, cafés and bars – a honeypot for locals and tourists alike. One of the city’s biggest tourist attractions is the Mayflower Steps, from where the Pilgrims on board the Mayflower set sail to America in 1620. The harbour is where you’ll find the fish quay, an important part of the city’s economy.
The best-known landmark is Smeaton’s Tower – the lighthouse on Plymouth Hoe which was the Eddystone Lighthouse from 1759 to 1882. When it started to show signs of weakness, it was dismantled, brought ashore and rebuilt on the Hoe. Just along from Smeaton’s Tower is the bowling green where, legend has it, Sir Francis Drake played bowls before setting out to confront the Spanish Armada.
In business, the city’s best-known brand is Plymouth Gin. Another famous brand which was ‘born’ in Plymouth is The Range, owned by Chris Dawson. Among the city’s major employers today are Plymouth University, the NHS including Derriford Hospital, and Devonport Dockyard.
In sport and culture, the Theatre Royal Plymouth is one of the most successful in the UK, while Plymouth Argyle (football), Plymouth Albion (rugby) and Plymouth Raiders (basketball) are the main sports teams. Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley is from Plymouth.