Plymouth is a city on the south coast of Devon, England, some 37 miles (60 km) south-west of Exeter and 190 miles (310 km) west-southwest of London, between the mouths of the rivers Plym to the east and Tamar to the west, which unite to create the border with Cornwall.
Plymouth’s history dates back to the Bronze Age, when a town initially appeared on Mount Batten. This hamlet remained a Roman Empire trade center until it was eclipsed by the more lucrative community of Sutton, today known as Plymouth. The Pilgrim Fathers left Plymouth for the New World in 1620, establishing Plymouth Colony, the second English colony in what is now the United States of America. The town was captured by the Parliamentarians during the English Civil War and was besieged from 1642 and 1646.
Throughout the Industrial Revolution, Plymouth expanded as a commercial maritime port, processing imports and passengers from the Americas as well as exporting local resources (tin, copper, lime, china clay, and arsenic), while Devonport became a major Royal Naval shipbuilding and dockyard town. In 1914, three neighboring separate towns, namely the county boroughs of Plymouth and Devonport, and the urban district of East Stonehouse, were united to create a single County Borough. The merged town was renamed Plymouth, and it was granted city status in 1928. Due to the city’s naval significance, it was subsequently targeted and partially destroyed during World War II, an incident known as the Plymouth Blitz. Following the war, the city center was substantially restored, and continued growth resulted in the annexation of Plympton and Plymstock, as well as other surrounding suburbs, in 1967.
The city has a population of 261,546 people (mid-2014 estimate), making it the 30th most populated built-up area in the United Kingdom and the second-largest city in the South West after Bristol. Plymouth City Council governs it locally, and three MPs represent it nationally. Plymouth’s economy is still heavily impacted by shipbuilding and shipping, with ferry connections to Brittany (Roscoff and St Malo) and Spain (Santander), although it has shifted toward a service-based economy since the 1990s. It is home to Plymouth University and contains the biggest active naval facility in Western Europe — HMNB Devonport.
Plymouth – Info Card
|FOUNDED :|| City status 1928
Unitary Authority 1998
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone GMT (UTC0)
• Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)
|AREA :||30.83 sq mi (79.84 km2)|
|ELEVATION :||Highest elevation 509 ft (155 m)
Lowest elevation 0 ft (0 m)
|COORDINATES :||50°22′17″N 4°08′32″W|
|SEX RATIO :|
|ETHNIC :||White 96.15%
|AREA CODE :||01752|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+44 1752|
Tourism in Plymouth
Plymouth is a city in Devon and the biggest city on England’s south coast, having a population of around 250,000 people. It lies about 190 miles (310 kilometers) south-west of London, where the rivers Plym and Tamar (pronounced “TAY-mar”) fall into the enormous harbor of Plymouth Sound, forming a beautiful natural port. The sea has been at the heart of Plymouth since it was formed as a trade center and source of riches in the Middle Ages. Indeed, Plymouth was the departure place for the Pilgrim Fathers’ voyage to Massachusetts in 1620, as marked today by the Mayflower Steps (see below).
Plymouth is one of England’s traditional maritime towns, and it has been a shipping center for centuries, first for commerce and commercial vessels, and now for the Royal Navy. Indeed, the city’s Devonport Dockyard is Western Europe’s largest naval facility. The water, with its leisure activities, attracts a large number of visitors to Plymouth, as do the city’s several museums and other tourist attractions. Furthermore, its proximity to Dartmoor and other attractions in south Devon to the east and Cornwall to the west make it an ideal base for a vacation to the south-west of England.
During WWII, the city was extensively bombarded, and most of the city center was destroyed. Following the war, a major rehabilitation plan resulted in the well designed urban spaces and attractive structures of the city center’s retail streets, which were built in the 1950s. However, owing to financial constraints, many of the buildings constructed in the 1960s and 1970s were of low architectural quality, and they are currently being demolished and rebuilt around the city with new ones (with exceptions of some quality, such as the listed tower of the Civic Centre on the Royal Parade). As a consequence, there are numerous contemporary structures, and more are being built.
Plymouth is a welcoming city with an egalitarian air and a feeling of openness among its residents, and there is less indication of the severe split between affluent and poor that can be seen in most of the southern part of England. The city is surrounded by beautiful Devon and Cornwall landscape, and iconic city landmarks such as the Hoe, the Barbican, and Plymouth Sound bring millions of visitors each year, yet Plymouth does not have the “tourist trap” vibe that many other English towns have. Plymouth is an intriguing and pleasant location for people who enjoy the sea, the coast, or the gloomy vistas of Dartmoor, or just desire a stay in a warm and fascinating city.
Tourism is a significant part of the Plymouth economy. Every year, about 12 million people visit Plymouth.
Climate of Plymouth
Plymouth, like the rest of South West England, has a temperate oceanic climate (Köppen Cfb) that is wetter and milder than the rest of England. This allows for the cultivation of a diverse assortment of exotic plants. The yearly average temperature is about 11 °C (52 °F). The seasonal range is narrower than in most other places of the UK due to the modifying impact of the sea. As a consequence, this summer’s highs are lower than its southerly latitude would suggest, while the coldest month, February, with mean minimum temperatures as low as 3 and 4 °C (37 and 39 °F). Snow is uncommon, generally consisting of a few flakes, although there have been exceptions, such as the European winter storms of 2009-10, which buried Plymouth in at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of snow in early January; more on higher elevation. Another noteworthy snowfall episode occurred from December 17–19, 2010, when up to 8 inches (20 cm) of snow fell over the period – albeit only 2 inches (5.1 cm) would lay at any one moment owing to melt. Annual snowfall accumulation averaged less than 7 cm (3 in) each year between 1961 and 1990. The hottest months are July and August, with mean daily maxima above 19 °C (66 °F).
When the Azores High pressure system spreads north-eastwards towards the UK, especially in the summer, South West England has a favorable position. Coastal locations enjoy more than 1,600 hours of sunlight on average each year.
Rainfall is often related with Atlantic depressions or convection. The Atlantic depressions are more active in the autumn and winter, and the majority of the rain that falls in the south-west during those seasons comes from this source. The average yearly rainfall is around 980 mm (39 in). Mean wind speeds are greatest from November to March, and lowest from June to August. The wind blows mostly from the south-west.
Typically, the hottest day of the year (1971–2000) would reach 26.6 °C (80 °F), however the site record was set in June 1976, when the temperature hit 31.6 °C (89 °F). On average, 4.25 days per year had a maximum temperature of 25.1 °C (77 °F) or higher. The coldest night during the winter half of the year normally falls to 4.1 °C (25 °F), while in January 1979 the temperature plummeted to 8.8 °C (16 °F). Typically, an air frost will be detected on 18.6 nights of the year.
Geography of Plymouth
Plymouth is situated between the rivers Plym to the east and Tamar to the west, both of which run into the natural port of Plymouth Sound. Plymouth’s unitary authority has encompassed the formerly separate settlements of Plympton and Plymstock, which situated to the east of the River Plym, since 1967. The Tamar River defines the county border between Devon and Cornwall, and its estuary produces the Hamoazeon, on which Devonport Dockyard is located.
The River Plym, which flows off Dartmoor to the north-east, creates Cattewater, a minor estuary to the east of the city. Plymouth Sound is protected from the sea by the Plymouth Breakwater, which has been in operation since 1814. Drake’s Island, seen from Plymouth Hoe, a flat public park on top of limestone cliffs, is located in the Sound. Plymouth’s Unitary Authority covers an area of 79.84 square kilometers (30.83 sq mi). The terrain climbs from sea level to a height of around 509 feet (155 m) above Ordnance Datum at Roborough (AOD).
Plymouth’s geology is a combination of limestone, Devonian slate, granite, and Middle Devonian limestone. Because of its geology, Plymouth Sound, Shores, and Cliffs is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The majority of the city is constructed on Upper Devonian slates and shales, but the headlands at the entrance to Plymouth Sound are made of Lower Devonian slates that can resist sea force.
From Cremyll to Plymstock, a strip of Middle Devonian limestone extends west to east, encompassing the Hoe. Local limestone may be found in a variety of Plymouth structures, walls, and pavements. Dartmoor is a granite mass to the north and north-east of the city; the granite was quarried and sold through Plymouth. Ores comprising tin, copper, tungsten, lead, and other minerals were carried down the Tamar from Dartmoor. The middle Devonian limestone belt on the south side of Plymouth and in Plymstock was mined at West Hoe, Cattedown, and Radford, according to evidence.
Economy of Plymouth
Because of its coastal position, Plymouth’s economy has historically been nautical, particularly the defense industry, which employs over 12,000 people, with roughly 7,500 serving in the military services. Since 1793, the Plymouth Gin Distillery has been making Plymouth Gin, which the Royal Navy has sold all over the globe. It was the most commonly sold gin throughout the 1930s and had a regulated word of origin. Since the 1980s, employment in the defense industry has declined significantly, while the public sector has grown in importance, notably in administration, health, education, medicine, and engineering.
Devonport Dockyard is the United Kingdom’s sole naval site that refits nuclear submarines, and the Navy estimates that it contributes around 10% of Plymouth’s revenue. With 270 enterprises active in the marine and maritime industry, Plymouth boasts the biggest cluster of marine and maritime industries in the south west. Other significant employers include the university, which employs around 3,000 people, and the Tamar Science Park, which employs 500 individuals across 50 enterprises. Hemsley Fraser is one of the companies that have opted to base their headquarters in Plymouth.
Plymouth features a post-war commercial district in the city center that has been heavily pedestrianized. The Pannier Market, located at the west end of the zone within a grade II listed structure, was erected in 1959 – pannier means “basket” in French, hence it translates as “basket market.” Plymouth is rated fifth in the South West and 29th overall in terms of retail floorspace. Plymouth was one of the ten first cities in the United Kingdom to test the new Business Improvement District project. The Tinside Pool is located at the foot of the Hoe and was designated as a grade II listed structure in 1998 before being restored to its 1930s appearance for £3.4 million.
Internet, Communication in Plymouth
If you wish to use your phone in Plymouth, consider purchasing a pay-as-you-go SIM card, which can be purchased from most local businesses for about £0.99. This will be quite beneficial if you are staying for more than 1-2 weeks and, in particular, if you want mobile internet. Except for certain rural places, mobile reception is normally extremely excellent across England. If you’re traveling by rail or automobile, expect your signal to drop regularly.
EE, Vodafone, Three, and O2 are the four major mobile networks. However, there are a slew of MVNOs that utilise these networks’ infrastructure, and they often provide plans suited to expat communities and tourists who want to phone overseas; the biggest players are LycaMobile, Lebara, and giffgaff. Most of these sim cards are available in local shops; however, giffgaff does not have stores and only ships sims to the UK; consequently, if you need a giffgaff sim card while traveling, you may get one for free here. If keeping connected is important to you, you should evaluate the data speeds of the networks; OpenSignal offers London coverage maps.