On our first week of actual classes here James, Jocelyn and I all had a Thursday off so we opted for a day trip. What else were we going to do? I certainly didn’t spend all this money to get over here and NOT go anywhere. It would cost a total of £12.95 after using our two together railcard for the two of us to get to Plymouth on return (this is how the Brits say round trip ticket).
Fun fact, anything with a “mouth” at the end is probably pronounced differently than us Americans think they are. It is not “Plih-mow-th but rather “Plih-mith” – imagine it was spelled as Plymyth and there you have it. Similar enunciation is utilized for Exmouth.
The train ride from Exeter to Plymouth is a rather scenic one as it travels along the coast, and you can sometimes get glimpses of the red sedimentary rocks along the coast. It took us a little under an hour to get from Exeter, to Plymouth. As soon as we got to Plymouth, James’ baby bladder made an appearance and we promptly had to find a bathroom. You can always count on the Guildhall (town hall) to have a public restroom.
After James was settled, we went over to the Plymouth Hoe, the main park in Plymouth. Located in Plymouth Hoe is a famed lighthouse, Smeaton’s Tower, along with statues and war memorials. On that particular day a graduation ceremony was occurring in the park, obviously being the nosy people that we are we peeked in. I can officially check an English University Graduation off my list, though I’m not entirely sure it was ever on there to begin with.
We continued our stroll through the park over to the lighthouse which stands at the top of the hill overlooking the ocean. All I could imagine was the Mayflower ship departing so many years ago, with that very lighthouse in their horizons as they sailed away.
We strolled over to the western portion of the park, aptly named ‘West Hoe’ when Jocelyn informed us that “west” in Catanese is actually a slang referring to a female’s private part. When in Hong Kong, don’t be throwing the word “West” out willy nilly…you might offend someone, or maybe make them laugh. You learn something new every day amiright?
Anyway, to the left we could see the Royal Citadel, with the words “Welcome to Plymouth” on the lawn. The Royal Citadel was used as a fort to overlook the town and protect it on the coast and it is still actively used by the military.
The Barbican is just to past the Royal Citadel to the left. In this very area you can find the Mayflower Steps, with an archway and plaque to commemorate the famed departure location of the Mayflower Ship to the New World. Of course James and I, being Americans, had to walk down the same steps the Pilgrims walked down many years ago.
Plymouth Gin Distillery
Strolling through the town we came across the Plymouth Gin Distillery, an often visited location for tourists. You can pay to take a tour, but we didn’t feel like paying for a tour (surprise) and just walked through the gift shop. If super old gin is your style, I definitely recommend visiting and taking the tour!
Port O Call Cafe
The Royal William Yard is a solid 30 minute walk away from Plymouth Hoe. There are local buses that you can pay for, but we’re young and opted to walk(for free). While walking over, we decided to stop for lunch. On Thursdays Port O Call Cafe has an all day long buy one get one breakfast special. Obviously we chose to eat there. For £7 you can get a full English. Jocelyn and I each ordered two Full English breakfasts and split the cost. Our £7 now only cost us £3.50. Score. James opted for a £4 sausage roll, and got a bacon roll as his free option.
Royal William Yard
After our lunch, we continued our walk to the Royal William Yard. It really is quite a picturesque area to stroll around. The yard was previously used by the Navy but nowadays it is mainly comprised of apartments and shops. We walked around, found a phone booth and enjoyed the view for a bit on a bench. At about 4:30 p.m. we decided to walk the 45 minutes back to the train station.
All in all it was very interesting to see a bit of our American history while here abroad. It was a great way to start our semester off exploring Plymouth.
Total Cost: £19.95
- Train Tickets for James and I: £12.95
- Lunch: £7
- BOGO Sausage Roll: £3.50
- BOGO Full English: £4
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