Sir Francis Drake, the Pilgrims, Captain Cook, and Charles Darwin all set sail on their historic voyages from The Hoe at Plymouth. Even today, the smell of salt air and breezes blowing off the ocean makes you want to hop on the first boat and sail away. There's lots for kids to do in Plymouth (you could spent the whole day walking the Waterfront Walkway), so allow time to explore this historic port.

Plymouth Hoe - First thing, climb up to the top of Smeaton's Tower, (it's red and white, you can't miss it) for a panoramic view of Plymouth Sound. Smeaton's Tower, an 18th century lighthouse, was originally located on Eddystone Rock, and moved to The Hoe. Plenty of grassy areas to run around and watch people playing soccer and throwing frisbees. There are playgrounds at The Hoe and West Hoe Park. Climb all over the anchor from the HMS Arc Royal at the north end of Hoe Park.
Plymouth Dome - Visit the Plymouth Dome visitor center for a look at Plymouth's past and present. Walk down a re-created Elizabethan street, imagine you're on the high seas with Francis Drake, or scan radar screens for ships off the coast of Plymouth today.
Barbican - Wander along the harbor and through the old part of town. Visit the Elizabethan House (on New Street) to see what life what like in 1580, and the Merchant's House (St. Andrews Street) for a glimpse of old Plymouth.
Stop by the Mayflower Steps that marks the spot where the Pilgrims departed in 1620. If you have ancestors who sailed on the Mayflower (John Howland is our relative), look for their names on the plaque!
National Marine Aquarium - The aquarium features large tanks with marine life from the Atlantic Reef, Mediterranean Sea, Coral Sea, plus sharks, seahorses, sea turtles, and a wave tank. Of course, you can also watch the boats go by from the Maritime Garden and Ocean View Cafe.
Outside the aquarium, there's a big playground next door. Feel like stretching your leg? From the Aquarium, you can walk around Sutton Harbour, all the way to the Barbican.
Take a cruise - A boat ride in Plymouth is a "must do." Next to the Mayflower Steps, buy tickets for a boat ride to Saltash. You'll sail through Plymouth Sound and up the River Tamar, past the cruise ship terminals, Devil's Point, with stunning views of Plymouth and the countryside from the water.
At Saltash, there's an impressive railway bridge, which you can see as walk across the River Tamar on a pedestrian walkway.
Tip: You can take the ferry round trip from Plymouth, or take the ferry one way, and return on the train.
Mount Edgcumbe Country Park - Kick back and relax in acres of lanscaped park, plus garden buildings, remains of forts and gun batteries, artificial ruins. Check out the grand Mount Edgcumbe House, built in the 16th century and elegantly restored with 18th century furnishings. Plan to spend the whole day, and bring a picnic. Playgrounds with climbing structures, tea room next to Mount Edgcumb House, and places to just sit and skip stones on the water.
To get to Mt. Edgcumbe, take the ferry from Cremyll Quay (a 20 min. ride) or Mayflower Steps.
Crownhill Fort (Crownhill Road) - For a change of pace, head inland to a Victorian fort. Crownhill Fort, built in 1863, was a defense against land or sea attacks (although it never saw real action, so it's beautifully preserved). Climb the ramparts, check out the cannons and explore hidden tunnels at the fort. There's a daily gun firing at 1:30pm and dress up in Victorian costumes.
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