Plymouth Royal William Yard

Amy Fry shares her pick of the best things to see and do in Plymouth

The historic maritime city of Plymouth lines the picturesque South West coastline of Devon and is home to the iconic Smeaton’s Tower, the original 1935 Art Deco Lido and the Plymouth Gin Distillery. Often undervalued in its appeal, Plymouth has its fair share of hidden gems and stunning vistas that are not to be missed. With the sandy beaches of the South Hams coastline to the right, the entrance into Cornwall to the left and the sweeping moorland of Dartmoor National Park above, its location is a tough one to beat.

A trip to the Royal William Yard should be at the top of your itinerary when visiting the Ocean City. The historic Grade I-listed military buildings now play host to an abundance of eateries, shops, outdoor activities and markets. Such markets include Native Makers; an independent platform for creatives to showcase their craft and tempt you into buying a gift or two. Check the Royal William Yard website for market days so you don’t miss out. For the adventurous, South West SUP offers paddle-board lessons and board hire. Bespoke classes are available for individuals and groups, and we recommend checking out their sunset and full moon paddle sessions.

A new addition to Plymouth is The Alma Yard, a mini hub of creative minds, studio spaces, cafés and bakeries. One studio, in particular, is home to Megan of Flotsam Prints, exhibiting a beautiful array of hand-crafted lino prints inspired by her sea swimming pursuits. The Hutong Café is Plymouth’s original bagel house offering delicious meat, veggie and vegan fillings. Located just outside the entrance to the Royal William Yard, be sure to stop by and grab yourself a coffee and a bite to eat.

Immerse yourself into houseplant heaven by visiting Nook Houseplants and discover a new leafy companion within their selection of both rare and common houseplants. They also stock a variety of clay, ceramic, concrete and seagrass plant pots from local makers.


If you’re after a treat or two, head down to Jacka Bakery situated on Plymouth’s historic Barbican. Everything they sell is freshly baked from scratch that day including an array of sweet and savoury favourites and hearty sourdough bread. When in Plymouth, you would be a fool not to head into The Harbour to taste the Plymouth-caught fish and chips. The seafood restaurant is at arms-length from the seafront where you can gaze upon the colourful fishing boats and cobbled streets of the Barbican. With views spanning the charming Plymouth Sound, the Ocean View restaurant has one of the best dining outlooks that Plymouth has to offer. Not only is the view so great, but the interior has been tastefully designed with an Art Deco theme running throughout. The original glass dome roof provides an amphitheatre for the bar area uniquely located in the centre of the restaurant.

In 2020 Plymouth’s former Museum and Central Library were transformed into a series of state-of-the-art galleries and exhibition spaces known as The Box. Head here to soak up some culture and discover exhibitions from UK leading artists. Stay for The Box Kitchen & Bar, where you can dine under a fleet of floating figureheads, whose carved faces used to glide across the ocean on the bows of Plymouth ships.

Sushi lovers ought to pay a visit to KuKu; an elegant yet modern Japanese restaurant that brings together vibrant colours and delicate flavours. The ingredients are both local and seasonal mixed with traditional Japanese offerings which provide you with an exquisite dining experience.

Find Custom House Cellar Bar hidden in the heart of the Barbican. Just head down the stairs of the Grade II-listed building and you will find yourself in medieval times where candelabras and exposed brickwork are met with some of the
finest cocktails in the city.

Written by Amy Fry. Lead Image SUP at Royal William Yard by Joe Logan