Plymouth, in Devon, is inextricably linked with the sea; a port from where, for centuries, emigrants have departed and voyages, by explorers such as Sir William Hawkins, Sir Francis Drake, and Captain James Cook, have been made. In C16th, before the Pilgrim Fathers left on the Mayflower to establish a pioneer settlement in Massachusetts, Sir Walter Raleigh shipped colonists from Sutton harbour to the ‘New World’ and established a settlement on Roanoke Island in what is now North Carolina.
During the C18th the only government emigration depot in country with room for over 1000 people waiting to board ship was located in Plymouth. Emigration was big business!
Transportation of criminals to Australia, and promise of free passage to Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the Cape of Good Hope, for those seeking a new future, saw over 430,000 people leave Plymouth as emigrants during the C19th and early C20th.
Walk Plymouth Hoe for breath-taking views of Plymouth Sound and West Hoe Pier where ‘Look II’, Anthony Gormley’s sculpture expresses tensions between whether to leave or stay, desire to make roots, search for adventure and a free life. When strolling along the spacious promenade stories of exploration and heroism are revealed as we pass Sir Francis Drake’s statue, the Armada Memorial, Smeaton’s Tower, many other monuments and intriguing features.
Around Sutton Harbour on Plymouth’s Barbican, we find cobbled streets, lined with cosy cafes, buzzing pubs, eclectic shops and galleries, an Elizabethan garden and buildings, the colourful fishing harbour, Mayflower Steps and host of memorials to many who sailed from here on unique voyages.
At the end of the walk a Cream Tea – Devon style – can be arranged as an optional extra, or you may wish to grab a local ice cream, or relax dining on fresh fish in a harbourside café or restaurant.