Plymouth’s Sutton Harbour and the neighbouring Barbican are premier destinations for living, working, and visiting. Whether you’re a boat enthusiast, interested in maritime history or need a family holiday by the sea—there is something for everyone here.
With cobbled streets that are lined with shops, eateries, and attractions, you can guarantee a day out by the sea at Sutton Harbour is a day well spent. But, where to start? Whether you’re looking for an action-packed day with the kids or somewhere you can drink a coffee and watch the world go by, we’ve got you covered.
A busy morning
If you’re looking to soak up all that Sutton Harbour and the Barbican have to offer in just 24 hours, then you’re going to be spoilt for choice.
Every day should start with a good breakfast. However you like your eggs in the morning and whatever toppings you like on your pancakes, Boston Tea Party sits on the water’s edge and offers an extensive breakfast menu. They also cater for vegetarians and vegans with gluten free options available, making it the perfect choice for the whole family.
Booked in for the National Marine Aquarium? The largest aquarium in the UK, the NMA is home to over 4,000 species of fish and other sea dwellers. This conservation charity can teach you all about our underwater inhabitants while giving you an up close and personal look at the same time. Fortunately, it’s just a ten-minute walk to get there after breakfast. There is plenty to see so it’s worth blocking out a chunk of time to take your time around all the exhibits.
If walking around the aquarium has worked up your appetite, seafood restaurant Rockfish is just next door. Their fresh, sustainable seafood comes in all different forms from crispy rockfish tacos to chargrilled calamari and more. Plus, they have a children’s menu and are currently offering free fish and chips for kids under 11 all Spring and Summer long.
Once your food has settled, Southside Street should be your next stop. Lined with independent shops from head to toe, you’ll find plants, handmade glass art, but most importantly— ice cream. For an entire list of which traders you’ll find on Southside Street, visit the Barbican Waterfront’s website. Whether it’s for gifts for loved ones back home or something to commemorate your day in Sutton Harbour, you’re sure to find something to put a smile on your face.
After all that shopping, it’s time for a coffee break. This area of Plymouth has plenty of coffee shops and cafes for you to get your caffeine fix. Creamer’s Street Barista sits just behind Southside Street and offers a range of hot and cold drinks as well as freshly made warm doughnuts to fuel your afternoon.
What’s for dinner?
For dinner, grab a table with a view at The Stable where you can enjoy freshly made sourdough pizza. Whether you’re feeling generous and are looking to share or you’ve worked up an appetite, the menu offers it all. Pizzas, salads, sides, and puddings plus mini meals for the kids too. As the sun begins to set there is still more fun to be had into the evening.
Just a five-minute walk away from The Stable sits The Barcode. Here you will find an IMAX cinema as well as miniature golf and escape rooms. If you’re looking for something to do in the evening that caters for the grown-ups and the kids, then this is where you will find it.
A more relaxed day
Begin with brunch
If you’re visiting as a couple, with older kids or with friends, Sutton Harbour and the Barbican can also make for a perfectly relaxing day out.
Bar Rakuda sits on the edge of Guy’s Quay and offers both a brunch selection, as well as coffee with cakes and pastries. From granola to a classic fry-up and avocado on toast there is plenty of choice with the option to add a mimosa too. Take a slow start to the day as you watch the water and enjoy some great food.
Start the day’s activities with some light sightseeing and window shopping. Southside Street is lined with independent shops and galleries teeming with interesting handmade pieces. From there, take a walk along New Street, ironically the oldest street in Plymouth, but mind the cobbles when you’re looking up at some of the historical buildings. You can also see the memorial to the historical Mayflower Steps, and visit the Mayflower Museum for three floors of in-depth history.
If it’s time for a coffee, there are plenty of cafes and coffee shops alongside the Harbour. The Alfresco coffee cart sits on the edge of the harbour just outside the museum and is perfect for coffee on the go if you’re planning to walk the Heritage Trail. You can take in all the sights surrounding Plymouth’s Sutton Harbour and discover at your own pace on this one-mile circular walk around the harbourside.
If you’re looking to sit out in the sunshine with your lunch, The Harbour is a great option. You can dine outside from the restaurant or grab some fish and chips to go and find somewhere to sit along the water’s edge. The Greek also offers Greek cuisine on the go, as well as ice cream if you have room. For a more relaxed restaurant setting, Supha’s at Sutton Harbour offers Asian-fusion food with influences from Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
Once that delicious food has settled and you’ve enjoyed a few more drinks by the water, Plymouth Boat Trips offer a scenic harbour cruise across Plymouth Sound. Departing from the Barbican, this is an informative and interesting way to see the sights. The boats have a licensed bar as well as hot and cold drinks available on board for you to enjoy while taking in those spectacular views. The perfect activity for a relaxed afternoon.
Once you land back at the Barbican, why not try out a tour at the Plymouth Gin Distillery, the oldest working distillery in England, to stretch your sea legs. Take a regular tour, a gin connoisseur’s tour or a master distiller’s tour depending on how in-depth you’d like to get. These tours take approximately an hour and there is a free gift at the end of them.
If you’ve had your share of walking for the day, the cosy Daisy’s Tearoom and Coffee Shop offers a whole range of things to eat from classic lunch options to cream teas. They also offer hot drinks, soft drinks, and alcoholic drinks. The homely atmosphere and the friendly staff make for a great dining experience.
Sutton Harbour and The Barbican feature a variety of restaurants with cuisines from all over the world. As previously mentioned, there is Greek and Asian, but there is also authentic Indian at the Mombay Brasserie, Chinese-style Bao Buns at Barbican Bao and Nepalese fusion from Himalayan Spice.
End the day with a relaxing glass of wine at HonkyTonk Wine Library. Taste and purchase wines from around the world with a deli-food platter on the cosy outdoor patio as you wind down in Sutton Harbour.
No matter what type of day you’re in the mood for, a day out in Sutton Harbour will always feel fulfilling. Eat, experience, and enjoy all that it has to offer.
To celebrate the start of spring, we have teamed up with the National Marine Aquarium and Rockfish to give you the chance to win an exciting family day out at Sutton Harbour. Win a family ticket and behind the scenes tour at the UK’s largest aquarium and a £250 dining voucher at Rockfish on offer, simply go to our competition page and enter your details.