It’s finally the summer holidays which means the next few weeks will be filled with sun, fun and adventures before a new school term begins in September. But for many parents, managing six – or even seven – weeks with the kids at home can be tough when you’re trying to find things to do to keep everyone entertained which won’t break the bank.
Whether you’re a Plymouth local or planning to visit the city this August, there’s a huge range of activities, events and things to do in Britain’s Ocean City this summer, many of which are taking place in or around Sutton Harbour.
Here is a round-up of the top ways to keep the whole family happy, including our recommendations for the best restaurants, attractions and all-weather activities.
Explore the National Marine Aquarium
The perfect place for those not so sunny days, the NMA is the largest aquarium in the UK housing over 4,000 animals including sharks, rays, turtles and octopuses.
Located on the eastern side of Sutton Harbour in the Fishing Quarter, the NMA is a fantastic family day out where children can explore exhibits and learn more about the creatures who live under the sea. The aquarium has a soft play area, the Wave Café and Ocean Gift Shop and not forgetting the new ‘sea-cret garden’. Pay once and you can return for free as many times as you want for a year, so there’s no need to worry if you can’t fit all the fun into one day.
Enjoy a family feast
The harbour is home to some of the best food and drink venues in Plymouth, with many that will please even the fussiest of eaters. Here are a select few that would be perfect for all the family:
Boston Tea Party is an incredibly popular venue, voted one of the top 25 places for brunch by the Sunday Times. Boston Tea Party offers a large variety of breakfast and brunch foods, with vegetarian and vegan options available. The café borders Exchange Street and Vauxhall Street with both indoor and outdoor seating.
Rockfish serves up locally caught, fresh seafood and sits directly next door to England’s second largest fish market, Plymouth Fisheries. Overlooking the marina, Rockfish has one of the best views along the harbour and its extensive outdoor seating area allows you to watch the boats sail in from the Sound while tucking into your delicious meal.
The Stable is open seven days a week, from 11.30am until 11pm, with delicious sourdough pizzas with homemade tomato sauce and locally sourced toppings, along with a variety of sides. While that’s hopefully enough to keep the kids happy, the adults can enjoy a cheeky pint as The Stable has over 50 varieties of cider available.
Daisy’s Tea Rooms and Coffee Shop serves a selection of lunchtime foods, homemade bakes and a traditional Sunday roast. The café is owned and run by husband and wife, Carl and Jackie, and is named after their beloved dog, Daisy. Located on Harbour Avenue, Daisy’s is the perfect place to take the family for a slice of cake or Sunday lunch.
Supha’s Street Food Emporium is located at East Quay House and serves an extensive variety of seafood, street food and vegetarian dishes with large, small and kids’ meals available. Supha’s receives fresh produce from fish merchant Moby Nicks, located at Plymouth Fisheries, and has a breath-taking view of Sutton Harbour Marina.
What’s on along the harbour?
This summer there are plenty of family-friendly events happening in the city and some of the best are taking place right on Plymouth’s waterfront.
The Ocean City Blues ‘N’ Jazz Festival returns to the Barbican from Friday 9th until Sunday 11th August. The free event will showcase some of the best blues and jazz performers in the South West.
The British Firework Championships is back for two nights of spectacular, jaw-dropping displays from six of the UK’s top firework companies. The world-famous event takes place on Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th August, with Sutton Harbour offering a fantastic location to watch the displays from.
The Plymouth Seafood Festival will take place on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th September in Sutton Harbour, with live cookery displays and a whole host of family-friendly activities.
For more information on these and other upcoming events in Plymouth, take a look at our previous blog.
Follow the Elmer Plymouth trail
As part of Elmer’s Big Parade, 65 colourful elephants have been dotted around Plymouth, and each has been uniquely designed by a leading artist. The Wild in Art event is in support of St Luke’s Hospice, aiming to raise awareness and funds for the charity.
Six Elmers have landed in the Sutton Harbour and Barbican area. You can find them:
- outside the National Marine Aquarium
- next to the Mayflower Steps
- on Southside Street
- near Cap’n Jaspers
- in front of Foot Anstey at Salt Quay House
- by N9 Design near Sutton Harbour Marina
Once you find one, you’ll want to find them all! Trail maps can be found online or at the Tourist Information Centre opposite the Mayflower Steps. The trail runs until 16th September.