A family celebrate the summer holidays at the aquarium with their child.

Plymouth’s best family summer holiday activities

Goodbye school, hello summer holidays! If you’re from Plymouth or visiting while school is out—there is plenty of fun happening for the whole family. From Sutton Harbour to Central Park, if you’re looking for something to do with your kids then you are sure to find something in Plymouth’s events calendar.

To make the planning a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of venues and exciting events around the city from now through to September. Make some long-lasting memories in Britain’s Ocean City this summer.


National Marine Aquarium

The National Marine Aquarium puts on a whole host of events year round. The largest aquarium in the UK with more than 5,000 underwater creatures, the venue is also a must-see within itself.

With plenty of huge, stunning tanks to observe, the aquarium is made up of four zones that exhibit creatures from Plymouth’s very own coastline to the Great Barrier Reef!

All year round, including through the summer holidays, the National Marine Aquarium offer boat trips, rockpool safaris and snorkelling. There is also Ocean Todds for toddlers between 2 and 4 years old every Tuesday morning between 10:30am and 11:30am with crafting, songs and stories.


British Firework Championships

The British Firework Championships are back for their 26th year in 2023. Once again, the competition will wow spectators overlooking Plymouth Sound, with music, rides, entertainment, and food on The Hoe on the 16th and 17th August.

Every year, six firework display companies compete for the title while a judging panel judges each competitor’s ten-minute display. You’ll have a great view from Sutton Harbour all the way across to West Hoe.

This year, the event is partnered with Brittany Ferries which is celebrating its 50th year of service. Smeaton’s Tower will be lit with the company’s logo over the weekend to mark the milestone.

The National Marine Aquarium is hosting a firework viewing evening across the two nights for a great, uncrowded view in a weather-proof location—plus you can explore the aquarium after hours. Head to their website to book your ticket.


Seafest (formerly the Seafood Festival)

The seafood festival all Plymothians know, and love is back – just under a different name. Seafest will be taking place on the Barbican on the 16th and 17th September this year. The weekend celebrates sustainably caught fresh fish and seafood available within the city, as well as offering a chance to find out more about our ocean.

As usual, visitors can expect stalls selling fresh fish, refreshments, handmade gifts, and fabulous cooking demonstrations. There are also plenty of activities for the little ones; this year, there will be a Find the Fish trail to follow, and spectators can come down and cheer on the cardboard boat racers.


The Lido Outdoor Cinema

The Lido is a great, safe way to take your children swimming if you’re choosing not to swim in the sea. Every summer, the pool also opens itself up to moviegoers with an outdoor cinema, hosted by Plymouth Arts Cinema, for two weekends in August.

Sit out by the pool on light, warmer evenings, and watch some of the classics with the unique backdrop of the Plymouth Sound. There is always an array of films for both kids, adults, and families. Some of the iconic films to expect this year are Grease, Jaws, and The Blues Brothers to name a few.  What a wonderful way to spend those summer nights…

There’s sure to be something for everyone to enjoy and in such a picturesque venue. Find out more here.


The Barbican

After checking out the aquarium, or before the fireworks, there is plenty to see and do on the Barbican and Sutton Harbour. With plenty of places to eat, drink and take in the view it’s a great place to relax for lunch or dinner.

There is an array of shops perfect for gifts, postcards, and sweet treats. Plenty of places to get fish and chips and ice cream as is necessary for any seaside holiday! Rockfish Plymouth is even offering free fish and chips to kids all summer long for every main course ordered by an adult.

For a history lesson that doesn’t feel like being stuck in the classroom, you can explore the Smeaton’s Tower on the Hoe, the Elizabethan House, or the Mayflower Museum.


The Box Museum

Plymouth’s museum, known as The Box, has a whole host of exciting exhibits to check out which are always in rotation. Chances are, if you visited last summer, there’s something new waiting for you this year in the ‘Summer of Light & Colour’ exhibitions.

The Box will also be hosting a range of family friendly events to attend throughout the summer holidays. From Gelli plate printmaking to science experiments and storytelling, it’s time to let the creative juices flow.

This year there is also going to be a family silent disco on the 19th August. Dance under the museum’s iconic Royal Naval figureheads listening to either Disney music or classic pop hits and don’t forget the fancy dress.


Events Across Plymouth

Throughout the summer holidays, there are always plenty of great events for the family to attend come rain or shine across the city. There is West End Carnival and the Big Tribute Festival in August and you can close out the summer holidays with a trip to the circus in September!

However you choose to spend your summer in Plymouth make sure to stop by Sutton Harbour—the historic heart of Plymouth. Eat, stay, explore, and make some unforgettable memories with your family.

Be sure to follow Sutton Harbour on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to keep up with exciting developments and news happening within the city.