Sutton Harbour and Plymouth Things to do

Plymouth is a vibrant waterfront city packed with a huge range of family-friendly venues, popular attractions and historic landmarks. There’s plenty for all ages to enjoy from high-street shopping to exploring the National Marine Aquarium, and all within a 10 minute walk.

The city is steeped in history and Sutton Harbour, formerly known as Sutton Pool, is one of the oldest parts of Plymouth and the original port for the city. Known for its cobbled streets and maritime history, the harbour not only has a full range of amenities on its doorstep but it is also home to some leading national attractions and exciting entertainments.

There is plenty of accessible parking in the area making Sutton Harbour the perfect base to explore the rest of the city.

Mayflower Steps

At the entrance of the harbour lies the Mayflower Steps Memorial commemorating the site where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for America on board the Mayflower in 1620.

Adjacent to the steps is the Mayflower Museum, which details the legendary voyage, bringing to life the reality of the day-to-day living conditions on board. Visitors can also take a walk through history on the one-mile Harbour Heritage Trail circling Sutton Harbour.

Historical Attractions

Hidden amongst the streets leading to the harbour, the Elizabethan House and Gardens offers an authentic recreation of Plymouth in the 16th century. The house was opened as a museum in 1930 after being saved from demolition and retains many of its original features, with six rooms on three floors.   

The Merchant’s House is situated in one of Plymouth’s oldest streets and is one of the city’s finest surviving examples of a 16th and 17th century residence. The house features seven themed rooms spanning Plymouth’s history and shows the contrast of living conditions across the class system. 

The Barbican

Renowned for its cobbled streets and Tudor buildings, this historic quarter spans Southside Street and the surrounding streets with a host of independent shops, cafes, art galleries, and the famous Plymouth Gin Distillery, the oldest working gin distillery in England, which is based in a building dating back to 1431. 


Drake Circus Shopping Centre

Plymouth’s most popular shopping centre with over 70 of the biggest high street names and top brands. Drake Circus offers 1,270 parking spaces, a food court and free Wi-Fi. Visit Website

Harbour Heritage Trail

Enjoy the one-mile circular route around Plymouth’s historic harbour, which offers a glimpse into centuries of the city’s fascinating history. Take a tour around Plymouth’s maritime past and visit some of our famous waterfront landmarks on the Harbour Heritage Trail. The App is now available to download from the Apple store and Google Play.   Download App

National Marine Aquarium

The UK’s largest aquarium is home to over 4,000 animals and the deepest tank in the country. Offering a range of family-friendly activities, events and exhibits, the NMA also operates as a charity known as the Ocean Conservation Trust. Visit Website

The Barcode

Plymouth’s newest leisure and entertainment development, The Barcode boasts a variety of top restaurants including Five Guys and Zizzi, along with two 18-hole adventure golf courses,  and a new, state-of-the-art 14 screen IMAX cinema.  Visit Website

Barbican Leisure Park

With a range of popular restaurants and attractions including Nando’s, Bella Italia and Pizza Hut as well as Tenpin Bowling, Pryzm nightclub and Vue Cinema, the leisure park offers free parking to all visitors and includes the Nuffield Health: Fitness and Wellbeing Gym. Visit Website

Theatre Royal Plymouth

One of the UK’s largest regional producing theatres, attracting major touring productions, opera, ballet and musicals. The Theatre Royal Plymouth often launches some of the biggest shows before they move on to their West End debut. Visit Website

Plymouth Pavilions

An all-round entertainment venue equipped with an ice skating rink and full-sized arena, hosting concerts for some of the biggest names in music, dance and comedy. Visit Website

The Hoe & Smeaton’s Tower

Soak up the stunning views of the natural amphitheatre of Plymouth Sound from the Hoe promenade and seafront. The iconic Smeaton’s Tower lighthouse with its red and white stripes was rebuilt on the Hoe in the mid-19th century after sitting on Eddystone Reef for over 100 years. Visit Website

Tinside Lido

Plymouth’s iconic outdoor swimming pool opens to the public from May to September. The 1935 Art Deco lido sits on the seafront just below Plymouth Hoe. Visit Website

Day trips

There are some stunning destinations to discover near Plymouth for an exciting day trip out of the city. Enjoy spectacular scenery with walks at Mount Edgcumbe, Saltram House and Gardens, and Dartmoor National Park or take a boat trip to Cornish coastal villages like Cawsand, Kingsand and Calstock. Boat tours leave from the harbour entrance for the River Tamar or the Dockyard.


Just outside the city, there are sandy beaches to visit at Bovisand and pebble beaches at Wembury and Mount Batten. A short drive away you will find some of the best golden sandy beaches in the South West including Whitsand Bay in South East Cornwall and Bigbury, Bantham and Mothercombe in the South Hams.