Plymouth. Fun fact, anything with a “mouth” at the end is probably pronounced differently than us Americans think they are. It is not “Pl-ih-mow-th but rather pronounced more along the lines of “Pl-ih-mith” imagine it spelt as Plymyth and there you have it. Similar enunciation is utilized for Exmouth(see corresponding post about Exmouth).
On our first week of actual classes here James, Jocelyn and I all had a Thursday off so we opted for a day trip. What else were we going to do? I certainly didn’t spend all this money to get over here and NOT go anywhere. For the two of us to get to Plymouth on return (this is how the Brits say round trip ticket) it would cost us a total of £12.95 after using our railcard(see post on useful travel tips). That’s about £6 ea, that alone made it a done deal that we were going to Plymouth. The train ride from Exeter to Plymouth is a rather scenic one as it travels along the coast, and you can sometimes get glimpses of the red sedimentary rocks along the coast.
Once we reached the town of Plymouth, James informed us that his baby bladder was acting up again, and he needed to pee urgently, so our first task was to find a public restroom. A quick stop to the Guildhall, basically a town hall, and we found a free public toilet for James to take care of business. After he was all sorted out we went over to the Plymouth Hoe, which is essentially a park. Located in the park is the famed lighthouse, Smeaton’s Tower and various statues and war memorials. On that particular day there was a graduation ceremony ongoing, so we decided to peek in and observe. I can officially check attending an English University graduation off my list, though I’m not entirely sure it was ever on there, to begin with.
We continued our stroll through the park over to the Lighthouse which stands at the top of the hill overlooking the ocean. All I could imagine was the Mayflower departing so many years ago, with that very lighthouse in their horizons as they sailed away. To our right was the West Hoe or the western region of the park, and we were quickly informed by Jocelyn that “west” in Catanese is actually a slang referring to a female’s genitalia. When in Hong Kong, don’t be throwing the word “West” out willy nilly…you might offend someone, or make them laugh. You learn something new every day right. Anyway to the left we could see the Royal Citadel, with the words “Welcome to Plymouth” on the lawn. The Royal Citadel was used as a fort to overlook the town and protect it on the coast, however, it is still actively used by the military.
If you follow the road to the left down past the Royal Citadel, it leads to the Barbican area, which is essentially the harbor. In this very area you can find the Mayflower Steps, with an archway and plaque to commemorate the famed departure location of the Mayflower Ship to the New World. Of course James and I, being American, decided we needed to walk down the same steps the Pilgrims would have walked down, to board the Mayflower. Thanks Jocelyn for the cute candid of us standing on the Mayflower Steps!
Plymouth Gin Distillery
Following our walk in the past, we opted to stroll through the town, upon which we saw the Plymouth Gin Distillery, an often visited location for tourists. You can pay to take a tour, but we didn’t feel like paying for a tour (surprise) and just walked through the gift shop where we saw some super old gin. Like hundreds of years. Pretty cool stuff. After that we stumbled into a little street with tea shops, bookstores, and an antique store. Seeing the prices of some of the antiques I quickly remembered my childhood. Always being told by aunts and grandmother to keep my hands at my side when walking through stores, so I wouldn’t break anything and they would be forced to pay for it.
Royal William Yard
Next stop was the Royal William Yard. It was a good 30 minute walk away from the Plymouth Hoe. There are local buses that you can pay for to take you there, but we’re young and a walk was just what the doctor called for and also its free and was our motivating factor. On our walk we decided to stop for lunch, and initially first tried a fish and chips joint but it was closed, fortunately we stumbled upon a quaint restaurant just next door. They served buy one get one free breakfast all day long on Thursdays. As luck would have it, it was Thursday. For £7 you can get a full English. Jocelyn and I ordered two full english breakfasts. Thats £3.50 each, for a massive breakfast. Score. Our full english consisted of baked beans, mushrooms, eggs, a hashbrown, toast, steak, sausage and bacon. Since I’m not a big meat person, James ate all my meat, in addition to his meat. He opted for a £4 sausage roll, and got a bacon roll as his free option. The boy likes meat.
After we had our fill, we continued our walk to the Royal William Yard, which was used by the Navy. Now it seems to comprise of apartments, shops, and restaurants. Much like Market Commons in Myrtle Beach for those that are familiar. We walked around, found a phone booth and took our obligatory photo, and enjoyed the view for a bit on a bench.
At about 4:30 we decided it was time to walk back to the train station, just a mere 45 minutes away…in order to catch our train. On our walk home, James found a pub, that me made me take a photo of with him in front of it, because he loved the name, and claimed to be a frequent visitor of it. Here you go James:
All in all, for a quick day trip, it was very interesting to see a bit of our American history while here abroad and start our semester off on a pleasant note exploring Plymouth.
Total Cost: £19.95
- Train Tickets: £12.95
- Lunch: £3.50 + £4 = £7
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