'the imjin' magazine Summer 2019 - Page 19

Gazing 24 hours in Plymouth – the furthest you can travel in one day by coach from Gloucester’s new bus station Major Laurence Roche On a blustery weekend, I began my visit at Plymouth Hoe, with its impressive memorials to the Royal Navy – from the Elizabethan explorer Sir Francis Drake to the larger monuments to modern conflict. shops selling fudge, but a walk along Southside Street reveals a number of interesting art galleries and gift shops. Plus, you can’t miss the numerous historic pubs, festooned with Navy flags and wooden plaques. Then, to escape the wind, I climb old Smeaton’s Tower lighthouse, a good spot to observe the dog walkers being blown around below, as I enjoy 360-degree views of arguably the most picturesque part of the city. I was further reminded of the city’s long history with a visit to Plymouth Gin Distillery, the oldest working distillery in England. It is housed in a medieval hall said to be where the Pilgrim Fathers spent their last night in England before setting sail to the New World. Today they’d probably be offered a long martini, in what is now a relaxed cocktail bar. Plymouth CLAR E PLAC N O T T E STRE E T Plymouth Gin CITAD Duke of Cornwall Hotel HOE Royal William Yard RO A D BA R PROMENADE AD IFF RO Plymouth Hoe Royal Citadel CL THE EL ROAD E CRESCE NT CITADEL ROA D L TH D MIL Y BA A RO UNION STREET For another district with eclectic, local shops head to the cobbled streets of The Barbican. Of course, there’s the usual British seaside offering of Drake Circus ROYAL PARADE I walk to Royal William Yard, itself a former navy victualling yard, and the largest collection of grade II listed buildings in Europe. The attractive docklands are now filled with restaurants and a few boutique shops, so is a good place to stop for food. Even the former home of 1st Raiding Squadron Royal Marines during the 1982 Falklands war has since been converted into a popular noodle restaurant. I’d recommend the ‘Ocean Studios’ which has a lovely bakery. ENCE To plan your own trip to Plymouth www.visitplymouth.co.uk. And for details of buses from Gloucester to Plymouth visit www.nationalexpress.com And Plymouth’s military history is never far from the surface today, with large parts of the city hastily rebuilt after some mid-century Luftwaffe town-planning. I then head next door for food. The Barbican Kitchen is situated inside the distillery, and is run by the Tanner brothers who are local celebrity chefs. I do however make it to Harbourside Fish & Chips just before catching my bus back to Gloucester. Enjoying my takeaway as I walk around The Royal Citadel I reflect that the only enemies in sight today are the ever-present seagulls eyeing up my chips. Plymouth is littered with proud memories of its illustrious naval past. During a brisk ten-minute walk along the seafront, I chance upon a sign commemorating Napoleon being kept prisoner on a boat in the harbour, and another marking the first sighting of the Spanish armada in 1588. The following morning, I didn’t make it to Drakes Circus, but the friendly staff at Plymouth tourist office had been keen to point out to me that many of the outlets in the shopping centre offer generous military discounts. MA DE IR A ROA Smeaton’s Tower D Harbourside Fish and Chips PLYMOUTH SOUND the imjin SUMMER 2019 19