Mayflower 400 Plymouth Event Programme - Latest Position

For the latest COVID-19 information and advice in Plymouth click here.

Joint statement about events from Mayflower 400 and Plymouth City Council

We are incredibly disappointed to have to announce the cancellation of events due to take place on the 10 and 11 July, the Mayflower 400 Four Nations Ceremony and Plymouth Presents: Roots Up! and Soundwaves Festival, due to the delay in easing the Covid-19 restrictions.

We had planned to fence and ticket these events to try and mitigate any Covid-19 restrictions. However, it’s impossible to rehearse and host the Mayflower 400 Four Nations Ceremony while social distancing is still a necessity due to the sheer size of the production. The safety of the performers, crew and audience is our absolute priority.

Adrian Vinken, Chair of Mayflower 400, said: "Our thanks go to the creative and production teams, choirs and actors who have worked so hard to create an amazing Ceremony performance.

"We're devastated that we won't be able to share it with the public in the format we had planned but their safety is paramount.

"We're looking into alternative ways to capture and share this very special performance and commemoration with the people of Plymouth and the world so all that exceptional work is not lost."

There’s still a huge range of exciting Mayflower 400 commemorations taking place in Plymouth that everyone can enjoy safely, including the Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy and Wampum: Stories from the Shells of Native America exhibitions at The Box, The Hatchling performance in August, the Mayflower walking trail and fantastic community activities.

Special commemorative theatre productions are also taking to the stage at the Theatre Royal Plymouth. 400: A Comedy by Le Navet Bete tackles 400 years of history with humour and is running from 16 to 19 June and 22 June to 4 July, while international community production This Land will also take place at a later date.

As an elite, professional sporting event, SailGP’s Great Britain Sail Grand Prix on 17 and 18 July will still go ahead adhering to government guidelines and SailGP’s own COVID-Safe plan.

The 2021 event programme highlights include:

SailGP (17-18 July)

One of the world’s most impressive sail racing events, SailGP, will stop in Plymouth in 2021, following the season opening events in Bermuda and Taranto, Italy.

Known as Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth has been selected to host the Great Britain Grand Prix, the third event of SailGP Season 2.

SailGP features eight national teams made up of the sport’s top athletes including Britain’s own Sir Ben Ainslie, the world’s most successful Olympic sailor leading the Great Britain SailGP Team.

The high-speed, adrenaline-filled racing will take place on Plymouth Sound each day, alongside onshore activity throughout the afternoon in the race village where you can watch the action "close- up" on big screens while looking out over the racecourse from Plymouth’s famous Hoe.

The Hatchling (14-15 August)

This August, theatre-makers Trigger will stage The Hatchling, an extraordinary outdoor performance bringing a worldwide myth to life.

A giant puppet in the form of a dragon will appear in Plymouth and roam through the city, exploring its new surroundings and interacting with the public.

The Hatchling, which stands at over 6.5m tall, is the largest-ever puppet to be solely human-operated.

It is constructed from super lightweight carbon fibre weighing less than a piece of hand luggage, allowing it to be operated by a team of 36 puppeteers working in rotation in groups of 15.

Upon hatching the dragon will explore her environment, stopping traffic as her curiosity takes her through the city and she meets members of the public.

The dragon was designed by a palaeontologist and is based on the pterosaur, a prehistoric reptile that was one of the largest flying animals ever to have lived.

At sunset on Sunday 15 August, she will undertake a miraculous metamorphosis into a kite, unfolding her wings spanning over 20m. Flying from a clifftop, she will soar into the sky and across the sea in a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle for a live audience.

The Hatchling was conceived by Angie Bual, Artistic Director of Trigger, who was inspired by the idea of the dragon as a universal and unifying symbol.

For more information visit www.thehatchling.co.uk ​

British Firework Championships (18-19 August)

The world-famous British Firework Championships is set to return to Plymouth's waterfront in August, with the popular annual event attracting approximately 100,000 people over two nights.

Under the sparkling night sky, viewers will enjoy spectacular pyrotechnics that will illuminate Plymouth Sound, as six top firework companies battle it out over two nights, each putting on an awe-inspiring ten-minute display in an attempt to be crowned the winner.

1 Big Summer (27-29 August)

1 Big Summer, a three-day music event, will take place on Plymouth Hoe on the August bank holiday weekend with each day curated to appeal to a plethora of musical tastes, genres and audiences.

Friday 27 August will see Ibiza Classics 2021, featuring a full live 26-piece orchestra and a soundtrack that will transport listeners through three decades of iconic white isle classics.

On Saturday 28 August, the ‘1 Big Summer’ day festival and main event follows suit with one of the biggest events ever held on the Hoe. Featuring an array of UK chart-topping acts and entertainment throughout the day, it's 'the party we’ve all been waiting for'.

Sunday 29 August is one for the whole family. 'The Great British Sausage and Cider Festival' will offer an unprecedented range of craft cider, sausage flavours, street food and entertainment, including stage games, and competitions. There will also be some special guests in the shape of some of the UK’s best-known arena and festival bands, alongside a fantastic line-up of local talent.

For more information visit www.1bigsummer.com

The Box Plymouth

Officially opened last September, amidst the pandemic, summer 2021 will be the first opportunity for many to experience one of the UK’s most impressive new cultural venues.

It's highly recommended that visitors try to catch a glimpse of the Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy exhibition, which sheds new light on a story which has endured for more than four centuries. 
 
From 18 May to 11 July 2021, the Box will also host its first touring exhibition - Wampum: Stories from the Shells of Native America.

Like ‘Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy’, the exhibition is an important part of Plymouth’s ongoing Mayflower 400 commemorations.

Created in partnership with the Wampanoag people, who have lived in North-Eastern America for 12,000 years, this exhibition centres on a newly-created wampum belt – a symbolic and sacred object for the Wampanoag.

The belt will be shown alongside historic materials from the British Museum and Saffron Walden Museum to explore Wampanoag life in America today, the impact of the past as well as the Wampanoag’s creative aspirations for the future. 

Tickets for The Box will be available to book from mid-April. For ticket information visit www.theboxplymouth.com

  • For more information about all the events taking place in Plymouth this year, head to visitplymouth.co.uk

Plymouth and the Mayflower story

The Mayflower and Speedwell were 300 miles clear of Land's End when the smaller ship once more began leaking badly and couldn't risk continuing. They turned about for Plymouth.

By this time the cramped and damp passengers had already spent up to six weeks at sea, with a fair wind and good fortune they would have hoped to be closing on their destination by then. The Speedwell was finally declared unfit for the journey. Some of the Pilgrims dropped out; the remainder crowded onto the Mayflower, which required re-provisioning, despite funds running low.

She left on 16 September with up to 30 crew and 102 passengers on board. Just under half of them were Separatists, but all the passengers came from a variety of backgrounds and places all over England and from Leiden in the Netherlands - with lots of different motivations for travelling.

It is believed the Pilgrims arrived in a Plymouth that was maritime town trading with ports and places all over England and the into the Mediterranean. Some of the bustling port of 1620 still survives today with historic buildings such as Island House, the Elizabethan House and the old customs house still standing.

Island House, situated on Southside Street, dates from between 1572 and 1600 and is reputed to be one of the houses the Pilgrims were entertained in prior their departure for America.

New Street Plymouth

The Elizabethan House is found on New Street (pictured above) and represented a relatively new area of the town’s development in 1620, as the street dates from 1584, the year English ships sailed to Roanoke and created England’s first colony in America.

The Protestant community were also sympathetic to the Pilgrims cause. Plymouth had a long Protestant tradition and the port had been previously used as a base for fighting Protestant England's war against Catholic Europe.

When the Speedwell and Mayflower anchored in Plymouth, many families in the town had seen their men sail off to fishing grounds in New England and Newfoundland. They were probably aware too that the end of August was too late to set sail across the Atlantic and their men were due to return home.

The ship-builders in Plymouth said the Speedwell was unfit to cross the Atlantic, the Mayflower would therefore have to travel alone. There was not enough room for everyone on board one ship but, by then, some Pilgrims had already lost heart or were simply too weak to continue the journey by sea.

But the Pilgrims pressed on, with a unimaginable difficult journey ahead of them - one that would have consequences for history that they could not have contemplated.

Supported by our national sponsors and funding partners

Plymouth Mayflower Highlights

  • Mayflower Events
  • Attractions
  • Accommodation

01 Jan-30 Jun 21

Directions Screening 3: Utopian Landscapes (Date TBC)

Plymouth, England

01 Jan-30 Jun 21

Plymouth and District Organists’ Association (Date TBC)

Plymouth, England

Smeatons Tower Plymouth Hoe

01 Jan-30 Jun 21

University of Plymouth: Britain and the World 2020 Conference (Date TBC)

Plymouth, England

01 Jan-30 Jun 21

Plymouth Philharmonic Choir (Date TBC)

Plymouth, England

29 Sep-18 Sep 21

Mayflower 400: Legend And Legacy

Plymouth, England

16 Sep 20

Dan Snow's History Hit: Mayflower 400 - Steering our future, informed by the past

Plymouth, England

04 Sep-30 Nov 20

Speedwell

Plymouth, England

01-31 Oct 20

Mayflower 400 - Get Active in October

Plymouth, England

10 Oct 20

The Story of the Mayflower

Plymouth, England

24 Oct 20

UK Each/Other weekly sewing circle launch

Plymouth, England

01-30 Nov 20

Plymouth Symphony Orchestra (Date TBC)

Plymouth, England

01-30 Nov 20

Mayflower 400 - Get Active in November

Plymouth, England

17 Nov 20

Blood Memory UK

Plymouth, England

Love and Fury Film Screening / Q&A Zoom with Director Sterlin Harjo

Plymouth, England

18 Nov 20

The Mayflower Story - A Conspiracy?

Plymouth, England

20 Nov 20

Still/Moving 'In Conversation'

Plymouth, England

28 Mar 21

Mayflower LIVE with Dr Elaine Murphy

Plymouth, England

17 Apr 21

The Elephant in the Room Online Screening

Plymouth, England

18 May-11 Jul 21

Wampum: Stories from the Shells of Native America

Plymouth, England

16 Jun-04 Jul 21

Le Navet Bete present 400: A Comedy

Plymouth, England

04-05 Jun 21

Some Call It Home

Plymouth, England

03-09 Jun 21

Mayflower 400 Quilt Exhibition

Plymouth, England

10-11 Jul 21

Smell the 1620s

Plymouth, England

16-17 Jul 21

Imagination Museum: Mayflower 400

Plymouth, England

28 Aug 21

Mayflower International Genealogical Conference

Plymouth, England

14-15 Aug 21

The Hatchling

Plymouth, England

19 Aug 21

Roots Up! by Street Factory

Plymouth, England

21 Nov 21

Plymouth Symphony Orchestra Mayflower 400 concert in Liskeard

Plymouth, England

24 Nov 21

Plymouth Symphony Orchestra Mayflower 400 concert in Plymouth

Plymouth, England

Mayflower Museum

Mayflower Museum

Visitor Attraction

The Mayflower Museum explores the story of the voyage of the Pilgrims and their journey aboard the Mayflower.

Elizabethan House

Visitor Attraction

The Elizabethan House is a historic property laid out in the style of a merchant or sea captain’s home from the 1600s. The house will re-open on Tuesday 20 July, 2021.

The Black Friars Plymouth Gin Distillery

The Black Friars Plymouth Gin Distillery

Visitor Attraction

The oldest working gin distillery in England. The Pilgrims are thought to have dined here on the eve of the Mayflower departure.

The Mayflower Steps

Monument / Memorial

A monument to commemorate and mark the departure of the Mayflower ship from Plymouth in 1620.

Smeaton's Tower

Smeaton's Tower

Visitor Attraction

Smeaton's Tower is a memorial to celebrated civil engineer John Smeaton, designer of the third and most notable Eddystone Lighthouse.

Mount Edgcumbe House & Country Park

Mount Edgcumbe House & Country Park

Park / Open Space

Mount Edgcumbe Country Park is listed as Grade I on the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.

The National Marine Aquarium

The National Marine Aquarium

Visitor Attraction

The National Marine Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the United Kingdom.

Royal William Yard

Royal William Yard

Historic Site

The Royal William Victualling Yard was the major victualling depot of the Royal Navy and an important adjunct of Devonport Dockyard.

Saltram House

Saltram House

Visitor Attraction

Refined Georgian house with a notable interior, period furnishings, porcelain and smart grounds.

Select South West Tours

Guided Walking Tour

Delivering luxurious, customisable trips For private groups.

The Box

Visitor Attraction

The Box, a state of the art museum, will open in 2020 as the flagship building for the Mayflower 400 commemorations.

Mayflower Steps

Adult tickets start at £8

Plymouth Walking Tours

Guided Walking Tour

Explore the historic city of Plymouth with the expert guides from Devon & Cornwall Tour Guides

Buckfast Abbey

Visitor Attraction

Nestled on the southern slopes of Dartmoor, in a beautiful wooded valley beside the river Dart, Buckfast Abbey offers visitors a tranquil refuge from the hectic pace of everyday life.

Crowne Plaza Plymouth

Crowne Plaza Plymouth

Hotel

Overlooking Plymouth Hoe's greenery and the coastline, the Crowne Plaza Plymouth is less than 10 minutes' walk from Plymouth city centre. Panoramic views across the Plymouth Sound bay feature in the 11th-floor dining room.

Jurys Inn Plymouth

Jurys Inn Plymouth

Hotel

In the heart of the city centre adjacent to Plymouth's historic tourist quarter and shopping centre.

New Continental Hotel

New Continental Hotel

Hotel

The New Continental Hotel’s central location makes it easy to explore Plymouth's maritime delights.

Boringdon Hall Hotel and Spa

Boringdon Hall Hotel and Spa

Hotel

The 5-star Boringdon Hall Hotel and Spa is situated on the edge of Dartmoor National Park and just five minutes from Plymouth.

Copthorne Hotel

Copthorne Hotel

Hotel

The Copthorne Hotel Plymouth offers spectacular views towards the historic Barbican and Hoe areas.

The Grosvenor Plymouth

The Grosvenor Plymouth

Bed & Breakfast

Originally built in 1879 this beautiful Victorian property has been welcoming guests since 1990.

The Duke of Cornwall Hotel

The Duke of Cornwall Hotel

Hotel

Set in the heart of Britain’s Ocean City, the Duke of Cornwall is a stunning period hotel brimming with character and style.

Premier Inn Sutton Harbour

Premier Inn Sutton Harbour

Hotel

Dream of life on the open waves with Premier Inn Hotel Plymouth City Centre (Sutton Harbour). Just minutes from Plymouth's bustling shops and buzzing nightlife you're in a great location.

Travelodge Plymouth

Travelodge Plymouth

Hotel

Travelodge Plymouth is in the heart of the city, a short walk from the breathtaking views of Plymouth Sound from Hoe Park.

1620

1620

Hotel

1620 will be a landmark redevelopment on the iconic facade of Plymouth Hoe.

St Anne's House

St Anne's House

Hotel

St Anne’s House is the perfect country retreat for your special event, party or relaxing getaway, offering you exclusive use. This wonderful Plymouth venue is within a stone’s throw of a golf course and also provides stunning sea views.

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