Mayflower 400 Plymouth Event Programme - Latest Position

Plymouth is bouncing back in 2021 with fresh plans for a year of events and activities starting from the exact date the Mayflower ship set sail 400 years ago.

A brilliant line-up, including signature Mayflower 400 commemoration and city events, will re-energise Plymouth next year.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, major events planned for the city this summer have been cancelled, including the British Firework Championships, the Ocean City Blues 'n' Jazz Festival and Mayflower Week.

A new programme that incorporates already confirmed activity is now taking shape.

The Mayflower 400 commemorations will run into next year, with an event for digital viewing on 16 September, 2020, marking the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower ship sailing. More information about this will be announced in due course.

The major public commemoration will now take place in summer 2021 as part of Mayflower International Festival, including:

  • Mayflower Four Nations Ceremony
  • Mayflower Military Muster
  • Rehabilitation Triathlon hosted by the Royal Marines

Meanwhile, the British Firework Championships will return to Plymouth next August.

Cllr Pete Smith, Deputy Leader of Plymouth City Council, said: "We are, of course, incredibly disappointed that so many major events planned for summer 2020 are not possible, but the changes we have made to the programme mean that Plymouth will still be able to maximise the opportunities offered by Mayflower 400 as part of Resurgam, the city's economic recovery plan.

"We're now looking forward to 2021 which is going to be a fantastic year for our city, with loads for everyone to enjoy - including the British Firework Championships, the Mayflower International Festival and a great line-up of cultural happenings."

Mayflower Community Sparks, a programme funding grass-roots community, arts and cultural activity in Plymouth, will continue.

Many of the community events will be held during the Mayflower 400 programme through to summer 2021, with some going ahead early with additional social distancing measures in place.

Adrian Vinken OBE, Chair of the national Mayflower 400 partnership, said: "We’re amazed at the level of public interest in the real story of the Mayflower and the impact it had on the world today.

"Because of that attention, all 13 other UK Mayflower destinations, plus our partners in Holland and the United States, remain equally enthusiastic and committed to delivering their planned programmes and events through well into 2021. There's a lot of great stuff to look forward to, it's really encouraging."

Announcements about third-party events due to be held on Council land this summer will be made by the organisers.

  • Planning on visiting Plymouth? Discover all the latest visitor information and events on the Visit Plymouth website and go to Shop4Plymouth for the latest re-opening details.

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

And our Plymouth founder partners

Plymouth Mayflower Highlights

  • Mayflower Events
  • Attractions
  • Accommodation
Mayflower Museum

Mayflower Museum

Visitor Attraction

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

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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On this day in 1620, the Mayflower and the Speedwell arrived in Southampton ⚓️ Read 10 interesting facts about thi… https://t.co/YKC6fxAfyp

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