Plymouth, England

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, damp and miserable passengers had already spent up to six weeks at sea basically getting nowhere, 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, the rest were 'economic migrants' - skilled tradespeople sent by the investors to help build the new colony.

It is believed the Pilgrims received a warm welcome in Plymouth. Those that did not live on board ship probably stayed in or visited houses around the quay such as Island House and the Elizabethan House. These buildings still stand today.

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 the New World.

The Elizabethan House, situated on New Street, was called London House when it was built in the 1580s. It may have been the Plymouth offices of the London Company of Virginia. Today it is called the Elizabethan House because it was built in the time of Queen Elizabeth I.

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.

Furthermore, Plymouth people were deeply interested in the Pilgrims destination. 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 and sick to continue the journey by sea

Visiting Plymouth

Plymouth - Britain's Ocean City

Plymouth has a reputation as a centre for voyage, discovery and military importance. For more than a thousand years the spectacular waterfront has been a port of call or point of departure for adventurers, emigrants, merchant traders, soldiers and sailors. Including of course the departure point of the Mayflower, marked by the Mayflower Steps.

The stunning views over Plymouth Sound from the Hoe will literally take your breath away. Take a boat trip our into the Sound - as the Pilgrims did - for amazing views back over the city.

Plymouth today is a melting pot of historical sites, memorials and museums - alongside a vibrant cultural scene, stunning places to eat and some of England's finest beaches are never far away!

Sightseeing in Plymouth is easily done of foot - explore the Barbican, Sutton Harbour, Royal William Yard and the Hoe. Volunteer tour guides 'One Small Candle' offer a friendly meet and greet service and act as Pilgrim Ambassadors.  

When in Devon - a cream tea is a must!

Also, visitors should head over the Tamar Bridge into Poldark's Cornwall - for more fabulous coastline, great seafood restaurants and attractions including the Eden Project.

 

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.

Elizabethan House

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 is currently closed due to essential conservation work.

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.

Newlyn, Cornwall

Historic Site

The Mayflower is thought to have made a final unexpected stop at Newlyn, Cornwall to take a supply of fresh water on board.

Unique Devon Tours

Guided Walking Tour

Unique Devon Tours organises fascinating and entertaining holidays for small groups in this beautiful and intriguing area of England.

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.

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.

News

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