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Plymouth: Britain’s Ocean City

After our sail from Salcombe and a night at Cawsand Bay we weighed anchor and headed into Plymouth. Our destination was King Point Marina, the newest of Plymouth’s marinas located inside Millbay Inner Basin to the west side of Plymouth Waterfront. The marina forms part of the Coastal Quarter in Plymouth which is undergoing major transformation to include a new boulevard that will link the popular waterfront with the city centre and luxury apartments overlooking Plymouth Sound.

King Point Marina

A night here costs £4 per metre (June 2022) and includes electric and water. The approach is fairly straight forward, the only navigational hazard is the Brittany Ferries terminal which is also located in the basin. Vessels are not permitted to passage into the basin whilst ferries are manoeuvring and skippers should check in advance before planning any arrival or departure into King Point. There is also a wave gate which has been installed to protect the marina in bad weather and will be closed if conditions dictate. As you past the wave gate it can be helpful to have someone at the bow to check for outbound traffic coming from starboard, especially as the row of Princess Yachts on the outer pontoon can slightly block your view!

Armorique arriving in Plymouth

The facilities here were excellent and the staff very helpful and friendly. There are individual bathrooms and laundry facilities – £5 for a wash and £3 for a tumble dry (plus the machines accept card payments) and an onsite cafe/bar/restaurant.

Why Ocean City?

It surprised us too, after all Plymouth isn’t on an ocean but perhaps ‘English Channel City’ or ‘Sea City’ didn’t have quite the same ring to it!🤣 However there are many reasons behind the title – Plymouth lies just where the English Channel broadens into the open Atlantic, is Britain’s westernmost principal port and the city has a vast amount of maritime history, least not the fact that Plymouth is where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for the New World back in 1620 onboard the iconic Mayflower ship. This post on LinkedIn delves much further into the background behind the ‘Ocean City’ accolade for those interested.

Plymouth Hoe

Exploring the city in a few hours!

By the time we had washed the boat, done two lots of laundry, walked to a nearby Aldi for a food shop (just 10 minutes walk away, and there’s also a Lidl) and had showers ourselves, we had just a few hours to go and explore Plymouth. Fortunately this was not our first time in Plymouth so we did have the benefit of already having seen many of the sights previously. That wasn’t to say we didn’t want to see them again!

Heading around the waterfront and along by the Hoe we continued up into The Barbican area, over towards Sutton Harbour before making our way back to the marina for the evening.

The following morning we headed back into the town centre for a few supplies. You’ll find a wealth of high street shops here including the popular Drake Circus shopping centre. We’d also like to give a shout out to the Discovery Cafe at Plymouth Methodist Church for their delicious fry up and friendly welcome. We’re not religious, just happened to check out their menu as we past and liked the look of it, we didn’t even realise it was a community cafe! Plus they were happy to swap breakfast items, always a thumbs up in our books! ‘Sorry no substitutes’ is not a phrase we like to hear! 🤣 But none of that weirdness here, just good old fashioned customer service🙏🏻

The marina staff were also very flexible with our departure time which allowed us a little more time to see some of the sights before we departed.

After leaving we headed around to Mayflower Marina to take on a little extra fuel, passing the impressive Royal William Yard. Although we still had over half a tank we like to try and keep it topped up and if the opportunity arises to get fuel we try to take it.

Royal William Yard

A late afternoon motor took us back out of the harbour via ‘The Bridge’, a narrow channel to the west of Drake’s Island, a good little cut through if the conditions are right. Unlike the previous morning when there was very little shipping movements, today was very different with quite a few naval vessels and their support boats in the area, plus a German Frigate warship.

‘Hessen’ F221 German Frigate in Plymouth

Dropping anchor back in Cawsand Bay our visit to Plymouth had been quick and purposeful. After a hectic 48 hours since leaving Salcombe and with promising weather forecasted it was time to chill for a bit!

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