Plymouth in Devon is steeped in rich maritime history. Today it is home to the Royal Devonport Dockyard, the largest operational naval base in Western Europe. The city lies at the mouths of the rivers Plym and Tamar. Pleasure boat cruises can be enjoyed on the Tamar, passing the Devonport Dockyard. It was from Plymouthís harbour, one of the largest natural harbours in Europe, that Drake, Cook and the Pilgrim Fathers left England. At Plymouth Hoe is the site where Francis Drake played bowls as the Spanish Armada approached, today overlooked by Smeatonís Tower, the old 18th Century lighthouse. Guarding the harbour is the Royal Citadel. Still used by the navy today, but also a tourist attraction with guided tours. The citadel was built in the 1660s, when King Charles II realised the importance of Plymouth as a channel port. Plymouth was extensively damaged during the Blitz of 1941. Only the Medieval Barbican area of the town was largely untouched. Modern Plymouth is extremely accessible by road, rail, sea and air and as such, is a very vibrant city with excellent shops, restaurants and accommodation catering for all tastes and needs. Surrounding the city are many charming and picturesque fishing villages, well worth a visit on a dayís escape from the bustling streets. Back to Plymouth again and a family day out can be had at the National Marine Aquarium marvelling at the beautifully majestic seahorses and divers feeding the hungry sharks or watching the glass blowers at the glass works displaying their skills, then buying some of their finished works in the adjoining shop. One for the grown-ups perhaps, tour the Plymouth Gin Distillery, the oldest working distillery in England. With the Theatre Royal, Pavilions, city museum and art gallery, Plymouth really is a city with something for everyone.
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