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In the Industrial Revolution of Great Britain, one of the cities that stepped up to the plate and became one of the United Kingdom’s greatest was Plymouth. This waterfront city with direct access to the English Channel, and therefore the Atlantic, was one of the world’s leading commercial shipping ports. It handled not only products but also a great deal of passengers venturing off into the New World. Around Plymouth are many noteworthy drives and daytrips worth experiencing while in the area.
Who to Book With
Not surprisingly, several car hire firms can be found close to the harbour area, specifically around Stonehouse, which is situated close to the Tamar River estuary. Enterprise, Budget and a number of local firms, such as Bristol & West Vehicle Hire and Plymouth Car Hire, can all be found here. Check online and compare the prices of these companies before arriving in Plymouth to get the best and latest in car rental rates.
Best Time to Go
There is little variation in the climate of Plymouth year round. That said, the city, along with the rest of southwest England, is a bit milder and wetter than the rest of the country. A good time to visit is the summer, when temperatures are pleasant and rain not as likely.
Need to Know Essentials
The following will need to be shown when obtaining your rental car:
- Proof of identification (ID)
- Driving permit (UK or International)
- Credit card of the renter
- Confirmation of the rental
Access to Plymouth from the east is usually done via Exeter on the M5, continuing on to the A38 dual carriageway, also called the Devon Expressway. There are more than 5,200 parking spaces in the city of Plymouth divided between 50 car parks. Nineteen of these are easily found in the city centre, north of the Barbican area. Payment for parking can be done via debit or credit card, cash and even mobile phones.
Arriving from elsewhere in the UK into Plymouth is easy, as there are train and bus services from within and outside Devon. Trains and buses run here from London, as well as from Bristol and other major cities. For those looking for a convenient way to get around the city centre, taxi services are available along with a decent bus network. There are quite a number of easy to reach and lovely towns, not to mention a national park, right outside Plymouth, so driving is the recommended way to get around if you want to explore farther afield.
There are regular services from London to Plymouth for those who want to get here by train. Plymouth Railway Station is operated by First Great Western, with services running from London to Plymouth every half-hour. The journey takes 3.5 hours long and costs around £63. Trains also arrive frequently from Bristol, Birmingham and Penzance.
Taxi services are available for getting around Plymouth and for heading out to other areas. Some companies, like Plymouth Taxis, can be booked online. Plymouth Taxis also exclusively offer services from the Plymouth Railway Station to destinations around town. Other companies include Tower Cabs and Silverline Taxis.
Getting to Plymouth from elsewhere in England by bus is also very possible. National Express runs coaches from London eight times a day, taking five to six hours. A one-way ticket costs about £28. Coaches also connect Plymouth to Bristol three hours away, costing around £25. There is also a limited bus service within the town itself.
The areas close to the waterfront are the main points worth exploring within Plymouth. The Barbican area is Plymouth's historic district, now filled with art galleries, shops and great restaurants. The Mayflower Steps - a monument constructed near the place where the Pilgrims set off for the New World aboard the Mayflower - is also worth visiting. There are also several great locations outside of Plymouth that are well worth exploring if you have your own wheels.
Dartmoor National Park - This can be reached from Plymouth after about 20 minutes driving north. Covering around 368 square miles, this moorland is a particularly lovely area of Devon, with vast expanses of rivers, hills and grasslands. The tourist information centre is located in Princetown, the most recommended first stop for park visitors.
Noss Mayo - This destination offers visitors a glimpse into the rustic and rural side of Devon. This lovely fishing village is said to be one of the most beautiful and unspoilt areas of the county. Easily reached in 30 minute-drive from Plymouth, Noss Mayo lies along Newton Creek near the River Yealm.
Truro - This is a city in Cornwall, located about one and a half hour's drive from Plymouth. This city is worth a visit for its grand cathedral and its many cultural attractions. Taking a look at the imposing spires of Truro Cathedral, also called the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is a must when visiting this cathedral city.