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Nerding Out Over History on the Cheap in Plymouth, England

If you're headed to the UK and are not averse to awesome cities, you should put Plymouth on your itinerary. Nestled on the Devon coast, there's all sorts of fun history to enjoy here.

I spent a weekend in Plymouth on a trip to the UK in the fall of 2016. The main reason I visited was actually because I was looking for a place to do a 10k or a half marathon. I'm not sure why you're taking my advice when I actively seek to run on vacations, but you're the one who ventured here. Due to the race, there was a little less time to explore, if you don't consider sweating over 6.2 miles of the city exploring.

Why wouldn't you want to visit this place?

One of the first places I checked out was the Mayflower Museum. When a cheap museum calls, I answer immediately, clutching my pennies. The cost for an adult is just three pounds, a child is 1.50, while a family costs eight pounds. Plymouth was the last place the Pilgrims docked before heading to the New World. The museum tells some of the stories of those early settlers. It's interesting to explore those stories from an English perspective, rather than the American one. There's also a balcony where you can enjoy the view of the harbor. I'm a stalker of coastlines, so that was probably my favorite part of the museum.

If you want to spend a little bit more, the National Marine Aquarium is super cool, too. It's right nearby. If you purchase the tickets online beforehand, you can save 10 percent, putting the price for an adult at 15.25, 11.65 for a child, and 48.15 for a family. There are also discounts for students and seniors. I'm eagerly awaiting old age so I can go back and take advantage of that discount. There's information on the local marine life, as well as that of the Atlantic Ocean. Like many aquariums, they focus on conservation, so you know your admission is helping with a good cause! Your contribution helps keep oceans healthy, thus extending Shark Week for centuries to come.

You should visit the aquarium just for the puns.

My favorite place in the city was the Hoe, a free outdoor spot that gives you great views of the Plymouth Sound and features a bunch of cool history. That includes a Naval Memorial, a statue of Sir Francis Drake, and Smeaton's Tower, a re-erected lighthouse originally built in the 18th century. You can go inside and enjoy the view from the top for a small fee. You can also do lots of ladder climbing to get your workout in and burn some calories for the great pastime of vacation gluttony. There's enough around the Hoe to take a good part of the day, if you're a history enthusiast. If you're a sitting down enthusiast, you can also just park your hindquarters and enjoy the lovely view.

The view as you walk along the Hoe

As the day winds down, you can walk along the Barbican, where the Mayflower Museum is located. It features some of the city's oldest buildings, cobbled streets, and plenty of shops and restaurants. I popped in to one restaurant nearby because it was supposed to be Mexican food. I don't know if the UK is used to different "Mexican food," but it was pretty disgusting. I think their salsa was just lukewarm ketchup, if that summary helps you at all. I don't want to be mean, so I won't name them, but if you see a Mexican restaurant in the area, don't go! I ended up going to Tesco and getting sandwich fixings to cover the majority of my time there. It helps that I always bring peanut butter on vacation because I only pack the things that truly matter.

With all the history, the aquarium, and such lovely views, Plymouth is worth a quick trip. For more information, check out my Plymouth Thrifty Trip video.

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