City of Plymouth
“Historically, Plymouth was a key centre for shipbuilding and seafaring, starting as a trading post for the Roman Empire then the site where the Pilgrims left for the New World”
Moving to Plymouth
Standing proud on England’s South Coast, just across the channel from France, Plymouth has long been a major urban centre in the South West. With a population of 260,000, it’s the second largest city here after Bristol, and is known to many as the spot where holidays in France and Spain begin, with ferries to the continent departing regularly from the busy port. Historically, Plymouth was a key centre for shipbuilding and seafaring, starting as a trading post for the Roman Empire then the site where the Pilgrims left for the New World. While much of the industry has left Plymouth, it’s still home to a large base for the Royal Navy, and draws in plenty of residents seeing affordable housing close to the seaside.
This historic city was hit hard during the Second World War, leading to decades of neglect that it’s still recovering from today. Poverty and deprivation levels here are higher than the UK average, and life expectancy is the lowest in the South West. However, the council are continuing to improve the city through regeneration projects in central areas and across the 10 miles of urban waterfront, such as transforming the Drake Circus Shopping Centre, and Plymouth looks set to become a vibrant, sought-over spot for young professionals – not least because there are over 20,000 students based here.
House prices in Plymouth
With an average property price of £185,000, prices in Plymouth are lower than the UK average, making it an attractive place to invest and settle. Prime areas in the city and the surrounds include Plympton, Peverell, Derriford, Plymouth Hoe and Elburton, while Stoke Damerel Conservation area is a top spot for those seeking family-friendly detached properties. Young professionals, on the other hand, may prefer to live it up more centrally in some of central Plymouth’s sea-view apartment buildings.
“…for foreign travel, Plymouth is well-positioned with Exeter airport around 50 miles away, and regular ferries departing from the port to locations in France and Spain”
The A38 (also known as the Devon Expressway) and the A386 both run close to Plymouth, with the former connecting to the M5 near Exeter for speedy travel further north. Within the city, there are a wide network of regular bus services, as well as three Park & Ride locations to help reduce road congestion.
For travel by rail, Plymouth station offers regular services to locations around the country, including London with a journey time of around 3 hours. Meanwhile for foreign travel, Plymouth is well-positioned with Exeter Airport around 50 miles away, and regular ferries departing from the port to locations in France and Spain as well as other parts of Devon and nearby Cornwall.
Like many of Britain’s small cities, retail opportunities in Plymouth are largely focused around shopping centres such as the Drake Circus Shopping Centre, where you’ll find popular high-street chains including H&M, JD Sports and Apple as well as numerous restaurants and cafes. Meanwhile the Barbican area is considered to be the historic heart of the city, with residents and visitors flocking here to enjoy independent shops such as The Old Quay House Tuck Shop and Mayflower Arts, small galleries, restaurants and even the Plymouth Gin Distillery.
When it comes to dining out, Plymouth offers a reasonable selection of restaurants ranging from big name favourites to well-reviewed local eateries. River Cottage Canteen and Rock Salt Cafe are two of the leading restaurants in Plymouth, while Le Bistrot Pierre is a top choice for fans of French cuisine.
Plymouth’s seaside location and maritime history can be seen in the range of cultural activities here, which include the brilliant National Aquarium, the Mayflower Steps (where the Pilgrim Fathers departed on the Mayflower) and an annual Plymouth Pirate Weekend. In addition, there are a number of good theatres, museums and galleries such as the Theatre Royal, Plymouth Art Centre and Plymouth City Museum, as well as the historic New Palace Theatre where Charlie Chaplin once performed. Unusually, the city is also home to to the British Firework Championships, ideal for residents who enjoy watching epic firework displays over the water.
“…there are a number of good theatres, museums and galleries such as the Theatre Royal, Plymouth Art Centre and Plymouth City Museum, as well as the historic New Palace Theatre where Charlie Chaplin once performed”
There’s no need to travel far to pick up groceries in Plymouth, with branches of major supermarket chains such as Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Tesco spread around the city. For those who prefer to shop locally, there are also some lovely independent delicatessens such as Il Pezzettino, as well as a regular Farmer’s Market on New George Street.
Health & Sport
Being right on the water, Plymouth is a prime spot for watersports, with a range of options at the Reactive Watersports Academy and the Mount Batten Centre. Fans of the great outdoors will enjoy a challenging hike in Dartmoor National Park, while for something a little closer to home there are numerous gyms in the city, including branches of national chains PureGym and The Gym, as well as a number of council-run services.
Schools and Education
Plymouth offers a good selection of schools across both the state and independent sectors, with Compton CofE Primary School, Marlborough Primary School and Morice Town Primary School among the best performing primary schools in the city. For older children, leading schools including the selective Davenport High School for Girls, Coombe Dean School, and the independent Plymouth College.
Regarding further education, Plymouth is also home to the University of Plymouth, which regularly ranks among the UK’s top 70 universities and has a large student population of around 23,000 undergraduates and postgraduates.
With an average crime rating of 70 crimes per 1000 residents, crime levels in Plymouth are similar to the national average. While no areas of the city are considered to be extremely dangerous, Union Street can get very rowdy on weekend evenings with many residents preferring to avoid it.
With 40% of the city taken up by green space, Plymouth is one of the greenest cities in the UK – a big draw for families looking to move here. Close to Dartmoor National Park, outdoor pursuits are plentiful, while within the city Central Park, Devonport Park and Hoe Park are all well-loved open spaces.