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    Life By the Ocean Wave

    From prehistory to the present, the very essence of Plymouth has been inextricably linked to the sea. The Pilgrim Fathers departed from here and named their new Massachusetts settlement after it, and Sir Francis Drake famously finished his game of bowls on The Hoe before combatting the Spanish Armada.

    Western Europe’s largest naval base – HMNB Devonport – is in its natural harbour, and in The Barbican fishing boats bob up and down by cobbled streets lined with historic buildings. Jacka Bakery here is the oldest in Britain and there are plenty of galleries, bars and restaurants, though Union Street has the best nightlife.

    At one end of the street is the Theatre Royal, and from the other ferries depart to France and Spain, passing the Mount Batten peninsula and offshore rocks that once housed Smeaton’s Tower lighthouse, now in Hoe Park next to the Royal Citadel.

    Overlooking the park is the Lord Mayor’s residence, once home to Waldorf and Nancy Astor, and other street and building names are reminders of Plymouth’s illustrious connections.

    Other attractions include the National Marine Aquarium, the City Museum and Art Gallery and Grade II-listed Saltram House. All are easily reached from Booking.com’s Plymouth accommodation, including luxury hotels with swimming pools, cheap guest houses and country houses with parking.