If you stand on Plymouth Hoe and look out to sea you will see yachts, speed boats, and pleasure cruisers enjoying the calm waters. Further out, beyond the breakwater, where the sea is more choppy, you will often see large grey naval ships sailing majestically across the Sound.
One of the most striking features of Plymouth Sound is Drake’s Island. This island is not large and is quite close to Plymouth Hoe. In fact in the 1930s people were known to swim out to it from Plymouth Hoe. Used during the Second World War, it still has underground rooms and tunnels for the soldiers, and Drakes Island's fortifications can be seen from Plymouth Hoe. Drake’s Island used to be owned by the council and it was possible some years ago to take a boat trip there and explore the underground areas. For a number of years however, the island has been privately owned and the public has been denied access to this fascinating landmark.
Plymouth Hoe Promenade
As you approach Plymouth Hoe from Plymouth City Centre you are led naturally onto the wide sweep of the Promenade, where there is plenty of room for walkers to stroll and children to ride scooters or bikes. During the Second World War courting couples would dance here to music on summer evenings. The promenade gives onto a grassy expanse where you can sit and enjoy the spectacular sea views from the grass itself or on one of the many benches closer to the water.
Plymout Hoe - Smeaton's Tower
Arguably Plymouth's best-known landmark, Smeaton’s Tower is the most prominent feature on Plymouth Hoe's green belt. You can even buy prints of a famous photograph of the Beatles on Plymouth Hoe from Chris Robinson's shop on Plymouth Barbican. With its bright red and white stripes it looks very much like a stick of candy.
Recently restored to its previous glory, a low metal door gives onto a mysterious spiral staircase. As it ascends, small rooms are revealed at intervals, which were formerly occupied by the lighthouse keepers as living area, kitchen and bedroom. These are quite fascinating as they still contain items of furniture and objects used for every day living. At the very top is the pinnacle of the ascent, the lantern. Visitors can walk around the lantern and are close enough to touch it, and you can also peer down into the murky depths of the room below. A small balcony gives spectacular views over Plymouth Sound for those who have a head for heights.