What to Do in Plymouth in the Rain
People are always asking us what to do in Plymouth in the rain. That’s all the excuse we needed to write this guide to all the fabulous things you can do in Plymouth when it’s raining. There are lots of great indoor facilities to choose from. This list is not exhaustive but features some of the very best rainy day activities in Plymouth for families, sports fans, arty types and film buffs.
Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery
This is a great place to visit, especially for families. Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery has nine permanent galleries, two exhibition galleries and hundreds of events and activities throughout the year.
Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery also provides an education service for schools, colleges, universities, pre-school children and young people, plus outreach and access services for community groups and adults. A café, gift shop and toilets are very useful for making your visit a success.
The National Marine Aquarium
This is not just any aquarium, but Britain’s national aquarium. Plymouth was chosen to host this splendid facility because of it’s excellent reputation for marine research. Built from distinctive green glass, the facility has stunning views over Plymouth Sound, a shop full of fishy gifts and a great cafe. The aquarium will take you on a journey from the shores of Plymouth to the coral reefs of the tropics. Attractions include Britain’s deepest tank and over seventy sharks.
The Theatre Royal
The Theatre Royal Plymouth is an impressive facility. Built in 1979 it is the largest and best attended regional producing theatre in the UK according to Arts Council England . It consists of a large main auditorium that can produce West End musicals, opera and ballet; a smaller experimental theatre called The Drum; and, on a separate site, a production and learning centre known as TR2.
Recently renovated at a cost of £7 million, the Theatre Royal Plymouth is a very enjoyable way to spend an afternoon or evening, experiencing quality entertainment, finished off by refreshments in the theatre cafe.
The Barbican Theatre
If you climb some steep and narrow steps mysteriously leading off from Southside Street, you will reach the Barbican Theatre. A charity which was set up in 1980, the Barbican Theatre focuses on young people and creative skills. As such the theatre hosts a variety of dance and theatre performances.
Known as an alternative theatre offering variety and choice, the theatre also takes it’s work out into the community and performs in many different venues as well as it’s own building. The b-bar cafe also offers food and drinks, music and comedy. All in all the Barbican Theatre offers something a little different for a unique experience.
The Devonport Playhouse, Fore Street is the home of Plymouth Theatre Company which was originally formed in 1899. The site was originally the Wesleyan Methodist Central Hall.
The Playhouse has everything necessary for a full theatre, Lights, Green Room, Wardrobe, Dressing Rooms, even a glory-hole. Plymouth Theatre Company is a registered charity and raise all monies from their productions each year, plus whatever fees they can raise from renting out the building (meetings, conferences, other). Their rental fees are modest, so if you’re seeking somewhere original for your event why not consider the Devonport Playhouse – there is seating for over 300.
An impressive-looking glass building, Plymouth Pavilions is a performance venue, ice skating rink and is also home to the Plymouth Raiders, the local basketball team. The arena is used for corporate hire as well as an entertainment venue. Some big names perform here including The Arctic Monkeys, Jools Holland, Michael McIntyre and Alice Cooper.
Plymouth Argyle Football Club
Home Park is the base for Plymouth Argyle Football Club. The club plays in Football League Two. It became a professional club in 1903 and takes it’s nickname, The Pilgrims, from the religious group that left Plymouth for the New World in 1620. Home Park stadium currently seats just under 20,000 fans and is situated in Central Park. The club’s main rivals are Exeter City and Torquay United.
The Life Centre
Also situated in Central Park, the Life Centre replaced the old Mayflower Swimming Pool and Sports Centre in Mar 2012. Impressive facilities include includes a 10-lane, 50m swimming pool, diving pool, multi-purpose sports hall, 15m climbing wall and bowling area. Not everyone is a fan of the vibrant yellow and blue cladding to the exterior, but the Life Centre has hugely improved sports facilities in Plymouth. It includes a public cafe which is open to anyone using the park.
If shopping is what you love then Drake Circus is the place to be. A relatively recent addition to Plymouth’s shopping facilities, it opened in 2006. It has bright, temperature-controlled surroundings, smooth walkways and over seventy modern shops and cafes. it’s a great place to visit on a rainy or windy day, or if the weather outside is too hot for comfort. Toilets, free Wi-fi and seating areas add to the comfort of shoppers.
If you’re a film fan or want something to do on a rainy day then the Vue Cinema is a good option. Vue Plymouth is a 15 screen cinema situated within the Barbican Leisure complex. The large cinema can seat up to 3,315 guests and all screens have the latest audio and visual technology.
The Vue Cinema is also surrounded by a range of restaurants and bars. Free parking is available to all visitors of the complex, although you may struggle to find a space at popular times. The snacks and drinks are expensive, but the seats are very comfortable, there’s plenty of leg room and a wide range of films to choose from.
If you want to see a film but don’t want to pay the Vue’s prices then there is another option. The Reel Cinema Plymouth, previously the ABC Cinema, is situated at Derry’s Cross in the heart of the city centre. Tickets prices are noticeably cheaper than the Vue Cinema. The seats are less comfortable and they only have three screens, but they have full digital sound; screen 1 is the largest cinema auditorium in Plymouth with 582 seats.
It claims to be Plymouth’s first multi-screen fully-digital cinema. The Reel’s foyer has the box office and a concessions counter that offers chocolates, sweets, popcorn, hot dogs and cold drinks.
Plymouth Arts Centre
Plymouth Arts Centre is a contemporary art gallery, cinema and cafe/bar on the Barbican, Plymouth. It is a great option if you’re interested in the arts and want to see films that are a little more unusual and unique.
It’s art-house cinema offers less mainstream films than Plymouth’s other cinemas the Art Centre continues with its educational work and support for city artists. From August 1 to September 12, PCA will run Cinema in the City, open-air screening at locations across Plymouth, and an extension of previously successful outdoor showings at Royal William Yard, during the past three summers.
Plymouth Guildhall is an elegant and impressive building in a central location popular for a variety of functions, from civic receptions and concerts, to conferences and exhibitions. Local, regional and national societies are also regular hirers of the Guildhall for their events.
In addition, the Guildhall can be hired for private celebrations and wedding receptions. Rooms available to hire include the main hall, with a capacity of 840 people, the Lounge (140 People), the Lower Hall (320 people), the Astor Room (90 people) and the Charter Room (60 people).
Built in 1822 by renowned Regency architect John Foulston, Devonport Guildhall was the heart of historic Devonport.
RIO, a social enterprise focused on improving the lives of communities and young people across the South West, acquired Devonport Guildhall in 2007 and began the careful and painstaking restoration of Devonport Guildhall to its former glory and officially opened its doors to the public in April 2010.
From weddings to conferences, vintage fayres to music events, Devonport Guildhall provides the perfect space for a multitude of daytime and evening functions.
Find Out For Yourself
Plymouth is lucky to have such a variety of quality indoor venues for entertainment and education. There really is no excuse for not knowing what to do or where to go in Plymouth, in sunshine or in the rain. If there are any of these fabulous facilities that you haven’t yet visited, then seek them out next time you have some free time and let us know what they were like.