Christmas gift ideas and places to eat on the Plymouth Barbican

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Stunning Harbourside views overlooking Sutton Harbour

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Great variety of places to eat around the waterfront

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The historic Mayflower Steps

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Arrrr Pirates! Plymouth Pirate Weekend and many more top events

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News from the Plymouth Barbican

Christmas Nights to Remember – The Elf Who Lost Santa

The Elf Who Lost Santa National Marine Aquarium

Join the National Marine Aquarium for a special family interactive experience at the UK’s largest Aquarium!

Limited amount of tickets for this V.I.P Christmas event.

Tickets include:

– Afterhours exclusive access to our exhibits and animals without the crowds
– Special interactive Christmas play on the search for Santa
– Find and meet Santa with present from him
– Mulled wine and mince pies on arrival, with juice options for the children

Monday 23rd December 2019 – 6:00pm

Events runs 6pm till 8:30pm | Play beings at 6:45pm

Prices: Adults £10, Children (3-16yrs) – £18

What will the play be about?

Meet Santa’s elves Sparkles, Bumble and Mistletoe They have been tasked with arranging an event for a very special group of people to meet Santa.

Unfortunately Mistletoe is just being naughty and not taking his job very seriously, Sparkles is getting annoyed with Mistletoe and Bumble forgot to do something which means Santa may not even make it to meet everyone. Can you help them to get along and find a way to make sure that Santa arrives in time?

Join Candlelight as they present this interactive experience that will leave you feeling Christmassy.


Christmas On Plymouth Barbican – Part 2

Christmas is the time of year, we all come out in search of the Festive Cheer, and New Street is where it’s all at! Support the local independent traders and make their Christmas special too. The Barbican is famed for its fantastic selection (READ MORE) 

This Christmas #LoveTheBarbican

Christmas is slowly, but surely getting closer and the festive-looking Plymouth Barbican is the perfect location to shop and spend time with your friends and family. With the hustle and bustle of the busy high street, the Barbican is a true oasis of calmness where you can still enjoy a great community feel and friendly advice from the local shop owners. There is a great variety of small specialist shops offering unique gifts and a fantastic choice of restaurants, cafe’s and bars perfect for a get together. (READ MORE)

illuminate light festival – Barbican & Sutton Harbour Preview

illuminate Plymouth Barbican and Sutton Harbour

This year’s illuminate light festival has expanded into a multi site festival were audiences are invited to discover additional installations at the Barbican, Sutton Harbour and Mount Edgcumbe Country Park as well as enjoying a wealth of stunning installations at the Royal William Yard.

Expect to see stunning light-based art installations, interactive displays and light projections. The event is FREE, open to all ages, you can enjoy the festival from 28th November – 1st December from 5:30pm each evening.

illuminate is a signature event in the Mayflower 400 programme and connects the partner destinations across the UK and internationally. Now in it’s third year, Illuminate will open the Mayflower 400 commemorations in November 2019 during Thanksgiving and close them in November 2020.

Here on the Barbican and in the waters of Sutton Harbour, we have five light installations to look forward to. Here’s a preview of what’s to come…

Curio – TRIGGER STUFF – Savinder Bual and Elena Blanco
Location: Opposite the Tourist Information Centre

Curio is an alternative museum featuring stories and objects contributed by residents from the area related to the idea of home. It is a light installation which allows curious passersby to peer into doors and discover stories from our neighbours.

Signis – Mike Cobb, Highly Interactive
Location: By Commercial Wharf (near The Boathouse Cafe)

Signal Lamps have been used by the Royal Navy since the late 1800’s to send messages between vessels. SIGNIS is a modern interpretation that combines the beauty and nostalgia of maritime style fixtures and soft golden light with contemporary ideas of pixelated displays and animated gifs.

SIGNIS will invite visitors to participate by designing their own messages, patterns and animations using their mobile device. Submissions will be broadcast to the festival crowds over a spectacular array of lights.

Her Voices – The Media Workshop
Location: Elizabethan Gardens (access via New Street)

Her Voices is a new immersive event in Barbican’s Elizabethan Gardens, inviting visitors to “eavesdrop” on rarely-told women’s stories from across Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall. Participants journey through a delicate display of fibre optics and LEDs providing an ephemeral physicality to voices rising from hidden speakers around the gardens.

The installation features recordings celebrating both women’s great achievements and inequalities still apparent today. Voices range from Plymouth’s Lady Nancy Astor, the first female sitting MP to Cornish fishworkers and North Devon farmers. It is a meditation on who we are, how we got here and where we are going.

Baitball  The Media Workshop
Location: Between The Parade and Quay Road (by The Ship Pub)

Operating over the harbour itself, with a durational video projected onto a water screen in the harbour between The Parade and Quay Road from Friday 29th November until Sunday 1st December. The audience will be asked to reflect on what is beneath the surface of our ocean with an iconic visual showing the formation of a ‘baitball’ of sardines over the water. Head to the harbour’s edge outside The Ship for an optimum viewing area

Porthole to Plymouth
Location: Near The Boathouse Cafe

Showing on the festival app located near The Boathouse Cafe, but a bit of a mystery, no details released as yet.

Be sure to check the official website and the app which offers a handy interactive map and features to help you navigate around.

Official Festival Website:
Official illuminate app:

Happy Thanksgiving on the Plymouth Barbican 2019

Thanksgiving on Barbican Sutton Harbour 2019 A
Thanksgiving on Barbican Sutton Harbour 2019 B

After repeated calls for Thanksgiving on the Barbican, a few locals have banded together to make it happen!

A small committee are working with local businesses and organisations to raise awareness of ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ including the history, offers and events linked to the Pilgrim story.

  • Pick up a Thanksgiving leaflet from the Tourist Information Centre or via the website highlighting points of interest and details of some of the offerings and themed events.
  • The Mayflower Tour – Free 1 hour guided tour with a Blue Badge Tour Guide Jane Dymock. Join Jane at 10.30am outside the Mayflower Steps and step back in time for the tour like no other. Free to attend.
  • Mayflower Museum – Children go free when accompanied by a paying adult.
  • illuminate Light Festival – Starting on 28th Nov for 4 days. 5 light inspired installations on the Barbican & Sutton Harbour

Sutton Harbour – by Quay Square by Cap’n Jaspers will be hosting special guests! The Plymouth High Schools Marching Band comes to you from “America’s Hometown” Plymouth, Massachusetts USA. They will be playing at 11.30am.

Plymouth Marching Band - Thanksgiving USA


  1. Admiral Macbride (across the road from the Mayflower Steps Monument. It’s rumoured the original steps are roughly located, underneath the present day ladies toilets)
  2. Fishermen’s Arms (Thanksgiving meal – book in advance 01752 268243)
  3. Barbican Coco Rooms (Southside Street) – Chocolates themed around Mayflower
  4. Domea Favour (House That Jack Built) – Chocolate Bars themed around Mayflower
  5. Plymouth Gin Refectory Bar (Southside Street) – Raise a glass to where the pilgrims last slept before boarding the Mayflower Ship.
  6. Plymouth Gin Distillery Shop (Southside Street) – Plymouth’s world famous Gin, the Mayflower Ship features on the bottles.
  7. Kaya Gallery (Southside Street) – Mayflower themed artwork
  8. The Lookout (At Mountbatten Watersports and Activities Centre) – Roasted pumpkin and chilli soup
  9. Barbican Botanics (New Street) – Traditional Gin, American themed
  10. Coffee & Donuts (Quay Square) – American style donuts, 5 for £3.50 or 10 for £6
  11. Rockpool Trading (Southside Street) – Themed gift ideas around Mayflower
  12. Honkytonk Wine Library (Sutton Harbour) American themed wine & ale offerings
    . The Velvet Devil – Merlot 2016
    . Washington State / Boom Boom – Syrah 2016
    . Washington State / Kung Fu Girl – Riesling 2017
    . Goose IPA – bright citrus aromas and bold hop finish /
    . Goose 312 – urban wheat ale – light lemon aroma


The Plymouth Barbican has strong ties with America. The famous Mayflower ship in 1620 set sail with 102 passengers and 30 crew members for America. These pilgrims settled on what is know as Plymouth, Massachusetts. You can read more about this remarkable journey:

In America, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition traces its origins to a 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts.

Christmas on the Plymouth Barbican 2019


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