Looking for something to do in the school holidays? A brand new app featuring self-guided walking trails throughout Plymouth is now available to download, giving visitors and locals alike the chance to explore the city through new eyes and discover more about its complex history – and some of the trails will bring you directly to our door here at the National Marine Aquarium. The perfect outdoor activity to take part in this summer on your way to see us, it’s a chance to see and experience Britain’s Ocean City as you have never done before.

The interactive Plymouth Trails app, which is free to download, includes three new tailored trails:

  • Mayflower Trail: Following a circular route around the Barbican, see the buildings and meet the people that shaped the city in 1620, when the Mayflower ship and its passengers set sail for America
  • City Centre Trail: Discover a different side to the imposing post-war architecture in the city centre and learn more about how the city was rebuilt following the Blitz during World War II
  • Plymouth Hoe Trail: Enjoy a walk along the coast as you delve into Plymouth’s maritime history, taking in key landmarks such as Tinside Lido and Smeaton’s Tower.

By utilising new technologies, the app allows users to overlay video and images onto the landscape in front of them to experience a ‘then and now’ snapshot of the city.

Accompanying children’s activity guides are also available to download to keep younger visitors engaged, while from September, school activity packs will be available for teachers to use with groups of children too.

The Mayflower Trail, created as part of the Mayflower 400 commemorations which will now continue into 2021, is set to be the star of the show, and also boasts a physical presence in the form of bronze monoliths along the route helping to guide visitors and providing more information.

According to Plymouth City Council, work is ongoing to make sure that the core trails are accessible for everyone, which has been assessed with the help of Plymouth Area Disability Action Network. A number of improvements have already been made, including adding dropped kerbs, seating and better facilities along the routes. 

The new trails were made possible thanks to financial support from Plymouth City Council, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Great Western Railway, Plymouth Waterfront Partnership, Mayflower 400 and the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.

The app also hosts partner trails that are free for people to follow, including the American Tree Trail from Plymouth Tree Partnership, which runs from Drake’s reservoir through the city centre to the Barbican, stopping at trees and sites with an American association. App users can also follow the Sutton Harbour Heritage Trail, a loop around the historic Harbourside area, or the Waterfront Walkway, Plymouth’s section of the South West Coast Path that will take users on a 9 mile walk from the Cremyll Ferry to Jennycliff. Other additional trails will be added to the app in the future.

You can download the app now on Android or iOS. The app and core trails are available in French, Spanish and German as well as English.

For a preview of the Mayflower Trail, you can watch the latest video in the Mayflower Virtual Voyages series on the Mayflower400uk.org website, which also offers an insight into the events coming up around the commemoration.

For more information, please see the Visit Plymouth website.

The National Marine Aquarium (NMA) is the UK’s largest aquarium, located in Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth. It is run by the Ocean Conservation Trust, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the Ocean.

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