The other weekend, my sister and I were whisked away by CrossCountry trains from Bristol for a weekend getaway to Plymouth. We vaguely remembered heading down to this little seaside town years ago (dare we say, ten years ago??) to visit friends at the university… but we could hardly remember much about the actual city. It was by the sea. That is all we could recollect.
Since we both hold full-time jobs in Bristol, we have to take advantage of free weekends where we can take-off and explore somewhere new… especially together! Seeing a new place and regularly trying new things on a weekend getaway is key to shaking up those dusty routines and remembering that there’s more to the world than just your home bubble.
A weekend getaway to Plymouth
On the south coast of Devon, Plymouth is a waterfront city nicknamed “Britain’s Ocean City” and has a grand harbour. We got popped into First Class on the train, and armed with our snacks and bottle of bubbly (a trip is always worth celebrating), we kicked off our trip down south – Plymouth is incredibly easy to get to from our hometown, Bristol!
Whipping past copious green fields with the odd herd of cows staring forlornly at us, then down along the coast right beside the sea. The west country is a beaut and if you want to quickly traverse long distances then travelling by train is the most scenic way. And just a quick note about CrossCountry trains – they call at over 100 stations and are the most extensive passenger rail company in the UK.
With a few hours of Snapchatting in the bag, we rolled into Plymouth and quickly realised that there was no need for taxis here. A 15-minute walk got us to Jury’s Inn – a smart and comfortable hotel in the centre that was pretty generous in space when it came to double rooms. Right beside all the top shopping in Plymouth, it was as central as you could be.
After a rest in the hotel room, we gathered our senses and headed down to the MTV Crashes festival. We had never heard of this music event and literally had no idea what to expect, but I navigated us in the rough direction and accidentally gave ourselves a small scenic tour of the old seaside area of Plymouth.
Tall, industrial buildings with old painted shop names lined the cobbled streets. Proper authentic inns with rather apt nautical names had fairy lights festooning their roofs and there was, of course, the famous Plymouth Gin Distillery. It was almost like it had called us to it. It’s the oldest working gin distillery in England and dates to the early 1400’s. So in a nutshell, it made good gin then and makes great gin now. Ingredients are sourced from the harbour itself to the nearby wild Dartmoor national park.
We came out to the harbour and the sea splayed out before us with yachts and boats bobbing in the breeze – it wasn’t the brightest of days, but hey, that’s British summer for you. Take what you can get. We were armed with emergency plastic ponchos, like true Brits attending a festival, and headed to the curiously named Plymouth Hoe. It turns out that Plymouth Hoe is the natural heart of the city, a green park with a lovely lighthouse planted at the top, and it’s only a further 15-minute walk from the centre. The views out to Plymouth Sound (a perfect natural harbour) are fantastic, and this was the setting for the MTV Crashes festival.
After being armed with VIP tickets, we’re fairly certain that we’ll never be able to attend a festival again with regular tickets. The VIP drinking area included a gin bar (it’s like they knew I was coming) and we had our own dancing space separated from the huge crowd who had appeared for acts like Example and Rudimental. When darkness fell, huge streamers and confetti were released into the air giving a fantastic sight and signalled the end of a brilliant night that had Alex and I dancing our sandals off!
We will definitely remember this weekend getaway in Plymouth – fantastic company (travelling with my sister always guarantees absolute fun), a speedy First Class trip down to the sweet seaside town, and being treated to a VIP experience. If that’s not what you want in a weekend, then what is?
A huge thank you to CrossCountry trains for hosting this fun experience for us – all thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own.