Walk - Plymouth Waterfront Walkway

Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2021. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.

Route Description

A great family walk along a unique section of the South West Coast Path, the Waterfront Walkway is an entertaining and enlightening journey where art is used to highlight the city's history and heritage.

The Plymouth Waterfront Walkway was developed by the City Council in 2002 as a unique part of the South West Coast Path National Trail. It links the Cremyll Ferry landing stage on the shores of the Tamar with Jennycliff on the eastern side of Plymouth Sound. Along the way, you’ll come across larger than life characters such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Robinson Crusoe and Lawrence of Arabia. Then there’s the wall of stars, a golden scallop, a ten-ton rhino and so much more. The features were created by the artists of Why Not Associates, and bring to life many of the stories that make Plymouth special.

  1. Start at the ferry slip at Admiral’s Hard. The route immediately launches into a celebration of Plymouth’s history and heritage, from the vinegar works to views of the docks.

Thanks to the construction of new stairs and walkway the South West Coast Path now goes through the historic Royal William Yard with its stunning architecture. This is the new home of the South West Coast Path Association's offices, open from Monday to Friday.

  1. Explore the dockyard and then climb up the stairs emerging into Devil's Point Park. Follow the path around the point and into Admiralty Road.

Following this, the walk then takes you along Durnford Street, where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle once worked as a doctor. Quotations from Sherlock Holmes set into the pavement give you just a first taste of the poetic treats. Keep your eyes peeled for the optical illusion in the railings atop the wall overlooking Millbay Docks and the Wall of Stars commemorating famous figures who sailed from Plymouth. Enjoy the passage along Rusty Anchor Seawall, and its display of models of navy vessels.

Short diversions reveal classic features of the city, such as Smeaton’s Tower on The Hoe. The Barbican takes you back in time with its historic buildings and Mayflower Steps where the Pilgrim Fathers set off for the New World.

  1. Just before the Mayflower Steps, you can take the water taxi across to Mount Batten if you want to shorten the walk. Otherwise, follow the Waterfront Walkway past the National Marine Aquarium to eventually cross the River Plym and proceed along the opposite bank to Mount Batten.

Return here for the water taxi back to the Barbican at the end of your walk. To continue the walk, simply follow the route taking you up Jennycliff. Here you can enjoy impressive views out over the Sound, and stop for refreshments in the friendly Jennycliff Café.

NOTE:- There is a route change as of July 2019 to improve a section of the path in the Cattedown to Laira Bridge area, with the new route passing through Neptune Park, rather than running along  Maxwell Road.

A souvenir Waterfront Walkway guidebook is available from the Tourist Information Centre in Plymouth, Tel: 01752 306330. The digital version of the booklet is available from the South West Coast Path Association here. Further walking guides can be found in the 'Books, Guides & Maps' section of our our online shop.

Nearby refreshments

Dotted all along the Path. Look out for the famous knitted breakfast plaques marking the cafes and Eddystone pub plaques marking the pubs.

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