Cruising spotlight: Plymouth, Devon. With established offices throughout Europe, Argo Yachting has direct access to some of the world’s most seductive boating destinations. But if you want to enjoy a range of first-class cruising opportunities right here in Britain, the English south coast is a very exciting place to be.
Plymouth – Britain’s Ocean City
Plymouth is steeped in maritime history. From the Pilgrim Fathers setting sail for the “New World” in 1620 to the modern day boat building of Princess Yachts, recently appointed as Britain’s first National Marine Park, the city is the ideal base for cruising adventures. The seafront and ‘The Hoe’ featuring its iconic candy-striped Smeaton’s Tower lighthouse (originally built at the Eddystone Rock) and the 1935 Art Deco Tinside Lido, is lined with bars and cafes to take in the awe-inspiring views across Plymouth Sound. The historic cobbled streets of the Barbican are well worth a stroll, taking in the Elizabethan House, numerous bars, restaurants, boutique shops and Plymouth Gin Distillery, then across Sutton Harbour lock to the National Marine Aquarium.
For ‘off-grid’ serenity, the southwest is outstanding. The stretch of Devon from Plymouth to Salcombe and Dartmouth is particularly renowned for its epic landscapes and deep-cut estuaries. And in south Cornwall, the coastline to Falmouth, with Looe and Fowey en route, gives you access to some gorgeous little fishing towns.
The Kingsbridge Estuary, Salcombe
Richard Cark, Aftersales Business Development Manager at Argo Yachting in Plymouth, said: “Anchoring up at Blackpool Sands in the height of the summer is better than anything the Med has to offer – and yet the coastline is as quiet as it is varied. Every cove, every estuary is different. From Plymouth, you’ve got Salcombe and Dartmouth to the east and Cawsand Bay, Fowey, Falmouth and the Helford River to the west. The scenery is unbelievable, there’s wildlife everywhere you look and the seafood is as good as you will find. We also have some fabulous events close to home including the Dartmouth Regatta, the Salcombe Regatta, SailGP in Plymouth, the Falmouth Regatta and the Torbay Air Show.’
The River Yealm is a beautiful estuary for a quiet anchorage. Cellar Bay is near the mouth of the river, and further up you can moor up at one of the public pontoons or pick up a mooring buoy. The scenery is stunning. Its tranquillity lends itself to a spot of paddle boarding or kayaking to explore the river. Or you can take the tender up to one of the great pubs such as the Ship Inn – a lovely gastro pub with superb outdoor seating with a Caribbean inspired summer house or you can stay cosy indoors next to the fire. Across Noss creek is the Swan Inn and across Newton Creek is the Dolphin – and you can use the causeways at low tide to stroll between them! There’s also a fabulous circular 90-minute cliff top walk called ‘The Warren’, if you feel like stretching your legs. It takes in spectacular views across the English Channel and along the rugged Devon coastline and then leads down through the woods beside the river, finishing at the Ship Inn – perfect for a well-deserved lunch.
The River Yealm
Best overnight stop
Salcombe in the summer is absolutely buzzing. This popular nautical town is the jewel of the South Hams attracting a discerning crowd. It’s set on the beautiful Kingsbridge Estuary – a boating mecca for dinghy sailing, yachts, motor boats, paddle boards and kayaks. The river is flanked with many small golden sandy coves, with lush rolling hills in the background. Salcombe town itself offers a wide selection of boutique shops, deli’s, pubs and restaurants, and you can even join a masterclass at the Salcombe Gin Distillery. Take the little foot ferry across to East Portlemouth to walk the South West Coast Path to Gara Rock or to South Sands to visit the fabulous South Sands Hotel and Harbour Beach Club Hotel for brunch, lunch or dinner right on the beach. From here you can walk up to the National Trust’s tropical Overbeck’s garden – real proof of Salcombe’s mild and sunny micro-climate.
*main title image, Plymouth Hoe courtesy of SailGP, all other images courtesy of LoveSouthDevon