Logo light mode the Fabryk
Published on

The Gay Plymouth Guide (United Kingdom 🇬🇧)

Authors
The Gay Plymouth Guide (United Kingdom 🇬🇧)

Table of Contents

  1. Intro: Welcome to Gay Plymouth 🌆
  2. Gay Map of Plymouth 🗺️
  3. Where to Stay in Plymouth 🏠
  4. Gay Nightlife in Plymouth 🥂
  5. Best Restaurants in Plymouth 🍽️
  6. What to do in Plymouth 🏛️
  7. Day Trips from Plymouth 🚗
  8. TL;DR: Plan Your Plymouth Trip (Logistics) 🛫
Hello, sexy reader! We want to be transparent with you – some of the links in this post are affiliate links. But here's the good news: clicking on them won't cost you an extra dime. In fact, it might save you money! So go ahead, click away, and enjoy the perks without the added expense. Thanks for supporting our site!
Please help us improve this guide 💖: Our gay guides undergo regular updates to ensure that all listed establishments are current, popular, and, most importantly, safe. The recommendations and descriptions provided within this guide stem from personal experiences and/or reports. We welcome any input regarding new venues or updates to existing ones included in the guide. Please feel free to reach out to us by email with your suggestions or updates.

So firstly, why Plymouth? Or, where even is Plymouth? Plymouth is the largest city in the county of Devon in the Southwest of the United Kingdom. We stumbled across this gem quite by accident, as we needed to cut our trip to Bristol short (Bristol is another gay-friendly mecca of the United Kingdom). But it turns out it has a hell of a lot of charm, fabulously friendly people, is arguably in the most beautiful part of the country, and surprisingly has a thriving gay community (albeit quaint).

So, my lovely gay reader. Are you ready to explore the vibrant gay scene of Plymouth, United Kingdom 🌈? Whether you're a local looking for new spots or a visitor planning your next adventure, this guide is your go-to resource for all things gay in Plymouth.

Stay tuned as we navigate through the bustling gay scene of Plymouth, sharing our insider tips, personal recommendations, and firsthand experiences that will make your trip unforgettable. ✨ Let's embark on a journey together and discover the best of Gay Plymouth!

Twilight view of the Charles Church, a historical landmark in Plymouth, with its stone gothic ruins and spire standing against a dusky blue sky.

The derelict and abandoned Charles Church


Gay Map of Plymouth


Where to Stay in Plymouth

Exploring Plymouth and in need of the perfect place to stay? Whether you're seeking luxury hotels or cozy guesthouses, Plymouth offers a diverse range of accommodation options to suit every preference.

Hotels in Plymouth

Plymouth boasts a variety of hotels catering to different budgets and tastes. From the luxurious castle-like Boringdon Hall Hotel and Spa to the centrally located Grand Hotel (located conveniently on a gorgeous park next to the beach called The Hoe 🤣), there's something for everyone. If you prefer a blend of modern comfort and historic charm, consider The Imperial Plymouth for a unique stay experience. You also always have Moxy, which is known globally for being a gay-friendly and consistently wonderful chain.

A classic Victorian building in Plymouth with intricate ironwork balconies under a bright blue sky, contrasted by modern architecture in the distance.

Grand Hotel, looking grand

Guesthouses and Alternative Accommodation in or near Plymouth

If you're more inclined towards a homely vibe during your stay, guesthouses like Mariners Guesthouse offer a welcoming atmosphere and personalized service.

Exploring alternative accommodation options, such as Bovisands Holiday Park, can enhance your Plymouth visit by immersing you in the beauty of nature while still being in proximity to the city's attractions.

Whether you prefer the luxury of top-rated hotels or the cozy charm of guesthouses, Plymouth's accommodation scene ensures a delightful stay for all visitors.

For more detailed listings and booking information, check out sites like Booking.com for the latest deals and availability in Plymouth.


Gay Nightlife in Plymouth

While definitely quaint in nature compared to Bristol or London, Plymouth offers a vibrant and inclusive gay nightlife scene, ensuring a fun and welcoming experience for gay men visiting the area. From lively clubs to cozy bars and relaxing saunas, there's something for every preference. And fun fact, Plymouth boasts the only gay sauna in the entire Southwest (not even Bristol can take that title)!

Gay Clubs in Plymouth and Gay Bars in Plymouth

When it comes to gay clubs in Plymouth, there are a few standout venues that promise an unforgettable night out.

  • The Swallow is a popular choice, known for its lively atmosphere, great music, and welcoming vibe. Check out the karaoke on Friday nights!
  • OMG Plymouth is another favorite hotspot among locals and visitors, offering a diverse crowd and fantastic drink specials. This is part of a chain, as there is a similar venue in Bristol!
The exterior of The Swallow, a gay bar in Plymouth

The Swallow, the name with a double entendre 😈

Other Bars and Pubs We Loved

  • Bread & Roses Plymouth - Very special pub for its gorgeous live music and excellent selection of beers. Unique interior and on a cool street in Plymouth.
Bread & Roses, a pub in Plymouth

Bread and Roses

  • The Three Crowns - Nice pub overlooking the Harbor in the heart of the Barbican.

  • Plymouth Gin Distillery - I will write more about this further down, as they have a really awesome gin distillery tour, but if you just want to hop in for a drink, enjoy honestly one of the best Gin and Tonics in all the land in a picturesque, centuries-old setting.

Interior of the Plymouth Gin Distillery bar with a rustic aesthetic, featuring high wooden beam ceilings, cozy blue upholstered seating, and warm pendant lighting, inviting a relaxed ambiance.

The opulent gin distillery interior

  • Le Vignoble: Enjoy a selection of self-serve fine wines and light bites in a cozy setting.

Gay Saunas in Plymouth and Gay Cruising in Plymouth

If you're looking to unwind and relax or even try out some gay cruising, Manticore has you covered! They have special nights like #THINKKINK and Naked Blackout (where you carry around a colored glow stick according to your position 🤣). With a sauna, steam room, tons of windy corners and cabins, a fully-stocked (and cheap) bar, and kind, down-to-earth people, you are in for a good night.


Best Restaurants and Cafés in Plymouth

When it comes to dining in Plymouth, you're in for a treat with a diverse array of culinary delights that cater to every palate. Whether you're craving traditional British fare, international cuisine, or a cozy café experience, Plymouth has something for everyone. While there is the touristy Barbican area, there is also the area around Cornwall Street, which has some pretty creative restaurants and plenty of cheap cafés to get an English Breakfast.

As Plymouth is super close to sea, there is literally a fish and chip shop on every corner. You cannot go wrong with any of them!

Top Dining Destinations:

  • The Boathouse Café - Situated by the water, this café serves up delicious seafood dishes in a picturesque setting.

  • Dutton's Café - If you haven't guessed yet, Plymouth is known for its gorgeous water views, and Dutton's is no exception. Enjoy a drink or even a three-course meal in a grassy setting overlooking the sea!

A refreshing perspective from Dutton's Cafe in Plymouth, featuring two glasses of Sandford Orchards cider on a wooden picnic table with patrons enjoying the outdoor seating area under a clear blue sky.

Devon in one picture, ciders, sea, and grass

  • Las Iguanas - If you're in the mood for Latin American flavors and vibrant cocktails, Las Iguanas is the place to be.

  • Mama Rita's Caribbean Kitchen - Stumbled into this restaurant by accident, and the goat curry changed our lives 😂. The jerk salmon was also memorable.

Goat curry served at Mama Rita's Caribbean Kitchen in Plymouth, United Kingdom

Craving that goat curry goodness!

  • Harbourside - Like I said, you cannot really go wrong with fish and chips anywhere in this city, but this place had a little atmospheric special touch!

  • Dimpsy's Diner - The American in me had to stop here because of the interior, and the food did not disappoint either! They are known for super delish plant-based alternatives!

The inviting facade of Dimpsy's Diner in Plymouth at night, with its bright red trim and arched windows showcasing the retro interior and neon signs, offering a glimpse into the classic American diner experience.

That exterior/interior though

Exterior view of FOODIE Kuchnia Polska, a Polish cuisine restaurant in Plymouth, with colorful folk patterns decorating its signboard, next to Shuropody foot clinic, symbolizing the diverse commercial offerings of the city.

Polish deliciousness in the heart of Plymouth

Cozy Cafés and Tea Houses:

  • Cliff Edge Cafe - Offering stunning views and a charming atmosphere, this café is perfect for a relaxing coffee and cake by the sea.

  • The Snack Box Cafe: A favorite spot for quick bites and satisfying meals - definitely give the English Breakfast a try.

  • The Tudor Rose Tea Rooms - Situated on probably the cutest street in the Plymouth Barbican, indulge in a delightful traditional English afternoon tea experience at this charming tearoom.

Charming street view of Tudor Rose Tea Rooms in Plymouth, distinguished by its white façade and quaint decorations, including a vintage bicycle and hanging Union Jack bunting, evoking a quintessentially British atmosphere.

Tudor Rose Tea Room is on the cutest street!

A cozy doughnut stand with a red and white striped awning offers a sweet treat at Plymouth's marina, with boats moored in the background under a grey sky, capturing a relaxed waterfront vibe.

When in Plymouth, immerse yourself in the rich culinary scene by exploring these top restaurants and cafés that promise a flavorful experience for every visitor. Whether you're looking for a casual dining spot or a cozy tea house, Plymouth has it all for you to savor and enjoy. 🍽️


What To Do in Plymouth

Plymouth is a vibrant city that embraces diversity and offers a plethora of cultural experiences and sites waiting to be explored. From historical landmarks to contemporary art galleries, there's something for every traveler to enjoy in this wholesome city.

Plymouth was the final point before the Mayflower sailed on over to America (and established Plymouth, Massachusetts) in 1620, so it reaps a ton of that colonial, maritime history, and you will feel it walking around.

Wander down to the Hoe and waterfront

Yes, you read that right, and no, the Hoe is not what you think it is. It is a stunning park hugging the waterfront (save that naughtiness for the sauna!). In the middle stands the very erect Smeaton's Tower (lighthouse). Just strolling through this park and up and down the waterfront will give you a good sense of what Plymouth is all about.

A clear day at Plymouth Hoe, showcasing the iconic Smeaton's Tower lighthouse with its red and white stripes, as a person strolls by and others enjoy the scenic ocean view in the background.

I spot a Hoe

Stroll around the Barbican

If you go a bit East on the waterfront, you will eventually get to the Barbican, a district that may as well be a quintessential British village in a city. It is filled with restaurants, bars, and sexy harbor views.

Calm waters at the Plymouth marina reflect an array of moored sailboats and yachts at dusk, with the urban skyline gently silhouetted against a cloud-streaked sky, encapsulating a serene harborside evening.

Which side is the sky at the Barbican harbor?!

Take a ferry to Cornwall

The Cremyll Ferry is super accessible from the Hoe (on the west side) and will take you on a short ride to a small, bucolic, forgotten corner of Cornwall. They run quite frequently, so you should be able to get there and back with no problems.

Do a gin tour (followed by gin and tonics)

Fabio and I are big fans of alcohol, if you haven't been able to tell from some of our other posts and videos, so a gin tour was just what we needed after a hard work week.

The basic tour at the Plymouth Gin Distillery is just under an hour and brings you through the distillery and then has you testing out a few of their gins on offer as well as learning about all the botanicals used in their gins. You will be an expert! At the end, you get a drink included from the gorgeous bar upstairs.

Sign me up!

Front view of the historic Plymouth Gin Black Friars Distillery building, with its bold signage and deep blue doors, as a visitor stands in front, and informational signs about The Barbican welcome passersby.Close-up of a refreshing gin and tonic with a lemon twist in a Plymouth Gin branded glass, set on a wooden table with the dark, elegant interior of the distillery lounge subtly in the background.

Potentially the best G+T ever?

Take a Harbor Cruise

If you are keen to explore more of the harbor from the sea instead of the land, Get Your Guide offers a one-hour harbor cruise.

Explore the LGBTQIA+ history and heritage of Plymouth

LGBTQIA+ History and Heritage

Check out the rich heritage of the LGBTQIA+ community in Plymouth by visiting sites like The Rainbow Connection. This initiative focuses on collecting and exploring the heritage of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities, offering a deeper understanding of Plymouth's diverse history.

Art and Exhibitions

Immerse yourself in the vibrant LGBTQIA+ art scene by exploring exhibitions like LGBTQIA+ History Month 2024. Artists in Plymouth are inspired by the colorful narratives and voices of the LGBTQIA+ community, highlighting the significance of inclusivity and representation through their art.

Plymouth Pride and Community Events

Experience the true spirit of unity and celebration by participating in Plymouth Pride events. These events promote equality and inclusivity, bringing together individuals from diverse backgrounds to commemorate the LGBTQIA+ community's resilience and strength.


Day Trips from Plymouth

Plymouth is not just about its vibrant city life; it's also a gateway to some fantastic day trip destinations. Whether you're a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a relaxing getaway, there are plenty of options to explore just a stone's throw away from Plymouth. It is best to have a car to visit some of these places, but some places should be accessible by public transportation.

Dartmoor National Park

A short drive from Plymouth, Dartmoor National Park offers a stark contrast to the cityscape. With its rugged landscapes, ancient woodlands, and roaming Dartmoor ponies, it's a perfect destination for hikers and nature lovers. Don't miss the iconic granite tors that dot the horizon, providing breathtaking panoramic views.

Wild Dartmoor ponies grazing peacefully by the weathered granite rock formations under a soft blue sky, capturing the serene essence of Dartmoor National Park's unique landscape.

The Dartmoor ponies

Eden Project

For a unique and educational day out, consider a trip to the Eden Project in Cornwall. This innovative botanical garden features giant biomes housing diverse plant species from around the world. Explore the lush rainforest biome or learn about sustainability in the Mediterranean biome.

The distinctive biomes of the Eden Project in Cornwall, with their geodesic dome structures, nestled in a natural valley under a clear blue sky, reflecting the project's dedication to environmental education.

The Eden Project

Exeter

If you're in the mood for some shopping and a taste of history, head to Exeter, the county seat of Devon. This historic city boasts a beautiful cathedral, charming medieval streets, and a vibrant shopping scene. Take a leisurely walk along the Quayside or explore the underground passages for a glimpse into Exeter's past.

Salcombe

For a coastal retreat, Salcombe is a picturesque village known for its sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and quaint shops. Enjoy a relaxing day by the sea, go kayaking along the estuary, or indulge in fresh seafood at one of the waterfront restaurants.

Stunning view of Salcombe, with its turquoise waters and sandy beach bordered by lush greenery, a quintessential South Devon haven for beach-goers and sailing enthusiasts on a sunny day.

Is this really the UK

Tavistock

Venture to the market town of Tavistock, nestled on the edge of Dartmoor. Explore the bustling Pannier Market, stroll along the River Tavy, or visit the historic Tavistock Abbey ruins. Don't forget to sample traditional Devonshire cream tea at one of the charming tearooms.

Whether you're yearning for outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or coastal escapades, the day trips from Plymouth offer a diverse range of activities to cater to every traveler's preferences. Make the most of your time in this vibrant region by exploring the nearby gems that promise unforgettable memories.


TL;DR: Plan Your Plymouth Trip (Logistics)

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Plymouth is during the spring and summer months, when the weather is warmer and the city is at its most vibrant. We happened to come during the height of Winter and while it rained a lot, there were still plenty of times when the sun peeked through. Either way, you must always be prepared to be welcomed with rain at any time of the day during any season, though.

Visa Information

  • EU, EEA, or Swiss Citizen: (Ehemm, f**** Brexit) Now you can stay a maximum of 6 months in the UK on tourism purposes

  • USA: You can stay a maximum of 6 months in the UK on tourism purposes

  • For other countries, take a look at iVisa.

Getting There

  • By air: Plymouth's closest airport is in Exeter. Take a look at flights today!.

  • By train: Plymouth is well-connected by train with the rest of the UK and Europe. To get from mainland Europe to Plymouth, the Eurostar will get you there to London, from which you can take another direct train. Check out trains. The train from London to Plymouth takes just over 3 hours.

  • By bus: The city is also well-connected by bus with the rest of the UK! Take a look at Flixbus or Omio to see your options.

Internet and Data in Plymouth 🛜

The latest alternative that we have been using when travelling is eSIMs. We use Airalo religiously. Through them, you can get an e-SIM that has coverage for most countries in Europe for much cheaper than roaming. Just make sure to research whether your phone is e-SIM compatible before buying an e-SIM. If you go this way, buy it before your trip and make sure you set it up beforehand as well (and turn off your normal SIM before connecting to data).

Health and Safety

Plymouth is a very safe city, with low crime.

For LGBTQ+ travelers, Plymouth is considered safe to express yourself!

The healthcare system in the UK is primarily provided by the National Health Service (NHS), which offers free or low-cost healthcare to all residents, including visitors.

Nevertheless, make sure you get your travel medical insurance!

Getting Around

🚌/🚇

Plymouth is served by buses as its main form of transportation, and it is very well-connected. There is a flat fare of £2 to go anywhere in the city, and you can use contactless payment, just like in London and Bristol.

🚴‍♀️

At the time of writing this, there is a bike-share with docks called Beryl. We did not try this out!

🚕

There are no big-name taxi apps serving Plymouth yet (i.e. Uber, Bolt)! However, there is a local brand called TAXIFIRST, where you can book through an app or by calling.

Currency

The currency in the UK is the British Pound (£). You will rarely need cash with you around the city. In 2024, all I have used it for was to get a haircut and to tip on walking tours.

Tipping Culture

Tipping is not compulsory in the UK, but it's customary to leave a 10-15% tip in restaurants if you're happy with the service.

Other London Things and Tips 😼

  • Power Plugs - Type G: The large and clunky one - Do yourself a favor and pick up a universal converter beforehand.

  • You can drink outside in Plymouth, but do not drink on buses.


Conclusion

We hope you enjoy Plymouth as much as we did! It was honestly quite a random turn of events that led us to Plymouth, but we are super glad we made it there! It seems that the further you get from London, the nicer the people get and the more dramatic and breathtaking the landscape gets. While the gay scene of Plymouth is undoubtedly quaint, it will offer you so much else.

Two cheerful men taking a selfie with the iconic red and white Smeaton's Tower lighthouse in the background at Plymouth Hoe, embodying a joyful day out for friends at this historic maritime landmark.

Our only photo together in Plymouth -- eyes closed