Plymouth: the Gateway to Cornwall

I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with Plymouth. When I was a child living in Truro, I looked forward to excursions to Plymouth during school holidays; Plymouth had an ice skating rink, a swimming pool with flumes, a Disney store and a pizza hut – Truro did not. It was exciting being in the ‘big city’ I suppose, back then. Even though I went on school trips and family weekends to London, I still considered Plymouth to be quite big.

Throughout my early teens I carried on with the ice skating, shopping and pizza hut trips with my friends; it was always a bit of an adventure getting the train ‘up country’ to Plymouth.

Then I went to uni and lived in Bath for three years, then moved to Bristol and even London for a while, completely putting Plymouth out of mind. At that time, I only missed the beaches in Cornwall; you always long for what you can’t have!

Nearly four years ago, my mum moved to St Germans, which is only 15 minutes on the train from Plymouth and about a 20 – 30 minute drive, depending on traffic. Before I moved back down, I would come to visit mum for a long weekend and she would often suggest going into Plymouth. I was never really that excited about the idea because when I returned to Cornwall from Bristol I was only interested in seeing the sea! I also had the view that Plymouth is a bit grey and grubby compared to other cities I have lived in.

Now that I’m living back down here, I still feel the same way about the beach and have talked about moving back to the Truro area, to be closer to the ‘nicer’ beaches. This could be great, as I still have one of my best friends down there and I would be able to drive to places like Falmouth, Newquay and Perranporth really quickly. However, there aren’t very many marketing or copywriting jobs going in the Truro area.

Plymouth, on the whole, has more opportunities. I can commute to Plymouth from my mum’s house until I can afford to move out. Plus, my boyfriend lives in Plymouth and I already want to see him more than I do. So, I am beginning to warm to the idea of living in Plymouth.

I still believe that some of the city is a bit ‘grey and grubby’, there are worn out derelict buildings and some areas are a bit ugly – but isn’t that true of all cities? But there are also some really beautiful parts of Plymouth such as the Hoe, the Barbican and the Royal William yard; all with views of the water, lovely bars and restaurants and a lively atmosphere.

Plymouth is described as ‘Britain’s Ocean City’ which I sort of laughed at at one stage because it isn’t really next to a beach. However, you’ve got the Plymouth Lido with small coves below and there are plenty of beaches nearby, such as Bovey Sands, which I visited recently. Just two days ago, I was on a boat with my boyfriend and his family on the Plymouth Sound, watching the British Firework Championships – it was absolutely incredible and it was so relaxing just bobbing around on the water!

The fact remains that Plymouth is a city which is right on the ocean; you can get to the beach easily, enjoy a drink with views of the ocean or harbour, and there’s plenty of stuff to do, which isn’t true of a lot of places in Cornwall. I suppose, in Plymouth you have the best of both worlds: you’re by the seaside but also in civilisation!

Anyway, the Tamar bridge connects Plymouth to Cornwall, so if I lived there I could feel comforted by the fact I could be back in Kernow within minutes!

I’m always going to be fiercely proud to be Cornish and I can’t see myself moving too far away again because I am so in love with the sea – but Plymouth may just be the perfect option for me at the moment.


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