Long live Plymouth: ‘Britain’s Ocean City’ and the true gem of Devon

You haven’t lived until you’ve been to The Hoe Foreshore

“Britain’s Ocean City”, reads the signs as you enter the land of Janners and everything grey. Slightly misleading, but nevertheless hopeful.

Telling people that you’re from Plymouth can either go not one, not two, but three ways:

  1. A blank face, no idea where the hell it is. You then say Devon, Cornwall, Exeter? please go home and look at the map and get back to me.
  2.  Agreeing that they know where it is (turns out they’re thinking of Portsmouth, classic).
  3.  Last but not least, and the worst of them:  THEY KNOW WHERE IT IS. fuck *queue jokes dissing your hometown* already have a tragic opinion on the city and instantly judge you. You find yourself trying to justify your hometown. “It’s actually really pretty look at this picture”

I am strongly led to believe that most of the dissing comes from the accent. Imagine Bristol meets Cornish chav and you’re kind of there. Nobody knows why, but we say too at the end of everything. “Where’s that too?”. “Yer you” is used as a response to almost everything, and “geddon” means good job.

Yer you

The Hoe

If you have ever been privileged enough to visit, consider yourself lucky because no where else in this country is there a seaside city which main attraction is a promenade named “The Hoe”.

Regardless of the connotations that your mind may usually stroll off to imagine what we all think the word ‘hoe’ means – it has absolutely no similarities. According to our most reliable source, Wikipedia: “The name derives from the Anglo-Saxon word Hoe, a sloping ridge shaped like an inverted foot and heel”… What?

The Hoe in all it’s glory

Having such a beautiful land space right in the centre of town, you’d think us locals would treat it with the utmost care. However, it’s literally just another spot to get pissed and was all the better when you are underage.

I know for a fact that anybody would be lying if they denied getting pissed next to the lighthouse, at the tender age of 14 with a bottle of Lambrini, thinking that they could conquer the world. Kind of like Sir Francis Drake.

The best thing about The Hoe is that, even when you are legally allowed to drink alcohol it’s still an absolute classic and probably the most popular prink spot. Especially in the summer, as soon as the tiniest glimpse of sun is out, everybody’s got their tops off and their crate of tinnies. It’s still fucking freezing, but us Plymouthians are just like the “Britain’s Ocean City” sign – hopeful.

If you sit in a certain spot you can literally see groups of people all with their crates walking up from Tesco having the same great idea they have every time the fucking sun comes out. The Janners all gather together on this patch of grass as one, as if it is the solar eclipse for another royal Plymuff piss up. No matter how old you grow, what job you get, what season it is, The Hoe will always have a special place in one janners heart.

Expect fights, litter, chavs, portable speakers, BBQ’s and sunburn.


Meeting anybody? Top Maccies. Eating anywhere? Top Maccies. Need a wee? Top Maccies. If you know, you know. Top Maccies is the absolute epicentre of town, well the top of town that is.

You see, Plymouth city centre has some weird divide. You have the top of town, fancy new(ish) shopping Centre Drake Circus, where you’ll find shops such a Hotel Chocolat, Pandora, Topshop etc all aesthetically pleasing. It’s almost like segregation, you stroll to the bottom of town and well, I don’t actually know what shops even exist down there. I don’t even know if life exists down there. It’s like a bomb went off 10 years ago and nobody noticed.

The main attraction of those ends – don’t go down there on your own, you have been warned – is the Market, which hasn’t changed since I was about three years old. I’ll never quite understand how Zara closed down and that place is still going. Inside there are about 20 stalls, 17 of which all sell lighters, rizlas and bongs.

Leaving the market and entering the dire streets are either middle-aged adults with a carrier bag of booze, tinnie in one hand, a rollie hanging out their mouth shouting “YER YOU, GEDDON BEY” or a young mum screaming at her child. This part of town is filled with lost hope, and desperation of a refurb. There is a maccies though, bottom maccies.

the market of all things bleak

North Hill

“Where did you go to?”

“Ended up on North Hill”

Where dreams and regrets are made. North Hill is the glimmer of fun surrounding everything bleak. I’m never quite sure how to describe it to people who aren’t from Plymouth, but it is essentially a strip of bars. Just like that one you went to in Shagaluf on your ladz holiday. At the top you’ve got Mousetrap and you then work your way down to Cuba, Bang Bang (still refuse to accept that it is now Switch), The Skiving Scholar, Bac Bar, Air and more.

This divine selection of bars can only insure you for a glam night out on the town. Not. People turn into animals on North Hill, we’ve all done things that we can’t even admit to on this PL1 postcode. I’m not sure what it is, but throughout the years of going their underage and legal I have seen friends, cousins, aunties have the deviant side to them brought out which only North Hill can do. My friends and I literally refer to a night out as “let’s have a North Hill night” and you know that you are going to get absolutely twisted.

You will always “end up” on North Hill, we will never know why, and we will never know how. Don’t kick yourself for it, it happens to the best of us.

You could be on a night out in Exeter and somehow still manage to “end up on North Hill”.


Whether you’ve just come from Factory and are still mashed in disbelief that the night is over, getting a taxi over from Ocejanners because you simply can’t walk in your heels anymore, or if you’re literally next door in Bang Bang (which is now Switch but it will never be the same, RIP Bang Bang), you can always rely on Cuba. They play some absolute bangers and allow you to have one last boogie with your mate. However, they all have slowly dropped like flies – so it’s usually just you and a stranger doing the Cotton Eye Joe.

No matter what mood you are in, Cuba will always find a way to get you up on that side, argue with people who are hogging the pole, swing around on the pole, grind on the person next to you, and continue drinking Jägerbombs. You know the end of is near when they play Fleetwood Mac, but you still refuse to leave. You then find yourself dancing to the Macerena at 6am, the sunlight is coming through the windows.


You look at the door, where your next move should be, which has a big poster saying, “Keep the noise down” and question when your life got so tragic.