There is a great deal of naval and maritime history in Plymouth. The Plymouth Museum And Art Gallery has a changing programme of exhibitions. There's the Mayflower steps memorial to the famous ship which took settlers to the New World in 1620. You can see the anchor which once belonged to HMS Ark Royal in Armada Way. But perhaps the best way to reflect on Plymouth's place in history is from the viewing platform in Mount Wise Park. The Plymouth taxi driver we asked for a lift there did not know where Mount Wise Park was, but this is a place that deserves to be better known. From Mount Wise you have a beautiful view down over Plymouth Sound. Information panels on the viewing platform give details of the many famous voyages which sailed out through the harbour entrance in front of you. Drake, Hawkins, Raleigh, Nelson and Cook all sailed out of Plymouth. The English fleet left here in 1588 to face the Spanish Armada. In 1620 the Mayflower sailed for America. 1831 saw Charles Darwin sailing out through Plymouth Sound aboard HMS Beagle. This was the beginning of a five year voyage which would eventually result in The Origin of Species, and a revolution in the way we look at the world.
Part of the Scott Memorial
Mount Wise Park also has a memorial dedicated to Captain Robert Falcon Scott who died on his return journey over the Antarctic ice cap, after reaching the South Pole in 1912. Scott was born near here. A short passage from his final diary entry is laid out on the ground around the monument.
Directions: Coming into Plymouth on the A38, continue through the city, following signs for Devonport. At the top of Devonport Hill watch out for signs indicating a left turn to Mount Wise. Click here for an interactive map centred on Mount Wise.
Access: There are steep slopes and steps up to the viewing platform, but the view from easily accessible areas of the park is still very good.