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For decades, some have dismissed Plymouth as sprawling and ugly, pointing to its architectural eyesores and sometimes palpable poverty. But the arrival of high-profile chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Mitch Tonks and an ongoing waterfront regeneration begs a rethink. Yes the city, an important Royal Naval port, suffered heavy WWII bomb damage, and even today it can appear more gritty than pretty, but Plymouth is also packed with possibilities for visitors: swim in an art deco lido, tour a gin distillery, learn to SUP, kayak and sail, roam an aquarium, take a boat trip across the bay, then see a top-class theatre show and party till dawn. And the aces in the pack? The history-rich Barbican district and Plymouth Hoe – a cafe-dotted, wide, grassy headland offering captivating views of a boat-studded bay.

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