Office Leasing Guide - Plymouth
Maritime city Plymouth occupies a prime position on Devon’s south coast. Its major port has made it a popular base for businesses since the days of the Roman Empire, and it remains a bustling hub for trade.
Maritime city Plymouth occupies a prime position on Devon’s south coast. Its major port has made it a popular base for businesses since the days of the Roman Empire, and it remains a bustling hub for trade. The city that saw Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh and Charles Darwin set sail from its shores is now a cosmopolitan hub of modern activity.
After significant restoration, Plymouth’s waterfront now has a vibrant cultural scene. The Hoe, overlooking Plymouth Sound, offers a peaceful green space with a lido and The Royal Citadel fortress. Millbay, just west of the Hoe, is a natural inlet where large ferries and smaller privately-owned boats moor side-by-side. On the other side of the Hoe you’ll find the Barbican, a historic harbour with cobbled streets and an array of bars and restaurants. And at the opposite end lies Royal William Yard, which has been transformed from a military building into a collection of popular eateries.
Plymouth is now a city where naval history, maritime trade and other businesses collide. It is also a great place to call home, with Exeter just an hour away, Dartmoor close by and the sea on the doorstep. As the second-largest city in the south-west after Bristol, Plymouth is also a good base for businesses. Health, digital and science sectors are thriving in the area, and the arrival of Oceansgate, a maritime business and research hub, is set to make the city even more popular.
Considering choosing Plymouth as the home for your business? Here’s everything you need to know about renting space in the city.
Oceansgate is a new commercial area in Devonport, overlooking the seafront. It is still under development, with dockyards currently being renovated. Once complete, it is expected to be a world-leading research and development site for the maritime industry, making it ideal if your business is science or tech-led. The likes of Rolls Royce, Royal Yachts International, Babcock and Burgess Marine are already based in Oceansgate.
For a more cosmopolitan feel, you could opt for the city centre. Here, offices find a home among retail spaces, making for a convenient spot for businesses. It’s also a short walk from the popular Barbican and Sutton Harbour waterfront zone, which is the ideal place to head out for after-work drinks and team lunches. Choose an office in the south of the centre to be close to the waterfront or north to be within easy reach of the train station and new talent from the University.
Plymouth is a way from London, but there are regular rail services - with 16 operating daily. This service makes the journey time three hours. You can also use the train to reach Exeter in under an hour and Bristol in under two hours, and both cities are home to airports for international flights. The station is just north of the city centre, which is conveniently located for offices across the city.
This is the primary bus service operator in the city. It works on a zone basis, like that in London, where your ticket covers multiple areas in that zone. The city centre is zone one, surrounding suburbs are zone two, across the bay are zone three, and all of Cornwall is in zone four.
Using the bus routes, you can travel along the waterfront over to Plympton, through the centre, over to neighbouring Saltash, across the water to Torpoint and north to the city outskirts.
The area relies heavily on a few key routes to get around the city. Although the city centre can mostly be covered on foot, you may need to use the car to get across to neighbouring locations. The A38, also known as the Devon Expressway, is one of the key routes that connect the city to Exeter and Cornwall. It runs through the northern suburbs and will eventually lead you to the M5 for travelling north to Bristol and Birmingham.
Although relatively small, Exeter Airport does provide flights to popular European destinations including Cyprus, Majorca and Swedish Lapland. The airport is also used for many domestic flights, to Newcastle and Edinburgh for example. It is also convenient for reaching Belfast and Guernsey. You can reach the airport in around an hour from Plymouth city centre.
Bristol Airport is around two hours away and has flights to more European destinations. If you need to travel further afield, you may have to travel to London Heathrow or Birmingham Airport, which are both a three-hour drive away.
Overnight guests have plenty of affordable options in Plymouth. Across the city centre, you’ll find chains including Jury’s Inn, Crowne Plaza and Travelodge. If you’re hosting a client you want to impress, you could book them into a luxury apartment at Royal William Yard, a property overlooking the terrace or at The Crescent, all of which are within grand, historic buildings.
Most of the hotels are dotted around the city centre and in the streets close to the Hoe. They’re within easy reach of the harbour front and the popular office locations, making them convenient for both meetings and for treating clients to a meal out.
Thanks to significant regeneration, the city has seen an influx of places to eat and drink in recent years. Whether you need a quiet bite to eat or somewhere fancy for an important lunch meeting, you’ll find somewhere that fits the bill around the waterfront.
Book a table at The Greedy Goose in Plymouth’s oldest building if you want to be wowed by contemporary dishes lovingly made. Or get yourself a great view of Plymouth Sound by heading to the top of The Artillery Tower, where you’ll have a three-course set menu or a tasting menu to devour while you take in the scenery.
When you’re right by the sea, freshly caught fish is always on the menu. There are plenty of options for seafood lovers. Try Platters for a historic and local vibe or opt for The Boathouse Café for a more modern experience. If seafood isn’t your thing, you’ll find everything from pizzas at The Stable to Greek at the Meze Grill in the Sutton Harbour area.
Whether you’re planning a team brainstorm or an important client update, you’ll find a meeting room to suit in Plymouth. The city’s libraries offer a convenient and affordable location for a professional meeting room, while Jury’s Inn provides a smart space for hosting large-scale meetings and conferences. If you need advanced technology to ensure your day runs smoothly, try the Plymouth Science Park. Or for something totally different, you can book space at the Dartmoor Zoo where you can get your thinking caps on in a private meeting room and meet the animals for some team fun afterwards.
It’s easy to keep fit and active in Plymouth. If your office is based near the city centre or Barbican areas, your staff can sign up to The Gym or one of the independent gyms nearby. Or if you’re based around the Sutton Harbour, truGym or Nuffield Health might be more convenient. The city has a unique offering for those who like to keep fit – water sports. Open all-year-round, the Mount Batten Centre makes it easy to try a new activity - whether that’s paddleboarding, windsurfing or kayaking.
As a smaller city, Plymouth offers plenty of shops within walking distance of most locations, making it ideal for grabbing essentials on your lunch break. The city centre packs all kinds of brands into one place including Topshop, JD Sports, FatFace, White Stuff, Primark, Joules and more. Many of these are in the shopping centre, Drake Circus. If you’d prefer to potter at a leisurely pace in independent stores, there are a number to explore around Sutton Harbour.
The Pilgrim Fathers departed from Plymouth for the New World on board the Mayflower. This journey was followed by a number of adventurers who also set sail from Plymouth, including Captain Cook on the Endeavour and Charles Darwin on The Beagle.
Local hero, Sir Francis Drake, is said to have been playing bowls on the Hoe when he heard news of the Spanish Armada making its way to British shores. Apparently, he continued playing his game, knowing the weather and tide conditions would prevent the English fleet from being able to set sail.
The city’s Jackas Bakery is believed to be the oldest commercial bakery in the world still in operation. It is located in the Barbican area. That’s not all. Plymouth Gin Distillery is the oldest of its kind in England and is still distilling gin today.
After Plymouth sided with parliamentarians during the English Civil War, cannons were installed facing towards the sea and to the town as a reminder that the royals had overall power.
The New Palace Theatre has hosted world-famous acts in its time, including Laurel and Hardy and Charlie Chaplin.
If you’ve always wanted to work near the coast, Bournemouth and Poole are two great options for running a business in. Once the playground of fisherman, today the two areas are seeing prominent business growth and innovation. With a young and skilled population and a diverse mix of sectors, there are lots of exciting opportunities here.