Royal Citadel

This 17th-century stronghold was a bastion of military strength. Explore the walls and fortifications with a guided tour.

Take a tour along the ancient walls of the Royal Citadel and enjoy fantastic views out over Plymouth and the ocean. See the presence of the British military across the ages, from the cannons that would have been here during the 1600s to the helicopters and personnel that occupy the building today.

Learn about the history of the Royal Citadel, which was constructed in the late 1660s in an effort to protect Plymouth during the Dutch Wars. Plymouth had supported the Parliamentarians during the Civil War and the Citadel was able to keep a watchful eye on the locals; its cannons could also fire out on the town. The 70-foot (20-meter) walls made it the most important English defense for over 100 years and it was regularly strengthened. Today it is the base of the 29 Commando Regiment of the Royal Artillery, who provide specialist artillery support to the 3 Commando Brigade of the Royal Marines.

View the exterior of the fortress, which dominates Plymouth Sound. Tour the Citadel and you’ll be struck by the differences between this and other historical tours. You’ll undergo a brief security check and bag search and be informed that interior photography is not permitted. Unlike most 17th-century fortresses, the Citadel is still a working military base.

Pass through the baroque entrance gate and notice the buildings which house the Commando Regiment. Head up onto the imposing walls and your guide will take you along almost a mile of imposing stone ramparts. Enjoy the views of Plymouth itself, out over to Dartmoor and across the English Channel. See artillery built throughout history, including 17th-century cannons. Learn about their origins and uses from your guide, before ending the tour at the Royal Chapel of St. Katherine-upon-the-Hoe within the Citadel.

There is a small charge for tours of the Royal Citadel, which run throughout summer on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays with no advance booking required. Be aware that as this is an active military base tours can be canceled without prior notice and large bags are not permitted. Find the Citadel on the Plymouth Hoe, near the city center.

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