The ultimate guide to cruising the West Country

The West Country is packed with enticing boating spots and hidden gems. In this feature Peter Cumberlidge picks the best bits of Devon and Cornwall

Plymouth SoundPlymouth

Plymouth Sound is a historic naval roadstead, which catches the imagination as you pass the outer breakwater. To port is Cawsand Bay, where sailing fleets once anchored.

Ahead is Drake’s Island, the elegant seafront and famous grassy ‘Hoe’ where the great man finished his game of bowls before chasing after the Spanish.

Passing the island you branch to starboard to reach Plymouth Yacht Haven or the two marinas nearest the city – Queen Anne’s Battery and Sutton Harbour.

Sutton is a fascinating locked basin in the heart of the Barbican old quarter, surrounded by restaurants, cafés and salty pubs. Queen Anne’s Battery is outside the lock, set back from the bustle.

Plymouth Yacht HavenPlymouth Yacht Haven (pictured above) is on the south side of the Cattewater, a short ferry ride from the city. But my Plymouth favourite is Mayflower Marina, just into the Tamar a mile past Drake’s Island.

The pontoons face some fine old naval buildings, now part of a smart development at Royal William Yard. Across the river is a leafy country park.

Favourite restaurants

Jolly Jacks is a great cruising bistro at Mayflower Marina. Breakfast from 0900. Rockfish seafood café is on the east side of Sutton lock and Quay33 on the west. The Bridge restaurant overlooks Plymouth Yacht Haven just across the water.

Pubs worth a visit

The Barbican has pubs galore. I like the Ship Inn, on the west side of the harbour north of the lock. If you anchor in Cawsand Bay, don’t miss the delightful Devonport Inn.

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