Barbican © Bex Ross/Evian Pepper
The historic port city of Plymouth is located on the Devon coast, about 190 miles (310km) southwest of London, and has been attracting both local and international holidaymakers for centuries. Dating back to the Bronze Age, this port's history has seen it function as a trading post during the height of the Roman Empire, and then as a departure point for the Mayflower, bearing pilgrims across the Atlantic. Plymouth's naval background is still evident in the city's shipbuilding industry, but the economy is also largely influenced by tourism and service-based businesses, the well-established facilities and infrastructure creating an appealing environment for visitors. There are ferries to and from Plymouth linking the city to France and Spain, and the city's airport supports a number of international flights. There are many historic attractions in Plymouth to enjoy, including the 17th-century Royal Citadel and Smeaton's Tower lighthouse, built in 1759. Visitors can stroll along the many cobbled streets of the Barbican, and read the memorial plaques on the Mayflower Steps in Sutton Pool, from which the famous pilgrims' voyage was launched. The National Marine Aquarium and Crownhill Fort are also great local attractions. Plymouth is a good base for excursions to Dartmoor National Park, the Tamar Valley and the popular surfing beaches of southeast Cornwall.