iQ in the city: Plymouth

City guide Plymouth Social life Student life Lifestyle

Plymouth is a port city with huge maritime heritage and history, with lots to do from fish markets to museums and night clubs. Check out our city guide to get a flavour of student life in Plymouth, all of it a short walk from our base in the city, Astor House.



The Harbour – 7 minute walk

There is always a great deal of activity on the water, including frequent warship movements and swarms of sailing boats. Other events which take place in the port are the British Firework Championships, Armed Forces Day as well as open-air concerts such as MTV Crashes. The Fastnet Yacht Race also ends in the port.

Theatre Royal Plymouth – 5 minute walk

The Lyric is the main auditorium, which regularly hosts large-scale musicals, opera and ballet within Theatre Royal Plymouth. The venue is a fantastic space to enjoy your favourite shows, with many coming to Plymouth before they hit the West End. The theatre has hosted shows including Sister Act, The Wedding Singer, Grease, Hairspray, Miss Saigon and many more.

The Plymouth Pavilions – 10 minute walk

Plymouth Pavilions is a leisure, entertainment and sports venue, including a 4000-capacity arena and indoor ice rink. It's the home of the Plymouth Raiders professional basketball team who compete in the elite British Basketball League. Here you will also be able to enjoy a whole host of top comedy and music acts, which regularly choose this venue as part of their tour schedule.  

The National Marine Aquarium – 15 minutes

This is one of the larger aquariums in Britain. The National Marine Aquarium is home to a wide array of marine species including, rays, sharks, turtles and hundreds of varieties of fish. The highlight is the Atlantic Ocean tank, one of the deepest tanks in Europe.

Royal William Yard -  15 minutes walk to the waterbus

Royal William Yard is one the most important groups of historic military buildings in Britain, thriving with businesses, retailers and with a wide range of arts and cultural events. Enjoy a range of outdoor plays, open-air films, arts and crafts markets. If you want to grab a bite, Las Iguanas, Le Bistrot Pierre and Seco Lounge are some of the restaurants available, all with amazing views.

Walkabout - 7 minute walk

A great Australian-themed bar, with lots of TV screens and great discounts for students, this is the place for you if you’re into sports. Walkabout also turns into a nightclub at night, with a range of themed party nights - Wednesday is student night.

Union Rooms - 7 minute walk

The Union Rooms is at the heart of Plymouth night life, serving pub food classics and great value drinks, with a popular outdoor area where you can relax in the summer. The downstairs turns into a dancefloor in the evening so you can dance the night away with your friends.

Revolution - 7 minute walk

Revs Plymouth is split across two floors with three bars creating an elegant and stylish atmosphere. The main bar offers a relaxed eating area during the day but transforms into a vibrant and energetic cocktail bar by night. The Club Room is open Friday to Sunday and boasts two bars. You'll find expertly mixed cocktails made from an extensive range of flavoured vodkas and premium spirits.

Pryzm - 10 minute walk

Pryzm is the biggest nightclub in Plymouth, with no less than 5 bars spread across 2 nightclubs at this venue, which plays commercial music. The venue hosts events featuring the biggest DJs and acts on the scene, with a wide range of VIP booths to book out with your friends.

Cuba – 15 minute walk

Cuba is the most popular late night/early morning nightclub in the city, opening until 6am Friday and Saturday nights, and 4am the rest of the week. The lively bar serves light bites alongside burgers and pizzas and has a great choice of cocktails to enjoy. This is a great place to go if it doesn’t quite feel like home time, and it’s right opposite the university campus.


Food and Drink

The Barbican – 5 minute walk

This is the original harbour area of Plymouth, with the streets still retaining some of the architecture of an old fishing port. Here you will find many shops, bars with live music and restaurants for all tastes. It also includes the Barbican Theatre, retail art galleries, the Mayflower steps and Plymouth’s finest export at the Plymouth Gin Distillery.

Why not pop down and enjoy fish and chips at the harbour and take in the amazing atmosphere?

The Hoe (seafront) – 3 minute walk

The jewel in the crown for Plymouth is The Hoe. Take a stroll along the seafront and enjoy the amazing picturesque views.

The large, open promenade overlooks Plymouth Sound, Mount Batten, Mount Edgcumbe and Drake's Island with prominent landmarks such as Smeaton's Tower. It has plenty of green spaces to chill, sunbathe or meet up with friends. On the main seafront, there are plenty of cafés and restaurants.



Drake Circus – 12 minute walk

The obvious choice for high street shopping in Plymouth is Drake Circus Shopping Centre, which has over 60 high street retailers including Game, Topshop, Apple Store, New Look, Cath Kidston, Fatface, Superdry, H&M and Primark. There is something here for all your buying needs, with many of the shops offering great student discounts.

Supermarkets – 1 minute walk

iQ Astor House features an onsite Tesco Express for your convenience, but there are plenty of other supermarkets for you to pick from. Aldi and Lidl (in Union Street) are around a 15-minute walk, while Sainsbury’s is approximately 5 minutes away.



Plymouth is a compact city and easy to get around. Plymouth University and Plymouth College of Art are both within walking distance of our building. Here's the lowdown:

Plymouth University – 12 minute walk

Plymouth College of Art – 12 minute walk

City College Plymouth – 5 minute walk to the free shuttle bus

Plymouth Marjon University (St Mark & St John) – 5 minute walk to main bus route

Plymouth Train Station – 15 minute walk

Plymouth Bus Station – 8 minute walk

Main bus routes to Royal Parade – 5 minute walk


Your iQ team will be happy to help you get to know Plymouth better, so please ask at Reception if you need any help. And if you find somewhere in town that you think everyone else should know about, let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using hashtag #MyiQLife


Location inspiration

If you're not sure where you're heading yet, take a look around our properties in all corners of the UK.

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Shoreditch, London