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Summer in Sutton Harbour

24th July 2018

With the kids breaking up from school and the recent heat wave gifting us some amazing weather, it’s safe to say that summer has well and truly arrived.

To help you make the most of your summer in Britain’s Ocean City, we’ve put together a list of all of the events and activities happening in and around Sutton Harbour. From family days out at the National Marine Aquarium to massive events on Plymouth Hoe, this summer is jam-packed with exciting things to do to keep you and your family happy.  

National Marine Aquarium

The National Marine Aquarium is hosting a summer event called the Big NMA Summer Show from July 28 to September 2. Spend a day at the aquarium and find out about the different ocean ambassadors through a series of interactive competitions and fun games. You may even get your picture taken by the paparaz-sea on the red carpet at the Eddystone Reef tank or spot a SEA-lebrity on the summer trail – don’t forget to take a selfie with the SEA-lebrities at the selfie stations located throughout the aquarium.

To help you fit all of these amazing activities in, the National Marine Aquarium has extended its opening hours from July 28 and will now be open from 9.30am to 6.00pm. The aquarium café will also be open for longer, offering an upgraded breakfast deal and hot food until 5pm.

If this wasn’t exciting enough the aquarium is also hosting the SEA-lebrities Sleep Over on August 18 and NMA Boat Trips throughout the summer. Visitors for the sleepover will get the chance to see the aquarium after dark and fall asleep as the sharks swim silently by and boat trip goers will be given the chance to spot wildlife off of the coast of Plymouth. Tickets for both of these events will need to be purchased in advance from the aquarium’s website here:   

MTV Presents: Ocean City Sounds

On July 26 & 27 thousands of music fans will gather on Plymouth Hoe for two nights of world-class music at Ocean City Sounds. Presented by popular music channel MTV, this event will see the iconic Hoe transformed for a two day music festival with huge acts scheduled to perform.

Headlining the first night of Ocean City Sounds will be the ever popular Bastille supported by two-time MOBO Award winner and Brit Award winner Ella Eyre along with Professor Green and R3WIRE & VARKSI. Plymouth will then be transported into the Spanish party resort of Ibiza on Friday as Pete Tong and the Heritage Orchestra wow crowds with an Ibiza Classics show like no other, conducted by Jules Buckley. Joining Pete Tong on stage will be rising star Becky Hill who will also perform a solo set during the evening. Other performances on Friday include DJ sets from Groove Armada’s Tom Findlay and BBC Radio 1’s Danny Howard.

Tickets for MTV Presents: Ocean City Sounds are £25 per day or £45 for the two-day event, with VIP tickets selling out quickly. All tickets are subject to a £2.50 booking fee. You can buy tickets here.

British Firework Championships

The British Firework Championship returns on August 8 & 9 to re-ignite Plymouth for the summer. Six of the nation’s top firework companies will battle it out to showcase the best 10 minute display – and more importantly, wow the audience.

The fireworks will be launched from Mount Batten breakwater, and you’ll get the best views from the Hoe, Sutton Harbour, the Citadel and along the Hoe waterfront. The pops and bangs of the championship, however, will echo out across the whole of Plymouth, and the event website says to keep pets inside, play music or television to block out noise, and to let them hide if necessary.

The six competitors are Fuse Fireworks, Fully Fused Fireworks and the UK Firework Company on the Wednesday night, and Smart Pyrotechnics, Illusion Fireworks and Phoenix Fireworks on the Thursday. Both events are set to begin at 9.30pm and the championship will end at 11.30pm on Thursday.

Up on the Hoe, you can listen to live music, provided by Heart FM, and keep away the cold with the thrill rides at the fair. If that doesn’t help, you can grab a hot chocolate – or maybe something stronger – from the food and drink vans on the Hoe and Madeira Road on both nights.

The event is free, just be sure to get to your chosen viewing spot fairly early, as the Hoe and Citadel are sure to be packed with pyrotechnic fans. For more information, click here.


Ocean City Blues N Jazz Festival

From August 10 – 12, the Ocean City Blues n Jazz Festival brings a familiar sound back to the Barbican and Sutton Harbour. You can hear the blues classics from midday Friday, right through to 6pm Sunday.

The Jumping Out Jazz Duo will kick start the festival on Friday at 12pm, leading the way for fellow musicians Gozer Goodspeed, Dart Valley Stompers, Caddick & Parked, Midnight Blues Train, The Blow Up, and the Rumblestrutters, before The Ben Robey Band round off the opening day.

Saturday’s performers include The Pete Canter Quartet, Benny Guitar Carr, Orpheus, Julian Piper & Junkyard Angels, Andy Quick Band, Doghouse Rhythm, Lucky ol Sun, and Lottie Bolt Band. Both Friday and Saturday begin at noon, and end at 10pm.

Sunday begins at noon with Joss Kidd Quarter, before Jeff the Horse Horsey, Neil Maya Quarter, and Joanna Cooke take to the stage. Vince Lee’s Big Combo will end the swinging weekend at 6pm.

The event is free, so grab some food from a local restaurant, sitting outside, and make the most of some wonderful live music.


Plymouth Seafood Festival

The Plymouth Seafood Festival lands on the Barbican and Sutton Harbour once more, from September 15-16. For seven salty years, the festival has brought an array of seafood, regional chefs, and family friendly activities to Sutton Harbour and its historic Barbican Quarter.

This event supports the local fishing industry, celebrating Plymouth’s numerous seafood restaurants, as well as Plymouth Fisheries, the second largest fresh fish market in the UK that receives up to 600 tonnes of fish, and that Plymouth is the first city in the world to be awarded the Fish2Fork Blue Fish status, for committing to sourcing sustainable fish.

You can find a range of delicious food stalls at the event, and local chefs will be in the Cookery Theatre showcasing recipes and demonstrating skills required to cook any number of seafood dishes. Not just for the adults however, there is a crabbing competition by the Boat House Café on the Sunday, complete with prizes, and CATERed will entertain kids with hands on cooking, teaching them about local produce.

You can bid on some of the freshest catches at the fish auction (proceeds going to the Fisherman’s Mission charity) and have a look at Debby Mason’s fabulous fish-themed artwork, including a poster showing all of the fish species local to our waters.

On Saturday, there will be the return of the incredible cardboard boat race, on Commercial Wharf. Pre-build a boat out of nothing but cardboard and tape, or make one on the day, and the last one to sink is the winner.

The Plymouth Sustainable Fish City campaign is run by the National Marine Aquarium and began in 2013 to bring together partners and initiatives to support responsible, local production and consumption.