So you’re chasing your dream and moving to Devon. And, you’ve seen how super cheap property is in Plymouth and you’ll have a bit of that, thank you very much. But if you’re not that familiar with the Ocean City (as no-one except journalists call it), you need to know where the best areas to live are, right?
Picking a place to live in Plymouth can be tricky as you can be trading off between living centrally and being in the heart of student land, or trying to make sense of which suburb is actually nice to live in.
OK, pretty vague, so where do you need to pick to get the best out of living in Plymouth?
Straight in at the top is safely middle class Peverell, usually one of the top choices for people moving within Plymouth. The good bits? You’ve got Central Park right in your back yard for walking and jogging, nice big houses with decent sized back gardens and the shops of Peverell High Street and Mutley for all the convenience of shops and takeaways. It’s also a short hop to the city centre, with good bus links (or walk through the park) and it’s also very easy to get onto the A38 for a quick escape.
The downsides of Peverell? It is more expensive than other areas in this part of town, it can be a bit studenty (which might mean noise or the ever-present scent of pot smoke, which you may or may not think is a good thing) and on match days you’ll find it impossible to park your car.
Other than that. Lovely.
2. Mount Gould/Lipson
One of the best things about the Mount Gould and Lipson area is that your property is quite likely (not always mind) to have a sea view. This is especially true for properties lining Mount Gould Road itself and along the terraces that line this road.
Houses here are also pretty big, even if they are terraced, and usually have a good sized garden too. If you find property in Mount Gould or Lipson, do take a look. It is one of the nicer areas of Plymouth and pretty safe – meaning not much crime. There are a couple of parks such as Freedom Fields park (they have an annual festival which is nice) and Tothill Park.
The downsides to Mount Gould and Lipson are the hills. It’s hilly AF which means if you’re walking it’s always a trek. There are also no pubs, which might not be a big deal for most as you can just get a taxi to the Barbican or something.
3. Durnford Street/Millbay
Millbay is very much on the up, with lots of new apartments springing up, meaning you might find a great investment here for the future. Nearby Durnford Street is also a popular spot to pick up nice old terraced houses or flats in the area, and you’re very close to the buzzing Royal William Yard and the beach/waterfront at Devils Point.
Proximity to the city centre is also good, and if Union Street ever becomes anything other than a bit of a run down relic of the past, then it might be a good destination. As it stands, it looks a bit rough although there is a blossoming independent scene trying to reclaim it.
Downsides to this area of Plymouth are that gardens are pretty rare, so you’ll be living on your balcony or a small yard if you find a house. It is also a development area, so there are still building works going on probably for the next few years too.
Ever since the Guardian ran a piece about Plymouth being one of the best places to grab property in the UK, Stoke has been held up as one of the best areas to live in Plymouth. There is some truth in this, with some lovely big houses for what are still reasonably low prices. The area is all very leafy and has that not-quite-gentrified-yet air which is quite refreshing.
There is also the high street at Stoke Village with some decent take aways and restaurants and a short hop into town if you need. Plus the benefits of Devonport Park on your doorstep.
The downsides to Stoke might also be that some bits of it are still a bit sketchy, and the overlap with Devonport can lead to some undesirables lurking around at all hours. Having said that, most people moving to the city from, for example London, will find the area pretty safe and friendly.
Stoke high street could also be more dynamic, with a lack of decent coffee shops or any signs of gentrification. Despite this, it’s a pleasant area to live in.
Is this the Beverly Hills of Plymouth? It’s a bit of a stretch to be honest, but this is where your expensive properties are found, which means if you view a house here it’ll probably stretch your budget but you’ll love it. Like most other areas in this list, think semi-detached or terraced houses on leafy streets.
One of the benefits of the area is you’re quite close to the arterial roads in and out of the city, which is handy for commuting. Other than that, you’ll mostly be living here for quality of property rather than access to ameneties.
The downsides to living in Compton, Hartley, Mannamead are mostly down to the cost of property. But you might well find a bargain too. There also isn’t really a high street/local shops to speak of, although you’re close to the big Morrisons supermarket at Manadon.
This area is often mistaken for Stoke, but actually sits in the valley between Stoke and the city centre. You’ll find decent terraced properties here, with Victoria Park helping to make the area even more appealing.
Houses here tend to be of a decent size and with a garden or yard of sorts.
There’s not much to say about it, other than it’s quite well placed and can be a bit of a bargain.
Heading out from the city centre now, one of the better suburban areas of Plymouth is definitely Plymstock. Areas such as Hooe, Elburton and Goosewell are temptingly close to the countryside but with the benefits of some of the urban living. Think bus links to the city, shops that are open past 8pm and a choice of pubs.
The benefits to being this far out also means no students, which might be a selling point for some. And you’ve got the beaches of Bovisand and Jennycliffe a short walk from your front door (in theory).
Beyond the city Centre, Southway is as pleasant as suburban Plymouth gets really. It’s on a hill, there are lots of quite large terraced houses, and you’ll get quite a lot for your money, compared to in town. It’s also a short distance (relatively) to the Moors, and you’ll usually get to skip the traffic bottleneck between Derriford and the Roborough junction.
The downsides to Southway are that it’s a bit of a way out of town, and it’s not the most exciting suburb in the city.
On the edge of the moors, Plympton is a satellite town which is an entity in it’s own right. The benefits of living in Plympton are easy access to natural areas like the Plymbridge trail and Newnham Park, both of which are great for walks and biking.
Plympton is also where the big out of town industrial estates are based, such as Langage Park and the Marsh Mills cluster of chains. If that’s your thing then, hurrah.
Property wise, there are some good options for property this way, especially in some of the estates around Chaddlewood. It’s not particularly exciting, but then if you’re looking for suburban bliss, Plympton is not a bad shout.
10. Woolwell & Roborough
You’re getting to the far end of the city now, and Roborough backs right onto the moors. If you want the trappings of nature but close enough to the city to commute in 20 minutes, this might be where you’re looking. There are a lot of new build estates around here, so you can pick up property relatively easily.
If you’re going to be working in the hospital then this is actually a good place to be based. If you’re commuting into the city though, you might want to consider somewhere closer in as the traffic can be awful on a bad day and the public transport ain’t all that…
An entirely new town created to expand the Plymouth urban sprawl. Houses here have been designed to kinda look like a village, but there is no village vibe. There is also speak of traffic and parking issues – although it seems most properties come with some sort of driveway of space outside.
If you’re looking for a buzzing community, this isn’t going to be it unfortunately. But if you’re looking for a modern house for a *reasonable* budget a short drive from town, you might find something that fits the bill in Sherford.
12. The Barbican and The Hoe
If the Barbican and the Hoe were in some random European city (lets pick Genoa or Valencia) they would have some of the best real estate in the city. As it stands, although the location is great, the actual choice of housing is pretty limited. In fact, you’re more likely to find social housing on the Barbican than a quality apartment – which is a sad state of affairs.
As for the Hoe, there are some nice pockets of housing such as West Hoe or Citadel Road. But they’re not the exclusive or premium locations you might expect.
That said, the benefits are that you have those incredible sea views and access to the nicest part of the city on your doorstep.
The downsides to living on the Barbican or the Hoe are the anti-social behaviour, especially in the summer. The Barbican gets very busy and rowdy whenever there is a sunny weekend and the Hoe becomes a focal point for young party-goers in the summer months. There are also regular big events like the MTV music festival or the bonfire night festivities which can be quite loud for locals.
Areas to avoid in Plymouth
This is a tricky subject, as its entirely subjective of course. But… Assuming you’re moving to Plymouth from the cosmopolitan hubs of Bristol, London or Manchester, you’ll probably want to avoid:
Stonehouse: Up and coming or way past it’s best? There is a very run down/ghetto-esque air, but some parts still offer a decent place to call home. That said, you can find some very cheap properties around Union Street and off North Road West.
Devonport, Keyham and St Budeaux: The face of run-down Plymouth, sitting right next to the Naval Dockyards. Yes, you’ll find a bargain property. And it’s not all rough.
But is it up and coming? To be honest, probably not. The area is what it is, which means it’s a sprawling area of terraced houses with a mixed bag of demographics – mostly lower income.
If you don’t mind then the Keyham and St Budeaux areas might be the most bargain friendly areas of the city to buy property.
St Budeaux does have a fairly vibrant high street, as does Keyham. But if you’re looking for an equivalent in say London or Bristol, think of it like a not-so up and coming Harlesden (London) or Southmead/Knowle West (Bristol).
North Prospect: Long hailed as the rough end of town, Swilly, as it’s usually referred to, is still pretty rough. Can it be gentrified? Maybe. But I wouldn’t stick around to find out. Nearby Beacon Park might still be a good option.
What is Plymouth like to live in?
Plymouth has a bit of a negative image outside of the city. But in fact it is a pretty pleasant place to live. There are restaurants, shopping, some spots of culture and all the trappings of a decent sized small city – although some feel like there could be a lot of improvements.
It’s widely felt that the local council, although trying to modernise and update the city, do tend to entirely miss the point and waste time and money on pointless projects. A recent attempt to create a cycle lane through the city centre was a hilarious disaster, and the closure of the airport after selling to private investors around 20 years ago is widely held up as a massive municipal fail.
Add to this that the city is dotted with run down and abandoned buildings and there is a slightly sad abandoned air that will hopefully change in the coming years.
What is Plymouth like?
The city itself is easy to get around, and relatively small. There is a public bus system which is adequate for a city of it’s size. Taxis are also quite cheap – although there aren’t enough of them (expect to wait 40 minutes at least for a taxi sometimes).
Being so close to both the moors and the sea is one of the main benefits of living in Plymouth. On a good summers day, being able to head to the beach or enjoy the sea view can be priceless. In fact, the location of Plymouth is the best thing about it – by far.
That said, the maritime weather can be pretty grim, with a lot of grey, drizzly and windy days each year.
Plymouth is quite deprived as a city. There are some of the poorest areas in the country in Devonport and the West of the city. But things are on the up, and in general the city is safe. You’re very unlikely to encounter violent crime, although of course, there are always elements that can cause trouble anywhere.
So there it is…. The best and some of the worst areas to live in Plymouth. Are we way off? Missed anything amazing? Let us know in the comments.