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Posted on: 21 Apr 2024

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Sam Kennard

With one month to go until 2024’s Pirates Weekend in Plymouth, Royal William Yard is preparing to set sail for a weekend of swashbuckling adventure. On Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th May, from 10am-3pm each day, the iconic waterfront site will become a destination for seasoned sailors and landlubbers of all ages, with a treasure trove of activities and entertainment taking place.

There will be much maritime merriment at Royal William Yard, with a programme of events that includes an array of FREE entertainment. Alongside this, the Yard’s cafes, restaurant and leisure businesses will offer a variety of themed activities. Buccaneering bands will serenade the crowds with sea shanties, storytellers will regale audiences with adventurous tales, classic pirate films will be screened, children can learn to walk the plank and hunt for treasure – and much more besides.

Organised in partnership with Plymouth Waterfront Partnership BID as part of the much-loved Pirates Weekend event taking place along the city’s waterfront – which will all be connected by a FREE bus service this year – visitors are urged to put the date in their diaries, gather together a crew, and take part in the following:

Activities on The Green

From 10am-3pm throughout the weekend:

  • Treasure Hunt: Grab a map and embark on a daring quest to uncover hidden treasure concealed around Royal William Yard to claim your bounty!
  • Circus Skills: Test your mettle with a pirate twist – walk the plank, juggle like an octopus, and find your sea legs on the roller bowler
  • Storytelling: Join a band of theatrical storytellers for family-friendly pirates tales performed in the open air, performance times 11:30 - 12:30 and 13:30 - 14:30pm each day.
  • Craft Zone: Get creative and make your own pirate mask and tackle pirate puzzles
  • Face Painting: Transform into a fearsome pirate or a mystical mermaid
  • RNLI Visit on Sunday: Meet the heroes of the sea from Plymouth Lifeboat Station, visit the lifeboats in the Marina and watch demonstrations on the green.
  • Live Music: enjoy live music and rousing sea shanty performances throughout the weekend:
    • Saturday 18th May:
    • 10:30—11:15 Sea Shanty Band - The Quartermasters
    • 11:30—12.15 Live Music - Paul Armer
    • 12:45—13:30 Sea Shanty Band - The Quartermasters
    • 13:45—14:30 Live Music - Rue
    • Sunday 19th May:
    • 11:30—12:15pm Live Music - Anything but Francis
    • 12:45—13:30pm Sea Shanty Band - Cat Rose & Jon Fazal
    • 13:45—14:30pm Sea Shanty Band - Cat Rose & Jon Fazal
  • Pop-up Stalls: Satisfy your cravings with crepes, slushies, tea, coffee and ice creams
  • Rum Cocktail Bar: The Hook & Line – Plymouth’s only speciality rum bar – will create cocktails and offer grog galore with rum tastings
  • QR Codes for Takeaway Ordering: Scan QR codes for easy ordering from Royal William Yard's resident restaurants and cafes.

Around Royal William Yard

Ready yer sea legs and explore all that this historic destination has going on for Pirates Weekend:

  • Everyman Plymouth: Set sail for cinematic adventures with screenings of pirate films on the big screen! Book tickets here.
  • Friday 17th May: Pirates of the Caribbean Curse of the Black Pearl – from 7:45pm
  • Saturday 18th May: Hook – from 2:45pm
  • Sunday 19th May: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! – from 3:30pm
  • Ocean Studios: Let your imagination run wild with creative activities, including:
    • Saturday 18th, 10-11:30am, Mini Clay Makers - Treasure map themed. This club is designed for 3-7 year olds and their family. Tickets are £8.95 for a group of 4 and are available here
    • Sunday 19th, 10am-3pm, Pirate themed Zine workshop. Free activity, just pop in throughout the day to create your own Pirate Zine
  • South West SUP: Head out paddle-boarding on the high seas! A Family SUP session will run at 10am on Sunday 19th; get your crew out on the water for a barrel of fun games and nautical challenges – fancy dress optional! There will be a 20% discount on these Family sessions in celebration of Pirates Weekend (Enter code PIRATES). There will also be a Pirates Fancy Dress Social at 8am on Sunday 19th. Book your places here – and check out our Pirates Weekend page for discount details
  • Steel Brew: Enjoy mesmerising magic shows on both days, and indulge in festival glitter and hair braiding at The Glitter Boutique. Magician, Captain Cooper, will combine the mastery of illusion with swashbuckling spirit. Tickets are available here and are £3 per child in advance or £4 on the day (2 free adults per child) and this will take place on:
    • Saturday 18th May. Show times 10am, 12pm, 1pm
    • Sunday 19th May. Show times 10am and 12pm
  • Wildwood: Kids eat for £1 during pirates weekend. Terms and conditions apply, this offer is valid on 18-19th May for dine-in customers and entitles you to one kids' meal at £1 per adults main meal purchased at full price. Ask staff for further details.

Getting here

Visiting Royal William Yard is easy for those wanting to experience Pirates Weekend across the waterfront.

  • FREE Plymouth Citybus service: hop aboard a free bus linking all of the waterfront sites during Pirates Weekend, thanks to Plymouth Waterfront Partnership and Plymouth Citybus. The service will run from 10am-4pm on Saturday 18th and 12-4pm on Sunday 19th May. It will run in a continuous loop every 45 minutes, beginning at Royal William Yard, before doing pick-up/drop-ff stops at Union Street Post Office, Connexions, Royal Parade, Batter Street/Vauxhall Street, Lambhay Hill, The Belvedere, West Hoe Post Office and back to Royal William Yard.
  • Ferry service: brave buccaneers can hop on board Plymouth Boat Trips’ ferry, setting sail from the Barbican to drop anchor in Royal William Yard Marina.
  • Other ways to travel: Plan your route to the Yard by foot, car, bus, bike, boats and more here: www.royalwilliamyard.com/visit

For further information and to join the adventure, visit www.royalwilliamyard.com/pirates