Dolphin Hotel                                                                           Boringdon Arms                                                   Thistle Park Tavern    

Though I studied at Plymouth University, visited Plymouth many times for other reasons, and love the place, only one pub in the city itself has ever stood out for me, the Dolphin Hotel. However, I can't suggest you visit one pub alone whilst in the city, because there is history and pubs galore here, so I have sought advice and am offering a further 2 hostelries close to each other. There is no specific place I would suggest that is close to the football ground so be prepared for either a fairly long walk or taxi ride to get there.

To Plymouth's famous Barbican then, and the Dolphin Hotel, 14 The Barbican, PL1 2LS (01752 660 876). This is an unfussy public house with plain wooden floorboards, Beryl Cook pictures on the walls, where half the customers look like fishermen, and which has always sold the best Bass ale I have ever drunk, served straight from the cask, right in front of you, behind the bar. I always used to drink only Bass here, but the last time I visited, before and after a football match at Plymouth Argyle, guest ales had appeared, served by handpump, though the Bass is still served straight from the cask. Like the Tolpuddle Martyrs, who visited here on their return to England, I return to the Dolphin whenever I come back to Plymouth.

The other gem I'd like to suggest is not in the city, but over the water in Turnchapel, hence my saying I could recommend only 1 pub from personal experience in Plymouth; you can catch a small ferry boat over from the Barbican, though. This is the Boringdon Arms, 13 Boringdon Terrace, Turnchapel PL9 9TQ (01752 402053), a pub that offers bed and breakfast and good food as well as a fine array of real ales. The interior is like a small seaside town pub, as you would expect, with a wonderfully quiet garden out the back, towered over by a sheer cliff as a wall! I worked here for a few months in my youth, met quite a few actors due to Turnchapel being a wonderful village with the type of buildings and scenery that makes great television and, therefore, is often used for filming.

The first added suggestion is is the Fareham Inn, 6 Commercial Road, PL4 0LD (01752 201553), which I am told sells only one local (to the Devon and Cornwall peninsular) ale at a time, eg St Austell and Summerskills. The interior has timber covered walls and flag stone floors. I was told that this is a very friendly establishment, more likely to be frequented by fishermen and rugby supporters rather than Argyle supporters, but I'd be happy for further information please.

Just down the road is the Thistle Park Tavern, 32 Commercial Rd PL4 (01752 204890) which has been established since 1898. This is the flagship pub for the South Hams Brewery and, consequently, usually sells four of their ales including Devon Pride, XSB and Eddystone, from handpumps. Upstairs is a Thai restaurant, Thai in the Park, which is open Sunday to Thursday 6-10pm and Friday and Saturday 6-11pm.