2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower, whose passengers and crew set off across the Atlantic to America seeking a new life and opportunities. Plymouth was the Mayflower’s final departure point in the UK, and as the lead city for the commemorative year, has an incredible line up of activities, events and experiences.
The Mayflower voyage is one of the most influential journeys in global history and a defining moment in the shared history of Britain, the US, the Netherlands and the Wampanoag; more than 30 million people can trace their ancestry back to the passengers and crew on board.
Plymouth is renowned for its spectacular event schedule, with everything from food festivals and spectacular fireworks to family friendly days out. 2020 is set to be extra special, with a whole host of unique, one-off events taking place as part of the Mayflower 400 commemorations. These are the unmissable event highlights!
Light-based festival, Illuminate, kick starts the commemorative year in 2019 and will close the commemorations in November 2020. You can enjoy beautiful projections, light installations, live performances and interactive opportunities, there will be something for everyone to enjoy as the waterfront is lit up.
- Mayflower Ocean Festival
Hoist the main sail from 4 to 10 May 2020, with a week of ocean activity. Watch the start of the OSTAR and TWOSTAR yacht races or enjoy family fun at Pirates Weekend Plymouth, the shanty shindig and at a range of other exciting water-based events.
- Mayflower Week
Marking the anniversary of the date the Mayflower sailed on 16 September, the Mayflower Week will bring a programme of spectacular events to the city’s waterfront in September 2020:
- Mayflower Ceremony, 16 September: This four-nation civic ceremony will see a 1,000 person choir perform a brand new piece of bespoke music which tells the story of the Mayflower in an entirely new way, along with representatives from the UK, US, Netherlands and Wampanoag.
- The Royal Marines Rehabilitation Triathlon, 17 September: Traditionally held in Lympstone but transferred to Plymouth for this extra special year, injured serving and former tri-service men and women will compete with a swim at Tinside, cycle ride and static row on Plymouth Hoe promenade.
- Mayflower Muster, 19 to 20 September: Expect an exciting two-day festival celebrating our military heritage in partnership with the UK, US and Dutch Armed Forces, including live displays, interactive demonstrations and a host of fun activities for families.
- This Land
Theatre Royal Plymouth are creating an innovative international piece of theatre entitled This Land to mark the historic anniversary of the Mayflower’s journey and its impact upon arrival in America. Working with 120 citizens from Plymouth, UK and 30 members of the Wampanoag Tribe from Massachusetts, US, This Land will be the first ever international, community production produced by the Theatre Royal Plymouth and performed on The Lyric stage from 16 to 20 June.
See what else is happening and find out more at mayflower400uk.org