Mayflower 400

Celebrate the anniversary of this iconic voyage at The Nare and nearby Plymouth in 2020 and 2021


The Mayflower sailed from city of Leiden, Holland to Plymouth, England and then across the Atlantic to America in 1620. 2020 marks the 400th anniversary of this voyage to what is now called New England, and was known to English explorers at the time as The New World.

The ship’s passengers were in search of a new life. A significant number were known as Separatists, a group of people who mostly wanted to live a life free from the then oppressive regime of the Church of England. Others were on the ship for a multitude of reasons – some anticipated the chance to build a better future for their families and the opportunity of new land, while for others the offer of freedom and adventure was too good to turn down.

They would go on to be known as the Pilgrims and influence the future of the United States of America in ways they could never have imagined. So the Mayflower’s story isn't just about the ship’s passengers, it's about the people who already lived in America and the enormous effect the arrival of these colonists would have on Native Americans and the land they had called home for centuries.

Nowadays more than 35 million people (including 9 US presidents) can trace their ancestry to the 102 passengers and 30 crew that arrived in Plymouth Bay, Massachusetts, in the harsh winter of 1620. On board were men, women and children from different walks of life across England and Leiden, Holland. This epic, two month voyage not only changed the lives of its passengers irrevocably but also the course of world history.


Guests can book a private full day tour of sights in nearby Plymouth with Mayflower expert, Charlie Keeler, and comfortable travel provided by The Nare's Range Rover Chauffeur Service.

Charlie will guide guests around the historic landmarks of the iconic story and tell the tales that accompany them. Tours may include the Mayflower steps, the historic inns and workhouses on the Barbican, the far-reaching views from Plymouth Hoe, a wander round the Royal William Yard, and the Mayflower's very departure point four centuries ago. Lunch can be also taken in a location famously related to the Mayflower story.


Nare guests can book a private helicopter flight to follow the ship's route from Plymouth harbour. On route to the Atlantic the Mayflower would have travelled along the full length of the south Cornish coast, sailing past the beautiful Gerrans Bay, which The Nare overlooks today. The passengers would have enjoyed pretty views of rolling rural landscapes, quaint coastal villages, winding river estuaries, and rugged headlands that stretch out into the sea.

Their route would have seen them sail past the Fal and Helford estuaries, Lizard Point (the most southerly tip of mainland England), Mount's Bay (and the majestic St Michael's Mount castle built during the 12th century), and Newlyn (where the Mayflower allegedly made a final stop for water). As the helicopter reaches the Atlantic guests can choose to turn back for The Nare or continue round the north Cornish coast to have a full aerial tour of Cornwall. 

The Nare hotel's motor launch, sailing along the River Fal.
Alice Rose - the hotel motor launch
Friends enjoy a picnic in the sun on the back of a boat in south Cornwall.

Alternatively more adventurous guests may wish to see a section of the south Cornish coastline on board The Nare's classic motor launch, Alice Rose. From its moorings on the beautiful Fal River, guests can take the picturesque journey up river towards Carrick Roads and out on to the English Channel. The passage plan can then include a gentle jaunt over to the stunning Helford River or a punt around Lizard Point to Mount's Bay and Newyln Harbour. 


On 7th November two Mayflower experts; historian and writer Charlie Keeler, and writer and photographer Juliet Coombe, author of the Mayflower - Sea Change, are hosting a special Mayflower Dinner at The Nare. This will be a unique opportunity to hear untold stories about the extraordinary Mayflower journey.

They will share the historical context of the voyage; the complexity of the issues of the day; the world they were entering, and the pretexts on which they sailed. It will be a chance to understand the impact this event had on the public imagination, both real and imagined. There will be stories of the dastardly deeds of the few, which ruined it for the many - 'the gin and the genocide', the dreams and the dramas - and how much of a role fate played in this world-changing story.


4 - 10 May - Mayflower Ocean Festival Week
Hoist the main sail with a week of ocean activity as part of the Mayflower 400 commemorations, celebrating Plymouth’s status as Britain’s Ocean City. Watch the start of the historic OSTAR and TWOSTAR yacht races, enjoy family fun at Pirates Weekend Plymouth, singalong with the Shanty Shindig and get out on the water to try new activities for yourself. 

16 - 20 June - This Land Production
Theatre Royal Plymouth’s first ever transatlantic community production. Directed by Alan Lane, This Land is performed by a 150 strong community cast – 120 citizens from Plymouth and 30 members of the Wampanoag Tribe from Massachusetts, USA.

17 June - Plymouth Symphony Orchestra
All-American programme featuring pianist Joanna MacGregor in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue by Plymouth Symphony Orchestra in the historic surrounds of the Plymouth Guildhall.

14 - 20 September - Mayflower Week
An exciting week 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.

26 - 29 November - Illuminate
The closing event of the Mayflower programme and an even bigger festival of light, including a nationally commissioned piece of art connecting the national Mayflower partnership.

Please contact Abbi Robins for further details on Mayflower 400 celebrations and activities in 2020. 

The country house hotel by the sea