All you need to know about Plymouth Armed Forces Day 2023
Plymouth Armed Forces Day, in association with Babcock, is back this weekend on Saturday 24 June with a day packed full of family fun and an opportunity for everyone to show their support to the military community!
Where and when is it?
All the action takes place on Plymouth Hoe on Saturday 24 June 2023.
The event opens at 10am until 5pm, with the free evening concert starting at 5pm until 10.30pm.
What to see and do
Meet the military and Emergency Services
Explore the military villages, where you can chat to members of all the Armed Forces and learn more about the vehicles and equipment they use, or get careers advice. Navigate your way through the Navy’s minefield using mine detection equipment, or climb on-board the Royal Marines’ all-terrain vehicles, or give the Army’s climbing wall a try!
Look out for the heroic Emergency Services personnel who will have an exciting range of equipment to explore.
Be amazed at the arena
There’s a packed arena programme to enjoy, with demonstrations, parades and live music. Watch the Parade of Standards led by the Tavistock Stannary Brass Band at 11am, then look up to the sky, to see the Red Arrows, the aerobatic display team of the Royal Air Force, who will be thrilling the crowds with a flypast at 11.18am, (subject to weather and operational commitments). For some more exciting action, catch the HMNB Devonport Field Gun demonstration at 2pm or watch the Team Endeavour Punishers Wheelchair rugby match – Army v Navy at 3pm.
Watch the Corps of Drums of the RMVCC Band Plymouth at 1.30pm, and take part in the free taster sessions from Beryl Bikes and Endeavour Community Cycle Club, at 10.30am, 1pm and 3.30pm.
Don’t miss the Junior Field Gun tournaments taking place throughout the day too, in their dedicated arena at the Elliot Street end of Plymouth Hoe.
Joint Hospital Group South West
Celebrating their Freedom of the City, Joint Hospital Group South West will march across the Hoe promenade, led by the Tavistock Stannary Brass Band, from 12pm.
Visit the Veterans’ Village
In the Veterans' Village, sponsored by the Royal British Legion, over 80 local charities and organisations will showcase their work, offering information, advice and support as well as training and recruitment opportunities from City College Plymouth, MLA College and Skills Launchpad Plymouth. There will be lots of interactive fun for all the family too, including historic military vehicles to see up close.
If you’re thinking about renewable energy, head over to the Eco-Plug where they are offering a 5% military discount.
Vospers and Mercedes-Benz will have a selection of their vehicles on display too.
Entertainment for young children
Visit the Foster for Plymouth marquee, located by the RAF village, for a wide selection of free activities and entertainment for young children, including: colouring station, Lego and a football course, plus free face painting from 11am to 4pm and between 11am and 1pm they will have Ariel, Rapunzel & Spiderman characters.
Listen to live music
There will be musical performances from the main stage throughout the day, from The Plymouth Youth Service, City of Plymouth Pipe Band and the Military Wives Choir. At 4pm the Rock Choir will be performing in the main arena.
Then from 5pm, the main stage on Plymouth Hoe will host an amazing free evening concert, sponsored by C&G Catering.
There’s a fantastic line-up of performers and bands to enjoy:
5pm to 5.30pm, Shane Brierley, hugely talented young local singer songwriter.
6.pm to 6.45pm, The Vibes, playing high energy well known indie anthems.
7.05pm to 7.50pm, Jessica and the Rabbits seven piece line up, performing sounds of true rhythm and blues
8.10pm to 8.55pm, Rockafella, energetic rock covers band, playing modern classics and forgotten gems.
9.15pm to 10.30pm, Dr Oz, Mixing Soul, funk and ska from the past five decades, with an energetic stage show.
Prepare for the sun!
Don’t forget to bring your sun cream, sun hats and stay hydrated throughout Armed Forces Day. There will be a refillable water station on site, plus refreshment stalls available, selling a wide selection of food and drink, including a reusable Plymouth cup.
This year, there is a designated viewing area for people with access needs, to view the main stage and arena.
Accessible toilets can be found at both ends of the Hoe. The Hoe’s permanent public toilets also include six unisex toilets, with one additional accessible toilet and large, accessible changing room.
There will be no disabled parking on Plymouth Hoe but Ballard House car park on West Hoe Road is available for blue badge holders, plus the use of on-street parking.
The 25B bus supplied by Plymouth Citybus will then operate a shuttle service between Ballard House, Royal Parade (outside the Theatre Royal) and Hoe Road (near the Hoe ramp) at 30-minute intervals, starting at 8.35am with the last departure from Hoe Road at 6.45pm. This costs £2 per single journey, with free travel for blue badge holders. If you need to retreat to a calmer space at any point during the weekend, we’d recommend visiting the Sensory Garden (near the Osbourne Place entrance to the Hoe), where you can soak up the atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle.
Food and drink
You'll find a great range of food and drink available to purchase from the C&G Catering stalls across the Hoe, with everything from fish and chips, Cornish pasties, burgers and hot dogs to noodles on offer. Please try using cash to make your purchases from the food and drink stalls as there can sometimes be signal issues on site.
There will be a licensed bar open too and for the second year, we’re running a reusable cup scheme. Purchase your branded cup for just £1 extra on your first purchase and use it throughout the day.
We'd also encourage you to bring along your own reusable coffee cups and water bottles. There is a free water fill station which can be found next to the Plymouth Naval Memorial to help you stay hydrated!
How to get to Armed Forces Day
If you’re coming along to Armed Forces Day, why not look at alternative transport, rather than bringing your car. Connect Plymouth have some great ways to help reduce Plymouth’s carbon footprint, including the brilliant Beryl Bikes, which are also doing free taster sessions in the main arena during the day.
If you do need to travel by car then there are lots of car parks within walking distance, the closest being the Theatre Royal Car Park. Find somewhere to park on the Plymouth City Council website.
If you’re travelling by bus, then services from all across the city will stop at Royal Parade which is then just a ten-minute walk to Plymouth Hoe.
Citybus and Stagecoach are offering free bus travel on Armed Forces Day to military personnel in uniform and veterans and cadets wearing their AFD badge.
All visitors arriving by car are encouraged to use Plymouth’s Park and Ride services to Royal Parade which is approximately a 10 minute walk up to the Hoe.
If you were planning to travel by train, please check the GWR website for details.
Come and show your support to the outstanding athletes at the Rehabilitation Triathlon, on Thursday 22 June, on Plymouth Hoe. The race starts with the swim at Tinside Lido at 11am, then cycle time trails across and around the Hoe, finishing with the static row - north of the Plymouth Naval Memorial, before crossing the finish line. There will be community dance groups on the main stage from 4pm, with the award ceremony from 5pm.
Road closures on 22 June and 24 June
The following road closures will be in place for the Rehabilitation Triathlon on Thursday 22 June.
Lockyer Street / Osbourne Place - From junction with Citadel Road to entrance to the Hoe, road closure and parking suspension, 8.30am to 4.30pm, on 22 June.
Hoe Road - From Hoe Approach to the junction with Madeira Road.
Directional closure between Hoe Approach and Citadel mound 8.30am to 4.30pm, Parking restriction from 9am on 21 June to 4.30pm on 22 June.
Full road closure between Citadel mound and Madeira Road roundabout 8.30am to 4.30pm and parking suspension 7am to 4.30pm on 22 June.
Citadel Road - From the junction of Lockyer Street to Hoe Approach, Directional closure 8.30am to 4.30pm, parking restriction from 9am on 21 June to 4.30pm on 22 June.
Hoe Approach - Directional closure 8.30am to 4.30pm on 22 June.
The following road closures will be in place during Armed Forces Day on Saturday 24 June.
Hoe Road from the Mound at the Citadel to the junction of Madeira Road from 7am to 10.30pm, with suspension of parking from 7am to 10.30pm.
Citadel Road from the junction of Lockyer Street to the junction of Sussex Street from 5pm to 7pm with suspension of Parking 7am to 7pm.
Suspension of parking on Lockyer Street entrance to the Hoe to the junction with The Esplanades from 7am to 7pm
Free programmes will also be available on the day, or can be collected from the Tourist Information Centre on the Barbican.
If you’re a member of the armed forces or a veteran, don’t forget to check out the special discounts on offer across Plymouth too.
Thanks to the sponsors and partners of Plymouth Armed Forces Day: Babcock, Royal British Legion, AECOM, Royal Marines Charity, C&G Catering, South West Highways, Plymouth Active, Plymouth Citybus, Ivor Dewdney, Foster for Plymouth, Eco Plug, MLA College, Arts University Plymouth, City College Plymouth, Vospers and Mercedes-Benz.