Plymouth is largest city on England's south coast and the most extensive naval base in Western Europe. Its maritime history stretches back to at least the 17th century: the Pilgrim Fathers left Plymouth for the New World in 1620 and the Royal Dockyard was established here in 1690. Due to its strategic importance, it was bombed during World War Two and substantially rebuilt thereafter. Today it attracts nearly 12 million visitors every year with attractions such as the National Marine Aquarium and the Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery, as well as boat trips around one of the best natural harbours in Europe.
Originally established in the 1920s, Plymouth Airport lies 6 km north of the city centre and offers regular scheduled flights to destinations in the UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands. Air Southwest is the sole airline operating from the airport.