Drake Circus, Plymouth

Project Details

Drake Circus is the result of the transformation of a dated bus interchange at the interface between the historic Bretonside Conservation Area and Plymouth City Centre. Macgregor Smith were appointed by British Land to develop detailed proposals for the streets, terraces and public spaces associated with the project, which includes an 11-screen cinema, 13 restaurants and a sky bar. The scheme combines an exciting mix of leisure activities together with food offers, complementing the existing shopping facilities within the surrounding area. The design of the public realm is central in reconnecting the city centre with Plymouth’s famous harbourside whilst also responding sensitively to the rich, historic character of the adjacent Conservation Area. Working in collaboration with artist Kirsty Brooks, the scheme uses a combination of distinctive materials, integrated artwork and feature lighting to offer a series of high-quality spaces that provide a link to the character of historic streets and seascape.

Design Details

  • A playful screen-printed glass balustrade to the main public staircase highlights cinema stars who are descendants of the passengers who travelled on the Mayflower 400 years ago, setting off on the ship’s pioneering voyage from Plymouth’s docks to America
  • Use of granite and weathered steel materials within the public realm provide a tangible physical connection to the adjacent historic Sutton Harbour and the Barbican waterfront
  • Hard landscape detailing draws on Plymouth’s coastal location by abstracting the movement and reflected light of the Plymouth Sound to express its rich maritime heritage within the floorscape



British Land

Project Manager:

Enborne Projects


Corstorphine + Wright


Kirsty Brooks (Artist)


Evolve / WSP / Stantec





Project Value:

£53 million


Daniel Shearing