Mayflower 400 | Kidadl

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What to expect

  • Mayflower 400 is a series of commemoration events marking the 400th anniversary year since the Mayflower ship set sail from England to America in 1620.
  • Across Plymouth and Southampton, where the Mayflower docked before its 10-week journey, this year’s Commemoration Programme explores all narratives and impacts of the Mayflower’s expedition, highlighting the difficult truths of colonisation for the four nations it affected.

The Mayflower 400 year celebration and commemoration is a series of diverse and eye-opening events marking the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s sailing from England to America, when the Pilgrims traveled to the New World in 1620. After a harrowing 10 weeks at sea, 102 passengers and 30 crew members landed in Cape Cod and established the first New England colony in America. This year, the Mayflower 400 is dedicated to putting on an honest and inclusive commemoration of the voyage, paying homage to and telling stories of the different groups it affected and facing up to the uncomfortable consequences of colonisation and challenging legacy this ship retains. Working with the Wampanoag Nation, whose land was taken from them as a result of the Mayflower voyage, audiences can explore themes of migration, freedom and humanity through a year-long series of exhibitions, talks, performances and collaborative projects from now until 2021.

People stood in the shape of the number 400 lit up at night.

To kick things off on 16 September, the date that the Mayflower 400 ship set sail in 1620, Dan Snow presented an online documentary exploring the history of this treacherous voyage. In the city that the boat departed from, the Mayflower 400 Plymouth events include the Legend and Legacy exhibition at heritage attraction The Box, Roots Up! dance interpretation performances, theatrical performances by Beyond Face, the huge Speedwell installation at the Mount Batten Breakwater aiming to inspire discussion and debate, and the Four Nations Commemoration in July 2021 - a culmination of the programme involving the UK, USA, Wampanoag Nation and the Netherlands. At another of the ship’s original dock points, the Mayflower 400 Southampton events will also feature the Empathy Museum’s ‘A Mile In My Shoes’ project, where visitors are invited to - literally - walk a mile in another person’s shoes. Mayflower 400 events will be taking place around the country, from light installation pieces to the touring of the Wampum belt and its stories from Native America, and this year’s Commemoration Programme is a great way to discover and learn about our cultural history as a family.

To learn more about maritime transport, why not visit the National Maritime Museum or the HMS Belfast in London?

What to know before you go

  • There are events taking place throughout the 2020 year until summer 2021 at various locations around the UK and the world. Please browse the Mayflower 400 Commemoration Programme to find indoor and outdoor events near you.
  • The main UK events are taking place in Plymouth, but the programme is also running in Southampton, Dartmouth, London, Doncaster, Essex, Lancashire and more as well as events Leiden, Holland.
  • Many events will be accessible and family-friendly; please consult the events and venues directly for more detailed information.
  • Mayflower 400 is also hosting Guided Tours in London, Hertford and beyond for visitors to walk in the very footsteps of the Pilgrims.

Getting there

  • Events are taking place across the UK and you should check the respective venue pages for travel information, but the main Mayflower 400 permanent location is at the Plymouth Mayflower Museum.
  • Plymouth Railway Station is a 20-minute walk away and services CrossCountry trains.
  • The museum is serviced by boats to the adjacent harbour and the 25 bus route within Plymouth.
  • Parking can be found at Elphinstone Car Park, Vauxhall Street Car Park and the Harbour Car Park.

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