Mayflower 400 is an incredible opportunity for our city – find out about plans, projects, how to get involved and opportunities here.


Mayflower 400 commemorates the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower sailing from Plymouth to America, carrying the pilgrims who founded the modern United States. In 2020, this significant moment in history will be commemorated with a series of events and projects which explore the history and legacy of the Mayflower story.

The Mayflower 400 commemorations span the culture, education, military, sports and business sectors across destinations in USA, England and The Netherlands. These include Southampton, Doncaster, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Harwich, Southwark, Dartmouth, Leiden (The Netherlands), Plymouth (USA) and Boston (USA).

Plymouth (UK) has been named by the government as the lead city for Mayflower 400, and the other UK Mayflower 400 destinations have signed a ‘Modern Day Compact’ recognising Plymouth as the national lead for this significant project. Destination Plymouth is the organisation tasked with bringing Plymouth’s overall Mayflower 400 commemorations together, and Plymouth Culture is helping to support and develop the cultural side of developments. The Mayflower 400 team at Plymouth City Council has recently appointed Charles Hackett as the Mayflower 400 Chief Executive.

The annual Illuminate festival celebrates Thanksgiving and commemorates the anniversary of the Mayflower sailing to America in 1620. In 2016, Illuminate told the story of Moshup the giant, a central figure in Wampanoag culture. The Wampanoag Native American Tribe live in the area around Massachusetts and supported the Pilgrims on their arrival in the New World. Image by Greenbeanz Photography.

Cultural Developments

Plymouth Culture is helping enable the cultural sector to create projects for Mayflower 400. This includes assisting with funding applications, brokering partnerships and leveraging funding for Mayflower 400 projects. Some examples of projects so far include:

  • a £5million application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Mayflower National Trail Programme (a multi-destination project exploring the Mayflower story across all the partner destinations)
  • supporting the development of the History Centre
  • distribution of a £500,000 fund from HM Treasury, specifically for cultural projects
  • the annual light based event calledIlluminate(a cultural festival which marks Thanksgiving)
  • a bi-annual cultural event to encourage more communities, organisations, individuals and groups to develop Mayflower 400 projects
  • supporting the development of international cultural projects, including a project between Theatre Royal Plymouth, the Wampanoag and Seth Lakeman
  • the Atlantic Project (an international public art festival)

People discuss project ideas for the Mayflower 400 commemorations. Plymouth Culture holds a biannual event to provide updates on Mayflower 400 and to discuss cultural projects ideas.

We are keen to support all cultural projects developed for Mayflower 400. If you have a project which you would like to happen, please contact us on the form on the right with details of your project and where you would like assistance. Please note that Plymouth Culture has a very small team with only two full-time staff members and may not be able to reply straight away.

Contact Us

If you would like to know more about the Mayflower 400 commemorations, history and plans, you can visit the Mayflower 400 website.

Visit the Mayflower 400 website










Mayflower 400 Introduction Event - 9th June 2016

Plymouth Culture hosted an event for the cultural and creative sector to introduce, discuss, question and plan towards Mayflower 400. The event was at Plymouth School of Creative Arts and ran from 6-8pm on Thursday 9th June 2016. We’ve added our presentation just in case you couldn’t make the event, and we’ve uploading our notes and findings too. We will hold at least two Mayflower 400 events per year, and are looking to schedule our next event for October/November 2016. Keep your eyes peeled for more details nearer the time!

Mayflower 400 notes

Notes and Findings from the 9th June Event

Take a look at our notes and findings from the Mayflower 400 event on June 9th 2016.