Exploring the Mayflower trail

The Mayflower trail follows the journey of the Mayflower Pilgrims, the ship and their voyage through villages, towns and cities. You can follow in the footsteps of the Mayflower Pilgrims.

 

Key

  • pilgrim-crewHometowns.png Pilgrim & Crew Hometowns
  • mayflower-speedwellDestinations.png Mayflower & Speedwell Destinations
  • speedwellRoute.png Route of Speedwell
  • mayflowerRoute.png Route of Mayflower

Explore the Mayflower Destinations

Visit the destinations in England, Holland and the USA that were key to the journey of the Mayflower and her passengers.

Read on for information about the Mayflower connections in each location; things to do and places to stay. 

Boston Stump

Boston, Lincolnshire

One night in the autumn of 1607, a passionate and determined group of men, women and children secretly met a boat on the edge of ‘The Wash’ at Scotia Creek, Fishtoft, near Boston. They planned to defy the authority of the English church and escape across the North Sea to Holland to live in religious freedom. They had walked 60 miles from Scrooby, near Gainsborough, and were hoping for a new life.

Leiden, Holland

Leiden, Holland

Leiden in Holland was a city of free-thinkers, relative religious tolerance, and a long tradition of offering shelter to the dispossessed. Following their escape from England, the Mayflower Pilgrims carved new lives here, bought land near Pieterskerk and built houses that became known as the Engelse poort (English Alley).

Scrooby Manor House

Scrooby & Babworth

The leading religious Separatists who voyaged to America in 1620 were originally from the Bassetlaw area of Nottinghamshire, where their beliefs were shaped. Regarded as dangerous religious renegades who rejected fundamental principles of the State and the established Church of England, they worshipped in secret to avoid arrest and persecution.

St. Helena's Church, Austerfield

St Helena Austerfield Church of William Bradford

Austerfield, Doncaster

William Bradford of Austerfield, near Doncaster, became the second elected Governor of the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts in 1621. He continued to serve the Colony for almost 30 years.

Dartmouth

The River Dart

Dartmouth

Having set sail from Southampton, the Mayflower, with Pilgrims from the north of England, and Speedwell, carrying the Separatists from Lieden in Holland, didn't get very far before the Speedwell began to take on water again - either because she carried too much sail, straining her timbers, or the direct result of sabotage by the reluctant crew. The ships diverted to Dartmouth for repairs, arriving on 23 August 1620.

The Great Hall, Gainsborough Old Hall

The Great Hall at Gainsborough Old Hall

Gainsborough

Some of the Separatists are thought to have worshipped clandestinely at Gainsborough Old Hall - now regarded as one of the best preserved medieval manor houses in Britain - with the permission of its sympathetic owner, merchant William Hickman.

Low Lighthouse, Harwich. Essex.

Harwich Low Lighthouse

Harwich, Essex

The port of Harwich is a must-see destination for history-lovers. It is the place where the Mayflower ship is believed to have been built and where its captain, Christopher Jones lived and was twice wed.

Ross Castle, Cleethorpes

Immingham

In 1608 the Separatists secured the services of a Dutch boat and her captain to take them to Holland. One of the group, Francis Hawkins fell ill - his body is buried in St. Andrews Church graveyard. The Dutch captain set sail from Immingham Creek with only the men - the women and children were to later join them in Holland - their journey no doubt full of perilous challenges.

Smeatons Tower, Plymouth Hoe

Smeatons Tower Plymouth Hoe

Plymouth, England

The Mayflower and Speedwell were 300 miles clear of Land's End when the smaller ship once more began leaking badly and couldn't risk continuing. They turned about for Plymouth.

Mayflower Pub, Rotherhithe

Mayflower Pub, Rotherhithe

Southwark, London

The Mayflower story and Southwark’s role in that historic voyage are deeply intertwined. Rotherhithe has a long seafaring and ship building history and was the place where Christopher Jones, the captain and part owner of the ship, and many of the crew lived.

Mayflower Memorial, Southampton

Southampton

The Mayflower arrived in Southampton in late July 1620 and several days later was joined by the Speedwell, carrying the Pilgrims from Leiden. Their intention was to prepare both vessels and sail in company directly to America.

St. Peters Church, Droitwich

St Peters Church Droitwich Spa

Worcestershire

Droitwich Spa had been a centre for Salt Mining and became a key settlement during the Roman era known as Salinae. Droitwich Spa brine exists far below the ground and emanates at the surface as springs. Droitwich Brine is the strongest natural salt water known, and contains 30% natural salts. This is 10 times more concentrated than normal sea water, making it as dense as the Dead Sea.

Rotterdam, Holland

Rotterdam, Holland

The history of the Pilgrim Fathers is closely connected with the city of Rotterdam. Indeed, the origin of the name Pilgrim Fathers lies in Delfshaven. It was there that on 22 July 1620, a group of English Puritan Calvinists led by Rev John Robinson set sail for the New World from the Middenkouskade, aboard the less than seaworthy ‘Speedwell’.

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