Civil engineering: Plymouth’s Super Structures


Image: Alamy

We hope that you enjoy our digital family friendly activity for children ages 7+, in which Mr Isambard Kingdom Brunel will introduce two of our amazing Super Structures in Plymouth.

Following a test earlier in the year, we are excited to be launching this activity as part of Plymouth History Festival at 10am on Friday 11 May 2018.

Begin the activity, ‘Civil engineering: Plymouth’s Super Structures’

Super Structures civil engineering digital activity

Where do we start the activity?

You could do this from the comfort of your armchair with some imagination, but it will be more enjoyable to head to The Hoe with your phone and stand by iconic Smeaton’s Tower, where this activity will begin. The activity lasts around 30-45 minutes.

Mr Brunel’s story follows a series of markers that includes text that can be read aloud; there are also images, audio (with text versions) and quiz questions that all the family can enjoy together. There are a couple of short videos which can be watched now or later. If you’d like to find out more about civil engineering afterwards, see ‘How to see more’ near the end for some little extras.

Screenshots of Civil Engineering Super Structures activity

Using the activity on your phone

The activity runs on a specially developed mobile site called WPTour. Use the Help link at the bottom of each marker for technical tips as you go.

If it is a sunny day, you may want to adjust your phone’s screen brightness or find a bit of shade so that you can enjoy the images better – most will enlarge by clicking on them.  The audio may be heard more clearly by using headphones due to the breezy location of the Hoe. Before you begin, it’s a good idea to charge your phone and make sure you have internet data!

We estimate that the activity can be completed using 2MB by scrolling through the text without playing the audio/video and enlarging just a few images where you are directed to. The activity is estimated to use around 27MB if you enlarge all the images and play all the audio/video.

Accessing Smeaton’s Tower

Mr Brunel highly recommends that if you have time and are able, a visit to the top of Smeaton’s Tower is a wonderful experience. Please visit the Getting Here page for more information about access and note that the nearest toilets are near Valenti’s Cafe. For the first 40 children who venture into the lighthouse, they can collect a badge courtesy of Mr Brunel.


Do share a photo of the view from the top of Smeaton’s Tower, or other things that you see on this activity. Share these with Mr Brunel’s secretary via @PlymouthMuseum on Twitter and Facebook or @theboxplymouth on Instagram.

There is a survey at the end of the tour (in the ‘How to see more’ section), which will take around 5-7 minutes to complete. We’d be really grateful if you could share your feedback.