According to excavations reported by Barry Cunliffe in 1988, Mount Batten was the site of the earliest trade with Europe yet discovered in Britain, operating from the late Bronze Age, peaking in the late Iron Age and continuing in operation throughout the Roman period. It appears to have been the primary route of entry to Britain for large quantities of continental commodities such as wine, and is therefore a speculative candidate for the 'TAMARIS' of Ptolemy's Geographia. A fine British-made bronze mirror was also found on the peninsula.
In the later Medieval period it became an important defensive point for the developing settlement at Plymouth Harbour, providing a field of fire from across the other side of the Cattewater, the channel connecting the old town to the sea. It has had a fort since the Tudor period. The pier to the west which doubles as a breakwater for the Cattewater and Sutton Harbour is a much later addition.
Between 1917 and 1945, with some gaps, it was a flying boat base for both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy. Shorts Sunderland flying boats of the Royal Australian Air Force operated from RAF Mount Batten during World War II taking part in the Battle of the Atlantic. The RAF operated search and rescue launches there with the help of Aircraftsman Shaw alias T E Lawrence. The RAF finally left in 1986. The peninsula is now a marina and centre for sea sport.