Briefly in Torbay
Torbay also known as the English Riviera if you didn’t know is located on the south coast of Devon; its principle towns being Torquay, Paignton and Brixham. It is a very popular and well known UK holiday destination, so we are under no illusion that we are enlightening the vast majority of readers (if anyone at all) to a relatively undiscovered gem of a holiday destination. However, this does not alter the fact that it is a superb destination for a weekend getaway, short break holiday or longer vacation. What we hope to achieve in this post is, that along with details of the “famous” aspects, is to highlight certain places, attractions and events which may be news to some people. To start with let’s give a brief description of the main towns.
The largest of the trio and is classed by some as a city rather than a town (it’s one of those places that achieves city status by some definitions but not others). At the very least it’s a large town. As you would expect there is plenty to see and do. The Harbour and Marina area offer plenty of restaurants, bars, casual cafes etc. to enjoy. Avid shoppers will not be disappointed with Torquay as there is plenty of choice spread across the town centre. Fleet Walk Shopping Centre is closest to the harbour area and boasts a mixture of High Street Brands and Independent Retailers. Fleet Street and Union Street provide an abundance of stores, again well- known names mixed with local traders. In the middle of Union Street you will find another small Shopping Mall aptly named Union Square Shopping Centre. For nightlife there is the choice of a Clubs, Cocktail Bars, Themed and Traditional Pubs, Casino, Theatres along with a wide choice of restaurants. For Beaches and Attractions see below where we have listed individually. For places to stay, Torquay really does offer the full range with budget B&B’s to Luxury Hotels. For those that don’t know, Torquay was where the fictional Fawlty Towers Hotel from the comedy series of the same name was located; unfortunately the actual hotel (real name Gleneagles Hotel) is now no more, with residential flats now occupying the site. The Deal Finder sites are showing rooms in October at the weekend as starting at around £40.00 per night up to £250.00 per night with mid-week breaks starting at the same price but the most expensive being around £120.00 per night
Torbay’s second town in terms of size. Paignton is a lively town with Promenade, Pier, Amusements, Family Restaurants, Pubs, Theatre and a Green which plays host events and numerous activities. Although not the same scale as Torquay, Paignton does offer shoppers a reasonable choice. Torbay Road which runs from the seafront to town centre is filled with independent shops selling mainly nic-nacs, gifts, toys etc. Following on from Torbay Road you’ll find the pedestrianised Victoria Street where many popular High Street retailers can be found. Paignton can offer a lively night life with clubs and many vibrant pubs to be found both along the seafront and town centre. To stay in Paignton at this time of the year we found the weekend getaway prices to range from £46.00 per night to £138.00 per night and weekdays £37.00 per night to £137.00 per night.
The smallest of the three towns and definitely the most diverse of the trio. Brixham is a small Fishing town which although not as big as it once was, still retains a significant commercial fishing fleet. Its bustling Harbour and Marina are what makes Brixham a popular tourist destination. The Quayside with its restaurants, pubs, shops is the ideal place to hang out and watch the goings-on, on the busy harbour. With its colourful Fishermen’s cottages on the surrounding hilly streets Brixham makes for a very picturesque and quaint town. There is a High Street, but it is geared towards providing the essentials to the locals – Shopping is not a reason to visit Brixham. The town has many B&B’s and small hotels; we found a price range of £70.00 per night to £139.00 per night for weekend stays and £60.00 per night to £129.00 per night for a midweek breaks. Footnote: Football Fans point of interest. “Abide with Me” the famous hymn sung at the Cup final was written by The Reverend Henry Francis Lyte during his time as Vicar at Brixham’s All Saints Church.
A quick shout out to a couple of towns, not in Torbay, but very close by and well worth a visit.
Totnes – Situated a few miles West of Paignton. A vibrant market town which sits at the head of the River Dart.
Dartmouth – South of Brixham on the west bank of the River Dart. Lively small town and home to the impressive Britannia Royal Naval College
Torbay District possesses a wealth of Beaches and Small Coves. Whatever your ideal day at the beach is sunbathing, swimming, fishing, rock climbing, water sports… you’re likely to find something to suit. Below is a basic guide of the various beaches along with their Google Maps co-ordinates, for easy location on maps.
Oddicombe Beach – Torquay (Google Maps Grid Ref 50.471923, -3.501252)
A popular beach, mainly shingle with many amenities. Access via steps or cliff railway
Babbacombe Beach – Torquay (Google Maps Grid Ref 50.479188, -3.510385)
Small pebble/rock beach with amenities. Access via road with small Car Park
Anstey’s Cove – Torquay (Google Maps Grid Ref 50.472030, -3.501221)
Small pebble/rock beach with amenities. Access via pathway from Car Park at cliff top
Meadfoot Beach – Torquay (Google Maps Grid Ref 50.456959, -3.509679)
Shingle beach with amenities. Access direct from the Road.
Torre Abbey Sands – Torquay (Google Maps Grid Ref 50.462713, -3.535332)
Sand and shingle beach. No amenities on the beach but is very close to harbour and town. Access direct from the road.
Corbyn Beach – Torquay (Google Maps Grid Ref 50.459534, -3.541162)
Small sandy beach with amenities. Access direct from the road.
Hollicombe Beach – Paignton (Google Maps Grid Ref 50.450123, -3.552666)
Shingle beach. No amenities. Access via footpath.
Preston Sands – Paignton (Google Maps Grid Ref 50.443018, -3.556432)
Long sand & shingle beach with amenities. A popular Water Sport beach. Access direct from the road.
Paignton Beach – Paignton (Google Maps Grid Ref 50.437370, -3.558628)
Long sandy beach with plenty of amenities. A popular Water Sport beach. Access direct from the road
Fairy Cove Beach – Paignton (Google Maps Grid Ref 50.431535, -3.555090)
Small shingle beach. No amenities. Access via footpath.
Goodrington Sands – Goodrington (Google Maps Grid Ref 50.424355, -3.559487)
Long sandy beach with plenty of amenities. A popular Water Sport beach. Access direct from the road. Car Park very close by.
Oyster Cove - Goodrington (Google Maps Grid Ref 50.417809, -3.556050)
A small shingle beach with no amenities. Access via steps from cliff top.
Saltern Cove - Goodrington (Google Maps Grid Ref 50.416160, -3.556935)
A shingle beach with no amenities. Access via steps from cliff top.
Broadsands Beach – Broadsands (Google Maps Grid Ref 50.406083, -3.554693)
Long sandy beach with plenty of amenities. Access via Car Park
Elberry Cove – Churston (Google Maps Grid Ref 50.402500, -3.545864)
Shingle and pebble Beach with no amenities. A popular Water Sport beach Access via footpath through field.
Churston Cove - Churston (Google Maps Grid Ref 50.402916, -3.524131)
Shingle and pebble beach with no amenities. Access via woodland pathways from cliff tops.
Fishcombe Cove – Brixham (Google Maps Grid Ref 50.402196, -3.521461)
Shingle and pebble beach with amenities. Access via footpath from cliff top or steep hill to Car Park on nearby on higher ground.
Breakwater Beach – Brixham (Google Maps Grid Ref 50.399848, -3.503975)
Shingle and pebble beach with amenities. Access via road and Car Parks. Popular water sports beach.
Shoalstone Beach - Brixham (Google Maps Grid Ref 50.401417, -3.498092)
Actually it's not a beach at all; it's a salt water lido which sits on the rocks directly beside the sea itself. There is a surrounding poolside area suitable for lazing and relaxing and rather conveniently the landscape has provided large flat rocks adjacent, ideal for sunbathing.
St Mary's Bay - Brixham (Google Maps Grid Ref 50.386644, -3.503752)
Sand and pebble beach with no amenities. Access via woodlands and fields with very steep steps from cliff top.
Man Sands - Brixham (Google Maps Grid Ref 50.370859, -3.516406)
Sand and pebble beach with no amenties. Access via Fields
Apart from its Beaches, Towns and rural beauty there are a fair few Attractions, Places of Interest and Things to Do in the area. Below we have briefly highlighted, in no particular order, some of the more popular ones (please note this list is not exhaustive). We have tried to make the list as varied as possible.
Berry Head - Brixham
A headland marking the southern point of Torbay. Jutting out to sea the views of the bay and beyond are stunning; well worth the walk through the Nature Reserve. Home also to Napoleonic Forts and of course the all-important Lighthouse.
Golden Hind – Brixham
A replica of Drake’s famous Galleon moored in Brixham Harbour. Explore the Ship and discover what it would have been like to sail the seven seas in such a vessel.
Paignton Zoo – Paignton
Over 80 acres and containing approximately 2500 animals. Everything you would expect from a top class Wildlife Park
Torre Abbey – Torquay
Historic Medieval Monastery and Art Gallery open to the public.
Splashdown Quaywest – Goodrington
Waterpark with pools, tumbling tyre rides water chutes etc. situated just off of Goodrington Sands beach.
The English Riviera Wheel - Torquay
Large Ferris Wheel taking you on a 12 minute round journey which offers fantastic views of the bay.
Babbacombe Model Village - Torquay
Set in 4 acres of gardens, portraying English life over the past 6 decades with more than 424 model buildings and an estimated 13160 little people and animals.
Kents Cavern - Torquay
Tour a labyrinth of caverns surrounded by 400 million year old rocks with amazing stalagmites and stalactites to enjoy.
Occombe Farm – Paignton
Working organic Farm Attraction with farmyard animals, nature trail, bird hide and play areas.
Living Coasts – Torquay
Coastal Zoo & Aquarium
Princess Theatre & Babbacombe Theatre – Torquay. Palace Theatre – Paignton
All three venues offer top quality Theatre Productions and Shows with many household names making appearances.
Bygones Museum – Torquay
A British History Museum displaying nostalgic, interesting and funny exhibits from days gone by (many from not too many days ago)
Cockington Court, Village and Country Park – Torquay
Charming village with Thatched Cottages and Tea Rooms, set in a country park complete with beautiful lakes. Cockington Court is situated at the bottom of the Green, housing a craft centre and restaurant aside of the small picturesque Cockington Church.
Dinosaur World – Torquay
An interactive Dinosaur and Fossils Exhibition.
Dartmouth Steam Railway – Paignton
Provide steam train travel, river and sea cruises across the English Riviera and along the beautiful River Dart.
Pirates Bay Adventure Golf - Paignton
18 hole Floodlit Crazy/Adventure Golf Course
Cheating a bit here, but seeing as it’s on the doorstep it would be wrong not to mention the Moors. A truly raw and stunning countryside area with some fantastic beauty spots to visit.
As mentioned these are only a few of the Attractions on offer in the region.
With regard to eating out in Torbay, the choice is virtually endless with Restaurants of every variety, Diners, Takeaways, Tea Rooms etc. to suit all budgets. We cannot possibly recommend, but as you can imagine the Sea Food options available are first class. Take a look at TripAdvisor’s selection of eateries within the region.
Finally a selection listing of the leading Events in the area (again in random fashion)
Torbay Steam Fair – Brixham. – Aug
Brixham Pirate Festival – Brixham – May
BMAD Bike Nights – Paignton – June to Sep
International Agatha Christie Festival – Torbay – Sep
The English Riviera Air Show – Paignton – Jun
Paignton Regatta Community Fun Week – Paignton – Aug
Paignton Festival/Torbay Carnival – Paignton – Jly/Aug
Brixfest – Brixham – May
Train of Lights – Paignton – Dec
Torbay Royal Regatta – Torquay – Aug
Lanterns, Lights & ‘luminations ‘ Parade – Brixham – Nov
Children’s Week – Paignton - Aug
Cockington Halloween and Day of the Dead Festival – Torquay – Oct/Nov
Occombe Festival – Paignton – Jun
England Seafood FEAST – Torbay – Sep/Oct
Torquay Christmas Carnival – Torquay – Nov
Cockington Fayre – Torquay – Aug
Well that was our whirlwind report on Torbay, which we hope will have added a little more to your knowledge of the area. Torbay is well worth a visit at any time of year, whether it’s a mini break in the autumn or winter or perhaps a longer stay in the spring or summer months there is always something to do, see or enjoy. See our Partner Page for Hotel & Travel Finders for the best deals in the area or our Homepage for any current specific offers. As an alternative to a Hotel or B&B our partner John Fowler Holidays has its South Bay Holiday Park located in Brixham, should you prefer