"Torquay...is pretty...but...like all other easily accessible sea-places, it is sadly spoilt by wealth and fashion, which leave no secluded walks and tattoo all the hills with ugly patterns of roads an"
George Eliot, Letter to Miss Sara Hennell, 1846
Lying at the heart of South Devon and the "English Riviera", Torquay is one of the most stylish resorts in Britain. Blessed with a mild climate, gorgeous sandy beaches, beautiful coastal views and world class attractions, Torquay is guaranteed to please visitors of any age or inclination.
Originally a sleepy, fishing village, Torquay was reborn as a tourist resort in the Victorian era. The new railway system brought eager visitors such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning who came to soak up the therapeutic benefits of the sea. Torquay became a trendy attraction and sparkling, white Victorian villas quickly sprung up upon the hillside. Standing in their midst today, looking over the promenade and palm trees (in reality thriving New Zealand Cabbage Plants) and out to the blue seas beyond, you'll feel as though you've been transported out of England and into the Mediterranean. Sea and sun lovers will bask in all the delights of some 22 miles of coastline with opportunities to indulge in activities such as swimming, diving, angling or hiking.
Torquay's diversity draws a range of visitors, many of whom have no interest in its blue seas. They come for its premier historic attraction, Kent's Cavern, a network of caves which has provided
some of the earliest evidence of man to be found not only in England but all of Europe. Other tourists come here on the trail of a popular hero, Agatha Christie who was born here in 1890. Torquay now boasts the only statue of her in the world. More key attractions at Torquay are the Babbacombe Model Village and Torquay's oldest building, Torre Abbey built in 1196. Those in search of the outdoors can choose between its beaches and coves or visit the stunning Cockington Country Park.
Torquay lies on the so-called English Riviera and is locally renowned for the beauty of its beaches. Sun and sea lovers can select between some twenty beaches along the coast. The sand and shingle beach of Maidencombe Beach lies to the north of Torquay. Although accessing this beach isn't easy, the cliffs above lie along the Southwest Coast Path and provide excellent walking with superb views. Another attraction here is the walk between Maidencombe and Watcombe which passes beneath Giant Rock on land which once formed part of the estate of I.K. Brunel, the Victorian Engineer. Watcombe offers another beautiful sandy beach while further south, Oddicombe Beach is a sand and shingle beach which offers another attraction, rides on Babbacombe's historic cliff railway. The sheltered waters of Babbacombe Beach offer a different kind of attraction and is popular for sailing and fishing off the breakwater. The wee shingle and sand beach of Anstey's Cove is fronted by sparkling, blue waters while Meadfoot Beach is a long pebble and sand beach. Torre Abbey Sands and Corbyn Head are both excellent sandy beaches near the heart of Torquay. If you're looking to avoid the crowds, Hollicombe Beach lies a mile away from the car park and subsequently deters many punters.
Torquay : Sightseeing and Attractions
|Babbacombe Model Village|
Feel like a giant as you tour a miniature world at the Babbacombe Model Village. The key attraction here is “A World of Characters” where you'll find recreations of historic events and popular movie scenes. You can also see a 1930's model railway in action or go behind the scenes and find out how the props are made. In spring 2006, a new attraction, Merrivale Castle will recreate a medieval experience. In the last two weeks of November and the month of December, you can visit “Winter Wonderland” and see the “Minilluminations” at dusk.
Address: Babbacombe Model Village, Hampton Avenue, Torquay, Devon
Postcode: TQ1 3LA Street Map
Contact: PH +44 (0)1803 315315
|Riviera International Centre|
A great alternative attraction for parents on a wet summer's day, this is Torquay's indoor beach. You'll be able to swim at Waves Leisure Pool, ride its giant slide or simply enjoy splashing in the artificial waves. Other attractions here are the sauna and steam room, jacuzzi and gym.
Admission: £3.40 Adults £2.65 Children
Address: Chestnut Avenue, Torquay, Devon
Postcode: TQ2 5LZ Street Map
Contact: PH 01803 299992
One of the most important historic buildings in the area, Torre Abbey was once amongst the wealthiest Premonstratensian Abbeys in England. On your visit, you'll be able to see the medieval undercroft and medieval tithe barn. .. more
Address: The King's Drive, Torquay, Devon
Postcode: TQ2 5JE Street Map
One of the most important Palaeolithic sites in Europe, Kent's Cavern offers a unique tour. You'll pass through various colourful underground caves which were inhabited across a timespan of some 700,000 years... more
Admission: £8.95 Adults £7.95 Children
Address: Kent's Cavern Ltd, Cavern House, Ilsham Road, Torquay, Devon
Postcode: TQ1 2J Street Map
Contact: PH 01803 215 136
|Bygones Victorian Museum|
A privately owned museum, Bygones features Victorian and railway relics in exhibitions which will take you back in time. There's the Victorian street where you'll relive the shopping experiences of your forefathers and discover what type of items they purchased. You'll also see a twenty-eight foot railway model and find out more about how the steam engine changed England and the lives of her people. More attractions at the Bygones Victorian museum include Fantasyland of Myths and Legends (great for kids) and war history in the Trenches and Anderson Shelter.
Admission: £4.95 Adults £3.50. Children
Address: Bygones Victorian Museum, Fore Street, Torquay, Devon
Postcode: TQ1 4PR Street Map
Contact: PH +44 (0) 1803 326 108
At the Vivian Gallery, you'll be able to see a Victoriana collection which includes an 1840's doll house, writing materials and a collection of local pottery including pieces from Watcombe, Aller Vale and Mottoware potteries. On your visit, you'll also be able to see a cross section of some 3,000 years of body adornments. Your tour of the archaeological section will take you on a trip through the various key stages of prehistory. A unique display covers a sequence of stone tools excavated from Kent's Cavern. Other excavated pieces from Kent's Cavern are the oldest jawbone to be recovered in England (31,000 years old), Neanderthal tools and a skull. This section also provides more information on some of the best known figures in the advancement of evolutionary theory, Sir Charles Lyell, William Pengelly and Charles Darwin. Another key attraction is the Agatha Christie gallery devoted to the life and times of this popular crime fiction writer. You'll be able to see photos of life in Torquay at the time, personal artefacts and some of the objects which inspired her works.
If you're also planning on visiting Kent's Cavern, joint tickets are offered at a discount price.
Admission: £3 Adults £1.50 Children
Address: 529 Babbacombe Road, Torquay, Devon
Postcode: TQ1 1HG Street Map
Contact: PH 01803 293 975
A family attraction, Living Coasts is a coastal zoo situated on Beacon Quay with panoramic views across Tor Bay. Focusing on marine mammals and their conservation, Living Coasts allows the visitor a glimpse into animal behaviour while simultaneously recreating the feel of a natural habitat. On your visit, you'll be able to see the Wader's Estuary and Sea Duck's Pond and the Underwater Viewing Area where you'll see fur-seals, penguins and other species. A key attraction here are feeding times when crowds gather to watch seals and penguins catch their daily grub.
Admission: £8.75 Adults £6.55 Children
Address: Living Coasts, Torquay Harbourside, Torquay, Devon
Postcode: TQ1 2BG Street Map
Contact: PH 01803 202 470
|Cockington Court & Country Park|
Lying less than one mile from Torquay's seafront, Cockington Country Park offers an extensive network of footpaths and horse riding trails in beautiful surrounds. The little village of Cockington is an attraction in itself. Cockington Court, the old manor house has been converted into a quality crafts centre. In June, Cockington Court comes to life in the ever popular Last Night of the Proms. On your visit, you can also visit their organic, kitchen garden or enjoy the rest of the attractions at Cockington such as its thatched cottages, woodlands, waterwheel and Norman church.
Address: Cockington Court, TORQUAY, Devon
Postcode: TQ2 6XA Street Map
Contact: PH 01803 606035
|Torquay Tourist Information Centre|
The place to book all your attractions, tours and accommodation, the Torquay Tourist Information Centre is convenientally located on Torquay's harbourside.
Address: Vaughan Parade, Torquay, Devon
Postcode: TQ2 5JG Street Map
Contact: PH 0870 7070 010
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