This coastal resort epitomises the Devon South Coast experience. Uncover the secret coves, take a dip in the sparkling ocean or play games along the promenade.
A peaceful sleepy atmosphere encapsulates the coastal towns and villages along Devon’s South Coast. We have holiday cottages scattered along this beautiful region with accommodation down in beautiful Brixham, regal Dartmouth and the old fishing town of Teignmouth. Torquay mirrors that quiet and relaxed atmosphere while also offering a wealth of activities to keep you entertained if you’re looking for a little fun and games while on your getaway.
Jump in and take part in exciting watersports or hop onboard a sightseeing boat or fishing trip to see more of the beautiful harbour. Charter a yacht along the water or drop by Living Coasts to meet the penguins and otters that make this place their home.
About the town:
A waterfront gem set along the world-renowned English Riviera, known for its palm trees, microclimate and that iconic seafront fairground wheel, and in an excellent location with the opportunity to visit Dartmoor, Exeter or Plymouth, Torquay is the perfect UK holiday getaway.
The calm, sparkling waters full of old fishing boats and luxury yachts could belong to any tropical paradise while the exciting family-friendly seafront attractions make this coastal escape a distinctly British experience.
On your first day in this resort find time to take a stroll through town and along the seafront getting to know the lay of the land, pick a place to dine with a view of the ocean, check out the showtimes at the theatre, before ending your evening by stepping out onto the promenade to watch the sunset.
Millions of years old, the prehistoric caves of Kent’s Cavern offer an unforgettable family day out with activities for kids, coastal and woodland walks, and Geopark. Tour the ancient rock formations and as you investigate the 400-year-old labyrinth of caves see if you can finally figure out the difference between stalagmites and stalactites.
We’ve already mentioned the penguins and otters found at Living Coasts, universally agreed to be two of the cutest creatures around, but what about all the other creepy crawlies and flippered friends you can meet? There’s the fur seal, the clever four-eyed fish, the intriguing mudskipper (made famous by the great David Attenborough), the big-bellied seahorse, and the winding tendrils of the anemone. When walking around, see if you can catch a glimpse of the mysterious octopus.
If animals are your thing then take the 5-mile drive across to the famous Paignton Zoo where they have everything from tall, knobbly-legged giraffes, ferocious crocodiles, to the much-loved capybara, often described as a giant Guinea pig.
While Kent’s Cavern takes you millions of years back in time and Living Coasts takes you to the bottom of the ocean, Bygones Museum in the centre of town allows guests to discover a whole variety of time periods at once. With toys from the fabulous 50s’, a recreation of a Victorian street and mini railways and displays of objects from wars gone by, this interactive museum is a mishmash of British historical eras.
Finally for one of the most popular attractions in the area, feel like a giant as you march around Babbacombe Model Village. Located less than a mile from the coast and with 4 acres of miniatures in the award-winning gardens, it’s an exciting attraction that draws holidaymakers back again and again with its everchanging displays. Yes, they have medieval castles, Victorian England and a replica of the mysterious Stonehenge, but they also have current displays with recognisable characters and personalities such as their ‘Little Enders’ soap set and a celebrity mansion – see who you can spot!
The best beaches are found on the eastern coast of the Torquay area in Lyme Bay. Award-winning beaches lining the coast include the beautiful yet secretive Anstey's Cove, unique Babbacombe Beach and the pretty Meadfoot Beach. Anstey’s Cove and Babbacombe Beach also happen to be dog-friendly (at time of writing), so if you’re bringing man’s best friend along let them loose on these sandy shores while you explore and take in the scenery. Pick a favourite beach and enjoy a day of beachside fun.
Families will love the stretch of shingle and sand that makes up Goodrington Sands found in the town next door, Paignton. The seafront waterpark, steam railway and grassy parkland encapsulate the fun and old-time beauty of the scenic English Riviera. When you’re done lounging on the sand and shingle beach, family-friendly Paignton has a range of fantastic attractions of its own to keep you busy all day long.
For more on the best beaches in the area take a look at our Devon beach guide or read through our guide to Devon’s dog-friendly beaches and find a seaside spot that’s right for you.
Quaint country cottages and seaside gems are found scattered throughout this pretty coastal escape. Stay in a luxury holiday home overlooking the ocean, try a manor house apartment for two or pick out a family-friendly retreat in the centre of town.
If you prefer a few nights being spoilt in a hotel, then peruse our hotels located along the English Riviera. In Torquay, there’s the peaceful and magnificent Orestone Manor with its award-winning restaurant, or the fantastic TLH Hotel, which offers a pool complex and spa, impressive gym, huge indoor games zone with ten-pin bowling and archery that both kids and adults will love.
The food and drink:
The elegance and opulence of The Orange Tree make this fine dining establishment an excellent place to spoil yourself on a distinguished evening out. Other delightful restaurants you could stop by include the Greek cuisine at Ephesus Restaurant, the olde-worlde atmosphere of Memories Bistro and the ever-elegant No 7 Fish Bistro & Wine Bar.
A warm welcome and good honest food greet you at Torquay’s traditional British pubs. Listen to live music at The Hole in the Wall, devour a carvery at Old Engine House, or discover the varied menu at the family-friendly Wighton Pub.
Less than 30 miles from Torquay, the landscape dramatically changes and becomes South Devon’s famous Dartmoor National Park. Rocky moorland, forests and wetlands make up this rugged landscape with quaint villages and cosy country pubs to rest your weary legs after a day’s exploration.
Map out a route that includes a trip to ancient monuments like Haytor Rock or old Iron Age hillforts, meet a herd of Dartmoor ponies and take in the wildlife, visit one of Dartmoor’s magical waterfalls, see a scenic National Trust site and return to a welcoming cottage at the end of a full day of exploration to collapse into bed.
Exeter and Plymouth:
If you’d prefer a city day out, from Torquay you can take your pick of either ancient Exeter (22 miles away) or the port city of Plymouth (33 miles). Both have excellent shopping and dining opportunities with Princesshay Shopping Centre in Exeter and Drake Circus in Plymouth.
Located on the River Exe, the city of Exeter predates the Romans and attractions include the magnificent cathedral, attractive quayside and Underground Passages that were built during the 14th century.
Meanwhile, Plymouth is sat right on the waters edge with The Hoe that includes parkland providing views out across to Drake’s Island. Stop by the fantastic National Marine Aquarium, see the boats in Plymouth’s harbour and enjoy a tour of the Plymouth Gin Distillery.
There’s so much to keep you busy in either of these vibrant cities although, with plenty of activities in and around Torquay, you may decide there’s no reason to go travel outside this entertaining coastal resort.
Discover the beautiful South Devon Coast by glancing through our helpful post ‘Get to know the English Riviera’.
Inspired to book yourself a trip to this relaxing coastal resort? Browse through our collection of holiday cottages in Torquay and find your perfect seaside escape.
Or peruse our wide range of holiday homes, lodges and cottages across the whole of South Devon and take your pick of excellent retreats in one of the UK’s favourite holiday destinations.