Presentation of the destination
This area in South Devon was christened the English Riviera by the Victorians when they started to market the resort area over one hundred years ago. The region had become a popular destination as a result of the Napoleonic Wars, which meant that well-heeled British citizens who were accustomed to traveling to the European continent for pleasure no longer could. They turned to Torquay, with its stunning coastline and mild climate, as an astonishingly beautiful alternative with a Mediterranean feel and the city has been a popular tourist destination ever since. Torquay is famous for its horseshoe-shaped bay, its ornate Victorian architecture, and its very own variety of palm tree.
Points of interests / things to see
This 800-year-old abbey is the largest surviving medieval monastery in Devon and Cornwall and it has a long tradition of hospitality to visitors. Visitors to the site can see what life was like for the Abbots and Canons in the 12th century who followed the strict teachings of St. Augustine. By the 15th century, this Premonstratensian Abbey was the richest in all of England – these austere god-fearing Abbots and Canons managed to earn up to 1.8 million pounds a year during that time. In 1662, following the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry the Eighth, the abbey was purchased by the Cary family and used as a family home. Today it looks very much like a Georgian manor house and is used partly as an art gallery, as a museum, and as an historic house. Some of the art on view includes Holman Hunt's "The Children's Holiday," William Blake’s cartoons for the "Book of Job," and a collection of Edward Burne-Jones’ cartoons, as well. And if you are very lucky, you may see the “Spanish lady,” a ghost who is said to haunt the medieval “Tithe Barn” that is also on the property. Beautiful gardens surround the ruins of the original abbey, including a special Children’s Medieval Garden and one display garden called Agatha Christie’s Potent Plants. Torre Abbey, The King's Drive, Torquay TQ2 5JE, England Tel: 01803 293593Web: http://www.torre-abbey.org.uk/ Contact: email@example.com Open five days a week, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Adults £7.50 Seniors £6.25 Children (3-15) £3.00 Family £18.00
Famed mystery novelist Agatha Christie was born in Torquay, in 1890, and spent many of her formative years there. She also used areas in and around Torquay as settings for many of her mystery novels. This route passes by many of the buildings that featured in her life and work. You should start your walk at the Grand Hotel, where Christie spent her honeymoon night in 1914, and then pass by the Torre Abbey gardens which features a poison garden devoted to plants that made appearances in her novels. Consider roller skating on Princess Pier, just as Christie herself did as a girl. Continue on through the Princess Gardens, which was a setting in "The ABC Mystery,: visit the Pavilion where young Agatha Miller was proposed to by Archie Christie, view the bronze Agatha Christie bust, stroll past her father’s yacht club, and visit Beacon Cove, where she nearly drowned, before wandering past the Imperial Hotel, and ending up at the Agatha Christie Gallery in the Torquay Museum. Agatha Christie Mile Torquay Seafront (starting points: Grand or Imperial Hotels) Torquay Devon TQ2 6NT Tel: 0844 474 2233 Web: http://www.englishriviera.co.uk/things-to-do/agatha-christie-mile-torquay-p1291663 Contact: http://www.englishriviera.co.uk/things-to-do/agatha-christie-mile-torquay-p1291663/email Open year round. You can do the tour for free or arrange for a guided one with through the tourist bureau.
Bygones is a very popular, privately-owned museum and heritage site located in the heart of Torquay, not far from the Old Town Hall. Started by a married couple to house their collection of railway memorabilia, things really got out of hand when the husband purchased an actual 27-ton railway engine from Falmouth Docks. Today the museum features many attractions in one location – first, explore a life-size Victorian street featuring replicas of a General Store, an Apothecary, and a Toy Shop, all stocked with authentic period goods. Next, enter period displays rooms recreating a Victorian nursery, a Kitchen, and a Station Hotel. Fans of miniatures will appreciate the 28-foot long working model railway and the fantasy land featuring famous buildings from around the world. History buffs interested in the world wars will be interested in the model World War I trench and the World War II Anderson Shelter. There is also a shopping arcade from the 1940s and 50s, and an amusement arcade featuring antique games. There really is something for everyone here. Bygones, Fore Street, St Marychurch, Torquay TQ1 4PR, England Tel: +44 (0)1803 326108Web: http://www.bygones.co.uk/Open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from November to March, and until 6:00 p.m. from April to October.Adults £7.95 Seniors £6.95 Children (4-14) £5.50 Under 4 free Families £25.00 Disabled £5.50
You are bound to feel like a giant as you explore Babbacombe Model Village, four acres of beautiful gardens tended to look like a miniature world. The award-winning gardens are very carefully monitored and tended by a number of busy gardeners, so that they stay perfectly to scale. This makes the hundreds of model buildings on display, in styles ranging from Medieval to Tudor to Georgian to Victorian, look as if they really are situated in a tiny world all of their own. Although the village started out as just that – a miniature village -- when the place opened in 1963, today it has expanded to include a large modern town, complete with recognizable stores. Over 13,000 miniature people live in the village alone. What’s more, there are sounds and animation as well. Visitors are advised to take their time, as there are plenty of tiny visual jokes hidden throughout the place. Some of the most popular models include the fire-breathing dragon the Medieval castle, the house on fire, Stonehenge, and a football stadium complete with streakers! If you fall in love with the place and want to take a piece of it home, you can purchase one of the carefully tended plants from the garden or some doll house miniatures in Gulliver’s Tearoom. Babbacombe Model Village, Hampton Ave, Babbacombe, Torquay TQ1 3LA, England Tel: 07734721063Web: http://www.model-village.co.uk/Contact: firstname.lastname@example.orgBabbacombe Model Village operates on a reduced scale throughout the months of January, February and March and ticket rates may be reduced according at the gates at these times. From March 29th to December 12th, it is generally open from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with extended hours on various random days. Check the website to be sure of the hours on the day you plan to visit. Standard admission rates are Adult £10.50 Senior £9.50 Child (3-14) £8.00 Family £34.50
Cockington Court is an attractive old Court House, tucked away behind some trees across from the Cricket field in the picturesque village of Cockington about a mile from the Torquay waterfront. As a child, Agatha Christie was friends with Christopher Mallock, a little boy who lived here – and to whom she later dedicated her book Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? --and she used to play in its gardens with him. She also performed in plays with other members of the Mallock family.Today Cockington Court is home to over twenty craft studios and there are frequent demonstrations of various techniques including the making of stained glass, glass blowing, and blacksmithing. Cockington Court is also home to a Tudor rose garden, the Walled Garden, an attractive children’s play area, and a contemporary art gallery. There is a chocolatier on site, as well as a tea room offering delicious cream teas. There is also a popular murder mystery trail to take around the grounds. You can also take a horse and carriage ride, if you’re not in the mood for sleuthing. Cockington Court, Cockington, Torquay TQ2 6XA, England Tel: +44 1803 607230Web: http://www.cockingtoncourt.org/Contact: email@example.com;Open year round, at 10:00 a.m.Admission: Free
Many visitors to Torquay prefer to while away an afternoon simply strolling along the peaceful harbour wall and across the lighted pedestrian footbridge known as Millennium Bridge, which joins the North and South Piers and spans the harbour’s entrance. The inner harbour, which is tucked behind a tidal cill, never dries out and many boats are moored there against the backdrop of stunning views of the sea. The area, considered the true center of Torquay, is dotted with shops, restaurants, cafes, and pubs. Why not stop in at one and have a proper Devon Cream Tea, or try your hand at crabbing at high tide? Inner Harbour, Torquay BayTel: 01803 292429Web: http://www.englishriviera.co.uk/things-to-do/torquay-harbour-and-marina-p1291393Email: http://www.englishriviera.co.uk/things-to-do/torquay-harbour-and-marina-p1291393/emailOpen all year.
Cockington Village and Country Park is the number one favorite tourist destination in Torquay, and with good reason. Visitors describe the thatched-roofs cottages and cider orchards of the village, which dates from the time of the Domesday Book, as “picturesque as a chocolate box” and the Country Park consists of 450 acres of well-tended formal gardens, lakes, and woodlands, and is part of the English Riviera Geopark, one of only 89 parks of recognized by UNESCO for its geological, historical, and cultural significance. Cockington Country Park Cockington, Torquay TQ2 6XA, England Tel: 01803 520022Web: http://www.countryside-trust.org.uk/cockingtonContact: firstname.lastname@example.orgCockington Village and Country Park are open year-round.Entrance is free.
There are over 20 safe beaches along a 22 mile stretch of coastline in Torbay, and they have won more awards than any other beaches in the United Kingdom. At the foot of some magnificent cliffs, the award-winning Meadfoot Beach is one of the best, a rocky, shingled beach that is popular among those looking for a quiet beach on which to relax. It is overlooked by the crescent-shaped Osbourne Hotel. There is also a promenade backed by a hillside dotted with trees. This beach is staffed with lifeguards; there are beach huts and a café. There is also a toilet facility, which is only open during the summer months. Meadfoot Beach Meadfoot Road, Torquay, England Web: http://www.torbay.gov.uk/index/yourbay/beaches/torquaybeaches/meadfootbeach.htm
Kents Cavern is the most highly regarded prehistoric cave in Britain, and one of the most important Stone Age caves in all of Europe. As such, it is part of the UNESCO English Riviera Geopark and a protected national monument. There is evidence that humans have taken shelter in these caves for thousands of years. Visitors to Kents Cavern can explore the maze of underground caverns dotted with stalactite and stalagmite formations under the guidance of an experienced tour guide. Above ground, there is a Stone Age-themed woodland trail and and an indoor area where kids can try their hand at an archaeological dig. Kents Cavern Ilsham Rd, Torquay TQ1 2JF, England Tel: 44 1803 294059 Web: http://www.kents-cavern.co.uk/ Contact: http://www.kents-cavern.co.uk/contact.cfm Kents Cavern is open every day throughout the year with the exception of Christmas Day. Adults £8.95 Children (3-15) £8.25 Under 3 Free Seniors/Students £8.25
Vacation rentals in Torquay (England)
How to get there ?
By plane: The closest airport to Torquay is the Exeter International Airport. By train: Direct routes from Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, and London and many other locations within the United Kingdom to Torquay are provided by the First Great Western train services. Like many of its other attractions, the train station in Torquay is located right on the seafront. By car: If you wish to drive to Torquay, you’ll need to follow the M5 to Exeter, and once there, join the A380. From Newton Abbot, take the the A38 and A3022 right to Torquay. By bus: You can take a National Express coach from many locations within the United Kingdom to Torquay. If you call the English Riviera Visitor Information Centre at 0844 474 22 33, they will be happy to help you with fares and booking. In the city By foot: Torquay is the perfect city for walking. Many of the city’s top attractions are within the central area. By bus: If you wish to explore further afield, take one of the Stagecoach Hop 12 route into Newton Abbot or Paignton and Brixham. By ferry: Regular ferries run from Torquay to Brixham from Easter until September.
Hotels in Torquay (England)