The 15 best things to do in Torquay (Devon, England)
On the English Riviera in Devon, Torquay has had a high reputation since it came into fashion in high society in the early 1800s. The resort is at the northern end of Tor Bay, amid sharp hills and cliffs of red breccia and sandstone. Beneath these cliffs there are tempting beaches where you can stroll in winter or swim in the gentle sea on warm summer days… And in the city itself, you’ll be greeted by an elegant harbor teeming with yachts, as well as promenades with numerous stores, cafes and restaurants. For families, there’s an excuse for weekend getaways throughout Torquay and Torbay, and a cocktail of history and contemporary culture awaits at Torre Abbey and Cockington Country Park. Let’s take a look at the best things to do in Torquay :
1. Kent Cave.
Source: Shutterstock Kent’s Cave There, with the most significant Stone Age monuments in Europe, Kent’s Cave has uncovered signs of human habitation dating back 45,000 years… This labyrinthine chamber system has a constant temperature of 14° C and would have been used by prehistoric humans to escape the winters of the Ice Age. On the tour, you’ll encounter some of the oldest tools found in Britain, as well as bones and teeth from prehistoric animals such as mammoths and a cat with a scimitar. The guide will also explain the geology of Kent Cave and how it was created 2.5 million years ago, and how stalagmites growing from the floor helped hide evidence of prehistoric occupation from early explorers. Rocky Mountain Stone Chamber has the most remarkable nodules, while the Great Chamber tells the story of 15 years of cave exploration in the 1860s and 70s…
2. babbacombe Model Village
Source: Chris Jenner / Shutterstock.com Babbacombe Model Village Just the kind of easy, family-friendly vacation you associate with Devon, Babbacombe Model Village has more than 400 miniature buildings on four acres… The village has 13,160 figures on its walkways, and it artfully models some of the country’s most famous landmarks. You can see the London Shard, Piccadilly Circus and Stonehenge, while the model train track runs three hundred meters long past the buildings. The village has been designed with a lot of wit, and you have to go slowly to make sure you don’t miss a single humorous sign or number in amusing difficulty. There’s also a 4D movie theater showing spectacular 3D movies, and on Thursday evenings in the summer, the village is lit up by thousands of miniature lights. Check out the recommended hotels in Torquay, England
3. Torre Abbey
Source: Shutterstock Abbey of Torre The best preserved monastic monument in Devon and Cornwall is in Torquay and dates from the late 12th century. Once Torre Abbey was suppressed in the 16th century, it became a stately home and, although large parts of the church were demolished, the southern and western monasteries were adapted to house. The tithe barn, gatehouse, abbey tower, and undergrowth all passed unscathed… Torre Abbey is a multifaceted attraction that boasts historic architecture from the medieval and Georgian periods, as well as one of the strongest collections of art in the area. Among the 600 works are works by William Blake and Pre-Raphaelites such as Edward Burne-Jones and William Holman Hunt. You can also browse the Victorian sculptor William Troupe’s studio materials and see exhibitions of contemporary art (Damien Hirst and Anthony Gormley have been featured in the last decade)…
4. Cockington Country Park.
Source: Shutterstock Cockington Country Park On the western border of Torquay is the attractive village of Cockington, with its beautiful thatched cottages and manor house, Cockington Court, all in 450 acres of parkland. The country park, which encompasses the entire village, has a mosaic of manicured gardens, ornamental lakes, rolling hills and woods… Founded in the 16th century and last altered in 1820, Cockington Court is home to a craft center and workshops for potters and glassblowers. In the village you can tour Cockington Church, which was consecrated in the 11th century, find a watermill, have tea at the weaver’s cottage and visit the forge, which has been in the same place for five centuries.
5. The Past
Source: facebook the past Near the Model Village in Babbacombe, Bygones is a nostalgic journey through time, from the Victorian period to the mid-20th century. The attraction features a late 19th-century cobblestone street scene with more than a dozen stores such as a candy store, apothecary and haberdashery, as well as Victorian themed rooms such as the living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. From there, you can learn about a steam train ride and see a 27-ton engine, experience a World War I trench and try your luck and all kinds of vintage seaside entertainment. Finally, there’s a shopping gallery with shopping for clothes, jewelry, gadgets, food containers and furniture from the ’50s and ’60s.
6. Living Shores.
Source: Shutterstock Living Shores Living Shores, declared Britain’s only coastal zoo, contains a variety of birds, sea creatures and aquatic mammals in a series of cleverly designed marine environments… All are located on the western slope of Beacon Hill overlooking Tor Bay… The award-winning enclosure is a 51,000-cubic-foot free-flying aviary for seabirds and up to 19 meters high. It is the first aviary in the country to breed tufted tupiks, as well as common and pigeon guillemots, and has birds, redshanks, red whales and many other species. Elsewhere you’ll find habitats such as the Mysterious Mangrove Forest, which has archers and rays, Penguin Beach, Octopus Odyssey, Fast Otter, and a crawl tank where little ones can see what starfish look like underwater.
7. Oddicombe Beach.
Source: Shutterstock Oddicombe Beach Torquay’s beach of choice is Oddicombe Beach, which lies at the foot of high red breccia cliffs. You can take the serpentine road down there or take the Babbacombe Cliff Railroad, which we’ll talk about later… On the east side of the beach there are gentle waters covered with reddish sand covered with pebbles. You can rent deck chairs in the summer season, and there’s a cafe and beach store a few steps away. The water is also quite calm, so you can rent a pedal boat or kayak to tour the small cove of the beach. High above the beach at Babbacombe Downs is a picturesque promenade with benches and telescopes, bordered by a lawn with a row of cherry trees.
8. Babbacombe Cliff Railway
Source: Peter Titmuss / Shutterstock.com Babbacombe Cliff Railroad The energy saver for reaching Oddicombe Beach from Babbacombe Downs is to catch the cable car that has been running along and across the breccia cliffs on the beaches since 1926. The Babbacombe Cliff train station is open in high season and shut down in winter for maintenance. It is open from 09:30 to 16:30 and rings the bell 15 and 30 minutes before the last trip of the day… On the 220-meter trip, you can rest on the sea through a parting in a wooded lane along the road…
9. Inner Harbor.
Source: Shutterstock The Inner Harbor Of all the places to watch the city, the Inner Harbor may be the most beautiful. At the entrance to the harbor across from Debenhams, there’s a row of benches in the shade of sycamores and next to swaying palm trees. There you can look out over a forest of masts in the water, while on the sides of the harbor are tea rooms, galleries, gift stores and restaurants with outdoor seating. One of the attractive features of the inner harbor is that it’s enclosed in a tidal inlet that holds water at low tide, so the water level always stays high. And at the southern end, you can cross the Millennium Bridge to appreciate the city and its steep topography.
10. Torquay Museum
Source: torquaymuseum Torquay Museum On Babbacombe Road, the Torquay Museum dates back to 1844, and in the spirit of Victorian times, its collection is very diverse. There are many fascinating Stone Age tools, and human and animal remains from Kents Cavern and other places around Devon. You can see many ancient Egyptian objects such as amulets, shabti figures, a mummified hand and a complete mummy of a boy from the 18th dynasty (about 600 BC). Torquay was also the birthplace and childhood home of crime writer Agatha Christie, and there are authentic investigative memorabilia for fans of her work. You can sample daily life in a 19th-century Devon farmhouse, see lots of zoological specimens, check out the huge ethnographic collection, and admire high-quality antique pottery from all the major potteries in England. Check out the recommended hotels in Torquay, England
11. Midfoot Beach
Source: Shutterstock Midfoot Beach Midfoot Beach, facing southeast at the top of Thor Bay, has a photogenic location at the foot of cliffs covered in vegetation. The beach is pebbly and finished with a long platform with cute little beach chalets painted in shades of blue. The water is safe for young people and non-swimmers, as Midfoot beach is directed away from the currents. Behind there is a cafe with a terrace where you can contemplate the view of the rocky islet, Thatcher Rock at the north end of Thor Bay… In the distance to the south unmistakably outlines Berry Head.
12. Princess Gardens.
Source: Philip Byrd LRPS CPAGB / Shutterstock.com Princess Gardens The west end of the Inner Harbor is an open space for strollers next to the marina’s pillars of yachts… Princess Gardens has a walkway surrounded by manicured flowerbeds, mowed lawns and a graceful fountain. The gardens are named for Princess Louise, the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria, who was here to lay the first stone in 1890. In the center is the Princess Theater, Torquay’s best place for the performing arts, and next to it is the English Riviera Wheel, 60 meters and offers a full panorama of the harbor with its 42 gondolas.
13. Babbacombe Theater.
Source: Julian Walker / Flickr The Babbacombe Theater A cultural pillar of Torquay, the Babbacombe Theater has been running since 1939 and has the longest summer season in Britain, lasting nine months… The auditorium was remodeled in 2009 and seats 600 people. It hosts touring covers, comics and musicals. Throughout the summer since 1986, there has been a twice-weekly variety show put on by theater director Colin Matthews. It’s a mix of dancers, singers, and famous comedians from British television.
14. Dinosaur World.
Source: Matty Ring / Flickr Dinosaur World If you’re vacationing with kids going through the dinosaur stage, you can admire the beautiful art deco building in the Inner Harbor… Dinosaur World is populated with dinosaur models, both life-size and to scale, all in realistic tables. Kids can play the role of an anthropologist, dig up dinosaur bones, and test their knowledge of different dinosaur species with a quiz. There are plenty of opportunities for interaction, grabbing a triceratops by the horns or trying to stick their head in the jaws of a full-sized T-rex skull.
15. Southwest Coast.
Source: Shutterstock Southwest Coast There are many walks around Torquay, but the one that evokes a sense of awe is the Southwest Coast, a 630-mile national trail from Minehead in Somerset to Poole Harbor in Dorset, following Devon and Cornwall along the way. You can go a few miles and stay there by going from Torquay Harbor to the cliffs to the east in the Duddhill Valley. Along the way you will see Beacon Cove, where Agatha Christie used to swim in her youth. From Duddhil Plain you can see all of Thor Bay. Berry Head at the southern end of the bay is reachable in a day, and then it’s only two stops from Cherston by train to Torquay.