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The seaside town of Torquay in Devon is part of the Torbay area (containing Brixham and Paignton) also known as the English Riviera. It is one of the UK's foremost holiday destinations and has an international marina.
Torquay boasts a palm lined waterfront with a backdrop of seven hills. Several beaches can be reached within minutes from the town centre, and there is plenty of food, drink, and entertainment venues to keep you going from day to night.
By Road: Taking the M5, exit at junction 31 and follow the signs for Torquay onto the A38. Turn onto the A380 and carry along this road into Torquay.
By Train: A frequent line runs from London Paddington to Torquay courtesy of Great Western Trains. Virgin Trains provide services to Exeter St David's where you can catch a connecting train, as well as an additional direct service to Torquay on Saturdays in the summer.
By Coach: The National Express provides coach services year round alongside a number of independent firms that are particularly active in the summer season.
The Palaeolithic Kents Cavern cave is among the most significant in Northern Europe, and the oldest identifiable human dwelling in Britain. Some of its geological and prehistoric artefacts are more than 700,000 years old. Take a guided tour of around 80 minutes through the cave, and experience this prehistoric dwelling with its rare history.
To understand more about Torquay's history, you can visit its oldest building; the Torre Abbey. The Abbey is listed as an ancient monument of national importance, and consists of two Grade 1 listed buildings. Dating from around 1380, Torre Abbey is the most complete medieval Abbey ruins in Devon and Cornwall although the Abbey's Church does lie in ruins. The setting for the Abbey comprises gardens and a tropical palm house, as well as a pitch and putt and tennis courts so there is plenty to see and do.
The new attraction, Living Coasts is Torquay's coastal zoo displaying coastal and marine life from around the world. You can mingle with the penguins before visiting the café or restaurant.
For a daytime or evening stroll, try the Royal Terrace Gardens or Rock walk as it is known locally. These gardens encompass hidden walkways and paths surrounded by exotic plants and palms. At night, the paths are discreetly lit amongst the foliage.
The Bygones Lifesize Victorian Street allows you to explore a life-like recreation of Victorian shops with original items at an ironmongers, sweet shop, grocers, and candle makers. There is also a shelter and trench setting amongst many other sights here.
A main reason why tourists travel to Torquay in the summer is due to the beaches. Make sure you visit at least one when you visit!
Anstey's Cove is a Blue Flag shingle beach with moderate access and parking ¼ mile from the beach. It has hire facilities and a café, and dogs are allowed on this beach.
Meadfoot Beach is a Blue Flag beach with pebble and sand. It is easy access with plenty of parking, hire facilities and refreshments. Dogs are allowed onto the Kilmorie end.
Torre Abbey Sands is as the name suggests, a sand beach. There is plenty of parking and the beach is easily accessible. Dogs are not allowed.
Corbyn Head comprises both sand and shingle and is easily accessible. The parking is ¼ mile away. There are hire facilities for chairs and chalets, and dogs are banned.
A popular activity held in Torquay is tea dancing. Tea dances are often held at the Belgrave Hotel or Torquay Leisure Resort, which comprises several hotels.
January: The Torquay Fair is a trade exhibition that has been running over 40 years. It is the first major trade event of the year, showing tens of thousands of gifts and goods from large importers and small manufacturers. You can browse the latest products and ideas from department stores, independent stores, tourist attractions, heritage sites and more.
August: In nearby Paignton the Torbay Royal Regatta takes place. Held since 1803, this event includes a huge firework show and Red Arrow flight display, as well as a funfair and fun run.
November: Starting at Torre, the Torbay Christmas Carnival is a procession of floats and costumes ending at Torquay's inner harbour. The Christmas lights are switched on as the procession passes, with a large firework display at the end.
Aside from London, Devon contains the highest number of jazz musicians in the UK. You can find traditional and mainstream jazz evenings at the Devon Arms and the Crown & Sceptre. If jazz isn't your scene, the chain pubs on the Waterfront include Shiraz, Wetherspoons and The Clock Tower, or you can find real ale at the Hop and Grapes.
For clubbing, Claire's Nightclub on the Waterfront has big name DJs most weekends and plays mostly RnB. The older crowds tend to head for Valbonnes on Lincoln Street.
Alternatively, a variety of plays and performances can be seen at Torquay's Princess and Babbacombe Theatres.
No trip to Devon would be complete without tasting a Devon cream tea and scone. To find one in Torquay, Cockington Court is a good place to start.
To dine out in style, the Ocean Brasserie is headed by a top trained chef using only the finest ingredients. For eco-friendly food, Azure@Living Coasts provides Mediterranean style dishes with meat, fish, and vegetarian styles from fresh local produce.
If you are looking for a Chinese restaurant, the Yum Sing Cantonese & Peking Restaurant is only a 2 minute drive from the harbour. For speciality fish dishes, the No7 Fish Bistro has fresh, locally caught produce and some exotic food.
Torquay's Pavilion shopping centre was previously an Edwardian theatre, but now houses a number of specialist boutique and shops. When you need a break, there is a café and terrace restaurant.
Fleet Walk also boasts a modern undercover shopping area with independent and specialist boutiques, shops and cafes. Covering two levels, it also has terraces which lead to the Winter Gardens. In Brixham's Union Street, you can find unique antique shops.