Things to do and attractions in Devon and Torquay

Devon and Torquay

It's easy to see why I like Torquay! As a fairly frequent visitor to Torquay over the years, I have had the opportunity to discover the varied range of attractions which make it a location to suit almost every taste and interest. It is probably best known as a traditional resort town in the heart of Torbay with wonderful views and beaches and several of the best hotels in the West and the town’s authorities have made many recent improvements in the facilities for visitors.

The long, level seafront provides the centrepiece of the ‘English Riviera’ and is ideal for that bracing morning walk past the palm trees, parks and colourful flowerbeds. The seafront and the close- by town centre offer all the expected features to meet the needs of a family holiday, but there are also many other alternatives. Just a mile east of the centre is Meadfoot Bay, with a much quieter beach and its own beach café and other amenities, also providing an ideal location for those interested in scuba diving. Then not much further to the east is Babbacombe, almost a small resort in its own right with its attractive cliff-top park area, hotels and restaurants and the beach down below with a funicular railway link. Going in the other direction from the town centre, the quaint thatched village of Cockington and Torre Abbey are also both well worth a visit.

Going further afield, it is always rewarding to spend a day in the bustling fishing port of Brixham – either by crossing Torbay on a boat trip or taking the road route around the bay.  And once there, it is not much further to explore Berry Head for more wonderful scenery and views (and to sample the local crab sandwiches at the Berry Head Hotel!).

Sunset over Torquay harbour For boating enthusiasts, there is a well-equipped and centrally-located Marina; and for golfers, the Torquay Golf Club offers a warm welcome and an enjoyable challenge for visitors. Also worth a visit is the nearby golf course at Teignmouth where from the higher points of the course there are breathtaking views along the coast in both directions and inland across Dartmooor.

Torquay is, of course, also a good base from which to explore many other parts of Devon – my favourite places include Dartington, famous for its glassware and the photogenic riverside village of Stoke Gabriel. By taking some of the narrow country roads, there are many other picturesque villages to be found, both inland and on the coastline, which to add to the variety of a vacation in the area.

And finally, for Silver Travellers able to avoid holiday periods and weekends, all this is even more enjoyable if you can find a relatively quiet time of the year.

Below are details of some of the highlights of the area provided by the local Tourist Board:


Yachting, Café Culture, Shopping
Torquay has been a fashionable haven since the 19th century and the waterfront area remains very much the focus of life in the town. Part of the UNESCO-recognised English Riviera Global Geopark, Torquay is internationally renowned for its beautiful coastline and diversity of landscape, wildlife and culture. There is a picturesque harbour with great shopping, many waterside restaurants, cafés and bars to choose from and delightful palm tree-lined promenades framing the marina.

Agatha Christie Bus Agatha Christie
Dame Agatha Christie, the world's most famous mystery and crime writer, was born in Torquay in 1890 and lived for many years in the area.  Many of the English Riviera’s locations can be recognised in her novels and the area is popular with Christie fans from around the world (see also our Agatha Christie fact sheet).

Beaches, Boat Trips and Birds
Torquay is known for its beautiful beaches, including Torre Abbey Sands and Meadfoot Beach, and there are a wealth of boat trips and water sports to enjoy off the coast. There are also some truly world-class tourist attractions, including Living Coasts, the award-winning coastal zoo and conservation charity. Here the whole family can have fun meeting the free-roaming penguins, watching the fur seals and learning about the natural habitats of a wide range of marine species.

Torre Abbey Sands, Torquay Kents Cavern
This spectacularly beautiful underground cave system is a National Protected Monument, an International Prehistoric Show Cave and a Gateway Site for the English Riviera Global Geopark.  Kents Cavern is by far the most important prehistoric cave dwelling in Britain and is known around the world for its archaeological record of prehistoric human life in ancient Europe.  A fun and exciting all-weather option for the visitor, Kents Cavern has fascinating guided tours plus a great programme of events.

New!  Royal Terrace Gardens – Spectacular Illuminated Staircase / Geopark Platform
A stroll through the beautiful Princess Gardens towards Torre Abbey Sands and along the promenade will take you to the newly-opened Royal Terrace Gardens. Here there is a stunning illuminated staircase up the cliffs which leads you to the new Geopark viewing platform.  This has to be one of the best view points across South Devon’s beautiful bay.
Torre Abbey
Culture vultures shouldn’t miss out on a visit to Torre Abbey. The restored ancient monument and gardens offer a fascinating insight into 800 years of history and also house one of the biggest art collections in the Westcountry. Every summer, the Abbey hosts a “Summer of Arts”. In addition, it is the site of the Agatha Christie-inspired Potent Plants Garden.

Cockington, Torquay Cockington – Quintessentially English Village and Craft Centre
A mile from Torquay seafront you will find Cockington, often described as the prettiest village in England; the world-famous thatched village has remained virtually untouched throughout the centuries. Cockington Court, a 17th century manor house surrounded by a beautiful country park, houses a number of craft studios where you can watch artists at work before enjoying a delicious cream tea.

To find out more visit

Silver Travel Advisor recommended partner: The Toorak Hotel

Listen to Silver Travel Radio Show
Lydia Stone of English Riviera spoke to the Silver Travel Show about all the wonderful things you can do beside the sea in Devon.

138 people found this helpful

Share Article:


Retired broadcasting & satellite executive

Leave a comment


Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest travel tips on top destinations.

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Most Recent Articles

With over 7,000 years of history, Malta is the ultimate holiday destination for any history buff!…

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.