When I see a bright and beautiful floral ‘English Riviera’ roundabout, and palm trees start popping up everywhere, I know I’ve almost arrived at 22 miles of beautiful South Devon coastline.
Torbay consists of a triangle of coastal towns; Brixham, Paignton and Torquay. Each have their own character and offer different things, so I recommend visiting them all!
Brixham, a pretty harbour side town, is my favourite of the three – read my post Best of Brixham to see why. With its rich fishing history, Brixham has the old Fish Market Quay and today is still a working fishing port. So for uber fresh fish in the local restaurants at good prices, you can’t afford to miss it! Testament to the quality, the fish caught by Brixham trawlers have been chosen for the menus of restaurants owned by celebrity chefs, including Jamie Oliver, Rick Stein and Mitch Tonks.
I like the fact Brixham is not just another stereotypical seaside resort and is home to unique attractions, for example Shoalstone Seawater Swimming Pool.
Paignton is the only one of the three towns with its own pier, on a beautiful long red sand beach. Bustling and very family-friendly, there is a play park on the green behind the beach and an amusement arcade on the pier.
The magnificent steam railway, which is celebrating 150 years this year, is an absolute must – both as an experience in itself and a way to get around.
Torquay is the largest and is a traditional seaside resort, with a more commercial feel. There is a beach and lovely seafront gardens, and in the summer months has an observation wheel – the very one used at London’s Winter Wonderland.
How best to explore the area
It really is easier to leave the car wherever you parked it and use the great public transport – it’ll get you anywhere you want to go. Plus you can enjoy a few drinks if you wish! For economy, I purchased the Stagecoach Torbay DayRider for £4.90 when I got on board the bus, giving me unlimited travel for the day.
If you’re in the area for more than a few days, another excellent option is the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company. You can buy journeys individually, but I’d suggest the hop on, hop off Jubilee Pass for trips and travel on the steam trains and river boats – it covers so much and at just £35 for 5 days, I think it’s a bargain.