The Gem of The English Rivera

Torquay is famous for its deep aqua-marine sea, beaches, beautiful cliffs and panoramic views. Known as The Gem of The English Rivera, it makes the perfect UK holiday destination.

Dotted all over this quaint town are dozens of shops selling locally-made gifts, and there’s also a thriving shopping outlet right in the heart of the Town Centre. The harbour, meanwhile, is filled with  leisure yachts and fishing boats.

There is loads to do, both day and night. Chill out by the sea, enjoy walks and water-sports, or visit one of Torquay’s famous attractions.

Oddicombe Beach

One of the best-known places in Torquay is Oddicombe Beach, with its distinctive red sandstone cliffs. This shingle beach is a great place to relax on a deckchair or take part in water-sports.

Oddicombe Beach photographed by Derek Harper / Source: Wikimedia Commons
Oddicombe Beach photographed by Derek Harper / Source: Wikimedia Commons

Hike up to the cliff-top to enjoy the magnificent view across the bay, or take the Babbacombe Cliff Railway, which runs from the top of the Breccia cliffs all the way down to the water edge. Facilities include beach huts, a shop and a newly re-furbished cafe.

Babbacombe Model Village

A few yards from Oddicombe Beach is Babbacome Model village, one of the best model villages in the UK. Visitors of all ages can enjoy this miniature world, which portrays English life over the last 5 decades.

Babbacombe Model Village photographed by MANHATTAN RESEARCH INC / Source: Wikimedia Commons
Babbacombe Model Village photographed by MANHATTAN RESEARCH INC / Source: Wikimedia Commons

The village includes over 400 model buildings (including stately homes, factories, shops, farms and a hydro-electric dam) and is inhabited by 13,000 figurines. A tasteful hint of humour is incorporated into the design and features, while the award-winning miniature landscape gardens are a delight in their own right!

Living Coasts Zoo and Aquarium

Living Coasts offers up-close experiences with some of the resident marine animals of Torquay. Here you will meet otters, octopuses, seals and even penguins. There are also games, talks and panoramic underwater viewing areas.

Enjoy local food and stunning views at the Living Coasts Cafe, or peruse the Fair Trade jewellery and local art at the Tradewinds Gift Shop, where all profits go towards Living Coasts’ conservation work.

Places To Stay

  • Vomero Holiday Apartments: Vomero is a Grade II listed building. It has been occupied by a number of famous guests including the engineer Brunel and the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie. The building has now been converted into five spacious self-catering apartments, set within award-winning gardens with splendid sea views.
  • Chelston Dene Holiday Apartments: If you’re on a budget, you’ll find excellent self-catering accommodation at Chelston Dene Holiday Apartments. The hosts Rod and Jackie Payne are on-site to help you feel at home. Pets are welcome to stay as well.
  • The Downs Babbacombe: If you would rather wake up to views of the English Channel from Babbacombe, The Downs Babbacombe is a 4 Star hotel offering breath-taking sea-view suites. It is owned by Kate and Ed and is an excellent place to stay. The couple and dedicated staff make you feel part of their family from the moment you arrive to the end of your stay.

Also worth mentioning is award-winning Hanbury’s, just around the corner from Babbacombe Downs, where the best freshly-caught fish & chips is on the menu.

Hope Ilori