From glowing red sand beaches and epic cliff-side walking trails, to prehistoric underground treasures and quirky model villages, there are so many amazing places to visit in Torquay, Devon.
It’s fair to say that Britain’s seaside towns are having a renaissance. Forget that 1980s vision of tired seafronts and tacky amusement arcades – traditional resorts are springing to life as cultural and artistic hubs, and Torquay in Devon is no exception.
This beautiful English seaside town has had a new lease of life in recent years, and you’ll now find it littered with trendy bars and restaurants. It’s home to several unique local attractions, and surrounded by some of the most glorious scenery in the southwest of England.
Torquay boasts an abundance of cultural and natural highlights, including the UNESCO Global Geopark of the English Riviera, with its stunning beaches, cliffs and wildlife. This is a stunning place for walking, cycling and immersing yourself in nature. Take a stroll along the South West Coast Path and you’ll be amazed by what you can see.
Head to nearby Meadfoot Beach and walk in the footsteps of Torquay’s most famous resident, Agatha Christie, visit the medieval Torre Abbey, or delve deep underground at the prehistoric Kents Cavern. Whatever your interests, there are plenty of wonderful places to visit in Torquay!
So, it’s time to dive right in and share some of our top picks for this pretty English town, so that you can plan the ultimate seaside adventure.
Getting To Torquay
Torquay is well connected to the rest of the UK via road, rail and air. Torquay rail station (located on the seafront) provides connections to London, and most other large cities in the United Kingdom, usually via Exeter.
Similarly, an extensive bus network connects the local area with the major transport hub in Exeter, where you’ll find an connections to most domestic destinations.
Exeter Airport is around 40 minutes drive from Torquay, which provides flights to Manchester, London, Belfast and a handful of other European destinations.
Places To Visit In Torquay
Wander Torquay Marina
When I’m somewhere like this, I love walking past all the beautiful yachts and picking out which one I’d buy in my ‘dream life’! Take a stroll around the marina, enjoy some fresh air and pick out your favourite boat.
It’s the starting point for some great walks around the region too, taking you past beautiful Victorian villas, along the coastline, up to some spectacular viewpoints, and of course, passing a few ice cream shops for some essential fuel!
Explore Torbay: The English Riviera
Torquay is the ideal base for exploring the 22 miles of glorious coastline known as Torbay. This sheltered part of the south west coast is itself a UNESCO Global Geopark – significant for its unique geology.
You’ll find secluded coves, rugged cliffs, and plenty of walking trails with epic sea views. It’s possible to tour the English Riviera on foot, by bicycle or by car, passing by pretty villages such as Babbacombe, Paignton or Brixham.
Visit Babbacombe Model Village
Looking for unique places to visit in Torquay? Head straight to Babbacombe Model Village! You’ll feel like a giant as you explore this miniature, picture-perfect recreation of an English village, complete with, intricate model houses and lush gardens. Open for over 50 years, the model village is home to over 400 miniature buildings. This is the perfect activity if you’ve got kids to entertain too. Little ones will be amazed by the teeny-tiny scale of everything.
While you’re visiting Babbacombe, be sure to check out the pretty village itself, see the historic Babbacombe theatre or take a ride on the Babbacombe Cliff Railway.
Eat At One of Torquay’s Coolest Restaurants
Torquay’s seaside location means that it’s a wonderful place to sample fresh fish, caught in the rich waters that surround the south Devon coast. If you’re looking for recommendations, head to Rockfish right in the harbour for fresh and tasty fish dishes. The fish tacos are one of the top sellers!
Just a little way around the coast in Paignton, East in the West is a wonderful place for traditional Keralan cuisine, and regularly appears on the list of top restaurants in the Torquay area.
However, the unquestionable king of Torquay’s restaurant scene is The Elephant, a local institution that has held on to its Michelin star for 15 years! Here you’ll find a fresh, inventive menu with an emphasis on sustainably sourced produce from the local area.
Visit Kents Cavern Prehistoric Caves
Another unique attraction in Torquay is Kents Cavern, a geological and archaeological marvel that will take you on a magical and mysterious journey.
This labyrinthine cave complex is one of the most popular places to visit in Torquay, and offers a fascinating insight into Britain’s distant past, as well as showcasing some of the most impressive geological features in England. Tour guides are informative and friendly, making this an enjoyable and entertaining day out for all the family.
Spend A Day On The Beach
The best time to visit Torquay is in the summer, and there’s only one thing to do when the sun shines – hit the beach! The English Riviera is home to 20 beautiful beaches and coves, with golden sand, peaceful waters, and plenty of opportunities for water-sports.
Oddicombe Beach, close to the village of Babbacombe, is one of the finest in the area, with its characteristic red sands and cute beach huts. If you’re feeling brave, you can take a dip too, but this is England so don’t expect it to be warm!
Another hidden gem is the secluded Anstey’s Cove, surrounded by steep cliffs, clad in green shrubs that make an excellent home for local birdlife. Wherever you choose, lie back, relax, and enjoy some sunshine.
Go For Brunch in Torquay
For a vegetarian brunch option in a cool, quirky setting, look no further than the Blue Walnut Café Bar and Cinema. With a packed events roster, this is a wonderful local hub and an excellent place to come for a relaxed morning meal.
The Singing Kettle Tearoom is a popular spot for a full English or a delicious afternoon cream tea. Or if the sun is shining, you simply can’t beat the Rock Garden, where you can enjoy American-style pancakes or a range of other brunch options (including pizza!)
Visit Living Coast Torquay
*Sadly this Torquay attraction has now closed*
Living Coast Torquay is a coastal zoo and aquarium, and the hub of a number of local conservation efforts. This magnificent coast is home to an abundance of bird and sea life, and this is a great place to learn more about it.
You’ll have the chance to get up close to penguins, otters, seals, rays, seahorses and octopuses, as well as learning about the fragile eco-systems of the local area. This is a great rainy-day activity and one of the best things to do in Torquay with kids!
Enjoy Torquay’s Nightlife
As one of the most popular holiday destinations on the south coast, Torquay is a town with a good range of nightlife options to keep you entertained during your stay.
For cocktails, don’t miss Coco, in the centre of town, where you can watch expert mixologists show off their skills.
With its friendly vibe and kitsch style, Lucky 7 Club in Paignton is a fun place to watch a cabaret or burlesque show, or some live music.
Finally, for an exciting programme of jazz and blues concerts, check out Fougou Music at Churston Golf Club, for some of the best live music in the region.
Visit The Grand Flea Market
If you love bargain hunting, take a trip to The Grand Flea Market. Open from early in the morning every Thursday, you’ll find everything from fine jewellery and classy antiques, to books, clothes, and weird and wonderful objects.
Located in Castle Circus, this is a popular spot for the locals of Torquay. It might take a while to rifle through the goodies, but you might find something really special. It’s another great wet weather option too.
Take A Stroll in Cockington Country Park
The countryside around Torquay is second-to-none, and there are many outdoor attractions and places to stretch your legs during your stay. Cockington Country Park is just a ten minute drive from Torquay, and offers a peaceful environment to explore, with manicured gardens, parkland and woodland areas.
It’s also a local artists’ hub, with pieces available to buy – you never know, you might pick up a painting or sculpture.
Where To Stay in Torquay
Orestone Manor is in a beautiful location just a few miles outside of Torquay. Set in leafy grounds and decorated in an eclectic style, this small hotel is bursting with character and charm.
Relax on the terrace or in the conservatory, or sit down to dinner at the hotel’s top restaurant, which serves up fresh local produce. The delightful seaside village of Maidencombe is just a short walk away, so you’ll have access to the beach and the glorious Devonshire countryside too.
If you’re looking for a stylish and elegant place to rest your heard during your stay in Torquay, look no further than this beautiful hotel overlooking Meadfoot Beach.
The Osborne Hotel is set in a classic English Riviera location, on a beautiful Regency-era crescent, with stylish, contemporary rooms. You’ll find both an indoor and outdoor pool, and beautiful gardens with magnificent sea views.
Now you’ve got your list of places to visit in and around Torquay, you can start planning your trip. Let us know where you end up.
For more inspiration, check out our guides to the best things to do in North Devon, top things to do in Devon in the rain and the best boutique and luxury hotels in Devon. Or, if you fancy a challenge, see how much you know about the county in our fun quiz about Devon.
Enjoyed this post? Pin it for later…