Fancy a taste of the Mediterranean in the heart of England? Welcome to Torquay, a seaside town nestled in the stunning South Devon coastline known as the ‘English Riviera.’ From quiet coves to bustling harbours, Torquay is a gem that combines British charm with Continental flair.
Now, where is Torquay, you might ask? It’s found in the southwest of England, with Plymouth and Exeter as its nearest major cities. If you’re planning to get here, you have a few options. For those of you bringing your vans, you’ll likely take the M5 motorway, followed by the A380, leading you straight into the heart of the town. If you prefer trains, the Riviera Line from Exeter provides a scenic journey, and coaches are aplenty too, with National Express services frequently running here.
As you roll into town, you’ll find plenty to catch your eye. The Princess Pier and Marina are stunning starting points. Why not take a leisurely stroll along the palm-lined promenade, with sailboats bobbing in the azure waters creating a picture-perfect sight?
You also won’t want to miss the splendid Torre Abbey, the best-preserved medieval monastery in Devon and Cornwall. Today, it serves as an art gallery and museum, its historic halls teeming with intriguing exhibits. Nearby, the Abbey Park offers manicured gardens perfect for picnics and relaxing in the sun.
If you’re keen on a ramble, there are more than enough walks to satisfy. A favourite among many is the South West Coast Path, stretching from Babbacombe to Maidencombe. This five-mile walk reveals the breath-taking cliffs and secret beaches of the English Riviera, with plenty of spots to park your van and soak in the views.
But the walks don’t stop there. The John Musgrave Heritage Trail, named after a local walker and countryside lover, provides a diverse 35-mile trek through woodlands, historic ruins, and charming villages. This trail even passes through the intriguing Kents Cavern, a network of prehistoric caves that are definitely worth a peek.
Speaking of interesting facts, did you know that Torquay is a geologist’s dream? It’s part of the UNESCO-recognised English Riviera Global Geopark, one of only seven in the UK. This status marks it as an area of outstanding geological significance – from dramatic cliffs to hidden caves, every rock tells a story.
Also, for the literature fans among us, Torquay was the birthplace of the world-renowned author Agatha Christie. She was fondly known as the “Queen of Crime” for her mastery in mystery novels. Every September, the town commemorates her with the Agatha Christie Festival, filled with themed events and murder mystery plays.
You’ll also find a diverse food scene in Torquay, offering a little something for everyone. The waterfront is packed with cafes and seafood restaurants, showcasing the freshest catch of the day. For those preparing meals in their vans, the local markets offer a variety of fresh produce and artisan foods.
For the night owls, Torquay isn’t short on entertainment. Its vibrant nightlife ranges from traditional pubs to modern bars, with the Princess Theatre hosting a variety of shows throughout the year.
So, whether you’re a walker, a history buff, a food lover, or simply someone in search of a seaside getaway, Torquay is a captivating place that has it all. Pack up your van and journey down to this corner of Devon – who knows what adventures await in this coastal gem?