Torbay and South Devon
South Devon is an enigma. It’s got quiet beaches for lazing on, tidal estuaries for exploring by kayak or boat, an island with a magnificent literary history, and wild, open moorland, high waterfalls and secret woodlands to discover on foot or horseback. Yet it’s also got cheerful seafronts and jolly esplanades, a fantastic traditional pier and Ferris wheel at Paignton and beach huts galore all along the coast.
The area around Torbay, which includes Torquay, Paignton and Brixham, has long been known as The English Riviera. And that conjures up images of sailing, long beaches, walks along the esplanade and a glorious and great English summer. You can find it, and more, of course. Torbay has a lot going for it if you’re looking for things to go and places to see. There are plenty of events and festivals in the area, all year long, including carnivals, regattas and festivals. And it’s one of the few places where palm trees flourish!
Brixham is a busy – but very attractive - working port. It’s home to a replica of The Golden Hind, Sir Francis Drake’s famous vessel, as well as ships from the town’s heritage fleet.
Paignton is a traditional seaside town with a lovely beach, great pier, harbour and delightful heritage railway with seven miles of scenic track. It also has a famous zoo, where you can see all kinds of wonderful protected creatures in spacious enclosures.
Dartmoor National Park is a wild place with pockets of absolutely stunning beauty, high tors of imposing granite and valleys of native oaks with gurgling streams for picnicking or wild swimming and villages that wouldn’t look out of place on a postcard. It has some of the loveliest walks, as well as natural wonders, stately homes and a castle! And the best thing about it is that it can be reached easily from anywhere in Devon.
South Devon has long been popular for holidaymakers, especially the unspoiled area between Torquay and Plymouth that most people know as The South Hams. It’s a quiet area that’s easy to get to and that has a great variety of places to see. Don’t miss Bantham and Burgh Island, the place where Agatha Christie once wrote, or heave to with the sailing fraternity in well-to-do Salcombe.
Totnes, at the head of the Dart estuary, is altogether more laid back and has a great range of locally owned shops and independents. Dartmouth, downstream, is just as fabulous. The river is brilliant to explore by kayak or SUP and offers some of the region’s best wild swimming and fishing.
The area near Torbay, on the English Riviera, has a lot to offer too – from a traditional pier and zoo at Paignton to the Living Coasts Aquarium at Torquay. And there are lots of opportunities to find hidden coves and secret beaches along the coast. It’s an explorer’s dream!