- hiking along the South West Coast Path
- beautiful Torquay Marina
- picturesque Cockington Village
- fishing paradise in Brixham
- absolutely tasty cream tea
The Torbay region of southern England includes the pretty coastal towns of Torquay in the north, Paignton in the centre and Brixham in the south. During the summer the region is one of the warmest areas in the UK. That’s the reason why the coast is lined with palm trees, giving a real tropical holiday feeling. This is where its name “English Riviera” comes from. 🌴
During my four-week language trip I lived in the small town of Paignton. In the afternoons and on the weekends I explored the surrounding area and made great trips with newly made friends. In particular, I spent many wonderful hours with Pryscilla, a very friendly Brazilian whom I met right at the airport. 👯
Torquay, the white pearl of the English Riviera 🐚
Just like Paignton, Torquay is a language study destination and a popular seaside resort. You can easily reach it from Paignton in just four minutes by train. The city is known for its trendy marina, beautiful beaches and the white ferris wheel right by the sea. The famous ferris wheel comes to Torquay every summer and makes the harbor look lovely. 🎡
Torquay’s chic harbor is home to luxury yachts as well as stylish retro boats. The harbor area is full of cafés, seafood restaurants, pubs and shops that invite you to linger. ⛵
Tip: Watch the pretty sunset at the harbor, with the ferris wheel in the background it is really enchanting! 🌅
My favourite thing in Torquay was simply to walk along the coast and look into the horizon at Princess Pier. 🌊 The pedestrian bridge juts far into the sea and offers many white seats. At night it is nicely lit. The only disadvantage is the many seagulls flying around. On the very first day one of them crapped on my head, but that is supposed to bring good luck. 😅🍀
During my stay in Torbay and the surrounding area I encountered the topic “Agatha Christie” again and again. The British best-selling crime writer was born in Torquay in 1890 and many of her books reflect the places of the English Riviera. 📚 If you are a fan of her books, you can learn a lot about her life and visit her houses there. In Torquay there is even an Agatha Christie Festival every year.
Excursions in Torquay 🎒
About a mile from Torquay you’ll find Cockington Village with its picturesque unspoiled cottages, creative shops and lots of green spaces. You can enjoy your time amongst the rose gardens or take a break in the British tea rooms. 🏡 This village is “very British” if you ask me and definitely worth a visit.
Tip: this is the right place to try cream tea in one of the charming cafés! This kind of afternoon snack is typical for the South of England and consists of black tea (usually with milk), scones (small sweet buns, sometimes with and sometimes without sultanas), clotted cream and jam. It is soooo delicious! 😍
The Babbacombe Model Village is also well worth seeing. More than 400 model buildings and 13000 model people show English life in miniature – really impressive! There are also some funny depictions.
If the weather is really British and it rains, I recommend a visit to Kents Cavern, the big limestone cave. Many years ago, Stone Age people and animals found refuge here. It is the oldest known cave habitation in Britain.
Paignton, enjoying time at the beach 🏖
Unlike the lively Torquay, Paignton is rather quiet. There is a wide beach promenade, palm gardens and pretty villas.
The Paignton Pier is especially popular with families and always reminded me of a funfair right on the coast. 🎰 There is bowling, giant slides, water boats, arcade games, trampolines and for nibbling on ice cream and hand-made fudge, which the British also appreciate very much. To be honest, I find the mix of sugar, butter and milk too sweet, but if you have a real sweet tooth, this might be just the thing for you.
The most beautiful beach in Paignton for me is Goodrington Sands with its neighbouring Goodrington Park and a small lake where you can go pedal boating. The sand is red/gold and there are small colourful beach huts all along the beach.
From there you can also walk the beautiful South West Coast Path. 🌾 The path runs right along the coast from Torquay via Paignton to Brixham. We only walked a little bit because it was extremely windy, as you can easily see on the photos. 😂 The landscape of Southern England is nevertheless breathtakingly beautiful at these places and you can even see the Dartmouth Steam Railway. You shouldn’t miss that! 🚂
If you fancy a nice pub, I recommend fish & chips at the Spinning Wheel, plus a British cider.🍺 The Strongbow Dark Fruit is particularly delicious. There is also live music at later hours. Otherwise, the Wetherspoons pub chain also offers local food and drinks at a reasonable price.
If you’re looking for a snack, I recommend pasties, a kind of meat pie that originated in Cornwall (still western England) but is also sold in Paignton.
Fishing town of Brixham 🎣
Brixham has one of the largest fishing ports in the UK, so life takes place around the port. There are countless small fishing and sailing boats that go out fishing every day and sell the fresh fish at the famous fish market. 🚣 There you will find the best seafood and the freshest fish (unless you catch it yourself, in which case it might be even fresher 😅).
We explored the beautiful city on foot. 👣 It has a rustic and historical charm and exudes traditional British lifestyle. The townscape shows a colorful architecture and you can always stand at small lookout points and watch the boats.
Torbay Summary 🌼
The English Riviera offers the perfect combination of relaxation and sightseeing in very beautiful, Mediterranean and at the same time charming English places. During my stay most of the time, the sky was bright blue and the sun was shining. By the way, the locals were also very polite, helpful and friendly all the time. 😊