Torquay is a town of approximately 60,000 people on the South West coast of Britain which, together with Paignton and Brixham make up the borough of Torbay. It is one of the UKs top holiday destinations, attracting thousands of tourists (or grockles in the local lingo) every year. Visitors come for its unusually good weather, its clean and attractive miles of beaches its pubs, nightclubs and, more recently, mediterranean style cafe-bars.
Some may know of Torquay as the birthplace of crime writer Agatha Christie, or through its Nationwide League football club, Torquay United.
A Brief History
The oldest parts of Torquay include Torre Abbey - originally a medieval monastery and once the home of the local land-owning family, the Carys - and the picturesque village of Cockington which has a near thousand year recorded history and was mentioned in the Domesday book after the Norman conquest in 1066.
Torquay's fame as a tourist resort owes much to the Napoleonic wars at the end of the 18th Century. Naval officers stationed in the town found the pleasant warm climate to their liking and soon Hotels began to spring up to accommodate visitors unable to take their traditional French holidays due to the war.
By the 19th century, the upper class and rich flocked to the bay to build homes for themselves in grand villas and terraces. These villas make up many of the fine hotels still in use today.
What to do in Torquay
There are plenty of attractions in Torquay, and it also benefits by those in nearby Paignton and Brixham as well as its proximity to the wilderness of Dartmoor.
The harbour is the focal point of life Torquay. By day there are a range of shops, pavement-cafes and other attractions to visit on Torbay Palm lined streets. By night, the harbour becomes the centre of Torquay's vibrant nightlife with enough pubs and clubs, as well as top quality restaurants, to satisfy anyone.
Torquay's newest attraction, built by Paignton Zoo, at Living Coasts you can see an amazing array of life from where the sea meets the shore. Puffins, Penguins, seals, awks and much more can be seen in beautifully recreated settings from both above and below the water.
With its recently renovated visitors centre, Kents Cavern is a fascinating place to visit for those interested in history and archeology. The caves were the dwelling places of humans and other animals in prehistoric times and the guided tours offer a fascinating insight into life thousands of years ago.
Famed as one of the best visitor attractions in the country, the Babbacombe Model Village has over 450 models of everything from local landmarks to Wembely Stadium (complete with figures of Torquay United in their play-off final win of 1989!). Spectacular gardens, waterfalls, streams, lakes and fountains compliment the models and in the night time everything is lit up and UFOs visit!
Babbacombe Cliff Railway
Running (with gaps during the war) since 1926, the Babbacombe is an unusual form of transport which carries more than a quarter of a million visitors to Oddicombe Beach, below.