Torquay: top 3 things to do
1. Tiptoe through caves at Kents Cavern
Step back into the Stone Age with a tour of Kents Cavern. You’ll be guided through this prehistoric cave network, which was discovered during the Great Victorian Excavation. The caves make a great day out whatever the weather – they’re sheltered from the elements, and remain at 14 degrees Celsius all year round.
2. Pay a visit to Babbacombe Model Village
Babbacombe Model Village is Torquay’s number-one thing to do according to TripAdvisor reviewers. The tiny scenes are spread across four acres of beautiful gardens, so you can easily spend all day here. And the ‘return’ ticket includes a second visit within seven days of your first, so you can come back and see it all lit up at night.
3. Get back to nature at Living Coasts
Torquay’s seafront zoo and aquarium makes a great family day out. You’ll see penguins, otters and seals, and you can get a closer look via underwater viewing areas. Whether you’re visiting the aquarium or not, stop for lunch at the café. It has an amazing outdoor terrace with sweeping sea views over the Bay.
Torquay: getting around
Book coach travel to Torquay and the English Riviera through megabus and you can usually look forward to things like free WiFi* onboard, plus a 20kg luggage allowance. To find out more about what’s included, read our onboard facilities page.
In Torquay itself, the harbor is the heart of the action. There are some really nice walks leading off along the coastline, with beautiful beaches strung along the shore. It’s quite a hilly place, with steps leading down to some of the beaches, so you’re best off packing some decent footwear.
When you want to get out to districts like Babbington, or nearby Riviera towns like Paignton and Brixham, just hop on a bus. There’s a great network of buses in the area, with Stagecoach SouthWest and Local Link services running across the English Riviera.
Torquay: best for nightlife
If you’re spending the evening in Torquay, head straight for the harbor. This is the hub of after-dark entertainment, with waterside cocktail bars and chic seafood restaurants. Try Harbour Kitchen if you fancy dinner on the seafront, or Number 7 if you’ve set your heart on seafood.
For a proper pint, try the Hole In The Wall – Torquay’s oldest pub. And if only a full-blown night on the tiles will do, you’re going to want to pay a visit to Soho. This seafront lounge-come-club has super-sleek interiors, a great cocktail menu and a nice outdoor space. Wednesdays and Thursdays tend to attract a student crowd, while Friday and Saturday nights see top DJs and extended opening times.
Torquay: best for shopping
Torquay’s shops start at the harbor and stretch all the way along Fleet Street, Union Street and up to Union Square and Market Street. You could spend a whole day seeing them all properly. Along the route you’ll find high street shops clustered in places like Fleet Walk and Union Square shopping centres, plus plenty of smaller, indie shops dotted along the route.
For something a little quieter, branch off at Market Street and head up the hill to Babbacombe. It’s a half-an-hour walk, or a quick bus journey, but you’re rewarded with lots of lovely little shops and some quaint cafés where you can get your breath back.
Torquay for free: our top 3
1. Take a bus to Babbacombe
Walk about 30 minutes up the hill from Torquay Harbour – or take the bus in half the time – and you reach the lovely district of Babbacombe. The clifftop green, Babbacombe Downs, offers widescreen views all the way across Lyme Regis’ Jurassic Coast and as far as Portland Bill. And there’s a beach below with a lovely café that’s well worth a stop-off.
2. Set off on a geology trail
The concentration of geologically significant sites in the English Riviera is so high, it’s been named a UNESCO Global Geopark. The 32-strong list of sites starts in Torquay and runs along the coast through Paignton and Brixham, and there are lots of walking tours you can take to discover them. Try the Torquay Geology Tea Trail, which starts at the train station.
3. Laze on the beach
When it comes to beaches, the English Riviera delivers in spades. The main beach in Torquay is Torre Abbey Sands, which – as the name suggests – is a golden ribbon of sand to the west of the harbor. But there are plenty of beautiful stretches a little further out – visit Oddicombe Beach over in nearby Babbacombe, or the beautiful nature reserve of Saltern Cove in Paignton.
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