When you are planning your holidays in Torquay, there are quite a few attractions and activities that can fill your day. Whether you are planning on taking it slow and staying in town mostly or heading out on day trips, here are the best things to do in Torquay Devon.
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Top 20 in Torquay – What to do
1. Go Promenading
When by the sea, you gotta see the sea. Lucky for you, the main bus stop is right across Torquay Harbour. Here smaller boats and yachts are quietly lined up, bobbing on the calm waves. There is a small park stretching alongside the promenade, so you can enjoy an easy stroll.
Walk towards the east to get to the Inner Habour of Torquay. Even on low tide you can see boats floating as the water is mainly kept from receding.
2. Venture into Kents Cavern
Is it a rainy day in Torquay? No problem, why not stay in – in a cave to be more exact. It’s a constant cool 14°C down here, making it Britain’s warmest cave. A must when you visit Torquay is Kents Cavern.
These prehistoric caves are absolutely fascinating as you can learn a lot about the history of homo sapiens. Bones and relicts from ancient times were found here.
As if that is not enough, there even is a cave cinema in August with projections onto the walls. Check the official website for up-to-date events. Should you visit with a travel buddy or partner, you can take advantage of the reduced deal of entry for two including lunch. Plan in around two hours for a visit.
Address: 89/91 Ilsham Road | Cavern House, Torquay TQ1 2JF, England
3. Go On Coastal Walks
The English Riviera didn’t get its name for nothing. Chill by the beach and then get up for at least a stretch of the many walks around the cliffs and coastlines.
You can start right from Anstey’s cove near Kents Cavern and make your way onto the Babbacombe walk. See the walking map here. If you feel lazy, take the Babbacombe Cliff railway.
Alternatively, go on the UNESCO Geopark Coastal Walk, which leads you along limestone rocks that are 400 million years old and beaches dating back to the Ice Age! See more details on the trail here.
4. Experience the Victorian Age
Picture this: a private, three storey home that harbours a life-sized Victorian shopping street. Bygones begs to be explored. Peek into windows, look above and explore 15 shops and 9 period rooms, such as apothecary, sweet or toy shops.
All are stacked to the roof with retro collector’s items ranging from miniature scenes to model trains, all behind actual shop windows.
It’s interesting for kids and adults alike. (You can even push the button for the trains or make the organ grinder play nine different tunes.) Note that during holidays and weekends, it can get crowded in the narrow corridors.
Address: Fore Street, St Marychurch, Torquay TQ1 4PR, England
5. Feel Like Gulliver
A seaside holiday in Torquay should include a visit to the Model Village of Babbacombe. Not for nothing is it the main attraction in Torquay. Here, you can observe 424 miniature buildings on four hectares from a bird’s eye perspective.
It contains. Ever since it was opened in 1963, it has aimed to portray the everchanging decades, so you can get a pretty good snapshot of life in Britain over time. Check the official website for events and the free return ticket, which allows you to visit twice within one week.
Address: Hampton Avenue | Babbacombe, Torquay TQ1 3LA, England
6. Learn Handicrafts at a Manor
For even more countryside feels in picturesque condition, try the award-winning Cockington Country Park and its historic manor. It’s a craft cente nestled in nature. Join for the many events and hands on workshops, such as at the chocolatery or glass blower. You can buy local art at the gallery space if you like.
Or set out on a walk, such as the sculpture walk. The map for this can be gotten at the information point. Admission to the country park is free.
Address: | Cockington, Torquay TQ2 6XA, England
7. Dive into Local History
To learn more about Devon’s Torquay and its history, try the Torquay Museum. It’s a Victorian museum that features interactive exhibitions and galleries. Some of these are temporary, so it’s a good idea to have a look at the official website.
Moreover, it includes a gallery centred around the famous English authoress Agatha Christie. Major perk alert: Entry is free for the rest of the year once you have paid. Just keep the ticket for proof.
Address: Torquay Museum, 529 Babbacombe Rd, Torquay TQ1 1HG, UK
8. Wander a Historic Garden
Of course, there are plenty of Torquay attractions right in town without heading to the countryside or inside. Sunny days are well spent outside!
At Torre Abbey Museum and Gardens you can wander through charming historic gardens and then marvel at the popular abbey in Torquay, which is great for rainy days. You can spend some quiet time in the onsite café.
Should you seek Torquay points of interest made for kids, there are temporary exhibitions around childrens books and illustrations, for instance from Roald Dahl’s books. You might even visit during the open cinema season in August. View events here.
Address: Torre Abbey The Kings Drive, Torquay TQ2 5JE, England
9. Soak up the Beach Sun
You’re at the English Riviera at Torbay, so a visit to a Torbay Beach is in order. Pack your towel and have a relaxed sunbath at Oddicombe Beach. The beach is surrounded by towering red cliffs that create a striking contrast to the azure blue waves.
Visit in the morning for the best sunlight as the beach is facing east. You may even try for stunning sunrise photos if you don’t shy away from getting up very early.
10. Dote on animals
While you might be able to spot English wildlife on your walks, if you really want to make extra sure, visit the local zoo. At Living Coasts, you can
Wake up by joining penguins for breakfast, brunch with otters and have lunch with seals. See the current schedule for feeding times here.
If you have fallen in love with a specific animal, you might delight in hearing that you can adopt a zoo animal!
What I really like about this zoo and acquarium is the art installation made from plastic that was collected from the beaches. Out of this, marine creatures have been created as a big 3D piece of art. It hopefully makes more people think again about careless littering.
Address: Beacon Quay, Torquay Harbourside, Torquay TQ1 2BG, England
11. Take the Ferry
It’s easy to get on the bus or train to explore the South of Devon from Torquay. But how about by boat? One option is taking the Western Ferry to see Brixham. (Visit for the Pirate Festival!) One ride costs only 2.5 GBP. The timetable can be seen here.
12. Do a 3-Vehicle Country Tour
Why not do a scenic day trip from Torquay around South Devon via three ways of transport: boat, rail and bus. All this rolled into one is offered via the Round Robin Ticket from Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company.
Such a trip can include visits of picturesque Totnes, Agatha Christie’s Greenway Halt, nearby Paignton and Kingswear, to name just a few. View more possible stops here.
13. Avoid Sand at the Beach
Not sure if you agree but sand can be annoying. But I like the beach. What a dilemma! (#firstworldproblems) Meadfoot Beach might be the solution as you can enjoy stunning views over the southeast of Torbay from a level platform built onto the beach.
The water at Meadfoot has excellent water quality. Whether it is safe to take a bath the day of your visit, can be double checked here. If you need a refresher of beach safety, read up on it here. Note that there is a lifeguard in summer as well as public toilets if you need them.
14. Enjoy a Fancy Evening Out
There are a lot of things to do in Torquay in the evening. One idea is to go on an evening boat cruise or gamble the night away at Gentings Casino. As previously mentioned, there are also evening outdoor cinemas during the summer.
For club music, live it up at The Attic or The Foundry. Here you can underground electronic music by local DJs and occasional headliners.
15. Attend a Play
Culture in Torquay can be enjoyed as well. For a snug venue, book a ticket at The Little Theatre in Torquay. It offers quite the variety, from classic play to comedies. Their programme is here.
Neighbouring towns have their own theatres as well, such as Brixham Theatre or Babbacombe Theatre. Live music and burlesque shows are served at Lucky 7 Club in Paignton.
16. Cuddle Dinosaurs
This one might be mostly for the little ones. Unless you are a die hard dinosaur fan. Or are curious about these extinct creatures and their lifestyles. At Torquay’s Dinosaur World, there is an interactive indoor exhibition, where you can take selfies with a Triceratops or Parasaurolophus.
Not all dinosaurs are scaled down, some are life size to help you get a better idea of how big and impressive they used to be. You can even host a birthday party here.
Address: 3 Victoria Parade, Torquay TQ1 2BB, England
17. Walk in Agatha Christie’s Footsteps
Not only can you visit Agatha Christie’s mansion in the region, but you can follow the town’s very own Agatha Christie trail. The walk isn’t very clearly marked but isn’t that part of the mystery charm of the famous novels?
Agatha Christie was born in Torquay in 1890, therefore you can find important buildings connected to her and her life all around the city. In total, there are 10 and you can start the walk at the tourist information. (Snatch the walk map from there.)
18. Spot a Tiny Island
To be honest, it kind of reminds me of that Luke Skywalker island, but of course it isn’t. Still Thatcher’s Rock off in Torbay is a very instagrammable rocky tip poking out of the waters. It’s about 300m off the shore and 43 metres high and its origin is dated back to the Ice Age.
If you don’t want to visit, you can get a great view from Isham Marine Drive by Meadfoot Beach. Should you visit, you can take a guided tour and hike around the top of the rock, from where you can look back at Torquay. Just be respectful of nature.
19. Dine Out
Foodies will want to know where to snatch a fresh bite. Being located by the sea, seafood and fish are offered all around. Such a highly rated restaurant is No 7 Fish Bistro & Wine Bar. In the evening, you can get comfortable by the bar.
For a flair of mainland Europe, reserve a seat at the Old Vienna. It is indeed run by an Austrian but incorporates local produce and provides lovely service.
20. Take Day Trips
For things to do near torquay, look farther than the immediate towns and coastlines. Devon is jampacked with mesmerizing sites. Maybe you want to explore castles. In early to mid May, the many bluebell fields around Devon will take your breath away. Here are other places near Torquay to consider:
- Dartmouth Castle
- Totnes Castle and Berry Pomeroy Castle
- Ashburton country walks
- Dartmoor National Park hiking trails
- Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve and beaches
- River and beach side at Teignmouth
How to get to Torquay
There are three ways to make your Torquay breaks happen. You can take the boat from nearby coastal towns, such as Brixham, Paignton or Dartmouth. Torquay also has a train station, where you can easily navigate a lot of places in South Devon and all the way to London. See trains here.
I personally came by public bus and there are a few lines that operate. Since this is Devon, however, buses don’t go all too often and stop in the evening. Download the timetables to have them handy wherever you are. If you have wifi, you can see the live stop announcements. For buses connecting newton Abbot, Paignton and Brixham, hop on bus 12.
The Devon Explorer is a day ticket that allows travel all over the county of Devon and is a great deal. It’s often cheaper than getting a return ticket to another city, such as to Exeter. You can get that ticket from the bus driver. Pay in cash or via visa card.
Should you come to Torquay from farther, you can also get a National Express ticket. The further in advance you book, the higher your chance at a special deal.
Taking a taxi in Devon isn’t too cheap. IF you have your own (rental) car, there is a major car park, Brixham Park and Ride, for your use. For more information on public transport around Torquay, see here.
Is A Visit to Torquay Worth It?
I hope this article could help you a bit deciding what to do in Torquay. There are so many places to visit in torquay and surrounds, that you can easily set up a base here and then explore the region. There are castles, ancient forests, fascinating coastal walks and a lot of sights.
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Suzanne Fluhr says
I wouldn’t have expected that there were so many things to do for tourists in Torquay. I hope to return to Devon (from the US) one day. I’ve pinned this post, so I’ll know where to go when I do so.
Hi Suzanne, yes, I was quite surprised to find out about this myself. I really should have done so many more things while I was there. Next time. The flight from the US to Devon is rather long, I totally get why you can’t return straightaway. Fingers crossed you get the opportunity one day soon.