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21 Amazing Things to do in Torquay

21 Amazing Things to do in Torquay

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Looking for things to do in Torquay? In this guide we will share with you the best Torquay tourist attractions as well as giving you the lowdown on how best to get there and where to stay.

What to Know About Torquay

One of the most beautiful towns in Devon, Torquay is a seaside resort on Britain’s southwest coast. The coastline around Torquay is known as the English Riviera thanks to its sandy beaches, mild climate and many visitor attractions. It’s part of the Torbay region.

The town is home to a large harbour where you can watch fleets of fishing boats bring in the day’s catch before sampling these delights of the sea in one of the local restaurants.

Torquay has a long and varied history going back to prehistoric times. At Kents Cavern, one of the top attractions in Torquay, you can bear witness to stone age tools dating back over 40,000 years! The town’s economy was principally based on fishing, however thanks to its great location, from the 19th Century onwards this shifted towards tourism.

But is Torquay worth visiting? Seeing as this UK town is packed with interesting things to do from the town’s beautiful beaches, country parks, pubs, cafes, and restaurants – that’s a big yes.

There is also a vibrant nightlife, so if you are looking for things to do in Torquay at night, you’ve come to the right place.

beaches in torquay are one of the best things to do in torquay

Torquay UK is one of the best places to spend some of your summer holiday.

Getting to Torquay, Devon

By Car: Torquay is easily reachable from London via the M3 and A303. The 193-mile journey takes 3h30m by car. What’s more, the route even takes you right next to Stonehenge so be sure to keep your eyes peeled!

By Bus: There are direct buses to Torquay from London taking just five hours and twenty minutes with tickets starting at £20.00 one-way. Check bus times and book tickets on Omio here.

By Train: Trains to Torquay depart London Paddington several times per hour. Tickets start at £50.00 one way and the journey time is around three hours depending on which train you catch. There is one change of trains in Newton Abbot. Book the train at the best prices on Trainline here.

By Plane: With Exeter International Airport just 26 miles from Torquay, and Bristol International 86 miles, it’s easy to reach Torquay from the rest of the UK or Europe by plane. Check flight prices on Kiwi here.

rock formations in the ocean

Torquay, UK.

Where to Stay in Torquay, UK

Budget: The Sandpiper Guest House is a fantastic budget option in Torquay. You’ll be at Torre Abbey Sands in less than 20 minutes by foot, rooms are clean and comfortable, and they have options for families. Rooms start at £95 per night and include breakfast. Book a stay at the Sandpiper Guest House here.

Mid-range: Riviera Lodge Hotel is a short walk from the main beach and harbour area. It features comfy, colourful rooms with private bathrooms and you can make a saving by reserving a compact double. The property has a pool, a lovely bar, and free parking. Breakfast is included and the nightly rates are around £140. Book a stay at Riviera Lodge Hotel here.

Luxury: The adults-only Lincombe Hall Hotel and Spa is luxury at a fantastic price. Rooms start at £150 per night in the low season and rise to £250 in summer. Classic rooms are comfortably appointed with traditional features while suites and apartments up the luxury. The hotel has a pool, spa, and restaurant. Book a stay at Lincombe Hall here.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in and discover what to do in Torquay!

rock formation in the sea near torquay

Torquay, UK.

Best Things to do in Torquay, UK

These are some of our favourite things to do in Torquay. Whether you’re only here for the sea and sand or you want to get out and explore more of the surrounding towns in Devon, there’s plenty on this list to keep you busy.

1. Relax at Torre Abby Sands

Torre Abby Sands is Torquay’s main beach and is just a few minutes walk from the station. This golden, sandy beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing and making the most of the English Riviera. The beach is lined with grand hotels, bars, restaurants and cafes, so you won’t have to walk far to enjoy a bite to eat or some refreshments after a dip in the ocean! Note that dogs are only permitted during the winter months. 

See location on Google maps

2. Take a Dip at Meadfoot Beach

The second of Torquay’s golden, sandy beaches, Meadfoot is a kilometre-long stretch of beach overlooking the headland and Thatcher Rock. As with Torre Abby Sands, there is plenty of entertainment on offer so you can choose to relax on the beach, swim, surf, paddleboard and go sea-kayaking among other things.

This local hire place rents out paddleboarding kits for private use. You’ll get a board, pump, life jacket, and paddle delivered to a mutually convenient location. That way, you can get out on the water without the need of booking a tour. 

See location on Google maps

beaches in torquay UK

Devonshire Coastline.

3. Ride the English Riviera Wheel

Forget the London Eye, the English Riviera Wheel is situated right on Torquay Harbour overlooking the town and this beautiful stretch of coastline. Thanks to incorporating the latest technology, the wheel is completely silent as it makes its 12-minute trip.

After witnessing the stunning views, you can enjoy a drink in the Riviera Wheel café back on terra firma! Tickets cost £6.00 for adults and £4.00 for children.

The wheel is open from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm on weekends and 10:00 am to 8:00 pm on weekdays. During school holidays the wheel is open from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm seven days a week.

The English Riviera Wheel is definitely one of the top things to do in Torquay, day or night!

See location on Google maps

torquay harbour

Torquay Harbour is a wonderful place to explore and walk around during your trip to Torquay.

4. Explore the Caves in Kents Cavern

One of the more unusual things to do in Torquay is to explore the neolithic caves at Kents Cavern.

Kents Cavern is a cave system and archaeological site dating back tens of thousands of years. The caves were formed during the early Pleistocene period and were once inhabited by early man, whose remnants can still be seen in the form of stone-age tools.

The tour lasts one hour and costs £16 for adults and £14 for children. Book online on the official website for the cheapest prices.

Check out special events such as Yoga in the Caves and Cave Cinema. Watching a film in an ancient cavern is surely one of the coolest things to do in Torquay for couples. 

See location on Google maps

5. Visit Torre Abbey

The 12th Century Torre Abbey is home to a museum and art gallery set within acres of green land on the coast. The grounds contain a number of different gardens. Be sure to check out the Potent Plants section; a nod to Torquay’s most famous resident, Agatha Christie.

The Abbey has year-round events including the International Agatha Christie Festival which celebrates her achievements as being the most widely read author in the world. There are workshops, talks, films and walks among other activities.

Tickets cost £10.50 for adults and £4 for children and include access to the Abbey and surrounding grounds and gardens. The house and gardens are open from Tuesday to Sunday and the cafe is open seven days a week.

See location on Google maps

torre abbey gates

Torre Abbey.

6. See the Art at Cockington Court

Cockington Court is a working art gallery and craft centre cultivating local and national talent. Housed in a 16th-century manor, the site has a history dating back to Anglo-Saxon times and is mentioned in the Domesday Book (kind of like a medieval English census or survey).

You can witness artists at work, admire the old architecture, shop for a piece of art or enjoy the pleasant grounds and gardens. The court holds different events throughout the year so be sure to check the website to see what’s on.

Admission to the manor house and gardens is free and the opening times are from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm every day.

See location on Google maps

7. Walk Part of the South West Coast Path

One of the most popular walks to do is to follow the coast path from Torquay to nearby Paignton. This three-mile walk takes around an hour and takes in some stunning views of the coastline from atop the cliffs.

You can walk back along the same route, or hop on the Number 12 bus from Paignton town centre for the 20-minute journey back to Torquay.

This is easily one of the top things to do in Torquay for couples who love the outdoors. 

red rock formations in the sea

Torquay coast.

8. Step Back in Time at Bygones

Another one of the slightly unusual things to do in Torquay is to go back in history to a bygone age. With over 2,000 artifacts, displays and dioramas charting the Victorian era, Second World War and later history, this is one of the great days out in Devon for the whole family.

Tickets are £11.50 for adults and £7.95 for children and can be booked online.

See location on Google maps

9. Join a Walking Tour of Babbacombe

Babbacombe is a suburb of Torquay backing onto a set of cliffs overlooking the English Channel and is the most picturesque district. This part of Torquay has had its fair share of famous guests from Queen Victoria to Oscar Wilde.

You can catch the number 22 bus to Babbacombe from near the harbour and explore one of the most interesting tourist attractions in Torquay independently. There are several beaches, pubs, and a model village to explore. 

For a more informative experience, join the daily walking tour and learn about the local history from an expert. After this, you’re free to enjoy the beaches and follow your guide’s insider tips on where to eat and drink. 

See location on Google maps

10. Take the Cliff Railway

The Babbacombe Cliff Railway is a funicular that shuttles tourists down to Oddicombe Beach. The track has been running since 1926 and offers unparalleled views out along the coast. This is definitely one of the best things to do at Torquay and is a great way to get to the beach!

The railway is open seven days a week in summer from 9:00 am to 4:45 pm. An adult single fare is £2.75 and a return is £3.75. A child single is £2.25 and £2.75 return.

It’s usually closed for maintenance over winter. 

See location on Google maps

torquay harbour with sailboat

Torquay Harbour.

11. Take Giant Steps at Babbacombe Model Village

Have you ever wanted to feel like a giant? Well, you certainly can at the Babbacombe Model Village. This miniature world will leave you in awe as you walk through a tiny version of England past and present.

The model village is one of the best Torquay attractions and attracts thousands of visitors every year. Set in over four acres of land with additional gardens and a mini golf range, whether you are a big kid or small, a visit will be sure to leave an impression!

Tickets cost £17.75 for adults and £14.75 for children (card only). You can book online on the official website. Open 10:00 am to 5:30 pm every day (last admission 3:45 pm).

See location on Google maps

12. Sign up for an Agatha Christie Tour

Agatha Christie, the Queen of Crime, grew up in Torquay. If you’ve not yet read one of her detective novels, this is one of the best things to do in Torquay in the rain! Pick one up at a bookshop in town and you’ll find it impossible to put down. 

If you are an existing fan, you can also sign up for a walking tour that guides you through the life and career of the novelist. The Extraordinary Life of Agatha Christie tour takes you to notable sights around town linked to her history. These unravel how she got her idea for Miss Marple and a chance meeting that inspired Hercule Poirot.

You’ll also see where she got engaged and where she used to roller skate as a child. 

The tour is most appealing to Christie fans but there’s plenty of touristic value to suit all travellers. 

13. Get out on the water

One of the best things to do at Torquay is to get out and experience the English Riviera from the sea. There are loads of options during summer for paddle boarding and kayaking.

You can also find year-round activities, such as a RIB boat ride. The Torquay Coastal RIB Seafari takes you to the caves, islets, and secluded beaches around the Devon resort. You might be lucky enough to spot seals and dolphins as you glide around Thatcher Rock and the bay.

14. Learn at the Torquay Museum

The Torquay Museum is centrally located and the perfect size to fill an hour of your day. Exhibits take you through local and regional history with seasonal and special exhibitions changing throughout the year. It’s just the right balance of culture and national history with a good design to suit adults and children alike.

One gallery is dedicated to Agatha Christie. Popping into the museum is one of the best things to do in Torquay in the rain and winter.

Admission is £11.00 for adults and £4.50 for children aged 3+. It’s open Tuesday through Thursday and on Saturdays. You can buy tickets online or in person subject to availability. 

See the location on Google maps

15. Blend Your Own Gin

You might think a gin workshop is just another of the unusual things to do in London. In fact, this is also on the table in sunny Torquay!

This two-hour gin making experience is a private activity where you will learn about the technique of distilling gin and crafting your own spirit. At the end, you will take home a 500 ml bottle of your own potion! 

A minimum of four participants is required. Therefore, this activity is one of the coolest things to do in Torquay for couples travelling together or small groups. 

16. Have a Roarsome Time at Torquay’s Dinosaur World

Torquay’s Dinosaur World is one of the top tourist attractions in Torquay for families with children. Located next to the harbour, this is an immersive exhibition of lifesize dinosaurs.

Touching the dinosaurs is firmly encouraged and the little ones will love the chance to have their photo taken with their favourite dino. Seeing as England is prone to drizzle, is one of the best things to do in Torquay in the rain. 

Admission is £7.95 for adults and children, those under 2 enter for free. 

See the location on Google maps

Things to do in Torquay at Night

Don’t miss out on the nightlife in Torquay! These are our favourite pubs, bars, nightclubs, and theatres in Torquay. 

17. Hit the Town

Torquay has a buzzing nightlife with a great selection of bars and clubs to choose from. If you are looking for some live music then head to The Attic or Rock Garden (which doubles as a great restaurant too). If dance music is more your sort of thing then head along to The Foundry, Torquay’s top nightspot with guest DJs from around the country.

Looking for a slightly quieter evening? Then there are some excellent bars to choose from such as the Cru Beach Bar; the best cocktail bar in town!

photo of torquay harbour at night with boats and buildings lit up.

Torquay at night is a spectacular sight to behold.

18. Enjoy a Night at the Theatre

If you are looking for things to do in Torquay at night, then one of the town’s three theatres is a great option. Princess Theatre is located by the harbour and there is also the Babbacombe Theatre and Pavilion.

Check the websites for current listings:

Things to do Near Torquay

Torquay is in a prime location with many other great Devon attractions on its doorstep. Below is a small selection of things to do near Torquay.

19. Visit Exmouth

Exmouth is another charming Devon seaside town at the mouth of the River Exe. The town is famed as the starting point of many of Sir Walter Raleigh’s voyages and has a history dating back to the 11th century.

Exmouth is the jumping-off point for exploring the UK’s Jurassic Coast; a stretch of coastline with unique geological features dating back millions of years and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The town itself is packed with excellent restaurants, bars, cafes and craft shops.

Read our complete guide of things to do in Exmouth.

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exmouth beaches

Exmouth, UK.

20. Visit Dawlish

If you are looking for a more laid-back pace than the busier resort towns along the English Riviera, then the small town of Dawlish is the perfect place to visit. This quaint town has plenty to offer including beaches, pubs, nature trails and the famous Dawlish black swans!

The jewel in the town’s crown however is the Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve. This area of outstanding natural beauty is home to a long, sandy beach that doesn’t get as busy as many of the other beaches along the south coast.

Read our complete guide of things to do in Dawlish.

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21. Visit Dartmoor National Park

One of the more ambitious things to do near Torquay is to visit Dartmoor National Park. There’s no public transport in the actual park so you’ll have to rent a car or hire a driver for the day.

This Dartmoor tour accommodates up to six guests. It’s a full-day excursion during which you’ll visit remote patches of moorland, and granite tors, and ancient settlements. Throughout the day you’ll also stop at quaint villages and towns such as Ashburton.

The commentary will explain the history of the area as well as folklore and mythology.  

Is Torquay worth visiting?

Having been a hugely popular destination for holidaymakers for hundreds of years, Torquay is definitely worth visiting.

With so many things to do in Torquay and the mild climate, this is one UK destination that should be on your bucket list! Looking for more of Devon? Discover these other enchanting Devon towns.