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Torquay - The English Riviera

Torquay is part of the stunning English Riviera, situated on the South Devon coastline in sheltered Torbay. The seaside location makes it a fantastic place to spend a weekend. Many hotels along with amazing sea views on the English Riviera can really provide a unique and romantic experience.

In the 19th century it became a fashionable seaside resort, renowned for its healthy climate it gained a nickname as the English Riviera. Torquay lies 26 kilometres (16 miles) south of Exeter along the A380 on the north of Torbay, and adjoins the neighbouring town of Paignton on the west of the bay.


Numerous tourist attractions vie for a share of the resort's visitors. Here are a few to get you started:

Kents Cavern, Britain's most important Stone Age site, was home to early man for some 700,000 years. Now tourists can visit this subterranean wonderland.

The floor is composed of several strata, with remains indicating the prehistoric coexistence there of humans and now-extinct animals. The Rev. J. McEnery explored (1825–29) the cave and put forth the coexistence theory.

The cave was extensively explored from 1865 to 1880 by William Pengelly, who found evidence to support McEnery's hypothesis. It has attracted many famous people, among them Agatha Christie[10], Beatrix Potter, King George V of the United Kingdom and Haile Selassie who was so impressed with his visit that he gave his guide, Leslie Powe a gold sovereign.

Living Coasts is built on Beacon Quay which has existed since 1680. In 1857 the Bath's Saloons complex was built on the promontory overlooking Beacon Cove. This included a ballroom, concert hall and sunlit conservatory and private bathing facilities with, underneath, a large public swimming bath open to the sea.

The beautiful stone arches of this public bath can still be seen today and have been cleverly incorporated into the shop at Living Coasts. Development of the site, as a marine animal exhibit was first proposed in the early part of 1999. It was in response to a call from Torbay Borough Council for submissions from interested parties.

The project, developed by Kay Elliott architects, included an exhibit to house marine birds, rather than fish, due to the need to avoid duplicating the exhibits at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth. The project was subsequently taken on by Paignton Zoo Environmental Park and named Living Coasts.

Babbacombe Model Village opened in 1963 and has attracted children and adults of all ages and is considered one of the best examples of a model village in England. Please go to our Home Page