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Known as the English Riviera, popular for its mild climate, famous for its award winning beaches and iconic palm trees. Torbay is the collective name for Paignton (my home town), Brixham & Torquay and has more attractions than any other resort in the UK and is also a Global Geopark. Known locally as the bay of dreams, I count myself lucky to live in such a beautiful place and call it home.
Torbay’s sandy beaches, mild climate and recreational and leisure attractions have given rise to the nickname of the English Riviera. It provides a natural escape for large ships during rough weather and very few days go by when there aren’t some vessels anchored for shelter or awaiting orders.
One thing you are bound to noticed around Torbay is how red the soil is. This colouration is due to iron chemicals, which is only found in deserts. These chemicals were released from overlying desert rocks that then passed down into the Devonian rocks beneath, staining them red. The Devonian period was about 395 to 345 million years ago. It is called Devonian because Devon was the first place that these rocks were studied in great detail. The Devonian slate has eroded over time to become the red soil that you find here today. You may come across some pink sheep in the fields around the bay, as hilarious as it looks it is just from the dust they kick up while roaming.
- Torbay is built on a desert, thankfully though these days the climate is not as hot as it was when the rocks were formed.
- Torbay has been twinned with Hameln in Lower Saxony, Germany since 1973 and with Hellevoetsluis in the Netherlands since 1989.
- With finding the oldest example of human bones and tools of a modern human in Europe, dating back to 37,000–40,000 years ago, Torbay may have been inhabited since Paleolithic times.
- Torbay contains a total area of over 80 hectares of Seagrass (Zostera Marina) equivalent to 110 football pitches which is 30% of the whole of Devon’s Seagrass beds.
- There’s no shortage of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets, ranging from luxury hotels to charming Bed & Breakfasts and quality self catering establishments.
- Airbnb, from £20 a night for a private room, while entire apartments/homes can start from around £40 a night, this would be my recommended option.
- Camping, Hire a static caravan or bring your own camper or tent for as little as £11 a night at Widdicombe Farm Touring Park, Widend Touring Park, Whitehill Country Park, Beverley Holidays or Waterside Holiday Park.
- Hostel, £19.33 a night Torquay backpackers is your only option. Linen included, free parking and free wi-fi.
- B&B & Guest Houses, There are loads to choose from, probably best to look at the reviews on tripadvisor. Prices start from £40 a night.
- Hotel, Again there are many from the budget Travelodges, Premier Inns and then the luxury 4* hotels like the Palace, Grand or Imperial. Prices start from £40 – £150 a night.
For just a few pounds fish & chips are the traditional bite, just be aware of the seagulls. Plenty of places for a kebab, Indian or Asian food can be found for £6 at lunch times. Always Wetherspoons for a quick cheap meal. A sit down meal at a restaurant with table will probably cost you from £25 for a main course. (Eating out at restaurants will soon put a dent in your wallet, so you’ll want to avoid doing so all the time.) Best places to buy and cook your own basic groceries are Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s, Lidl and Aldi. If your hungover or just feeling really lazy then there’s Yeti Delivery that will pick up a takeaway and bring it to your door.
- Bus, There are two companies running throughout the bay Stagecoach and Torbay Buses. A Stagecoach Dayrider is £5 for adults and £3.50 for a child, Area the ticket covers. After 7PM ask for a Nightrider £2 until end of service. The Gold busses are fitted with wifi and usb charging ports for each seat.
- Taxi, There are a few to choose from:
- Torbay Taxis: 01803 211611
- Price First Taxis: 01803 322322
- Torbay Cab Company: 01803 292292
- Riviera Taxis: 01803 212600
- Ace Taxis (Brixham): 01803 882121
- South Hams Cabs: 01803 840404
- Car, is by far the easiest option if you want to travel between towns. There are a few local places you can hire from, Thrifty, Enterprise, Chief & Budget Car
- Ferry, There are a few, but for just £2 and 20 minutes, you can travel between the 3 towns. Check out We Ferry.
- Walking, With some of the best coastal paths in the country, walking these wont disappoint, with the stunning views on a sunny day. (Don’t forget the sunscreen)