Enjoy a virtual tour wandering through Princess Gardens, a promenade lined with palm trees, flowerbeds and an ornate Grade II listed water fountain.
Wandering along Torquay seafront from Torre Abbey Sands to Torquay Marina will take you through the Princess Gardens, a promenade lined with palm trees, flowerbeds and an ornate water fountain. This is actually one of the last well maintained gardens as sadly most around the bay now seem to have been removed or covered over.
Princess Gardens comprises of a triangular area of level ground to the west of the Pavilion. Areas of lawn are divided by tarmac walks which connect Torbay Road and Princess Parade. To the west of the Princess Theatre is a lawn planted with specimen Torbay palms (cordyline) and geometrical-shaped beds for seasonal planting schemes. East of the theatre is a sunken lawn ornamented with further flower beds, and has as its focal point a three-tier cast-iron fountain (listed grade II) which stands in a painted circular stone-kerbed basin. The fountain is ornamented with figures of dolphins which serve as jets at the base of the pedestal, while the central column supporting the basins has ornamental relieves of country scenes. The fountain was donated by the proprietor of Cumper’s Hotel (now Torbay Hotel) on condition that the Borough provided the basin.
- The gardens take their name from Princess Louise, the then Princess Royal and fourth daughter of Queen Victoria, who laid the foundation stone for the “pleasure ground” in May 1890.
- Princess Gardens are registered under the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 within the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens by Historic England for its special historic interest.
- Divided into three areas: Princess Gardens to the south-east; New Harbour to the south; and the early twentieth century Edwardian Pavilion to the east. In the middle sits the Torquay Princess Theatre.
- The gardens are a feature of both the Agatha Christie Mile and the Agatha Christie Literary Trail through the English Riviera and South Devon: they appear in Christie’s novel The ABC Murders.
- Throughout the year Princess Gardens provides the location for numerous events and festivals, including continental markets.
- The fountain mouldings were used to cast another fountain which is outside Raffles Hotel in Singapore. The slight differences are to the bolted-on sections in that the bowl on the Singapore version has no supporting brackets and the top feature is different. The Torquay top feature is more delicate and attractive than its Raffles Hotel counterpart.
Princess Gardens and Torbay Road is all reclaimed land and was once simply a cliff edge to the sea. The main way to get from the harbour to Torre Abbey was to go across an ancient path on Waldon Hill. Waldon is from ‘warren’ – the monks of Torre Abbey kept rabbit warrens there. The ancient path was called ‘the Rock Walk’.
- Green flag award winner
There are lots of places to choose from all within a stone’s throw, but for a full list of places in town head to post Torquay
- Fish & Chips
- Las Iguanas
- On The Rocks
- Visto Lounge
Torbay Rd, Torquay TQ2 5EZ.
- Easily accesable and completely on the level.
- There are signs that state no bathing or playing in the fountain.
- For free parking try Croft Road or Warren Road.
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