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Europe > Britain and Ireland > United Kingdom > England > West Country > Devon > Torquay
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For other places with the same name, see Torquay (disambiguation).
Torquay Town Hall

Torquay (pronounced "Tor-kee") is an English town on the coast of Devon in the West Country and, since the 19th century, a fashionable seaside resort in the English Riviera. The town is situated on the English Channel, on the southern edge of Torbay, an east facing bay that is part of the larger Lyme Bay.


Torquay's advantages as a seaside resort and destination are obvious, with no less than nine (9) sandy beaches and extremely high standards of water quality (holder of 3 European Blue Flags, more than any other English resort). Torbay enjoys a warm micro-climate that allows palm-like trees to grow readily, though these are not true palms but rather Cordyline australis - Cabbage Tree.

Torquay is (in)famous as the setting of Fawlty Towers, the hotel owned by Basil and Sybil Fawlty in the classic 1970s British television comedy.

The coastal area of Torbay which includes Torquay, Paignton and Brixham, was given the nickname 'English Riviera' because of the large amount of sandy beaches and the relatively warm climate compared to the rest of the country. Officially known as Torbay it is almost completely made up of tourist resorts and small fishing communities. It is in a natural east facing harbour.

Get in

Torquay has two railway stations. Torquay railway station is situated near the sea, close to Torre Abbey Sands. Torre railway station is situated a little inland adjacent to the road leading to Newton Abbot. Not all trains stop at Torre.

Torquay is connected to the UK motorway network by the A380, which traces the outskirts of the town as Hellevoetsluis Way and Hamelin Way, leading to the A38 and then on to the M5 at Exeter. The A3022 branches from the A380, leading into Torquay as Riviera Way, to the seafront as Newton Road and then Avenue Road, and then on to Paignton as Torbay Road. The A379 runs past the harbour to the Babbacombe and St Marychurch areas of Torquay, and then north along the coast to Teignmouth.

The nearest Airport is Exeter International Airport [1]

Get around

Two bus routes operated by Stagecoach Devon pass through Torquay - the 'Bayline' number 12 service between Newton Abbot and Brixham, and the X46 service between Exeter and Paignton - while other routes operate within the town [2]


  • Kents Cavern - which was home to early man for some 700,000 years and where tourists can visit this subterranean wonderland. The Caves have attracted many famous people, among them Agatha Christie, 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 - a large coastal zoo.
  • Babbacombe Model Village - it has attracted children and adults of all ages for generations and is considered one of the best examples of a model village in England.
  • The Princess Theatre
  • Torre Abbey - a Premonstratensian monastery founded in 1196.
  • Babbacombe Cliff Railway
  • Cockington Court and Country Park - world famous village.


Torquay is also set along a coastline renowned for its beaches, having no fewer than nine popular beaches. The high standards of water quality and beach facilities mean that many carry coveted awards. The nine main beaches of Torquay, a string of nine beautiful beaches and coves stretched out along the palm lined coast, are as follows:

  • Maidencombe Beach
  • Watcombe Beach
  • Oddicombe Beach
  • Babbacombe Beach
  • Anstey's Cove
  • Meadfoot Beach
  • Torre Abbey Sands
  • Corbyn Sands


Union Street and Fleet Walk shopping centre, located near to the Harbour, offer a wide range of high street shops, ranging from independent boutiques to large chain stores. The Pavilion Shopping Centre is a few minutes walk from the seafront and provides a selection of interesting small independent retailers and gift shops in a beautiful 19th century building.

The Willows, located a few miles from the centre offers a large Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury's, Next and electronics stores.


Chefs in the area are spoilt for choice when it comes to locally sourced seafood and meat. The cuisine has a distinctive west country flavour. Adventurous diners can take a culinary journey around the world, sampling everything from French, Italian and Spanish, to Indian, Thai, Moroccan, Mexican and Lebanese cuisine

Accolades like AA Rosettes, Michelin Stars and Les Routiers can be found, while even several of the fish and chip shops are award winning. From restaurants with stunning views across the emerald bay, to Country pubs offering hearty fare, Torquay has it covered.


There are numerous pubs, clubs and bars close to the harbourside, ranging from traditional English pubs to classy wine bars.


Torquay is well supplied with bed and breakfast (B&B) and self catered accommodation. The Tourist Information Centre is a good source of quality information about accommodation and Torquay in general.

  • The Richwood and Beirut Bistro, 20 Newton Road, TQ2 5BZ, +44 1803 293729, fax: +44 1803 3226662, . Lebanese (halal), European and English cuisine in the Beirut - Bistro. The Richwood is a Victorian mansion, comfortably furnished, centrally heated throughout, with a cosy bar, heated swimming pool and sun terrace. All 13 bedrooms are en-suite, have colour tv with dvd players and tea and coffee making facilities. Evening meals are available (booking and orders in advance), with a choice of home-cooked international dishes. Free Wi-Fi. Free private parking, first come, first served; alternative free parking on the Newton Road. Pool table and games room. TV Lounge with international satellite programs. 30ft x 15ft heated swimming pool (25'C) open from June to October. Sunbathing terraces, pool snack bar, hot spa, CCTV and security system. From £50 per night.
  • The Meadfoot Bay Hotel, Meadfoot Sea Road, +44 1803 294722, fax: +44 1803 214473, . The Meadfoot Bay is an award-winning family run guest house situated in the area of Meadfoot, just a stroll from Meadfoot Beach and a short walk from Torquay harbour. From £36 per night.

Go next

  • Paignton- A coastal town which has lots of tourist attractions.
  • Brixham- A small fishing town, reachable by ferry.
  • Totnes- a small market town.

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