Hotels in Torquay, United Kingdom
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Torquay, Devon, United Kingdom: Where History Meets Mystery
Torquay is a sea front city steeped in history and tradition. Located 29 kilometres from Exeter in Devon, Torquay was once a fashionable seaside resort for England’s elite and was known as the “English Riviera” because of the seasonable climate and mild winters. Torquay has held on to this charm and those beaches are still popular today, with seafront hotels cosying right up to the beach. There are reasons for visiting besides the ocean as Torquay boasts an important Stone Age archaeological site, as well as several other historic buildings of note.
On the Sea
Located on the southwestern coast of England, Torquay still has white villas popularised during the Victorian time with elegant and historical fronts on the city streets and pleasant gardens hiding in the back. Many seafront hotels offer beautiful views of the water and it’s an easy stroll to the sand and shore. Torquay has several beaches, including Torre Abbey Sands and Babbacombe which offer rental deckchairs. Other beaches are Paignton Sands and Breakwater, which has an open-air swimming pool. Torquay Harbour offers a nice walk with many shops and pubs located along the water’s edge. For a truly panoramic view, visit the English Riviera Wheel, a smaller version of the wheel found in London, quite close to the seafront with beautiful views from the top. Many of the beaches are connected by the South West Coast Path for easy walking accessibility and it’s possible to see the limestone and red clay cliffs the area is known for.
It Starts with History
Torquay’s main claim to fame is its strong ties with historical connections. Kents Cavern Prehistoric Caves is a show cave and site of Stone Age archaeological relics, including a jawbone that may be an example of the oldest modern human found in Europe dating back almost 40,000 years. There’s also a woodland trail and coastal walk, as well as a play area and boat cruise. Another important historical site is Torre Abbey, a monastery dating back to the late 12th century. It is one of the best preserved medieval monasteries in Devon and has formal gardens, as well as an extensive art collection. Those wanting to take a walk back in time can visit Cockington Village which has thatched houses and pubs with narrow lanes and cottages dating back hundreds of years. Around the village, there are walking trails, shops, and historic buildings for touring, as well as an arts and crafts centre. The Torquay Museum will fill the visitor in on more recent history.
Torquay has several ties to the literary elite. It is the birthplace of famed author Dame Agatha Christie, who lived there as a young writer. Christie used the town as a setting in some of her books, which can be discovered on the Agatha Christie Literary Trail through the South Devon area. Highlighted along the route are the settings of 20 of those novels, including the sites Salcombe and Dartmoor National Park. There is also an Agatha Christie Mile, a walking trail along the seafront with plaques where visitors can read about her life and her work. An annual Agatha Christie Festival and a one-hour trip to her estate, Greenway, in Devon will round out the trip. Dartmoor National Park, to the West of Torquay, also has literary ties and was the setting for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel The Hound of the Baskervilles, one of Sherlock Holmes’s most famous detective cases.
More Modern Sites
Those who choose to live in the present will still find plenty to do in Torquay. The Living Coasts Zoo & Aquarium will provide fun for families with exhibits featuring animals like puffins and penguins and interactive attractions like a water play area and crawl tank. Today’s Dinosaur World is the best of past and present with interactive indoor exhibits displaying several examples of dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles. The Babbacombe Model Village will provide fun entertainment for those of any age. Torquay also has several theatres, a golf course, and many shops and pubs along Fleet Walk and Union Square. Accommodation choices mirror the great diversity, with ranges from historic inns to ultra-modern seafront hotels, many of which are within walking distance of the harbour, shops, and pubs.
Price rangefrom NZ$58to NZ$365
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