Torquay and it's sister English Riviera hotspots Brixham and Paignton are the queens of the Devon resort holiday choice. It's all here in these Devon seaside havens including a party atmosphere in Torquay, now increasingly popular as a stag and hen weekend break, theatres, amusements, great beaches, literary heritage with the Agatha Christie trail, family holiday fun in Paignton with it's many shops, a great pier and endless sandy beach with lots of amenities and a great promenade. Move to Brixham, once a small fishing village but now a delightful day trip Mecca with a picture postcard harbour, lots of exquisite promenade walking and a bustling marina which hosts it's own regatta annually.
There's a selection of family holiday attractions across the region including waterparks, boat trips along the coast between Torquay and Brixham, the Living coasts attraction at Torquay, the Golden Hind recreation of Sir Francis Drake's ship at Brixham and the Paignton & Dartmouth Steam railway. Add to this all you'd expect from seaside resorts including a selection of family restaurants, ice cream shops and cafes, bargain holiday shops galore at Paignton, and a good choice of cinemas, leisure facilities and loads of B&Bs, guest houses and holiday Devon hotels. Don't forget nearby Dawlish Warren and Teignmouth, also perfect Devon family seaside holiday hotspots and home to Dawlish's famous nature reserve.
Torquay Devon, now firmly in the seaside holiday firmament, but with a new modern twist of amenities, the Stay and Hen parties rather like Torquay. Torquay is the main hub, often called the 'capital' of the English Riviera - this section of the South Devon Coastline also know as Torbay. The Victorian marks of this seaside resort are still there but Torquay has most certainly evolved with it's lively harbour scene, quayside shops and chic cafes and superb marina offering lots of boat trips. Torquay really started to boom after the Napoleonic Wars, when Tor Bay's docking facilities provided the perfect setting for a large navel base. In then came the families of workers on this base, plus shortly followed by the tourists. With the coming of the railways Torquay continued to grow, becoming a popular Victorian seaside resort.
Torquay today is prime Devon seaside holiday territory, with it's blue flag English Riviera beach, elegant and lively waterfront lined with palm trees, very exotic!, cafes, restaurants and pubs. Torquay offers excellent nightlife, and is extremely popular as a stag weekend break, and hen parties! Torquay has a few celebrities to it's name as well. Agatha Christie was born, and spent much of her life in this region. Take in the Torquay flavour, and possible influences on her genius detective stories. Fawlty Towers was filmed here as well!
Torquay Tourist Information Centre, Vaughan Parade, Torquay, Tel: 01803 297428. Full wheelchair access.
The great thing about Torbay's three main hotspots Torquay, Paignton and Brixham is that they complement other with their different focus and themes. Paignton is most definitely Devon family holiday hotspot with a choice of family entertainment including superb sandy beaches, a large waterpark, a charming steam railway featuring Thomas the Tank Engine, and a lively seafront, lots of great shops in Paignton town centre, the obligatory seaside pier and holiday parks and a range of Devon Accommodation choices.
Paignton Zoo is rather popular as well. Paignton's family holiday effect can be best described as 'mini southwest Blackpool'. It's easy on the pocket as well, cheap, cheerful good family seaside holiday fun with lots going on. They have Paignton Illuminations as well! And check out Quay West Waterpark near Paignton at Goodrington Sands for superb Devon family holiday fun!
Paignton Tourist Information Centre, Esplanade Road, Paignton, TQ4 6ED. Wheelchair access.
Brixham couldn't be more of a contrast to both it's Torbay neighbours, Torquay and Paignton. If you're looking for a Devon base with a more laid back 'fishing village' feel, then Brixham is for you. Brixham has a stunning little harbour, and is extremely popular with daytrippers. Fish food stalls line the harbour, and Brixham town has a superb selection of shops, great pubs serving real ale and a choice of Devon Ice cream shops. Brixham is a great place for gentle strolling, watching the fishing boats, and walking out onto the jetties. There's lots of parking available adjacent to the town centre, and with good promenades everywhere disability access is excellent.
Brixham's fishing history stretches back to it's early medieval roots as a small fishing port. It had grown by the 1800s to be one of the largest fishery centre in the UK, with a huge fishing market in the South West. Brixham pays due homage to it's maritime and fishing history, both in the recreation of the Golden Hind (the ship Drake was knighted on by Elizabeth I), and in the little gem, the Brixham Museum on New Road. The photos in this maritime museum are a must! Among other delights in Brixham are it's seawater open air swimming pool, it's picturesque fisherman's cottages, a picture postcard harbour, and Brixham is a prime base for walkers, with many walks taking in surrounding woodland and pebble beaches.
Brixham Tourist Information Centre, Old Market House, The Quay, Brixham. Tel: 01803 852861.
Torquay is synonymous with Agatha Christie, and pays due homage to it's homegrown genius. Christie was rather cagey about many detective stories, comparing their production to a sausage factory. Lovers of the Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot Agatha Christie books however will no doubt beg to differ, for they are indeed journeys of discovering and insights into human behaviour, through the perspective of two very unlikely detectives.
Torquay Museum has a whole exhibition dedicated to Agatha Christie, with an array of fascinating photographs reflecting on Christie's life, particularly growing up in Torquay. Christie's father, Frederick Miller was an American, a character who was rather slap dash with his finances, and her mother Clara came from a background of both luxury and instability. Clara purchased the sprawling villa Ashfield in Barton Road, Torquay. The large greenhouse at Ashfield is described in detail by Christie in her later work 'Postern of Fate'. Agatha Miller was born to parents Frederick and Clara in Torquay Devon on the 15th September 1890 at Barton Road. She married Colonel Archibald Christie in 1914. Archie was an aviator in the Royal Flying Corps. There was one daughter from the marriage, Rosalind. The Christie's divorced in 1928. She produced her first novel, introducing Hercule Poirot, in 1920 in 'The Mysterious Affair at Styles', although she actually wrote it during the war years of 1914-1918, it took some time to get it published! The ingenuity of plot twist in 'The Murder of Roger Ackroyd' (1925) is also considered one of her greatest works.