Visit Torquay and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Torquay, Devon. In 1790 it was a fishing village “discovered” only by a select few. During the Napoleonic Wars it became the home of wives of officers from the warships anchored for long periods in Torbay. In 1815 Napoleon, a prisoner waiting to hear his fate, gazed at the site from the deck of the Bellerophon and pronounced it “beau”. By 1850 it was calling itself “the Queen of Watering Places”. Napoleon III came, as did Russian Royalty, and its fame gained a further boost from the discovery in Kent's Cavern of human bones with those of ice Age beasts, proving that man had existed far earlier than had hitherto been thought.
It has some ambitious modern buildings, if mainly blocks of flats, mingled with the great trees and sub-tropical shrubs to the South East of the harbour on what is possibly England's most opulent headland. A drive round this — Marine Drive — is a good first move in order to taste the ethos and for the views over Thatcher Rock, with its clouds of sea-birds, and over Tor Bay to Berry Head and over Babbacombe Bay to the red cliffs of Dawlish. Kent's Cavern, now a floodlit extravaganza of stalagmites and stalactites, with a few bones still to be seen, is at the east end of this drive close to Anstey's Cove, which is pretty when not too crowded. At the west end is the splendid cream façade of Hesketh Crescent(c. 1846), now the Osborne Hotel. Above it, Lincombe Drive is also worth following; then comes the harbour bright with boats on which — rather than on the long beach West of it — the town converges. The sea-front continues excellent, past hillside gardens floodlit in many colours at night and the Princess Theatre (1961), to the now public grounds of the buildings collectively called Torre Abbey. These are the town's oldest buildings of consequence: a mainly l8th-century house containing the Corporation Art Gallery and Museum and, periodically, contemporary art exhibitions; a gatehouse (c. 1320); and a well-preserved tithe barn from the abbey founded for Premonstratensians in 1196. It is known as the Spanish Barn because prisoners from the Armada were locked up in it. Of the churches, the most notable is St John's (1861—71) by G. E. Street with Burne-Jones windows and murals. It is in Montpelier Terrace, off Union Street behind the harbour.
From the Torquay sea-front you can ride 2 miles to Cockington by landau. It is a thatched village popular with tourists, with a pub (1934) by Sir Edward Lutyens. The grounds of Cockington Court, with a perfect village cricket square, are nice to wander through to see the pretty little 14th- and l5th-century church. The Court itself is basically Elizabethan with a l7th-century front. It was formerly the home of the Carys, then of the Mallocks, two of the three families (the Palks were the third) who guided Torquay's development.
About l ¾ miles West of Cockington, near Maridon, is Compton Castle, the best surviving example of a medieval fortified manor house in Devon, home in the 16th century of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, the explorer. It dates from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, with a restored great hail. It is all in excellent condition, cared for by the National Trust.
Nearby towns: Brixham, Newton Abbott, Paignton, Teignmouth, Totnes
Nearby villages: Abbotskerswell, Ashburton, Ashsprington, Berry Head, Berry Pomeroy, Bishopsteignton, Blackawton, Bovey Tracey, Brixham, Broadhempston, Chudleigh, Chudleigh Knighton, Churston Ferrers, Coffinswell, Cornworthy, Dartington, Dartmouth, Dawlish, Denbury, Dittisham, East Allington, Galmpton, Halwell, Harberton, Hennock, Highweek, Humber, Ideford, Ilsington, Ipplepen, Kingskerswell, Kingsteignton, Kingswear, Liverton, Marldon, Moreleigh, Sandquay, Shaldon, Staverton, Stoke Fleming, Stoke Gabriel, Stokeinteignhead, Teigngrace, Totnes
Have you decided to visit Torquay or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Torquay bed and breakfast (a Torquay B&B or Torquay b and b)
- a Torquay guesthouse
- a Torquay hotel (or motel)
- a Torquay self-catering establishment, or
- other Torquay accommodation