So many things to see and do in Devon
The three resort towns of the English Riviera share an enviable reputation as one of England's leading holiday destinations, but the treasures of the Bay are not confined to its beaches, gardens, and climate. From Torre Abbey and Oldway Mansion to Cockington Court and Berry Head, the history and heritage of the English Riviera will surprise and delight you. The area has attracted interesting residents and visitors for centuries and has many stories to tell through its rambling country estates, grand mansions and museums.
Travel back through 400 million years of time at Torquay Museum – a hands-on family-friendly visitor attraction, with lots to see and do for children and adults alike. A wide variety of exhibitions are hosted throughout the year by the Museum, from child-friendly summer blockbusters to fascinating exhibitions about South Devon’s amazing archaeology, geology and people.
Detect your way through Britain’s only Agatha Christie gallery at Torquay Museum, which is dedicated to the life story of the Queen of Crime. Re-developed and improved in 2013, the new gallery now enables visitors to step inside Poirot’s study and lounge, including furniture, books, pictures and even fireplaces from his beautiful London Art Deco apartment.
Come face-to-face with North-West Europe’s oldest human fossil and the sabre-toothed tigers he shared his Torquay home with 44,000 years ago, and explore life and death in Ancient Egypt, including the coffin of a 2,500 year old mummified boy. Find out about Torquay’s explorer’s, including the inspiration for Indiana Jones and what life was like in an Devon Farmhouse in the 1800’s.
Open Air Theatre
The summer months lend themselves to regular open air plays and performances in beautiful grounds and settings, including Cockington Court, Torre Abbey, Babbacombe Downs and Oldway Mansion.
The refurbished Babbacombe Theatre has been a valuable asset to the town for over seventy years having been renowned for wowing audiences with their highly acclaimed shows, most especially since 1986 when Matpro Limited took over the venue. This 2013 season will be no different as the season is all about having Fun, come along to SPELLBOUND. Expect an explosion of exhilarating splendour, a cast to surpass the boundaries of talent, with comedy, illusion, song and dance to enthral all the family. Showing weekly from February to October-the longest running summer season in the country!!
Also appearing live on stage during 2013 are comedians and Tribute act shows.
Babbacombe Corinthian Yacht Club
The Babbacombe Corinthian Yacht Club was formed as part of BCSC in 1997 for sailing training purposes and has been very successful with over 1,500 young trainees to date, all of whom are trained by club volunteers, three of whom have been presented RYA awards for their efforts in voluntary training. The club was honoured by a visit from HRH The Princess Royal in June this year in her capacity as Patron of the RYA "Sailability " scheme. She attended a reception for all the pupils undergoing training during the year to present RYA certificates and to thank the volunteers.
Babbacombe Model Village
Take time out from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and feel on top of the world as you see it recreated in miniature. Thousands of intricate model buildings, people, vehicles and railways capture the essence of England’s past, present and future. The village is set in 4 acres of quirky award-winning gardens, with plenty of indoor attractions including the World of Characters, a recreation of fascinating historical and movie scenes; and the latest addition, a fabulous indoor 4D experience, with themed shows and special events throughout the year.
Babbacombe Cliff Railway
One of only 16 funicular railways in working use, the Babbacombe Cliff Railway is unique in both its design and operation. First opened in 1926, the railway continues to carry passengers down the 73m cliff face to the beaches of Babbacombe and Oddicombe. The cars can take wheelchairs and the operators will provide assistance if necessary. The Cliff Railway is open every day during the summer season until early evening; a ship’s bell if run 30 minutes before the last ride of the day.
Free ranging penguins, free flying birds and playful seals – you can see them all and more at Living Coasts, the world’s only coastal zoo. Walk underwater to see our penguins swimming overhead, stroll along cliffs as puffins high-dive into the sea and linger by our tranquil estuary filled with elegant wading birds. And don’t forget our pool full of splashing sea ducks! Afterwards join our keepers at feeding times and you’ll discover some fun facts and stories. Living Coasts is an innovative world-class discovery centre and conservation charity which focuses on coastal and marine life and habitats around the globe.
Abbey Park, situated on Torquay seafront, was opened in 1924. In summer the Italian Gardens are a riot of colour, with pretty flowerbeds surrounding a pond and water rock garden, both original features. An avenue of flowering cherry trees was planted in 2000 to commemorate the millennium. The most impressive feature of the gardens in recent years is the Hi-Flyer, a helium-filled balloon that offers visitors the chance to gain a fantastic bird’s eye view over the whole of Torbay as it hovers at 400 ft.
Hidden away between Babbacombe and St Marychurch, Tessier Gardens is a delightful little park that was given to the town in 1933 by Mrs H A Tessier “for the use of adults only”. In the same year a ‘Sun Temple’ was constructed in the gardens, as recognition of her generosity. In 1975 a scented garden for the blind was planted with the botanical names of the plants etched in Braille on copper plates. In accordance with the covenants bestowed upon the council in 1933, children under the age of 18 are strictly not permitted in the park, however under 18’s are actively invited to use the park under adult supervision.
Berry Head National Nature Reserve is home to significant wildlife populations: greater horseshoe bats have a huge colony, guillemots are among the 200 resident and visiting bird species and there are 500 plant species (9 of them very rare, including the wild rock rose). The promontory is quite magnificent, with opportunities to explore the northern and southern Napoleonic forts and breathe in the views. Berry Head is one of the key sites in the English Riviera Geopark.
A working farm with woodland trails, visitor centre and a fantastic organic farm shop, selling fresh bread and produce straight from the farm.
Organic Garden at Cockington
Created in the 1700s to provide produce for Cockington Court, this garden now plays host to numerous demonstrations on organic gardening methods.
The UK’s best zoo for conservation, it’s official! Paignton Zoo not only offers us the chance to see the amazing species of the world, but is also heavily involved in their conservation in their natural habitats.
Founded in 1196 as a monastery, Torre Abbey is Torquay’s oldest building and an icon of the seafront. After a £6.5 million refurbishment it reopened its doors to the public in Summer 208 and visitors can explore the rooms of the original Abbey and Mansion House and stroll through the gardens and the exotic Palm House. The Abbey is within walking distance from the seafront and can be reached by numerous buses from the town centres.
Kents Cavern, with its outstanding geological features, is one of the oldest recognisable human dwellings in Britain. Prehistoric human and animal remains and Bronze Age pottery and weapons have been excavated, including the oldest human jawbone in Europe. The Cave offers guided tours and themed events, and there is a superb exhibition about its history, as well as a visitor centre and restaurant onsite.