Torbay: Where is the English Riviera alternative to the south of France United Kingdom | Travel News | To travel
The English Riviera has an exotic name that attracts crowds of tourists every year.
Referring to the Torbay region in South Devon, the Riviera is located around the key locations of Brixham, Paignton and Torquay.
The coastal area takes its name from the Victorian era, when the British realized that part of the south Devon coast could compete with the French Riviera and chose the name.
The similarities between South France and South Devon are not limited to one name.
The English Riviera offers stunning coastal views, a warm climate, and Italian-style houses and gardens that bring a Mediterranean resort style to the coast.
With 35 km of coastline and multiple Blue Flag beaches, the Torbay region is the perfect seaside retreat.
The most famous of the towns on the English Riviera, Torquay hosts the Agatha Christie International Festival in September this year. The festival celebrates best-selling author Agatha Christie, who made her home in Torquay and brought some of her famous books to the area.
Visitors who can’t make it to the festival can still follow the Agatha Christie Hiking Trail of the English Riviera and experience a literary themed tour of the area.
The trail takes tourists around some of the monuments associated with the writer.
Burgh Island and the seaside village of Bigbury on Sea in the South Hams inspired the novels Evil Under the Sun and And Then There Were None, while Kents Cavern inspired The Man in the Brown Suit.
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Torquay has also long been associated with the cult TV show Fawlty Towers, although it has never filmed in the English Riviera. The hotel that inspired Josh Cleese is no longer in town, with the building sadly demolished.
The main attractions of the English Riviera, besides its cultural importance, are the beach and its coastal location.
For a sandcastle, Torre Abbey Sands is undefeated. The beach won the award for “best sand to make a sand castle” in 2014.
Babbacombe Downs, meanwhile, has England’s tallest clifftop promenade.
With 20 beaches to choose from, visitors are spoiled for choice.
Oddicombe Beach has been a Blue Flag beach for 33 years and won the Seaside Award in 2020.
Another Blue Flag beach, Meadfoot Beach was a 2019 Seaside Award winner and is just a mile from Torquay Harbor.
Goodrington Sands is one of the area’s most popular beaches, and for good reason. The sandy beach has clear waters and is home to the Quaywest Water Water Adventure Park. It also offers the possibility of kayaking, cabotage, rock pool or snorkelling.
Visitors looking for a more active stay can take one of the English Riviera’s many coastal walks.
Walks vary in difficulty, from a walk along the beach to the South West Coast Path, created by the Coast Guard on the prowl for smugglers.
The warm climate and Mediterranean architecture of the English Riviera go hand in hand with the tropical and subtropical plants and palms that can be found at the Torre Abbey Museum.