Did somebody say “sandy beach”? The sandiest jewel in the English Riviera’s crown, good old Paignton has been treating families to all the fun of the seaside for generations. First of all there’s Paignton Sands, the longest sandy beach in Torbay (and a Seaside Award holder too don’t you know), and then there’s the collection of family attractions in the local area that keep sun seekers flocking to the town every year.
We should point out that not only is the beach huge at low tide, but a study recently showed that it has the best sand for making sandcastles in the whole of the UK. So, if your usual attempts at sandy creations end up in crumbling messes while the kids look bemused there’ll be no excuses this time…
The beach backs onto Paignton Green, a wide grassy space that’s now home to the kind of play park the kids won’t want to leave – the Geoplay Park, and the summer sees friendly donkeys set up camp on there ready to ferry toddlers around their enclosure while mum stands back with the camera at the ready.
Just along from Paignton Sands, Goodrington Sands is another of South Devon’s most popular beaches, and with a curving arc of sand, plenty of amenities and the excitement of the odd steam train passing by it has the feeling of days gone by to it. If you stand on the sand and look up you’ll see curving flumes jutting from Splashdown Quaywest Waterpark, and it’s not only the UK’s largest waterpark but its setting right beside the beach makes it one of the most picturesque too.
Who doesn’t love pedalling their way around a boating lake while the kids shout for you to speed up? Well those of you who do are in luck, Goodrington boating lake’s home to swan pedalos, so families can take some time out on the water.
Paignton Zoo is one of the South West’s leading family attractions, and if you buy a joint ticket you’ll be able to enter the Living Coasts attraction beside Torquay harbour too. If you fancy seeing some of the countryside that we all know and love South Devon for you can board the Dartmouth Steam Railway from Paignton and chug your way on to Kingswear (where you can board a ferry to Dartmouth), or hop off at Greenway Halt station and wander through woodland to the summer retreat Agatha Christie loved.
Imagine if you could wind the clock back to the days when Agatha Christie called Torbay home…well, hop aboard Barnaby the vintage Agatha Christie bus on Paignton’s seafront and you’ll be ferried to Greenway House , the queen of crime’s former summer home. Barnaby found fame in the TV series Heartbeat, and you’ll be entertained on the short journey to Churston with a commentary on Agatha’s life in the area from the guide and driver…be warned though, it’s a bumpy ride!