Our guide to South Devon Holiday Cottages & Apartments
Hands up who holidayed in South Devon as a child? If you didn’t just raise your hand (and it’s because you’ve never been to the region and not because you’re reading this in public) the chances are you know at least one person who did.
Made up of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham, Torbay is all about sandy beaches, family days out and a warm climate, and its winding sea roads are lined with friendly restaurants that serve the catch of the day and encourage alfresco dining. Think it sounds very continental? It feels it, and it’s still very much the classic seaside destination that had the Victorians hopping on trains to visit in their droves.
Let’s start with the beaches. When they were handing out the golden sand the bay was right at the front of the queue and whether you prefer to lie back with a book in a hidden cove or let the kids run riot on one of the main beaches – you’ll find the one for you. Thanks to pleasure cruises that run as often as every half an hour during the summer, it’s easy to hop between the towns, and if you keep your eyes peeled as you go you may even spot the odd dolphin.
Things to do in South Devon
The South West Coast path makes it easier than ever for walkers to discover the views that have made the area famous on foot, and whichever section you choose to trundle you’ll be rewarded with the sight of the sea to one side and the kind of peace and quiet you’ll only find in the West Country. If you’re planning on a South Devon holiday with your pet in tow the coast path’s perfect.
The Agatha Christie Mile makes it easy for fans of the world’s biggest crime writer to follow in her footsteps during a visit to Torquay, and the places that meant the most to her life and works are marked with special plaques. Greenway House, her former summer home, is owned by the National Trust and open to visitors all year round, and you can hop aboard Barnaby, a 1940s bus which ferries fans from Torquay and Paignton to the estate in nearby Galmpton.
The Agatha Christie Festival sees the whole of the bay celebrate everything Agatha each September, and the programme includes everything from murder mystery evenings to themed tea dances...and you can even dress up as your favourite character.
South Devon attractions
With so many beautiful sandy beaches to sit and transform into sandcastles we’d understand if you spend most of your time in the region on the sand, but there are some fantastic South Devon attractions that even us Blue Chippers find ourselves in on a regular basis – and we live here! For one thing, there’s Paignton Zoo. One of our faves, Paignton Zoo hosts all kinds of family events throughout the year, and it’s home to some of the world’s rarest species.
Next, there’s the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company. One of the most exciting ways to experience South Devon, the Round Robin ticket enables visitors to journey by steam train, boat and bus all in one day! The steam train between Paignton and Kingswear takes in some of the region’s most spectacular scenery. The River Dart comes into view as the train chugs its way towards Kingswear, and boats bob in the water, cottages sit quietly in Dartmouth on the other side of the river, and everything looks gorgeous.
When’s the last time you explored the world in miniature? Babbacombe Model Village in Torquay presents the world in teeny tiny form, and half the fun is spotting the witty puns the staff plant in the signs as you wander the miniscule towns! There’s even a miniature steam train that winds its way around. Living Coasts is another Torquay favourite, and it’s possible to buy a ticket that includes admission to this attraction with Paignton Zoo. Penguins roam free here, and they even have their own zebra crossing to stop the human traffic when they need to cross!
Restaurants in South Devon
The region’s a firm favourite with the foodies, and with Michelin Star restaurant The Elephant to its name, Torquay flies the flag for fine dining. If you’re a fan of Mitch Tonks you won’t have to venture far to experience the expertise that have made him Devon’s most famous chef…Rockfish sits right on the harbourside and serves up fish and chips with flair. Most of the region’s eateries serve up local produce wherever possible so we’re happy to say that there’s plenty of opportunity to sample the taste of the South West.
If you’re visiting Torquay during your South Devon holiday then you just have to stop off in a real tearoom…the kind where you have to strain your tea properly and tuck into warm, freshly made scones while you have a natter – and that’s got to be Angels Tearoom. Decorated with various cherubs, angels and other trinkets, the tearoom’s one of Torquay’s best-loved spots for a cream tea.
Celebrity chef Mitch Tonks is one of the area’s best-loved restaurateurs, so if you sample at least one restaurant in South Devon then it’s an idea to make it Rockfish.Mitch has a restaurant in Dartmouth, Torquay and Brixham, so no matter where you stay you’ll find his signature seafood delights pretty much on your doorstep.