Torquay is located around an attractive harbour, which is lined with restaurants, pubs and bars to sit all tastes and pockets. The town itself is built on the hills which rise dramatically above the harbour, and the Italianate villas and blocks of flats give it more the appearance of the South of France than anywhere in England. The mild climate allows palm trees to grow in profusion here, adding to the Mediterranean ambience.
You won't be short of things to see and do in Torquay. There are several beaches, ranging from the main Abbey Sands, the beautiful wooded Meadfoot beach, and the Babbacombe and Oddicombe beaches that are reached by the historic Babbacombe Cliff Railway. Nearby Paignton also has extensive beaches, and Goodrington is home to the UK's largest outdoor water park (don't worry, the water is heated!). For the more adventurous, sea fishing, kayaking, paddle-boarding, coasteering and diving are also available.
Geologists might want to take in Torquay Museum, which holds many collections of local, national and international significance. Maybe combined with a visit to nearby Kent's Cavern, where the oldest known evidence of human habitation so far in Northern Europe so far has been discovered. The geological importance of its coastline led to The English Riviera being the first urban area in the world to be given Geopark status.
Fans of the crime writer Agatha Christie will know that she was born and brought up in the town, and an 'Agatha Christie mile' takes you on a self-guided walk around places associated with her - you can pick up the leaflet for the Tourist information Centre on the harbourside. Her summer home at nearby Greenway is now owned by the National Trust and open to the public; there are several ways of getting there including by steam train from Paignton.
Don't miss Living Coasts on the harbourside, Torquay's unique coastal zoo dedicated to marine life and conservation. It is an offshoot of nearby Paignton Zoo, which is also worth a visit.
Torre Abbey and Gardens stand on the site of a 12th-century monastery. Although the Abbey is much rebuilt, the Spanish Barn is thought to survive from the twelfth or thirteenth century and is the oldest building in Torquay. The Abbey is now home to an art gallery which holds regular exhibitions, and a tea room.
You might enjoy a trip back in time to Cockington, Torquay's own picture-postcard thatched village which appears unchanged from medieval times - but was actually built by the local landowner in 1810 as the original village was spoiling his view! Nearby Cockington Court has tea rooms, a country park, and craft studios where you can watch craftspeople at work, and maybe buy an unique souvenir of your visit to take home.
For a trip with a difference, catch the Western Lady ferry from the Harbour for the 30-minute trip across Torbay to the pretty fishing town of Brixham. Ferries depart at regular intervals from April to October and tickets are inexpensive.
The Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway recreates the atmosphere of Devon holidays in times past. The 30 minute ride from Paignton to Kingswear takes in dramatic sea and river views, and a short ferry ride across the River Dart to the attractive town of Dartmouth completes the experience. You can also take a river cruise or take a ten-mile boat ride up to the town of Totnes, and there is even a sea-cruise option. Combined rail-river-bus 'Round Robin' itineraries are available including a bus link from Torquay Harbour.
Nightlife isn't neglected in Torquay either. There are numerous restaurants, pubs, bars and clubs to suit all ages, tastes and pockets. Or perhaps take in a show at the Princess Theatre on the seafront, or the theatres in nearby Paignton or Babbacombe? Or the Central Cinema in Abbey Road, or the Vue Cinema in Paignton? Torquay was awarded 'Purple Flag' status in 2015, which reflects the variety of its nightlife, safety and availability of transport and taxis.