The English Riviera is a 22 mile stretch of outstanding South Devon coastline consisting of seaside resorts, rocky coves, picturesque villages and warm weather, making it one of the top places to holiday in the UK. If you’re not sure where we mean then The English Riviera is essentially the Torbay area, acclaimed by the Victorians for its sub-tropical plants, ‘bracing’ sea air and scenic waterfronts.
Torbay was first referred to as the ‘English Riviera’ in Victorian times, thanks to visitors comparing it favourably to the French Riviera, although the entire area was already popular for its great views and warm climate. With the opening of the railway Torbay enjoyed an increase in visitors and today the English Riviera remains a world-class destination for tourism. You’ll find that the three Riviera towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixton each have their own distinct charm and unique personalities, while much of the area is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Things to do
The big draw for the English Riviera is its outstanding beaches, with many of them holding the Blue Flag for cleanliness. But you won’t just find sea and sand here – the region has a reputation for excellent cuisine and a range of attractions, festivals and events. South Devon has a rich maritime and cultural heritage, and from the Agatha Christie festival to the Dartmouth Regatta, there is something for everyone to enjoy, whether you’re a sleuther or a sailor. Art, sailing, water sports, coastal walking and beaches are just some of the main attractions in Torbay.
Food and drink
You’ll find plenty of award-winning restaurants across The English Riviera, and the entire region is regarded as a centre for quality European cuisine. You’ll be spoilt for choice with local seafood and quality meats and farm produce all on offer. You can be as adventurous or as traditional as you like, and even the humble chippy can get rave reviews on the English Riviera.
Something a little different
If you’re a Poirot fan, the Agatha Christie festival transforms Torbay into an arena of the novelist’s imagination. There are steamboats, fancy dress, guided tours and murder mysteries played out every year to celebrate the legacy of one of Britain’s greatest writers, all in character costume and the style of her era.
Details on the towns which make up the English Riviera can be found below.
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You can’t get much more of a ‘traditional British seaside’ resort than the vibrant and cheerful town of Torquay. Set at the very heart of the English Riviera on the South Devon Coast, Torquay is famous for its sandy beaches, family attractions and...
If you’re looking for a laid-back, tranquil holiday without the hassle of fighting through the crowds to get to the beach, Babbacombe is a great alternative to its more brash and garish neighbour, Torquay. Affectionately known as the ‘Jewel in the...
Want the ultimate in traditional, bucket and spade holidays where there’s plenty to see and do for the kids? Loved for its long sandy beaches, Paignton is a colourful, traditional seaside resort popular for its mild climate and lively seafront....
Marldon is a beautiful rural parish in the South Hams of Devon, a few miles inland from the resorts of Torbay and within easy reach of the towns of Totnes and Newton Abbot. Fine church and best example of fortified manor house in Devon.
Brixham is a place where you can discover a range of arts and culture, excellent local food and some unique attractions.