Torquay Area UK Travel Blogger Review
Just how long has it been since I shared a travel dairy here?!  Wait no, don't answer that.  As I mentioned recently, last month I found myself in Torquay for a few days, having long wanted to explore the South-West area.  I was last in Devon many years ago, when I was a child; tiddly-tot Gabs with a little blonde bob.  As a result, I associate the general area with lovely memories of jelly sandals, Babbacombe's model village and of course, plenty of ice cream.  But I've only ever dipped my toe into Torquay's dreamy blue waters and so this Springtime staycation served as the perfect opportunity to see what I've been missing out on.  Torquay is a seaside resort town on the English Channel in Devon and is referred to by many as 'The English Riviera', thanks to the marina, other beautiful settings, extensive list of things to do in the area - plus, a general European vibe that you can't quite put your finger on!
Torquay Marina in Spring 2018

T H E   H A R B O U R   &   L I V I N G   C O A S T S

Gosh, where to start?!  Before all else, I should point out just how much Torquay grew on me throughout my time in the coastal town. Upon arrival, I thought it was 'nice' and not much more.  However, fast forward a few days and it felt pretty miserable to be leaving. The longer you spend in Torquay, the more special it feels.  It has a slow-paced vibe that could only be compared with other seaside locations and/or mountain destinations (think: Ambleside in the Lake District).  Wandering past the harbour and marina will leave you wondering just which country you're in and also serves the perfect view from any of the restaurants lining the coastline.  I'll admit, I did a shocking job at sampling the local foods stemming from Torquay's history in fishing and instead opted for margherita pizza followed by a sticky toffee pudding under the beautiful high ceiling of Prezzo.  Yum! 

Right at the heart of the town is the spectacular Living Coasts, a coastal zoo and charity-venture owned by Paignton Zoo as part of the Whitely Wildlife Conservation Trust.  For anyone with a soft spot for penguins, this is for you.

Living Coasts
Torquay Harbourside
Beacon Hill
Torquay Devon Travel Blogger Guide
Torquay Living Coasts Zoo Travel Photography

T H E   I M P E R I A L   H O T E L  ,  T O R Q U A Y

Ah, the house on the hill - very Agatha Christie.  Except it's far more than just a house and is actually one of the largest buildings in the area.  Although the inside is far more beautiful than the exterior at this point.  The Victorian Hotel offers a spectacular sea view from many of its windows and is in the process of having a full refurbishment.  So, the first night was spent in a fairly unassuming room due to a booking mixup, however the second night was.. oh my gosh.  Incredible.  If you follow along with my IG stories you'll have seen the extensive corner suite I had the pleasure of staying in; one bedroom, two bathrooms, a dressing room, a long corridor stretching out to a living/dining room and two balconies.  The only reason you'd want to leave the luxurious suite is to swing by the dining room for afternoon tea - mmmm.  But that's all I'll say for now, as another blog post will be going live soon sharing a closer look inside The Imperial Hotel!

Psst!  Some rooms are yet to be refurbished.  If you choose The Imperial Hotel as your accommodation in Torquay, opt for a suite to really make the most of your stay and to ensure a luxurious experience (with stunning views!).

The Imperial Hotel
Park hill Road
The Imperial Hotel Torquay Lounge Lobby
Torquay The Imperial Hotel Afternoon Tea Review
Torquay The Imperial Hotel Afternoon Tea Blog Review

T O R R E   A B B E Y

About 6-8 minutes (by car) from the harbour and centre of town, you'll find Torre Abbey Museum.  The historic building (est. in 1196) offers an incredible amount to see and do.  In fact, I'd go as far as to say it's one of the most interactive and genuinely interesting museums I've ever visited.  Seriously. We're all guilty of occasionally zoning out while reading facts and figures, but Torre Abbey covers history in a way that leaves you wanting more and more...

Oh and Torre Abbey also has an art gallery on site which at the time of visiting shared TATTOO: British Tattoo Art Revealed.  Regardless of whether or not you like tattoos, this is an indisputably interesting exhibition.  It takes you on a journey of the history of tattoos, dating far back in time to sailors and wealthy aristocrats before eventually catching up to modern day.  It presents over 400 original artworks, photographs and historic artefacts.  So, that's the good news.  But the great news?  The exbhition is still on until 3rd June 2018.  Enjoy! 

Torre Abbey
The King's Drive
Torquay Torre Abbey Ruins Photography
Torquay Torre Abbey Gardens and Greenhouse
Torquay Torre Abbey Greenhouse Glasshouse
We all know I love a good glasshouse.  And I've happily added another to my list thanks to Torre Abbey's gardens.  There are two in the gardens including the one shown in this post, as well as a much smaller one home to cacti (and various other spiky individuals!) at the far back of the garden. Beautifully quiet, tranquil and fresh.  The perfect viewing in between afternoon teas and harbour-gazing.  Oh, but before you go, make sure to pop into the small cafe out the front of Torre Abbey.  The dress code is very casual and the cake is very good.  My recommendation?  Opt for a slice or two of the Rocky Road!
Glasshouse Background Photoshoot Outfit
Torquay Torre Abbey Cafe Photography

K E N T S   C A V E R N S

Just incase you've ever thought I was any good at geography, before visiting I may or may not have thought these were actually in Kent. Nope, very much nestled in the sunny roads of Torquay.  For anyone looking at the below photo and nodding enthusiastically because caves are life, you're not alone.  I feel the same way, which means there's at least, uh, two of us.  The prehistoric caves are an UNESCO Global Geopark (there are 120 in the world) and are not only incredible to see, but also to learn about thanks to the thorough tour guides.  The tour lasts for about half an hour and guides you through 400 million year old rocks, stalagmites and stalactites.  Just... be sure not to join a tour with any very young children because if they start screaming it will echo, echo, echoooo.   

Kents Caverns
91 Ilsham Road
Torquay Kents Caverns Travel Blog Review

B E F O R E   Y O U   L E A V E  .  .  .

If you're wondering whether to book a staycation in Torquay, the next best option would be to arrange a day trip to the area on a beautifully warm and sunny day.  No matter your age, take a peek at nearby Babbacombe Model Village for some truly amazing sights - it's arguably the best model village throughout the UK and not to be missed!  Oh, and no trip to Devon is complete without getting tickets to Greenway Estate, Agatha Christie's former holiday home.  It's about half an hour from the harbour which makes it less accessible than most experiences, however if you happen to be passing the area on your way home, don't miss the opportunity to walk in the famous crime writer's footsteps!  Alternatively, enjoy one of the scheduled boat trips to Greenway Estate - what an entrance!

Psst!  Take a peek at my review of Agatha Christie's Holiday Home Greenway Estate before visiting for an idea of what magic to expect.
Travel Blogger Walking Through Torquay Exploring
Torquay Marina Harbour in Spring 2018I'll admit, I wasn't expecting to love Torquay as much as I did.  But isn't that often the case?  Some of my most-loved visits have been those of which started with low expectations and ended up taking my breath away!  The view from the suite's balcony overlooking the harbour is something I'm unlikely to forget anytime soon... but more on that later in an upcoming blog post, keep your eyes peeled!  In the meantime, I'm really looking forward to reading your thoughts on this travel diary.  Have you ever visited Torquay before?  What did you visit while in the area?

Liked this post?  You might also enjoy >> Instagram Guide To Cheltenham | Picture-Perfect Areas

With love,

Gabrielle x