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Staying in Torquay is a very different experience to most of your other overnight stops along the South West Coast Path. Most people choosing to stay here will have done so to avoid the Brixham to Torquay section through Paignton and the beaches of Torbay.


Torquay is a busy seaside resort with the attendant night life, but it has appeal as a cosmopolitan overnight stop with its floodlit gardens to stroll through, an international marina housing ocean going yachts, and a wide variety of shopping and eating facilities for those wanting to stock up on either before starting their walk.


Torquay boasts no fewer than 20 beaches and 22 miles of coast.


It has been a holiday hot spot since the French Wars of the 18th century, when touring Europe suddenly didn’t seem such a good idea. Ever since, Torquay has dubbed itself “The English Riviera,” in respect of its mild climate, waving palm trees, azure blue seas and red sandstone cliffs, so much so that this place was very much the playground of the rich and famous during the 1940’s and 1950’s.


For those arriving with a bit of time to explore there is plenty worth hunting out.  The prehistoric caves of Kents Cavern, where you can take hour long tours underground through impressive galleries and chambers which hold fossilized remains of mammoths and sabre tooth tigers. Basic flint axes found here date back nearly 500,000 years, making these caves the oldest accommodation in the UK let alone on the South West Coast Path. You can take a trip on the Paignton steam train to nearby leafy Dartmouth or cross calming Tor Bay by ferry and still get to visit Brixham...without the walk.


Torre Abbey and Torquay Museum provide the more highbrow alternatives, both well worth a visit and within easy walking distance of the accommodation areas. For those who are fans of Agatha Christie you can follow the Agatha Christie Mile Trail along the seafront and unearth her links with the area on foot.


For those that do want an active rest day here then the marina provides all sorts of (mainly wet) options from water-skiing and kayaking through to sailing tasters. There is an excellent range of accommodation for the walker - everything from basic B&B's through to luxury hotels, and the centre of town and marina area gives plenty of options for a gourmet "last supper" before heading east on the trail.

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