Torquay is a town in the English Riviera, on the southwest coast of Devon in England. It is the central town of a trio of towns that make up the Torbay region. It is favoured by inhabitants of the United Kingdom for its coastal climate and has been a fashionable holiday destination since Victorian times.
Perhaps Torquay’s main claim-to-fame is that it is the birthplace of world renowned crime author, Agatha Christie, who lived most of her life in the town. The comedian, Peter Cook, who founded the satirical magazine Private Eye and was the comic partner of Dudley Moore, was also born in Torquay. It was also the birthplace of the author of this article, which puts ol’ Agatha and Peter in the shade somewhat, if I do say so myself! And if that isn’t enough, Torquay is also the setting for the very popular 1970s BBC sitcom, Fawlty Towers. John Cleese has since said the well-liked sitcom was based on an actual hotelier named Donald Sinclair, who ran the Gleneagles Hotel in Torquay. Sinclair’s wife, however, always denied her husband was anything like Basil Fawlty.
The town has many endearing qualities and it is easy to see why tourists flock there season after season. Its seven hills and many hotels, theatres, bars and restaurants make it a surefire attraction for visitors looking to unwind. But what sets Torquay apart from the rest, in my personal opinion, are its wonderful beaches. On a hot day, hundreds head to Torquay’s seashore to bask in the sunshine and breathe in all that delicious the sea air.
Another charming area of Torquay is Babbacombe, which has a funicular cliff railway that takes tourists from Babbacombe Downs to Oddicombe Beach below. While there, one must visit Babbacombe Model Village, which was opened in 1963 and allows visitors to feel like giants as they walk through a perfect recreation of castles, modern towns, trains, villages and some of Britain’s most famous locations all in miniature form.
An additional attraction in Torquay is the historical site, Kent’s Cavern, which dates back to The Stone Age and was home to early mankind for some 700,000 years. A 1927 excavation turned up a major discovery of human remains and in 1989 it was discovered those remains date back approximately 44,000 years before present (BP), making them the earliest human remains that have been discovered in northwestern Europe. For that reason alone they are very much worth a visit, especially to those who enjoy both science and history.
Like most hustling and bustling cities, Torquay’s town centre is full of shops, bars and restaurants to keep tourists entertained well into the night. Hoopers is a well-known store and compares to London’s famous department store, Harrods. The town also has a large population of expat Scottish and Liverpudlians. All in all, Torquay is a beautiful town, which continues to change every day in order to accommodate the ever-changing tastes of tourists from all over the world.