Things to do in Torquay, Devon – family fun come rain or shine
Torquay is the heart of the English Riviera in South Devon – we’re so lucky to have this seaside town just a few miles up the coast from where we live in Dartmouth. As you would expect, it’s bustling with things to do come rain or shine. Below are our recommended things to do in Torquay with kids with ideas for all seasons, interests and weather.
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Things to do in Torquay for families
Torquay is a top destination for a family holiday in Devon. Come for a long weekend, a week or two; you’ll find there’s plenty going on. If you want to explore further afield, or are looking for advice on places to stay or eat then check out my complete guide to holidays in Devon.
Wet days: things to do on Torquay when it’s raining
Waves Leisure Pool
Jump the waves, zip down the flume and play in the children’s splash area – the English Riviera Centre has it all. Follow up your fun swim with a visit to the Aqua Lounge where you’ll find soft play and family-friendly dining. Buy Dip ‘n’ Dine passes for the family to take advantage of money off your post-swim meals.
Open all year round. Find out more about opening hours and admission charges on the English Riviera Centre website.
Book tickets to see music, West End and family shows at South Devon’s largest theatre.
Open all year round. Find out more on the ATG Tickets website.
This naturally formed cave dating back 2.5 million years is an ideal place to visit on a wet day, or a really hot one come to think of it. It is Britain’s oldest ancient monument and evidence has been found that it was once home to Neanderthals, Homo Sapiens and pre-historic beasts.
Open all year round. Find out more about opening hours and admission charges on the Kents Cavern website.
This boutique theatre has been entertaining audiences for more than 80 years and is ranked as Torquay’a number 1 theatre on Trip Advisor. Expect a good balance of comedy, drama and musicals for all ages.
Open all year round. Find out more on the Babbacombe Theatre website.
Torquay’s Dinosaur World
Meet monsters from the past in this interactive exhibition that’s perfect for rainy day fun in Torquay. See a full size Parasaurolophus, have a selfie with a Velociraptors and take the explorer quiz.
Open on selected dates all year round. Find out more about opening hours and admission charges on the Torquay’s Dinosaur World website.
Discover the history of Devon and some of its most famous characters in exhibitions at Torquay Museum. There’s a reconstruction of a 1860s Devon farm house and you can step inside the study of Agatha Christie’s fictional detective Hercule Poirot. Add to that stories and treasures brought back to Torquay by its famous explorers and the Museum is the idea place to feed young minds for a few hours on a wet day.
Open all year round. Find out more about opening hours and admission charges on the Torquay Museum website.
Immerse yourself in the sights and smells of Victorian life at Bygones where you’ll find a Post Office, iron mongers, apothecary and sweet shop among 15 shops that have been recreated on a period street. For families there’s a quiz, dressing up and toys for the kids to handle. If you’r looking for things to do in Torquay with dogs your four-legged friends are welcome at Bygones too.
Open all year round. Find out more about opening hours and admission charges on the Bygones website.
Sunny days: things to do in Torquay in the sun
Relax on a Torquay beach
Torquay’s main beach is called Torre Abbey Sands and sits in front of modern seafront bars and restaurants. There’s plenty of on-street parking close by. If you’re visiting in the busy summer season check the tide times as space on the sand can get sparse at high tide.
To the south of Torquay there’s Preston Sands, Paignton Sands and Goodrington Sands which, as their names suggest, are sandy beaches with plenty of English Riviera seaside charm and facilities. Goodrington Sands is a dog-friendly beach all year round.
A fun beach to visit with kids, not only for its sheltered cove and clear waters, is Oddicombe beach north of Torquay. It’s at the bottom of a 300ft cliff and can be accessed using the Babbacombe Cliff Railway or on foot if you’re feeling energetic. Connected to Oddicombe by a wooden walkway is Babbicombe Beach, another stony beach with perfect waters for swimming. You’ll find a larger beach with rock pools, beach huts for hire and a cafe at Meadfoot. Beach hopping around Torquay is a great way to see the South West coast.
Here’s a map of where you can find these beaches:
Here are some more South Devon beaches that we love.
The English Riviera Wheel
For a birds eye view of Torquay and the South Devon coastline take a ride on The English Riviera Wheel. Each gondola soars to 60m over Torquay’s Princess Gardens during a ride that takes 12 minutes.
Open end of March to end of October. Find out more about opening hours and admission charges on the The English Riviera Wheel website.
Walk around the pier and marina
If you’re looking for free things to do in Torquay it has an attractive and varied seafront which is worth walking along to appreciate the views and soak up it’s classic seaside vibe. Take a stroll down the pier, explore the pretty Princess Gardens and cross the Millennium bridge to have a nose at the yachts moored around the harbour.
Catch the Western Lady Ferry Service to cross the Bay from Torquay to Brixham for £2 each way or £3 return. The crossing takes 35 minutes and runs from April to September. If you fancy seeing some of the coastal wildlife and historic sights then Paignton Pleasure Cruises operate tours and fishing trips from April to September.
Fun things to do in Torbay whether its wet or dry
Torre Abbey Museum
This 12th Century Abbey turned family home has hosted the likes of Nelson and holds 600 works of art dating from the 18th Century. The museum telling the story of the abbey, its characters and the area is fascinating for children and adults with interactive displays, videos and talking portraits. There’s also an extensive garden which is fabulous to walk around in all seasons. The Abbey hosts many family events over the year.
Open all year round. Find out more about opening hours and admission charges on the Torre Abbey Museum website.
Cockington Village and Country Park
Cockington Village is a hidden gem of the English Riviera. Entering the village is like stepping through the Wardrobe in one of CS Lewis’ stories. A short drive from urban Torquay you find thatched roof cottages, a forge and windmill surrounded by a extensive country park. There’s also craft studios, a tea room and gardens at Cockington Court, the old manor house. It’s free to visit Cockington. Parking charges apply.
Open all year round. Find out more on the Cockington Country Park web pages.
Torquay Land Train
Board the land train for a tour of Torquay lasting 45 minutes. If you see somewhere you fancy getting off you can do some exploring and then catch a later train with a return ticket.
Open all year round. Find out more about running times and charges on the Torquay Land Train website.
Billed as a coastal zoo and aquarium, Living Coasts is a great place for families to learn about the marine life off Devon’s shores and beyond. Meet penguins, sea birds, seals and otters during the daily talks.
Open all year round. Find out more about opening hours and admission charges on the Living Coasts website.
Babbacombe Model Village
For more than half century Babbacombe Model Village has been wowing visitors with its scaled down scenes of English life and culture. As well as its miniature world, Babacombe Model Village has award-wining gardens to wander and a 4D Cinema. Buy you entry ticket and return for free within seven days, even at night to see the village illuminated.
Open all year round on selected dates. Find out more about opening hours and admission charges on the Babbacombe Model Village website.
Family events in Torquay
Torbay Air Show
This spectacular two day event takes place in June. The centre of the action is Paignton Green in neighbouring Paignton but the air display is viable all along Torbay. Attending the show is free but parking must be booked in advance at a fee. In Torquay Daddyhole Plain, Beacon Quay, Meadfoot Beach and Thatcher Point are popular view points for the show.
Find out more on the Torbay Airshow website.
If you’re looking for other events I have a full visiting of what’s on in Devon.
These are our recommended things to do in Torquay with kids if you are visiting the English Riviera. Do you know of any others we should add to the list? Come back soon for my favourite things to do in Paignton, Devon.
What about other areas of Devon?
If you’re looking for Devon attractions to visit in other parts of the county then check out my tried and tested family days out in Devon. If you’re holidaying in North Devon take a look at these great Devon attractions around Bideford, Ilfracombe and Barnstable. I can also recommend you visit some of Devon’s lesser known beaches and particularly the beaches in South Devon which are great for families. And if you’re unlucky to visit South Devon on a damp day don’t despair! I can point you in the direction of things to do on wet days in South Devon.
Here’s some more reading about our fantastic home county of Devon:
Hotels in Torquay
If you’re interested in reading a review of a family and dog-friendly Torquay hotel then we have stayed at The Grand Hotel on Torquay seafront.
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Planning a trip to the English Riviera? Why not pin this post about things to do in Torquay with kids for future reference.