All About Torquay

Now a popular holiday resort, Torquay’s origins can be traced back to the Stone Age. From pre-historic caves to famous novelists, discover the history of this beautiful coastal town…

In the beginning

The town’s inhabitants resided in the coastal caves, now known as Kents Cavern. The caves are one of Europe’s significant Stone Age sites, with rocks dating back 400 million years. Unsurprisingly, Kents Cavern is a key tourist attraction and visitors can take a guided tour to learn all about the 15-year-long Victorian excavation, led by local archaeologist William Pengelly, that unearthed the caves’ history. Tourists can continue their voyage of discovery, with a trip to Torquay Museum where more than 500 stone tools are on display – many of which were found in the excavation.

What’s in a name?

Torre was the town’s ancient name and means “weathered rock outcrop.” It took its name from the remains of the historic quarry, which you can still see on Tor Hill Road. Quay was added at a later date due to the town’s increased fishing activity.*

19th century developments

Torquay’s major phase of development occurred in the 1800s. The Palk family were notable residents and owned much of the land in Torquay during this era. It was under the Palks that a new harbour was built in the early 19th century which increased Torquay’s importance as a fishing town. It was in the second half of the century however, that Torquay came to be known as a popular leisure destination. As seaside holidays became fashionable among the upper classes, Torquay’s mild climate made it one of their preferred holiday spots.

The Osborne Hotel also has its roots in the 19th century developments. It was Sir Lawrence Palk, 4th Baronet, who commissioned the construction of Hesketh Crescent; the grade II listed Regency crescent building we call home. Completed in 1848, it’s a fine example of 19th century architecture and is said to be one of West England’s most elegant crescent buildings.

Notable buildings

Aside from Hesketh Crescent, there are many significant historic buildings in the town. Torre Abbey was founded in 1196 as a monastery. Dissolved in 1539 during Henry VIII’s Reformation, today it’s home to four floors of art exhibitions, heritage and interactive displays.

A mile from the seafront, you’ll find Cockington Court – a stunning manor house built in the 16th century. Now it’s more commonly known as a thriving crafts centre with over 20 studios. The house is open to the public along with its beautiful walled and Tudor rose gardens.

A little bit of mystery

Torquay’s most famous resident is probably crime novelist Agatha Christie. Born in the town in September 1890, her childhood home provided much inspiration for the setting of her popular crime mysteries. Fans of the author can discover more about how Torquay influenced her work with a walk along the Agatha Christie mile, which includes the Princess Gardens and Beacon Cove.

Experience the wonder of Torquay yourself with a stay at our seafront hotel: check availability.

*Source: Travel Wessex.

What’s on this Easter in Torquay?

Think bright blue skies, beautiful beaches and flourishing countryside – Easter is the perfect time to visit the English Riviera. With the school holidays fast approaching, here’s what you can expect from a visit to Torquay this Easter…

Dinosaur Quest at Kents Cavern

Just a short drive from The Osborne Hotel, you can treat the kids to something a little different with this underground experience. There are daily tours of the caves plus exciting activities including the Dino Quest – see if you can find the dinosaurs hidden around the site. And your visit wouldn’t be complete without taking part in the Easter Egg Hunt!

Distance from the hotel: 5 minute drive.

Bygones Easter Egg Trail

Step back in time with a trip to Bygones. Three floors showcasing over 100 years of British history, from the Victorian Era to Wartime Britain. Get involved in this year’s Easter Egg Hunt, taking place 1-17 April.

Distance from the hotel: 10 minute drive.

Cockington Explorers

If you’ve got some adventurous little ones on your hands, feed their curiosity with a visit to Cockington Court. Grab one of the Court’s backpacks full of activities when you arrive to keep them entertained. There are packs suitable for under 5s and 6-9 year-olds, available 11am – 3pm.

Distance from the hotel: 15 minute drive.

Torquay Mystery Treasure Trail

Explore the story of Torquay whilst getting out and about in the spring sunshine. On this self-guided two mile trail, you can take your time – simply follow the directions to stay on the fixed walking route. The kids will be kept engaged with clues to solve en route. Pick up the trail from Vaughan Parade.

Distance from the hotel: 5 minute drive.

And something for the grown-ups…

When you’re ready to relax after your fun-filled activities, why not stop by our hotel and enjoy a traditional Devonshire cream tea for a true taste of Torbay?

Celebrate Mother’s Day at The Osborne

There’s no better way to treat your mum this Mother’s Day (Sunday 26th March) than with a delicious three course meal.

Book your table at our award-winning restaurant and prepare to tuck into some mouth-watering dishes. There’s plenty of choice too with five options available for each course. Starting dishes include our signature Osborne terrine or shellfish & leek chowder. Our delectable mains include baked cod loin and macaroni & cheese crumble. End your meal in style with an indulgent pudding like the warm chocolate brownie or citrus pannacotta. If you have any special dietary requirements, we can adapt our dishes to suit – please let us know when you book.

After your meal, why not take a relaxed stroll along the seafront, if the weather’s nice?

You can book your Mother’s Day Sunday Lunch for either 12-2pm or 2-4pm for £22.95 per person. See the full menu on our website and call us on 01803 213 311 to reserve a table.

The top five outdoor activities (within 10 minutes of our hotel)

South Devon; some of the best beaches in England, stunning coastal walks and beautiful countryside. Explore the culture and history of our county with our guide to the best outdoor places to visit, which are all within 10 minutes of the Osborne Hotel.

Paignton Beach – 3 miles from the hotel

The Marine Conservation Good Beach Guide lists Broadsands Beach, Hollicombe Beach and Preston Sands in Paignton amongst its top recommended beaches.  The beaches are family friendly, safe and clean.  There is a huge range of water sports on offer from kayaking to water skiing. The sands are lined with cafes, shops and pubs – so after all the sand castle building, you can recharge before heading back to the hotel.

Coastal Walk – 0.1 miles from the hotel

The South West Coastal Path was originally formed as coastguards walked the cliff tops watching for smugglers. Today the 630 mile long path is the longest National Trail in the country. Starting at Minehead in Somerset, it runs along the coastline of Exmoor, continuing along the coast of North Devon into Cornwall. Running in front of the hotel, follow the path from Meadfoot; head north (keep the coast on your right as you walk) and climb the hill to Thatcher’s Point, Hopes Nose and around to Anstey’s Cove. Walking south will take you to Daddyhole Plain; a limestone plateaux which offers great views of the bay and harbour. The coastal path travels through an area once cultivated by Victorian gardeners but is now preserved as a wildlife conservation area, rich in rare plants with its own colony of the nationally endangered horseshoe bats in a former wartime lookout post. Watch out for the Devil in his limestone cave!

 Babbacombe – 2 miles from the hotel

Only 10 minutes’ drive from the hotel is the quaint village of Babbacombe. Enjoy a peaceful stroll around the independent shops and tearooms before exploring the pretty coastal and woodland walks which offer spectacular views and a treasure trove of hidden coves. No visit to Babbacombe is complete without a trip to the model village or cliff top railway. The railway was built in 1926 and takes visitors down the 240-foot cliff face to Oddicombe beach.

Cockington Country Park – 3 miles from the hotel

Cockington Country Park and Gardens is an award winning country park and is part of the UNESCO English Riviera Global Geopark. A paradise for walkers, gardeners, nature lovers and families alike, the park contains wild woodlands and formal landscaped areas, such as the rose garden, arboretum and ornamental ponds.

Kents Cavern – 1.4 miles from the hotel

Kents Cavern is one of the most important Stone Age sites in Europe. It is a geological Site of Special Scientific Interest (since 1952) and a Scheduled Ancient Monument (since 1957). As you walk through the extensive labyrinth of caverns, you’ll be surrounded by 400 million year old rocks and spectacular stalagmites and stalactites. All tours are guided so you will need to check the times before you arrive.

Planning a trip to Torquay? To get the best rates and terms it is best to book direct. Stay and dine at the Osborne Hotel this winter and take advantage of our special package – £60 pppn for dinner, bed and breakfast. To read more about this offer, visit > http://www.osborne-torquay.co.uk/offers.

5 reasons to visit Torquay in December

A winter trip to the coast may not be a traditional choice, but with ‘staycations’ increasing in popularity, Devon is becoming a popular destination all year round. If you’re planning a trip this December to relax ahead of the festive chaos, then here are our top five reasons to visit Torquay:

1) Micro-climate

Did you know that due to the sheltered nature of Torbay, Torquay is especially mild all through the year? As result of this, palm trees have become a familiar sight! Our mild microclimate means that you’ll never face the full fury of the winter weather. In Victorian times, people were encouraged to visit the area as the weather was deemed a real tonic to their ailments! Why not give it a try yourself?

2) Christmas Market and Town Centre Festivities

If you’re looking for an exciting yet different winter destination, there is plenty happening in the area in December. The Christmas market in Lower Union Street will host 40 stalls selling traditional gifts and food. The market will be present throughout December and coincides with late night shopping. Santa’s grotto and a brass band can also be found in the town centre. Traditional pantomimes are plentiful at the town’s theatres – Cinderella at the Princess Theatre is a particular highlight this year.

3) Perfect for Children – whatever the weather!

Santa will be visiting Kent’s cavern, a UNESCO global Geopark, again this year. This is a magical event, which includes a one hour show and a personal visit to see Santa. The event is located in one of the most important Stone Age sites in Europe; surrounded by 400 million year old rocks and spectacular stalagmites and stalactites. If the weather is wet, then a trip to Waves Leisure Pool ensures fun for all the family. Recently refurbished Torre Abbey is also undercover and brings history to life with family trails in the house and gardens.

4) Travel back in time – Victorian Christmas at Bygones

To celebrate Christmas as it was in 1897, a visit to Bygones in Torquay is highly recommended. Look out for the 12-foot tree and join in the hunt for modern gifts hidden around the museum for a festive treat.

5) Meadfoot Beach

Meadfoot beach, in front of the hotel, is quieter during the winter months. Part of the Geopark, the rock formations are of great interest to budding geologists. However, a Boxing Day dip is only for the hardy! The bay is sheltered and secluded and is a favourite of the locals. Rock pooling and crab fishing are popular here and it’s only a quick walk from the hotel, where you can warm up with a cream tea afterwards!

To book an overnight stay at The Osborne Hotel during December, please visit our website and book direct. Not only will you be guaranteed of the best rates, but you can select the exact room you want – ensuring a sea view. Our new menu in Langtry’s, is a collection of wholesome, home cooked food with an innovative twist. Just perfect after a cold day’s exploring the array of attractions in Torquay.

Delicious New Menu at Langtry’s

Our brand new Dinner menu at Langtry’s has arrived. Head Chef Kevin Robertson-Wells and Sous Chef Phil Davidson and their chef team, have created an array of mouth-watering dishes, designed to tantalise your taste buds. The new menu has been developed with wholesome home cooked food in mind, but with an innovative twist.

The Dinner menu has an entirely refreshed starter menu. We’re excited by the new additions, which includes game terrine, served with piccalilli and sour dough toast. Garlic roasted scallops which are presented on an edible shell and a delicious chive butter sauce. The king prawn dish is a piece of theatre – served with a blanket of cuttlefish, which upon being lightly sprayed by beetroot jus, reveals an enchanting secret!

The main event features herb crusted pork tenderloin which is accompanied by cabbage and leek with a spiced apple puree, roast herb potatoes and a pork and cider cream sauce. Our venison suet pudding perfectly encapsulates chef’s vision of wholesome, home cooked food. This delicious, warming meal is served with a caramelised pear, gnocchi and a comforting red onion gravy. The hotel’s enviable location has inspired our ‘From the Sea’ dishes; grilled turbot, landed at Brixham, is complemented by a lemon and seafood foam and a twist on macaroni cheese combines crab with scallop dust.

To finish, indulge your sweet tooth with ‘The Osborne Apple’. Filled with toffee apple caramel and raspberry cream – truly scrumptious! The pumpkin pie is a perfect fit for the colder season ahead. Served with Chantilly cream, toasted seeds and maple syrup ice cream; ideal to round off a deliciously satisfying meal this winter.

At Langtry’s, we’re firm believers that the ‘enjoyment of good, fresh and healthy food should not be restricted by dietary requirements.’ We welcome vegetarian and vegan diners plus those with food allergies and intolerances with open arms.

The new Langtry’s menu is available from 7th October 2016. To view the menu in full please visit our website. To book your table please call 01803 213 311. Reservations are recommended.

 

 

Your Christmas At The Osborne Hotel

This Christmas, why not wake up to a stunning view across Torbay… it may only be September but now’s the perfect time to start planning how you’ll be celebrating Christmas 2016.

Mini breaks have become an increasingly popular way to spend the festive season, with many of us keen to escape the chaos and stresses Christmas preparation can often bring. You don’t need to jump on a plane to enjoy a winter break; thanks to the sheltered nature of Torbay, Torquay enjoys a milder climate at Christmas than is typical for the UK. Choose Torquay for your festive celebrations instead of heading abroad and you’ll have extra money for next year’s summer holiday too!

Think how wonderful it would be not to worry about cooking Christmas lunch for the whole family, have your festive entertainment taken care of and a beautiful setting to enjoy it all in… we’ve got Christmas all wrapped up for you!

Whether you’re local to Torquay and looking for the perfect place to enjoy a festive meal or you’re travelling further to make the most of Christmas by the coast, we’d love you to join in the celebrations at the Osborne. Discover our Christmas offering for 2016:

Stay with us – Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year so make sure you truly take the time to enjoy it; get away from it all with one of our festive breaks. We have a range of offers available from a one night stay on Christmas Day (includes Christmas lunch, evening buffet and lazy breakfast on Boxing Day) to a three-night break from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day to help you relax and unwind. With our three-night stay you’ll be welcomed with a glass of bubbly on Christmas Eve, enjoy a delicious lunch and evening buffet on Christmas Day plus a late breakfast on Boxing Day (checkout is on the 27th December). We’ve also got plenty of exciting (yet relaxing!) entertainment on offer to keep you in the festive spirit!

Spend the day with us – Join us for dinner on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day or lunch on Christmas Day. From 7-9.30pm on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, you can look forward to a three course meal for both adults and children – a particular highlight is the Edible Christmas Crackers for dessert on Christmas Eve, sure to be a favourite with the little ones!

Christmas Day lunch with be served from 12.30-2pm. We’ll treat you to a glass of bubbly on arrival before you tuck into an eight course meal (a three course meal is provided for children under 12). There are plenty of options to choose from for each course with mouth-watering mains including roasted traditional turkey and pan seared turbot. When it comes to dessert, you can choose between Christmas pudding served with brandy custard and clotted cream or Baileys Cheesecake – it’s a tough decision!

We have more Christmas Packages available, including two-night stays and Christmas parties. Take a look at our Christmas 2016 brochure for full details of all our offers or call our Christmas team on +44 (0) 1803 213 311.