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.

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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?

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.

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.

Top Tips on Accessing the Best Rates

Get the best deals on luxurious stays at our elegant seafront hotel by following these simple tips:

Always book direct!

Book direct to access the best advanced rates on all of our rooms, including those that aren’t listed on other booking sites like our stunning Superior Sea View rooms. If you know the exact dates you need, then be sure to book with us to secure our best non-refundable rates. And if you’re after a little more flexibility, when you book direct you can also access our refundable rates which allow you to cancel or modify your stay up to 24 hours before arrival at no extra cost!

Book early

Our reservation system allows you to make a booking up to 365 days in advance! Act fast to get the best rates before anyone else does.

Join our mailing list

Stay ahead of the curve by signing up to our mailing list, which features exclusive monthly offers like 10% off dining, discounted accommodation deals and ‘Wine and Dine’ specials. The offers change each month so there’s always something to look out for. Better yet, it won’t cost you a penny to subscribe so you have nothing to lose by signing up.

Follow us

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to get up-to-the-minute info on our latest deals and to take part in our social media competitions – you can win fantastic prizes including hotel stay packages and complimentary extras.

Check our offers page

We feature specific details about our seasonal discounts on our offers page. Keep checking regularly for updates because we refresh the page with new deals and special promotional codes as often as we can.

Call us

Give us a ring and speak to us directly to discuss our rates and rooms 01803 213 311. We might even be able to create a bespoke package for you that includes breakfast, full access to our gym and pool and a box of delicious handmade chocolates. Tell us what you’re looking for from your stay and we’ll do our best to tailor your booking so that the time you spend with us is truly memorable.