Half Term Activities in Torquay

If you’re planning a trip to Torquay this coming half term, you won’t be disappointed. There’s plenty to see and do for the whole family in this beautiful part of the world…

Head to the beach

Torbay’s mild micro-climate makes the average temperature warmer than the rest of the UK all year round. Take full advantage of it and bask in the sunshine on one of the glorious beaches. Grab a bucket & spade to build sandcastles on Torre Abbey Sands or collect shells and pebbles on Meadfoot Beach. If you’re more of an adventure-seeking family, try your hand at coasteering or climbing with Reach Outdoors at nearby Goodrington Sands, Paignton.

Enjoy the festivities

Celebrate the UNESCO-recognised Global Geopark at the Geopark Festival 2017. There are various activities happening throughout the week. Take a trip to Occombe Farm where you can discover the secrets of the Geopark (27th May – 4th June) or let the little ones play chef at the Marvellous May Kids Cookery event (30th & 31st May).

Join in the fun on the fossil trail at Kents Cavern. Track down the fossils that have been hidden around the site and figure out who has left them to win a prize! (27th May – 4th June.) There’s also the opportunity to enjoy a magical production of Alice in Wonderland… underground! (29th May – 2nd June.)

Take in the sights

Explore the sights of the English Riviera, from Torquay to Paignton, on an open-top bus tour. Or, take in a stunning 360-degree view of Torbay with a ride on the iconic English Riviera Wheel. Located in the picturesque Princess Gardens, the wheel is taller than Nelson’s Column – measuring 60 metres!

The Osborne Hotel is perfectly located to enjoy all the best that Torquay has to offer. Plus, with unrivalled sea views, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts and restaurant, you’ll have just as much fun back at the hotel! Check availability.

 

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?

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.