Our Award-Winning Gardens at the Osborne Hotel

As we head towards the 19th Torbay in Bloom competition, we thought it was a good opportunity to take a closer look at the Osborne Hotel’s beautiful gardens.

So, we caught up with our head gardener Phil Marshall to find out what keeps the gardens in such a fantastic condition while getting his thoughts on the upcoming Torbay in Bloom competition and his hopes of winning in 2017 (the Osborne Hotel has come second for the last two years).

‘First and foremost, we select the planting based on whether the plants will sustain the summer, as we’re right in front of the sea and the salty sea air,’ explains Phil, ‘the second consideration is then colour coordination and whether the blooms will fit with the existing plants.’

The gardens at the Osborne Hotel are a big attraction for our visitors thanks to their year-round colour and considered planting that maintains your gaze but it’s not all flowers and shrubs, the fruits and vegetables are important too.

‘We grow a lot of food here including tomatoes, peppers, chillies, marrows, cucumbers, strawberries, rosemary and mint. You name a seasonal vegetable for the UK and we’ve probably grown it here,’ says Phil. ‘This year we also have our first year of Fennel producing.’

All that planting needs some serious pest-control considerations and here at the Osborne, we like to keep things as natural as possible – it’s why we have a pond in our poly tunnel.

‘Bugs live in the bark we have in the poly tunnel and once they’ve reached maturity, they can cause a lot of damage to the plants we have growing in there. The pond is there as a natural form of pest control because we have newts in the pond that hunt out those bugs and prevent them from causing too much disturbance to the plants.’

At the Osborne, we’re proud of the positive feedback we regularly receive about the garden but visitors should always expect to see some slight changes between visits as we consistently strive to establish a sustainable garden for our guests to enjoy.

‘We have a few plans for next year but the main one is growing more kitchen produce and we’re going to do this by reclaiming some of the borders and laying raised beds. This will mean a few less flowers to add colour but more fresh produce for guests to enjoy,’ adds Phil.

This year’s Torbay in Bloom competition takes place on Tuesday 19th September. If you’re a fan of the Osborne Hotel’s gardens please come down and show your support.

‘It would be a real privilege to win this year,’ exclaims Phil, ‘we have come second two years in a row to different winners each time and this year the garden’s looking fantastic so I’m hoping we’ll be top in 2017.’

If you would like to see the gardens or visit the beautiful Torbay coastline, then please get in touch by calling 01803 213311, emailing enq@osborne-torquay.co.uk or by filling out our contact form.

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Summer Holiday Activities Near The Osborne Hotel

The Osborne Hotel is only a stone’s throw from Meadfoot Beach, where you can soak up the sun to the sound of crashing waves.

But we know there’s probably a few other things you’d like to do during your stay as well, so we’ve compiled a short list of the best local attractions to keep you active and entertained during your visit.

Babbacombe Model Village

You will feel like a giant as you explore the four-acres of award-winning gardens that show hundreds of model scenes, vehicles and people.

Babbacombe Village is famous for its miniature landscaped gardens almost as much as its model villages and is one of Torquay’s top attractions, ranked number one on Trip Advisor for ‘things to do’ in Torquay and on the English Riviera.

Adults love the humorous representation of British life over the last six decades and the award-winning gardens, while children love the miniature characters and enjoy following the spotter sheet to see what they can find. It’s a must-see while visiting Torquay.

Kents Cavern

Kents Cavern is a cave system in Torquay, Devon, England. You can explore the caves and learn all about human history and how our ancestors survived nearby.

There’s a summer of prehistoric-themed fun this year where children can join the Stone Age School gane in the woodlands and discover pebble decorating, pouch making and spear throwing. You will also get to handle stone-age artefacts and make your very own stone-age pendant for your stone-age necklace.

Torquay Museum

You can travel back 400 million years with a visit to Torquay Museum, which is a family-friendly attraction with lots of hands-on activities for children and adults alike.

Come face-to-face with North-West Europe’s oldest human fossil and the sabre-toothed tigers he shared his Torquay home with 44,000 years ago, and explore life and death in Ancient Egypt, including the coffin of a 2,500-year-old mummified boy. Find out about Torquay’s explorer’s, including the inspiration for Indiana Jones and what life was like in an Devon Farmhouse in the 1800s.

You can also detect your way through Britain’s only Agatha Christie gallery at Torquay Museum, which is dedicated to the life story of the Queen of Crime.

Living Coasts

Living Coasts, Torquay’s award-winning coastal zoo and aquarium, is home to an array of marine life from around the world. Set in a state-of-the-art naturalistic environment, you can journey from the South African coast to a mangrove forest and then onto a sunken wreck.

On your visit you can mingle with the playful penguins, get up close with the otters and come face-to-face with the seals. In the aquarium you will see fish species from around the world while you’ll see birds in the Wader’s Estuary foraging in the grass and the shallow waters for insects.

With a host of events and activities throughout the year, you are sure of a great day out whatever the weather.

Paignton Zoo

Paignton Zoo is home to some of the planet’s rarest and most amazing creatures including gorillas, orangutans, giraffes, lions, tigers and rhinos. There are also hundreds of rare and beautiful plant specimens around the site.

At Crocodile Swamp you’ll come face-to-face with huge crocodiles and large snakes, turtles and fish and don’t miss Amphibian Ark or Monkey Heights.

Paignton Zoo is a registered charity, so not only do you get a good day out, you know your money is going to a good cause, supporting education, scientific research and practical conservation both at home and abroad.

If you want to visit Torquay then book one of our sea-view rooms directly with us for the best possible deals. Click here to book now.

Meadfoot Beach Is A Hidden Gem On The UK Coastline

You may say we’re biased but we believe Torquay has the greatest beaches in the whole of the UK and the one at the end of our gardens is the best.

Meadfoot Beach is the jewel in Torquay’s crown and the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for a relaxing, quiet coastal holiday. As an owner of the prestigious Blue Flag, Meadfoot Beach’s water is tested annually by the Environment Agency and comfortably passes each time.

It’s not only the water that’s tested though. Meadfoot Beach is also marked highly against a number of factors including safety, litter management, available facilities and access for everyone. That means the only thing you need to worry about on your seaside trip is the sand in your sandwiches, although you can always join us for a fantastic sea-view lunch on our Terrace.

From the Terrace you can soak up the fabulous views of Meadfoot Beach’s sand and shingle coastline surrounded by awe-inspiring cliffs, watch holiday-goers enjoy the pedallos or canoes, all while you enjoy a relaxing drink.

You can take a slow walk through our beautiful gardens down to Meadfoot Beach from the Osborne Hotel but that’s not the only activity to get up to on your visit. The local area boasts a whole range of attractions to keep you occupied and entertained during your stay, from Paignton Zoo to Kents Cavern cave system to name just two. Click here to find out more about the local attractions on the official Osborne Hotel website.

Murder mystery fans will also enjoy the world-famous Agatha Christie Mile, which makes for a fantastic trip for Christie fans. You can see where the renowned writer swam, danced and crafted her best-selling novels.

Meadfoot Beach really is a hidden gem on the UK coastline. Most visitors to Torquay usually head to the often-crowded Babbacombe and Torre Abbey, while in-the-know locals head to Meadfoot when the sun’s shining.

If you would like to come and visit one of the UK’s best beaches and stay in the exclusive Osborne Hotel, then don’t forget to book direct to get the best offers. We will look after everything during your stay and have a range of rooms to suit your needs. Take a look at our superior sea-view rooms for the complete Osborne experience.

Click here to book your room now and make Meadfoot Beach your new favourite UK coastal break.

5 Hidden Gems of Torquay

Torquay is famous for being a beautiful coastal town. If you’re planning on making a visit, here are our top five recommendations on the best sightseeing attractions in the area:

Meadfoot Beach

Just a stone’s throw away from the hotel are the stunning sights of Meadfoot Beach. The picturesque pebbly beachfront is perfect for families and makes the ideal spot for a stroll or a sunbath. Enjoy the rock pools, build a sandcastle or simply enjoy the undisturbed peace and quiet with an ice cream.

Kents Cavern

Visit the prehistoric Kents Cavern for a touch of history. See the spectacular stalactite and stalagmite formations, walk along the outdoor trail or let the kids get hands-on in the archaeological dig area. Find it a mile away from Torquay harbour.

Cockington Court

Go for a day out at historic manor house Cockington Court. Set in a beautiful country park, the stunning property is home to a selection of gardens, tea rooms and craft studios that feature the work of glass blowers, blacksmiths and even a chocolatier. There are also food festivals throughout the summer, boasting delicious handmade products from local farmers.

Living Coasts Zoo and Aquarium

Torquay’s Living Coasts Zoo and Aquarium is situated on the sea front and is the perfect place to see otters, penguins, jellyfish, birds and other sea animals. Open every day from 10am, Coastal Zoo features an array of sights and sounds that will keep both kids and parents entertained.

Babbacombe Model Village

See the miniature world of Babbacombe Village! There’s so much to enjoy and the kids will adore getting to see everything from a mini castle and hot air balloon to a train and seaport.

Osborne Hotel offers the perfect place to stay on your visit to Torquay. Enjoy 4* accommodation and an unrivaled location, with spectacular views across the beautifully landscaped gardens stretching down to the picturesque Meadfoot Beach.

For more information, visit our website – www.osborne-torquay.co.uk