England is home to many amazing and well known destinations (Oxfordshire and Kent for one) but never had I ever heard of the English Riviera . True enough though hidden away along the coast of South Devon you will find it, the heart of which is Torquay.
It all started with the cosy Cary Arms down on the waters at Babbacombe Bay. With the sun out in full force above, the waves rolling in just meters from my room and a beer in hand it was hard not to be feeling like a man of leisure. Especially when I’m in staying in a pub with a view like this one.
The rest of the weekend continued that leisurely weekend feeling as Saturday was consumed by a boat tour of Tor Bay and the Dart River onboard a restored WWII navy ship. Passing by Dartmouth and ending up at Greenway, once the private holiday home to famed writer Agatha Christie. With my return back to Torquay aboard a 1949 Barnaby model bus that felt every bit like it was from the 1940’s as my backside bounced up and down all the way.
I have to admit I’ve not read any of Agatha Christie’s books but spending the day on the water, walking the gardens of her holiday home and taking time to just sit and watch the river flow I can see how someone could spend hours dreaming up amazing stories to tell.
Sunday’s main attractions were visits to Kents Cavern and Torre Abbey. The former home to a jawbone discovered in 1927 that is now confirmed as the oldest known remains of modern man in Europe. While the later holds behind its walls a medieval garden of sorts with a themed section of potent plants mentioned in Agatha Christie’s novels. The skull and cross-bones added to the plant descriptions for extra effect.
While the area is known as a summer hot spot for many british holiday makers I can’t help but feel that if I lived there I’d never want to leave (Just ask Toni from Reclaiming My Future who I was lucky to catch up with while there). The beautiful water ways, the beach at your door step and some amazing English history surrounded by green fields and not a packed tube in sight.
The further I get from London’s walls the more I realise just how much tourists are missing out on when visiting England. You need to allow extra time to get this far south (about 4-5 hours via train) but given the sneak peek I saw its more than worth it.
I arrived in England two years ago and saw it as a tiny country surrounding London, now leaving I can’t help but feel as if its more like an open wilderness waiting to be explored and there’s this ugly junk yard sitting right in the middle. What do you think?
While all views are mine, my weekend in Torquay was organised by English Riviera Tourism and Visit England with accommodation provided by the Cary Arms.
I love Devon. We used to go there on our Summer holidays back in the day. Looks just as beautiful now. I love the poisonours plants though – most amusing. Looks like you had a great time.
My visa has been nearing the end as well, Its a good excuse to see the rest of England. I love spending time in little unknown towns and their pubs with the friendly English Chaps (shows the huge difference from London)
I had no idea there were such exotic sights in the UK. Another good reason for me to go back!
Love Devon and always count myself lucky that I have family down there. The older I get the more I realise that I should have appreciated ‘being dragged’ there as a kid.
Haven’t been to that part of England but would love to go – perhaps one day when I get down to the Cornwall area to hike the southwest coast trail.
Such a beautiful place in England. I have never been there.