The English Riviera
Torbay is a popular coastal holiday resort between Exeter and Plymouth.
It comprises of three towns – Torquay, Paignton, and Brixham, which between them have a population of around 140, 000.
Each town has its own identity, but are closely connected around the bay to form Devon’s third unitary authority, the other two being Exeter and Plymouth.
Its sheltered location, warm climate and leisure facilities have given it the inflated title of the English Riviera, which when the sun is shining and the sea is blue, would be difficult to argue with, but this is England and it’s not always like that.
Like anywhere, it has a few warts that disguise the image it needs to project in order to keep attracting visitors who want to escape from their own part of the world that perhaps needs attending to, but it still has enough appeal for me to be more than happy to live here, as I have done for the last twenty years.
Many traditional holiday resorts have struggled in recent times, and Torbay is no exception, but it still has the same location that it’s always had, with a terrific coastline, beautiful countryside, and other places of interest nearby which means it doesn’t have to totally rely on the normal seaside attractions that would have been important in the past – for example it is the world’s only UNESCO urban Geopark.
Torquay has always been thought of as the ‘Queen of the English Riviera’, Paignton is a traditional family resort where the beaches and amusements are still the same as they always have been, and Brixham is one of the major fishing ports in England but which still has a strong appeal to visitors.
The traditional fortnight summer holiday has been gradually declining over the years, and the Bay, like other resorts, has had to adapt to a changing situation, but it has to be said that this part of the world isn’t renowned for changing with the times too quickly. In some respects this can be a drawback, but in others it can be an asset.
Torbay doesn’t have a strong manufacturing base and relies heavily on tourism, so you won’t see too many industrial blots on the landscape. Once again, this is an asset for the holiday trade, but a drawback to the local population who would like to find jobs with meaningful long term prospects.
The building of the railway was the catalyst in bringing thousands of people to Torbay for their holidays, many of whom have come back here to live, me being one of them.
A few years ago we were in a position of being able to up sticks and move to somewhere else, but after deliberating for a short while, we realized that “the other man’s grass is always greener”, which is why we’re still here, because this is where plenty of other people see where the grass is greener, even if the sea isn’t always blue and the sun isn’t always shining – but come here when it is, and you’ll see why Torbay is still our home.