Torquay, Devon is situated on the South Coast of Devon. We went there in October 2020 at the height of the Covid pandemic. There were a number of restrictions in place, but with all that, this was a great few days.
We booked into the Babbacombe Hotel.
Babbacombe is a small town which has now merged, and become part of, Torquay.
Dealing with the Babbacombe Hotel. We arrived and were allocated a ‘broom cupboard’ overlooking a fire escape. I went to reception to be told that they didn’t have many guests in at the moment, and without fuss allocated us a sea view on the top floor. Why they didn’t do that beforehand, and make an instant good impression? I am not sure.
The Babbacombe Hotel caters for coach parties mainly foreign tourists, and the signage reflects that. When we were there, there was a small coach party on their last evening. The hotel appeared almost empty.
The hotel is an old Victorian building with a commanding presence overlooking the promenade and the sea. We had the strange sight of being able to see a number of disused (Because of Covid) cruise liners lying at anchor off the coast, including the Queen Mary 2. Very majestic.
The rooms were clean and tidy and the staff were very helpful.
The hotel clearly caters for elderly guests, and the sign outside the lift reflected this!
Babbacombe Hotel Facilities
Bingo also appears to be all the rage at the Babbacombe.
The Babbacombe has 2 bars and a large restaurant.
They did a nice beer made by Rothhammer, Brave Red Ale. Looking on the internet it says Chile origin. Very nice wherever it came from.
We arrived mid morning, so walked the 2 miles into Torquay for a spot of luncheon. The first place we found was Burridge’s TeaRooms,
https://www.facebook.com/thelittleteashopbythesea/ . The tea rooms overlook the harbour (8 Victoria Parade), in the heart of Torquay.
I had the ‘Cheese’ cream Tea, and Sue had the traditional cream tea. It was absolutely lovely.
Torquay, like a lot of seaside towns appears a bit run down in certain quarters, and we were not disappointed here! But there didn’t appear to be any trouble throughout our stay.
We took dinner that evening in the Buccaneer Inn, just down the road from the Babbacombe Hotel. A traditional pub serving great food. I had the bangers and mash. Lovely! Washed down with a few pints of stout. I slept well that night. In fact I enjoyed the place so much I went there every night!
Babbacombe to Teignmouth coast walk
The following day we went for a walk along the coast to Teignmouth, a distance of about 6 miles.
When we were there in October 2020, there had been a number of landslides. The initial part of the walk was disrupted, but eventually we found the coastal path. Just be aware that although Google maps shows a distance of about 6 miles, you can easily double that, then in addition there are the sheer climbs and descents. The walk took around 4 to 5 hours, it was not a hard walk. We both completed the walk in trainers.
Babbacombe Cliff railway and Babbacombe miniature model village.
There is lots to see on route, including the Babbacombe Cliff railway, and Babbacombe miniature model village. Needless to say we only passed them! But if that floats your boat then these are great few to while away a few hours.
Teignmouth & Shaldon Historic ferry
Following the coast path we came out at the Shaldon end of Teignmouth. Walking along the beach we found the Teignmouth & Shaldon Historic ferry, https://teignmouthshaldonferry.co.uk/ which was a unexpected great result as it looked like we had a few more miles to get across the peninsula.
The ferry is simply a small open boat, driver and engine. For £1.60 each person, each way, you go on a 5 minute crossing to Teignmouth Back Beach, which is situated a few hundred metres from the town centre. Great value.
Tea by the Quay
Being mid afternoon we decided to find a café for a spot of afternoon luncheon. We found a fantastic place, Tea by the Quay. 51 Northumberland Place, Teignmouth. https://www.facebook.com/tbtquay The food was excellent, I had a pasty and Sue, an afternoon tea. I subsequently saw a write up from someone who wasn’t impressed, describing the place as grubby. I have to disagree, this place was excellent. Tea by the Quay, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tea%20By%20the%20Quay-%20Teignmouth/1988897251346044/ give it a go.
A quick mooch around town, and then we got a local taxi to take us home. This cost around £15.
Dinner at the Babbacombe Hotel
That night we ate in the Babbacombe Hotel. They did an excellent dinner rate for 3 course meal for a very reasonable amount. I cant remember the exact amount. We paid earlier in the day, and when we went to go in it seems we weren’t expected, and the chef had thrown the soup away. However all was good and the head waiter had to be thanked for rescuing the situation, not the soup of course! The hotel was fairly empty as the last coach had left town for the season and the hotel was closing the following Sunday night. But there was some entertainment that evening, a singer who did his best with a rather small audience. But they tried, all was good.
Oh and don’t forget there is bingo if you are really bored.
Train journey through Dawlish and Dawlish Warren
Following day we went to Exeter by train. It is not my intention to talk much about the trip, except it is worth going to Torquay station, it has a certain great feeling of the English Riviera, with steam trains in the 1950s travelling there full of holiday makers from different parts of the UK.
Part of the train journey travels along the actual beach between Dawlish and Dawlish Warren. This part of the track collapsed recently due to high winds and flooding. It has since been rebuilt. Well worth a trip, if just for that part of the rail journey.
The following morning involved a drive of about 17 miles to Haytor Rocks. Situated on Dartmoor, these clumps of rock stand majestically at the top of the hills. The whole complex is situated within a small walking distance. It is very safe (Unless of course you climb to the top of the rocks!) to wander. People take their dogs, children and other prized possessions up there.
There are people walking, cycling, mountaineering, having wedding photographs taken, all sorts of things. Take a big coat and some walking boots as it does get a bit muddy. Just have a wander around. Unless the fog comes in you can see the road from most areas. Lots of fun, and the best bit was there was an ice cream van selling the best ice cream I have had in a long while.
Watch what you can step in, it would make the ice cream taste a bit funny.
A short drive away is the legendary Dartmoor Prison. Ooh that place looks bleak, no wonder not many people try to escape from there. The prison is situated within the village of Princetown. In Princetown we found a lovely café called The Old Police Station. Several cups of coffee and a couple of pies were eaten there to get the circulation back in our bodies. It was freezing.
Mirch Masala Indian Restaurant
Returning to Babbacombe we went to a local Indian restaurant, Mirch Masala, 44 Babbacombe Road, Babbacombe, Torquay, TQ1 3SN. http://mirchmasalatorquay.com/ situated just around the back of the Babbacombe Hotel. Dinner for 2 with beer and wine was a very reasonable £35 for the two of us in total.
Our trip to Babbacombe was an excellent few days.