The English Riviera is an exceptional area tucked away on the south Devon coast and including the towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham. The area sits on the majestic sweeping Tor Bay and is sometimes referred to as Torbay.
For hundreds of years the inhabitants of the area made their living from fishing, quarrying and smuggling amongst other things but it was the arrival of the railways in the Victorian times that opened the area up as a holiday destination and it was in fact the railway companies who first used "English Riviera" as a way of describing and marketing Torquay and the other towns.
Today, The English Riviera is still a vibrant holiday destination and in particular has successfully transformed into a place for short breaks throughout the year. With a large number of year round attractions, improved transport links, award winning restaurants and some of the best accommodation in the country, it is no surprise that it consistently ranks highly amongst UK destinations.
Set out below are some of the most popular attraction on the English Riviera which are easily reached from The Bedford House Apartments..
These prehistoric caves allow visitors to go back in time to a period when humans had yet to become established and where bears, lions,mammoths and hyenas lived in the area. It also reveals how the earliest humans in northern Europe then came to use the caves. This is an attraction not to be missed. It can be reached on foot in about 20 minutes from The Bedford House Apartments. Alternatively, guests can take a bus up the hill to Wellswood and then walk down to the apartments in about five minutes. Bus services 19,22 and 32 all go to Wellswood.
This attraction is set over 4 acres and contains more than 13,000 miniature figures. It is continually reinventing itself to reflect in miniature the full sized world around it. Quirky and witty it also benefits from a 4d cinema experience too. From Bedford House it can be reached by car in about ten minutes or else by bus (services 19,22 and 32 all pass close by).
Bygones is a place to lose yourself for hours. With a re-creation of a Victorian street, a First World War trench and a large miniature railway plus a full sized steam locomotive from Plymouth Docks, this is a collection of incredible proportions. From Bedford House it is about ten minutes in the car or bus. (services 19,22 and 32 all pass directly outside the attraction).
This short stretch of line runs between Paignton and Dartmouth and was axed from the mainline network by Dr Beeching in 1960s. It passes through beautiful coastal and countryside scenery and has the added benefit of a halt at Greenway for visitors to Agatha Christie's holiday home. The company also operates Dartmouth River cruises including the steam paddle steamer Dartmouth Castle. To get to the Paignton station visitors can drive in about fifteen minutes or else get a bus (Number 22 will take visitors straight there).
With big cats, giraffes, rhinos, elephants and monkeys and primates, Paignton Zoo is an ideal opportunity to get up close to animals you might never otherwise see at first hand. It is also possible to learn about the zoo's conservation work and breeding programme. By car, this is twenty minutes away from the Bedford House Apartments. Bus services run to the zoo and would need to be caught at Torquay harbour.
This marvel of Victorian engineering wasn't actually built until 1926 and has at times come close to shutting for good. Now in the hands of a trust it is thriving and taking more visitors than ever between Babbacombe Downs at the top and Oddicombe beach at the bottom. Parking can be a little difficult nearby although there are car parks and on street parking in and around Babbacombe. Alternatively, bus services 19,32 and 22 all pass close by.
Operating from the spring to the late autumn this waterpark on the seafront near Paignton has fantastic waterslides and offers lots of exciting fun. The water park can be reached by car or by buses en route to Brixham such as number 22.
This all weather and year round facilitiy is housed within the English Riviera International Conference Centre. It features a pool heated to a tropical 29 degrees and has a wave machine and flume tubes amongst other things. There is parking at the centre but it is limited and can be expensive. It is about a twenty minute walk from The Bedford House Apartments or five minutes by car or cab. Bus service 22 does pass close by.