Celebrate English Tourism Week on The English Riviera

30 March - 7 April 2019

#EnglishTourismWeek19

Celebrate English Tourism Week 2019 with us! Celebrate the start of England's summer season with a trip, day out or micro-gap during English Tourism Week. With so much going on, we reckon you’ll be inspired to do even more in England in 2019.

English Tourism Week is an annual week-long celebration of the quality and vibrancy of the UK’s thriving tourism industry. The national campaign led by Visit England kicks off the summer season and is seen as an opportunity to raise the profile of tourism businesses, and for residents to experience tourist attractions right on their doorstep. Torre Abbey Museum will be celebrating their upcoming summer exhibitions – The Printed Line and The BFG in Pictures.

Here’s 10 things to do during English Tourism Week on The English Riviera.

1. Immerse yourself in local arts & culture

We have some of the best museums in the South West, each one offering something unique to suit all tastes and interests.

Torquay Museum

Torquay Museum has an all-year round programme of events and exhibitions from child-friendly summer blockbusters to displays about South Devon’s amazing archaeology, geology and people.  Hear about Torquay’s most famous explorer, Percy Harrison Fawcett, believed to be the real-life inspiration for the Indiana Jones character, his expeditions and mysterious disappearance in the Amazon rainforest.

Torquay Museum is offering free entry on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 April from 10am until 4pm (last entry 3.15pm). On Saturday the museum will be transformed into a dramatic courtroom as Circle of Spears Productions bring their acclaimed historical drama WITCH to South Devon for the first time. Tickets for the performance are available to purchase via www.circleofspears.com/store for £10 per person. On Sunday the highly talented Pocket-Watch Theatre Company presents ‘A Millennium of Monarchs’, an original fun filled family friendly show about the British Monarchy from 1066 to the 21st Century. Tickets £10 adults / £8 children and are available to purchase by calling the museum on 01803 293975.

Carl Smith, Marketing Manager, Torquay Museum said: “It’s a myth that the wealth of cultural tourist attractions within Torbay are just for tourists, but attractions like Torquay Museum have a huge amount to offer to local residents. As well as showcasing Devon’s only human mummy, the world’s only Agatha Christie Gallery and Britain’s oldest human fossil, we also host a wide variety of events, activities and talks on a huge range of subjects. With several new exhibition every year, there truly is something for everyone at Torquay Museum.

Torre Abbey Museum, Torquay

On Saturday 30 March and Saturday 6 April, children and teens are encouraged to bring their ‘Big Friendly Grown-Ups’ to the museum for free with ‘One Big Friendly Grown-Up’ admitted free with one child or teen (under 19). There will also be a programme of family activities including nature printing and the planting of snozzcumbers (fees apply). On Thursday 4 April, and as a warm up to Minigog, the team at Torre Abbey will be opening up their doors in the evening for ‘Now That’s What I Call A Music Quiz’ where entrants will get to wander around the museum before teams compete against each other to be crowned ‘Musical Mastermind of Torbay’. For more information visit www.torre-abbey.org.uk

Phil Black, Culture and Events Service Manager, Torbay Council, said: ‘We are delighted to be participating in Visit England’s English Tourism Week. Torre Abbey is an awarding winning fantastic local attraction in the heart of Torbay that offers an all year round varied programme of art exhibitions, events and activities. It’s a place local people may be aware of but may not have visited, many of our first time visitors regularly tell us they cannot believe how much there is to do, see and enjoy. With an exciting year ahead, we want to encourage local residents to visit once for free and to keep coming back all year round.”

Palace Theatre, Paignton

On Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 March, the Palace Theatre is showing three performances each  day of the popular children’s book ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ and on Tuesday 2 April are running an exclusive free backstage tour where you can go behind the scenes, learn more about live theatre and put yourself firmly on stage. Booking for the tour is essential as spaces are extremely limited. For more information visit: www.palacetheatrepaignton.co.uk

Maureen McAllister, Operations Director, Palace Theatre Paignton, said: ‘English Tourism Week is a great opportunity to showcase what we have on offer for locals and visitors alike on the English Riviera. Having ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ on our stage is a great way for us to start the celebrations. Our backstage tours are always popular and we are hoping to encourage our audiences to share their favourite memories of performance at the Palace Theatre on social media during the last weekend of the campaign for the #bigtweetend.”

2. Explore Torquay, the birthplace of world-famous Agatha Christie

The most famous, best-selling crime writer of all time, Dame Agatha Christie was born in Torquay and lived here for much of her life.   

Follow in Agatha’s footsteps by taking the Agatha Christie Mile, a free sightseeing walking trail around Torquay, that takes you to 12 of the key places that the author visited and enjoyed. Drift back into the style and opulence of the Jazz Age by starting your trail at the Imperial Hotel, where Agatha regularly attended social events or the Grand Hotel, where she spent her honeymoon night with her first husband, Archie. Look out for the 7 unique plaques along the way and discover more about Torquay’s most famous resident and the places that were inspirational in her life and work.

The Agatha Christie Literary Trail takes you to the places across the English Riviera and South Devon that inspired the fictional locations that appear in the author’s popular murder mystery stories.  

Be inspired by our list of things to do with an Agatha Christie theme. Our award-winning visitor attractions and places of interest include the author’s idyllic holiday home, Greenway at nearby Galmpton and Kingwear, described as the ‘loveliest place in the world’.   

3. Explore the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark

Our breath-taking landscape has been designated UNESCO Global Geopark status, one of only 7 in the UK and 140 in the world.  The dramatic scenery, exceptional coastline, unique rocks and rich cultural heritage are of significant geological importance.  

When you visit the English Riviera, you’ll see fine examples of the red rocks, cliffs and pale red sand which were formed some 270 million years ago and the grey and pink limestone rocks from the Devonian period, an impressive 400 million years ago!  Find out how our stunning landscape evolved through the Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian and Quaternary periods by visiting our Global Geopark page here.

4. Take a trip to Kents Cavern, one of Europe’s top Stone Age Caves

A gateway site to the UNESCO Global Geopark, this award-winning visitor attraction contains a labyrinth of spectacular caverns, fascinating passageways and chambers which were once home to Britain’s earliest humans and Ice Age beasts.  The entertaining guides will lead you through an underground adventure. There are plenty of family fun activities with trails and Stone Age activities to try including shelter building, cave painting and an ice age animal hunt.

5. Sample mouth-watering dishes from England’s Seafood Coast

Known as England’s Seafood Coast, the English Riviera is home to the UK’s finest seafood with over £40 million worth of fish landed daily in Brixham and sold at the world-famous Fish Market.  The waters around the quaint hillside town of Brixham are richly populated with over 40 species including Dover Sole, Brixham crab and Elberry Cove mussels. On the English Riviera many cafes, restaurants and takeaways serve a wide variety of locally sourced, high-quality catch of fish and shellfish.  We recommend trying the classic British takeaway, fish and chips enjoyed alfresco style as you take in the stunning coastal views or sample Brixham Hake Fillet as part of a Michelin-starred lunch menu at one of our fine-dining restaurants. There’s plenty on offer to whet your appetite.

Join an early morning tour of the fish market to watch the live ‘shout’ auction, followed by a delicious fish breakfast at Brixham’s Rockfish restaurant on the harbourside for a truly unique experience.

6. Take in the amazing views from Berry Head National Nature Reserve

Berry Head National Nature Reserve in Brixham is perched high up on 200 feet cliffs and is a gateway site to the UNESCO Global Geopark. There’s lots to see with an iconic lighthouse, a historic Napoleon fort, superb coastal footpath walks and a visitor information centre and an award-winning café, The Guardhouse.  You can enjoy spectacular panoramic views across the entire bay from here and it’s a hotspot for sightings of sparrowhawks, large breeding colonies of guillemots as well as bats, porpoise, dolphins and humpback whales.

7. Take a trip on the famous Dartmouth Steam Railway

The Dartmouth Steam Railway runs for seven miles, starting in Paignton and travelling along the spectacular coastline to Churston and onwards through woodlands, passing National Trust’s Greenway, the former summer home of Agatha Christie. The steam train travels besides the Dart estuary towards its final destination, Kingswear. The scenery is superb with far reaching seascapes across Lyme Bay to Portland Bill and as you approach Kingswear, the picturesque hillside town of Dartmouth, the famous Britannia Royal Naval College and Dartmouth Castle all come in to splendid view.

Combine your train trip with a ferry crossing to spend some time wandering around the quaint streets of Dartmouth, a boat cruise up the River Dart to Totnes and a return bus trip to Torquay, known as the hugely popular ‘Round Robin’.

8. Enjoy a Devon Cream Tea at Cockington Village

Cockington is a picturesque, quintessentially English village on the outskirts of Torquay, and not to be missed.  Step back in time as you wander around the narrow lanes, admire the rose-filled gardens and enjoy the rustic character and rural charm of the thatched country cottages. Cockington is the perfect place to take a world famous, Devon Cream Tea in authentic, charming tearooms that serve delicious local delicacies and homemade produce.  

Take a walk to the nearby Cockington Country Park, a beautiful 450-acre park with a 16th century manor house and a quaint church.  It also has a contemporary craft centre with artisan studios including a blacksmith, chocolate maker, glassblower and woodturner, producing a wonderful range of handmade gifts that can be purchased onsite.

9. Visit our award-winning beaches

Our enviable mild climate, clean air and naturally formed sheltered bay means that you can spend lots of time outdoors. Devon’s beautiful bay has some of the finest, family friendly beaches in the country with many having received top industry awards. The 20 beaches of the English Riviera really do have everything to offer.  From a ride on the charming Babbacombe Cliff Railway to Oddicombe Beach, the limestone cliffs and gullies of Anstey’s Cove Beach for a spot of coasteering or the gently sloping tide at Torre Abbey Sands for a spot of paddling, there’s something for everyone. Find out more by visiting our dedicated Top 10 beaches page here.

10. Walk the South West Coast Path

Explore the 22 miles of striking coastline around the Bay which forms part of the South West Coast Path and includes Babbacombe, Torquay, Paignton and Brixham.   Take in the fresh West Country air, meet other ramblers along the route and enjoy the health benefits of being active. Many parts of the coast path are dog friendly and wheelchair accessible, and there are a range of suggested walks from short and gentle strolls to long distance. Look out for the iconic acorn image signs to guide you.

With rugged cliffs, charming coves, bustling harbours, picturesque piers and scenic walks, there are no end of places to relax and take in the views on the English Riviera. You’ll discover different ones around every corner.  Visit our dedicated Top 10 walks page here.

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