The English Riviera is a Naturally Inspiring place to relax and unwind, with rugged cliffs, long sandy stretches of sand and countless scenic walks along 22 miles of beautiful coastline to enjoy some fresh air.  There’s no end of outdoor spaces to discover in this beautiful South Devon resort, and with a pleasantly mild climate it really is the perfect destination. Take a moment to get closer to nature, enjoy the vast open space and amazing sea views, with a different vista around every corner.

Here's some of our favourite outdoor places to visit, any time of year.

Birdwatching at Berry Head Nature Reserve

Perched high up on impressive 200 feet cliffs, Berry Head is a vast open space steeped in natural history.  It’s a gateway site to the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark with unrivalled, panoramic views across Tor Bay.  It’s also part of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with water on three sides with a striking landscape which attracts a variety of protected wildlife including seabirds and bats.  It’s also home to the largest breeding colonies of guillemots. Look out for the porpoise, pods of dolphins and humpback whales regularly seen here.  Wander around the historic Napoleonic fortress and iconic lighthouse.  A free attraction and popular dog walking spot.

Follow the South West Coast Path

The English Riviera’s 22 miles of beautiful coastline also forms part of the famous South West Coast Path, an exciting walking adventure.  The whole coast path is 630 miles long and the UK’s longest national trail.  Put your best foot forward through a series of fascinating footpaths taking in wonderful woodland, secluded coves and peaceful countryside settings. You’ll find incredible vantage points along the route with naturally formed cliffs and iconic landmarks of the UNESCO Global Geopark. There’s walks to suit all abilities and interests.

Dog Walks in Cockington Country Park

Set within the charming 16th century village of Cockington, there’s Cockington Country Park, a 450 acre, beautifully maintained, picturesque park with ornamental lakes, a cricket garden, arboretum and renovated water mill. Its relaxed atmosphere and vast open parkland, rural countryside and substantial woodland makes it an all-year-round favourite with visitors, families and dog walkers. The narrow country lanes and thatched houses in the village are a charming sight.  Cockington is accessible by car with parking onsite or if you prefer to walk it’s about 2 miles from Torquay seafront. 

Stroll along Babbacombe Downs

Only 2 miles from Torquay harbour is the beautiful Babbacombe Downs, the highest cliff top promenade in England.  On a clear day you can see right across to Portland Bill in Dorset. It's the perfect place to take a picnic and gaze out to sea with plenty of seating dotted along the footpath. There’s a viewing platform to admire the UNESCO Global Geopark landscape with its famous Devon red cliffs and rocks. Take a delightful stroll along the path to enjoy the pretty gardens at Babbacombe Downs, bursting with flowers and long stretch of grassland.  If you’ve got a good head for heights take the Babbacombe Cliff Railway or walk down to the award-winning Oddicombe beach.

Beside the Seaside - 20 Top Beaches

The English Riviera really does stands apart from other UK destinations because of its incredible beaches.  South Devon’s Beautiful Bay has 20 top beaches, 10 of which are award-winning and many are dog friendly too. From the peaceful hidden cove nestled within stunning woodlands and dramatic rocks at Anstey’s Cove; the crescent shaped haven of Meadfoot Beach with its uninhabited island, Thatcher’s Rock in the distance or the fantastic stretch of red sand and gently sloping tidal beach at Torre Abbey Sands, there’s plenty of space to unwind and just let go. Listen to the seabirds and the gently lapping waves as you amble along. Check out our Top 10 Beaches page for inspiration.

Discover the UNESCO Global Geopark

The English Riviera’s Naturally Inspiring landscape is unique and globally recognised as one of Earth’s extraordinary places. The area has designated UNESCO Global Geopark status, one of only 7 in the UK and 140 in the whole world.  The spectacular natural landscapes are precious with an exceptional coastline and rocks formed millions of year ago. Explore the fascinating local geology, picturesque settings and rich cultural heritage of this remarkable area at one of the gateway sites at Cockington Country Park, Occombe Farm, Berry Head Nature Reserve and Oddicombe Beach.

Beautiful Parks and Picturesque Gardens  

The English Riviera’s sheltered location is the perfect setting for many exotic plants to thrive including the famous Torbay Palm.  As well as the fabulous coastline, the area also boasts a large number of parks and gardens, many of which are free to enjoy all year round. Brixham’s Battery Gardens has the remnants of Britain’s wartime years, whilst Torquay’s illustrious history as a fashionable playground for British and foreign royals is still in evidence at Princess Gardens, Royal Terrace Gardens (known as Rock Walk), Torre Abbey Meadows and the Italian Gardens. Find a peaceful spot to sit and admire the beautiful spring flowers in full bloom. 

Visit our Top 10 Walks and Top 10 Views pages for other ideas to explore the Great Outdoors.

As a responsible destination we strongly recommend at this time, due to the current COVID19 situation, that you visit the Government guidelines regarding travel.

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