Torquay is TripAdvisor’s number 1 UK destination for summer holidays in 2021 and its not hard to see why. During the summer, the English Riviera is transformed into a bustling outdoor paradise, with long sunny days, tropical palm trees and turquoise waters adorning our 22 beaches.

If you’ve booked, or are planning to book a summer holiday to the English Riviera, you might be thinking about what to do whilst you’re here. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here’s our top tips of things to do during summer 2021 on the English Riviera.

Summer Events on the English Riviera

This summer there are plenty of covid-secure events due to take place. Please note that this information is correct at the time of publishing, and we strongly recommend checking with event providers before making plans.

19th-30th August: Torre Abbey’s Open Air Cinema Festival will be returning for a fourth year. Watch iconic blockbuster movies amongst 800 year old Abbey ruins and stunning gardens. This atmospheric festival has a real community spirit and is sure to provide a memorable evening on your staycation. Keep your eyes peeled for the movie announcements.

20th – 22nd August: calling all sailing lovers, the annual Torbay Royal Regatta will be making a return. This weekend is full of festivities when the Bay comes alive with sails.

23rd August: Jane McDonald will be appearing at the Princess Theatre with her new Let the Light In Tour, alongside her live band and backing singers. This show is sure to sell out, so book early to secure your seat for a fabulous evening of music and laughter.

26th-30th August: the Aqua Adrenaline racing and World Championships will take place at Torquay Harbour. The event will comprise of fast powerboats racing around a circuit set to the south of the harbour entrance. Between races, a Flyboard and Jet Ski display will take place in the fairway adjacent to Haldon Pier.

3rd September: Milton Jones in Milton: Impossible will be appearing at the Princess Theatre. This quirky comedian is an instant crowd-pleaser, and is sure to fill the theatre with raucous laughter and wondering bewilderment.

11th-18th September: the International Agatha Christie Festival is back and promises to be even bigger and better than before. With plenty of new and exclusive events, including celebrity guests and the UK’s professional premier of The Stranger, this year’s festival is not one to miss. Accommodation is already booking up fast for the festival week, so be sure to book quickly.

Family Days Out

Are you looking for days out ideas with the kids? The English Riviera has one of the highest concentration of visitor attractions in the UK, meaning that there is a perfect attraction for every family.

There are the world-renowned underground caverns, a magnificent model village, a steam train, a world-class zoo, an historic funicular railway, an 800 year old Abbey, a huge waterpark, an historic pier, a pirate museum ship, Agatha Christie’s famous riverside residence and much more. Discover more of our attractions.

Connect with Nature

This year has shown the importance of getting outside and reconnecting with our environment. It’s great for our mental and physical health, and there’s nothing like a calming sea breeze to make you feel at one with nature. Head to one of our award-winning beaches to sit back and relax, go for a dip or enjoy a picnic.

Take a Guided Tour to discover the hidden gems of the Bay. You'll be shown the most beautiful landscapes and unique sites by those who really know what they're talking about - and you don't have to do much except sit back (or gently stroll!) and take it all in. Join English Riviera Walking Tours for Torquay based tours, or Devon & Moor for walking tours of Brixham, or driving tours further afield. 

Explore the South West Coast Path on your own with a scenic coastal walk, check out our Top 10 Coastal Walks for tips. The seaside isn’t the only stunning landscape we have, the English Riviera is also home to several ancient woodlands, housing an array of wildlife and providing some wonderful woodland walks.

Get on the water and see the UNESCO Global Geopark from a new angle. The calm, sheltered waters of Tor Bay are perfect for paddleboarding. If you don’t have your own board, don’t worry! There are many places you can hire them or even take lessons including Reach Outdoors at Goodrington or WeSUP in Torquay. For the adrenaline lovers, take a spin on the UK’s fastest RIB Ride with Torquay Watersports.

History and Heritage

Many people are surprised to discover that the English Riviera is internationally recognised as being historically, culturally and geologically important. There is so much history and heritage to discover right here on Devon’s Beautiful Bay.

Cockington’s famous horse drawn carriage rides are a wonderful sight to behold in this quintessentially English village, a stone’s throw from Torquay. As you wander through the 400 acre grounds at Cockington, you'll spot plenty of native wildlife too.

Enjoy a day out at Greenway, Agatha Christie’s famous riverside residence (now National Trust) at nearby Galmpton. You can travel via the steam train to fully immerse yourself in the Golden Age lifestyle.

The English Riviera has many fantastic museums. In Brixham, browse the galleries at Brixham Heritage Museum or head to Torquay and visit Torquay Museum to view the permanent Agatha Christie Gallery. 

Walk in the footsteps of your prehistoric ancestors and head back to the stone age at Kents Cavern Prehistoric Caves. On your visit you'll learn about the English Riviera during the Ice Age and what makes this area such a special place as part of the UNESCO Global Geopark

A must-visit is 800-year-old Torre Abbey on the seafront in Torquay with its galleries and gardens including a medieval children’s garden, tropical glasshouses and a full events programme.

However you decide to spend your visit to the English Riviera, you will find lots of things to do, alongside a warm Devonshire welcome. Order your free English Riviera Guide and start planning your trip today. We can’t wait to welcome you.


Kents Cavern Torquay
Kents Cavern, Torquay, Devon

Kents Cavern is one of Europe’s top and most exciting Stone Age caves, with an extensive labyrinth of spectacular and easily accessible caverns open daily all year. Our entertaining guides will take you on an underground adventure in the Stone Age home to Britain’s earliest humans and Ice Age beasts.

Babbacombe Model Village
Model/Miniature Village
Babbacombe Model Village, Torquay, Devon

BABBACOMBE MODEL VILLAGE Step into a world of miniature marvels! Bring back those magical childhood memories as you explore a quaint and quirky representation of England through five decades at Babbacombe Model Village. Meander your way through four acres of beautiful miniature gardens and discover many fun characters and animated features - from trains to moving vehicles and even a fire-breathing dragon.

Dartmouth Steam Railway (starting in Paignton)
Steam Railway
Dartmouth Steam Railway (starting in Paignton)

A warm welcome awaits you at Dartmouth Steam Railway & River Boats. We provide steam train travel, river and sea cruises across the English Riviera and along the beautiful river Dart in South Devon. We are open mid April right through to November (plus our winter steam train service run in November and December on selected dates). The stunning Train of Lights and famous Santa Express services also run on selected dates in December.

Paignton Zoo
Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, Paignton, Devon

With dozens of different animals across 80 acres of beautiful, spacious grounds – you are in for a really wild time at Paignton Zoo! Located in South Devon, Paignton Zoo is one of the South West’s most exciting visitor attractions and zoos. Come rain or shine, the zoo is a fun-filled day out for the whole family. Discover all your favourite species, big and small, including gorillas, orang-utans, giraffes, lions, tigers, crocodiles, flamingos, red pandas and rhinos, and be ready for a few surprises along the way too. There are many Covid-19 safety measures implemented around the site to ensure that everyone can have an enjoyable and safe visit. For full details, please see the Paignton Zoo website. A must-see is Crocodile Swam

Babbacombe Cliff Railway
Babbacombe Cliff Railway, Torquay, Devon

Built in 1926, the Babbacombe Cliff Railway has shuttled hundreds of thousands of holiday makers to and from Oddicombe Beach in over 90 years of service.

Torre Abbey
Outside, Torre Abbey, Torquay, Devon

An English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark Key Site.  Come and enjoy a visit exploring Torbay's most historic building, garden and impressive displays, world-class collections and exhibitions, complemented by modern amenities and special accessibility features. This ancient scheduled monument has beautifully presented heritage rooms which are home to specially curated exhibitions and the museum's permanent collection which includes regionally important art. Family-friendly, and open all year round, Torre Abbey is truly a unique place to visit.

Splashdown Quaywest
Adventure Park/Playground
Splashdown Quaywest Fisheye View - Goodrington Sands

*LATEST UPDATE*+ Our season starts 1st May 2021 - TICKETS MUST BE BOOKED ONLINE IN ADVANCE. New operating procedures to help with social distancing and to help ensure we are a covid secure place to visit are still in place. Please note admissioins are ONLY bookable through our website. Please see our website for the latest information Splashdown Quaywest is the wettest, wildest attraction on the English Riviera.  Great fun water slides, some laugh out loud fun and some will have you screaming.  Swimming pool area and plenty of space for enjoying the sun and, of course, the fantastic views of Souuth Devon's Beautiful Bay.

Paignton Pier
Paignton Pier, Paignton, Devon

Situated at the centre of Paignton seafront. A great "All Weather" family attraction with amusements, cafe, ice creams, shops and much more.

Golden Hind Museum Ship
Historic Ship
Golden Hind Museum Ship, Brixham, Devon

The Golden Hind at Brixham, Devon is a full sized replica of one of the most iconic ships from the age of exploration. The Ship has been a feature of picturesque Brixham harbour for over fifty years, entertaining and educating thousands of visitors during this time - as well as being featured on many television programmes and films. The Ship is open come rain or shine and is an all weather attraction with many indoor displays as well as wide open decks. A striking landmark in Brixham, Devon every visitor on board contributes to the restoration and maintenance of the Ship, ensuring that 'Brixham's Treasure' will continue to enhance Brixham's beautiful Quayside for future generations... The Ship is open from spring to autumn

National Trust - Greenway
Historic House/Palace

This is an extraordinary glimpse into the private holiday home of the famous and much-loved author Agatha Christie and her family.

English Riviera Walking Tours
Walking Tour
English Riviera Walking Tours

Join us for memorable walks around The English Riviera We’ll convey stories and fascinating facts about the people and events which have shaped its history We go out every day, in virtually all weathers and offer walks which vary in time from 1 ½ hours to 3 hours

Guided Tour
Clapper Bridge, Dartmoor

Walking and driving tours of South Devon, Dartmoor, Brixham and beyond My names’ Nigel, join me on a journey of exploration, discovery and fun with a DEVON&MOOR guided tour and experience. During a full day excursion we’ll visit hidden gems, stunning landscapes and charming habitats. Be captivated along the way with local knowledge, fascinating facts and breathtaking views. I’m lucky to live in Devon, one of the most beautiful, varied and intriguing counties in the country and look forward to sharing some of my favourite bits. Based in the English Riviera, I cater for single people, couples and groups of up to six, all of whom can be accommodated in comfort, in our iconic Land Rover Discovery 4 x 4. Our tours inclu

Reach Outdoors
Outdoor Activity/Pursuit Centre
Reach Outdoors

Explore the Geopark’s spectacular coastline with an adventure to remember. Reach Outdoors are an Award winning outdoor activity company and are here to make your visit to the English Riviera one to remember. We provide Coasteering, Kayak and Stand Up Paddle Boarding Tours. Join one of our open sessions and enjoy a memorable adventure with like minded adventurers. We are based at Goodrington Sands in the heart of Torbay providing the very best access from which to explore everything the bay has to offer.

WeSUP, Torquay, Devon

WeSUP is the fresh new harbourside coffee lounge & paddle board centre in Torquay marina. Inspired by our love of people, scandinavian design and active outdoor lifestyles, we’re the place to nourish relationships and charge your energy. We offer a refreshing oasis to spend quality time socialising, working, networking, relaxing & playing. If you are not taking part in our range of soulful stand up paddle board experiences or seasonal pop-up activities, we’d love you to just pull up a comfy chair, take in the sea view and enjoy the positive energy. Famous for our real artisan coffee served up by our passionate baristas, we also offer natural fruit smoothies and juices, a selection of very special wines and local craft beer

Torquay Watersports
Watersports Centre
Rib ride at Torquay Watersports

Torquay Watersports offers various ways to get out on the water and have some fun. Our flagship 12m vessel Raptor offers a 30 minute high speed trip around the bay and is the ultimate RIB Ride. Want something more leisurely? Then our 1 hour RIB Seafari will take in all Torbay has to offer at a more relaxed pace. Private RIB charters are available for a half or full day. Take in the scenery, anchor for a swim or enjoy some watersports. Our Waterbikes are a unique and fun way to get some exercise and fresh air….and there are no hills to contend with !! Open Water Swimming – whether it’s your first time or you are a seasoned swimmer - we offer classes, events and one to one coaching. It is a great way to enjoy the coast and we will ensure

Brixham Heritage Museum
Brixham Heritage Museum, Brixham, Devon

An English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark Key Site. Housed in the old Brixham police station, Brixham Heritage Museum provides an intriguing place to visit for all the family with a rich collection of exhibits.

Torquay Museum
Torquay Museum, Torquay, Devon

Travel back through 400 million years of time at Torquay Museum – a hands-on family-friendly visitor attraction, with lots to see and do for children and adults alike. An English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark Key Site.



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