Torquay is a fairly popular tourist town in South Devon, with plenty of trail options for walks. It is part of the English Riviera, made up of the bit of coast from here, and along to Brixham.
What is the English Riviera
Well, first I will state the obvious, it’s a play on the French Riviera. The British version if you will. The history behind it, is that Torquay was once one of the most expensive and exclusive areas to live in England. It’s where the rich, aristocratic folk would have their holiday homes. Such folk would also holiday down in the South of France, along the French Riviera.
During the war times, and no longer being able to get to the south of France, they instead opted for this bit of coastline. It’s essentially a large bay with calm water, divided up by lots of beaches and a few towns.
Way back then, there was no public transport to the area, so it was exclusively for the rich. Once trains were introduced, us peasant folks could finally get to experience a bit of their lifestyle. Once we arrived, we took over. Now what you will find, is classic British seaside vibes. Think arcades, fish and chips, fairgrounds…you get the idea.
Do these walks start in Torquay, or do I need a car?
I have included 7 walks around Torquay on this list. You don’t need a car for any of these walks. The first 4 start from Torquay. The last 3 of these walks don’t start from Torquay, but involve a short bus or train ride. I have included them because I think they are worth the journey out.
A Guide To The 7 Best Walks Around Torquay
For the following walks, I have proved the link to the full guide with a step by step description, map, and lots of photos. Let’s go….
1) Torquay to Babbacombe walk – The one that keeps on giving
Start: Torquay Harbour Finish: Babbacombe Distance: 7miles Time: 3h Difficulty: Moderate/Challenging Type: Linear Option to shorten the walk: Yes
This is the first of the walks I did from Torquay, and what a way to start. Cliffs, rock arches, sea rocks, peninsula’s, beach coves, lots of steps. It never gets boring. This is definitely my favourite of the walks from Torquay on the list. There are some road sections on this walk, but they are worth it for what they lead you to. Once you finish, you can catch a bus back.
For more detailed information, including a map, photos and full description, you can read about the walk to Babbacombe.
2) Torquay to Cockington walk – The one with a chocolate box village
Start/Finish: Torquay Railway Station Distance: 1mile one way. Add extra for exploring Time: Under 1h there and back Difficulty: Easy Type: Linear and freestyle
I learned about this walk from a hairdresser, so decided to give it a go. What I found was way more than I was expecting. It’s a very easy walking path between Torquay and Cockington, surrounded by lush greenery. On the map you will see that it’s close to the road, but you really have no idea it’s there. Cockington itself is one of those cute chocolate box type villages, where you can get traditional cream tea and ice cream. You will then have the option to walk around the Cockington Country Park, and visit the manor house with various arts and crafts, including glass blowers.
For more detailed information, including a map, photos and full description, you can read about the walk to Cockington Village.
3) Agatha Christie Walking tour – The guided one
Start/Finish: Torquay Time: A few hours/no set time. Type: Guided walking tour Difficulty: Easy
Now, I haven’t written this one up, because it’s different from all my other walks around Torquay. It’s a guided walking tour, which I 100% recommend. The tour is essentially about Agatha Christie and her life, because guess what? She is from Torquay. If you are an Agatha Christie fan, then you will love this. If you don’t know much about Agatha Christie, then you will be a convert. Graham (the guide), is fantastic, and apart from really knowing his stuff, he was very engaging. I wish he did other walking tours in other areas, because I would go just for him.
Tip: The guide description will say it takes 2h. I would allow more time just in case. You are not rushed through it in any way, and will likely be out for longer. I can’t remember exactly, but I think it was about 3.5h when I did it.
For more information and booking, you can read about the Agatha Christie walking tour.
4) Paignton to Brixham – The one with the big beaches
Start: Paignton Finish: Brixham Distance: 5.8miles Time: 2.5h Difficulty: Easy/Moderate Type: Linear
Ok, this walk doesn’t start in Torquay, but it’s close. You can easily walk the 2.5miles from Torquay to Paignton, however, I chose not to, as it looked like an ugly road walk. The bus will get you there in a jiffy.
This walk is characterised by long stretches of red sand beach. If you have never seen red sandy beaches before, it’s quite something. After the big beaches, you will pass by a few small hidden away beach coves. As you get nearer to Brixham, the walking trail feels a bit posher, and then you are presented with a wonderful view across Brixham Harbour, to all the colourful homes. Once you have finished the walk, you can get a bus back to Torquay.
For more detailed information, including a map, photos and full description, you can read about the walk from Paignton to Brixham.
Best Walks Near Torquay
If you don’t mind travelling a bit, there are some great walks near Torquay that I recommend. All of these you can get to by bus or train.
5) Babbacombe to Teignmouth – The challenging one along coastline woodland
Start: Babbacombe Downs Finish: Shaldon and Teignmouth Distance: 8miles Time: 3h 30min Type: Linear Difficulty: Challenging
To get to Babbacombe to start this walk, it’s just a 10min bus ride from Torquay. Although the walk fully follows the coastline, the majority of it is under woodland. It’s a challenging walk, with hills on a similar level to the Kingswear to Brixham walk. Think up, down, up, down, then up again. There is a chance for seal spotting on this walk, then towards the end you will have a fantastic view down to Ness Cove Beach. Once in Shaldon, you can stop in one of the numerous top rated pubs. Then jump on a little boat to take you across to Teignmouth, where you can get the train back to Torquay.
For more detailed information, including a map, photos and full description, you can read about the walk from Babbacombe to Teignmouth.
6) Teignmouth to Dawlish Warren – The one alongside the railway track
Start: Teignmouth Finish: Dawlish Warren Distance: 5.7 miles Time: 2h Difficulty: Easy Type: Linear Option to shorten the walk: Yes
What makes this walk unique is the railway track. For pretty much the whole way you will be walking alongside it, with a back drop of dramatic red cliffs. If you don’t like the trains, then you can pop off the path and walk along the sandy beaches. I liked the trains. If you wave at them when they pass, they will toot back. You can get between Torquay, Teignmouth and Dawlish Warren by train.
For more detailed information, including a map, photos and full description, you can read about the walk from Teignmouth to Dawlish Warren.
7) Brixham to Berry Head – The one to the highest but shortest lighthouse in Britain
Start/Finish: Brixham Harbour Distance: 2 miles there and back. Add extra for walking around the peninsular Time: Under 2h Difficulty: Easy Type: Circular/Freestyle
If you are staying in Torquay, then you must at least do a day trip to Brixham. If you don’t fancy walking all the way there (as per the Paignton to Brixham walk), then Torquay and Brixham are connected by bus. Once there, you could easily fit in this walk between Brixham and Berry Head. It’s short and easy enough that it would make a lovely excursion as part of your Brixham visit.
For more detailed information, including a map, photos and full description, you can read about the walk up to Berry Head.
Final thoughts on the best walks around Torquay
Of all these walks, the one from Torquay to Babbacombe is definitely my favourite. The walks which surprised me the most were Torquay to Cockington and the Agatha Christie walking tour. With the Cockington walk, I wasn’t expecting such a pretty trail, based on what I saw on the map. And the village is just perfect. The walking tour was very engaging, and it turned me into an Agatha Christie fan.
I would say the most unique of these walks around Torquay, is Teignmouth to Dawlish Warren. You might not think that walking alongside a railway track would be fun…but it kind of was. That with the juxtaposition of the big red cliffs.
For more information about things to do around Torquay, other than walking, you can check out the English Riviera website.