Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Batteries Recharged Again by the Sea at Torquay

My wife Anne and I had a lovely short break recently, being able to recharge our batteries by the sea at Torquay.

We don`t very often have the opportunity to take a break together, as we are both very busy in different ways, but have been able to do so more than usual this year.

We spent two nights by the sea. Coming from Southend, but now living in Leicester, as far away as one can get from the sea in England, it is always a great treat for me to be able to breathe in some proper sea air, so when we had the opportunity to have a break at the Devonshire Hotel, part of the TLH (Torquay Leisure Hotels) resort, we were very pleased indeed.

Leaving Leicester on the Wednesday morning, we travelled by train to Birmingham, then by train all the way to Torquay, enjoying along the way the wonderful coastal stretch around Dawlish and Teignmouth.

Having arrived at the hotel, we went out for a walk along the seafront and into the bustling harbour area, and before we went back for dinner we visited the historic Torre Abbey and the neighbouring Spanish Barn, where one of Anthony Gormley`s intriguing pieces was on display.

After dinner, we strolled along the seafront again, and amused ourselves by following the Agatha Christie trail, before sitting outside a bar as it was getting dark, drinking coffee and watching the sea. Wonderful!

On the Thursday, I had arranged a really good day. We caught a bus to Paignton, then picked up tickets for the heritage railway`s Round Robin trip.

Having had a coffee in Paignton, we boarded a double decker bus (they often use open top buses, but we were quite happy not to be blown about!) which took us to Totnes.

Totnes is a delightful little town, where we could very happily have spent several hours. As it was, we had time to stroll up and down the main street, visiting the impressive parish church and popping into the museum to say hello, before going to the wharf for the next stage.

This was a cruise on a steam boat down the lovely wooded estuary of the River Dart, seeing herons, cormorants and even seals, before disembarking at Dartmouth.

Another lovely little town, Dartmouth has naval connections going back centuries. We strolled around very happily, had a coffee in a little tea shop that was hidden away in a back street, and visited the extraordinary church. We had time for an ice cream before catching the ferry to Kingswear.

At Kingswear we paid a brief visit to the parish church, which was quite a climb, and then boarded the steam train which took us back to Paignton.

The whole round trip, from Paignton back to Paignton, can be booked at Paignton Queens Park Station or at the Tourist Information Centre in Torquay.

From Paignton, of course, we caught the bus back to Torquay, and after dinner had another stroll along the seafront.

On Friday morning, we caught the bus to the harbour town of Brixham, and then to Newton Abbot. Back in Torquay, we had a cream tea. We couldn`t resist the tea shop - it`s called Crosby`s!

In the afternoon, we caught the train back, changing at Exeter and Birmingham.

We had a thoroughly nice couple of nights in a comfortable hotel, and would like to thank Bernard Jones of TLH for arranging it for us, not to mention the help of the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway.

We had a really nice time.