A bustling seaside resort, Torquay has a wide range of entertainment and attractions including several theatres, a historic cinema and a wide range of beaches.
Entertainment in Torquay
Built in the 1960s, the Princess Theatre hosts everything from comedy and live music to drama and musicals. Some seriously impressive names have played the seafront 1,491-capacity theatre over the years including The Beatles, Mumford & Sons, Jimmy Carr and Sir Roger Moore while big-budget stage productions of Cats, Chicago and Rocky Horror have played to sold out crowds. The venue has a packed schedule of events, with dates and performers confirmed up to a year in advance making it easy to plan ahead. And you can easily make an evening of it at the Princess Bistro with a pre-theatre dinner or simply a few drinks in the bar overlooking Torquay marina.
At the other end of the theatre spectrum from the grand Princess Theatre is The Little Theatre, a quirky venue built in a converted church in the quiet and secluded Meadfoot area of Torquay. With a strong emphasis on local, community-driven events, they host one play or theatrical production a month on average, with each event running from three days up to a week. And there’s even a snug bar for pre- and post-show drinks.
Torquay’s beaches are some of the finest in Devon – and, dare we say it, on the south coast – and you don’t have to walk far from our Torquay hotel to find our first recommended beach. Torre Abbey Sands is the town’s main beach near the harbour with a mix of rocky sections, large swathes of sand perfect for towering sand castles and a large grassy area near the Train Station known as Torre Abbey Meadows. As well as a wide range of nearby cafés and shops, you can hire deckchairs on the beach while there are nearby toilets and first aid responders and lifeguards during the peak months of July and August.
Across the other side of the Torquay headland is Meadfoot Beach on a stretch of coastline known as the Agatha Christie Mile as it’s where the famous crime-writer used to spend a lot of time. With an Instagram-perfect array of colourful beach chalets and imposing rocky cliffs over a beach made of shingle and sand, it’s a wonderful place to while away a few hours, with deckchairs for hire and the excellent nearby Meadfoot Beach Cafe.
Where the other beaches can get quite busy, especially during the peak summer season, head a few miles north to Maidencombe Beach for some peace and quiet. Nestled in a clutch of rolling hills, you’ll need to follow a steep and narrow path from the pay and display car park down to the beach where you’ll find a secluded sandy beach framed by imposing red cliffs. If you’re feeling energetic, take a dip in the water or stretch your legs along the South West Coastal Path which snakes its way along the coast past the beach. And, handily, there’s a nearby pub and the Beach Box café to keep you fed and watered.
The closest cinema to our Torquay hotel is the Central Cinema on Abbey Road. A historic cinema with a traditional columned facade spread over several floors, the cinema has four screens showing a decent range of the latest releases with several 3D screens. The cinema has the usual range of snacks and drinks in the main foyer, while there are plenty of nearby cafés and restaurants.
For a more modern cinematic experience, you’ll need to head to Vue Cinema Torbay. Located on Paignton’s seafront, the nine-screen cinema is fitted with Dolby Surround Sound, 4k Sony screens and generous seats.