One of the success stories in Torquay has been the renovation of Torre Abbey and the Spanish Barn, named because it was originally used to house Spanish prisoners of war in the late 16th Century. Over the past few years, the barn has become home to a number of art installations including work from Anthony Gormley (2009) and Damien Hirst’s ‘Mother and Child (Divided)’ in 2010. These free exhibitions have proved popular, and are pleasant stroll along the seafront to Torre Abbey Gardens.
Elsewhere there are some great viewpoints in Torquay where the coastline can be enjoyed from. The marina wall offers a viewpoint to watch the many ferries and leisure craft entering and leaving the harbour. Then walk around the waterfront to the newly re-opened Rock Walk with the landscaped gardens, combine with hundreds of steps to the top of the cliff. Further around, Torre Abbey Gardens are attractively landscaped with the English Riviera’s trademark palm trees and a cafe in the middle.
The coastal path, which extends around the entire South West peninsula, can be picked up behind Living Coasts into a scenic and undulating walk all the way around to Meadfoot beach, again with photo opportunities along this striking piece of coastline.
Cockington Court is run by Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust, and is a mile or two away from Torquay centre. The preserved village is a haven of peace and tranquility where a horse drawn carriage is as likely a sight as a car. Set in 450 acres of parkland, entry is free and the centre has now become a centre for arts and crafts on the English Riviera. Visitors can explore the trails and lakes around the grounds, watch craft demonstrations including glass blowing and local artists or see the blacksmith at work. Parking is limited at Cockington Court, however the walk from the seafront at Corbyn Head is an attractive stroll through woodland pathway and recommended for the able bodied.