"A Passing Aquaintance" Top 5 Page for this destination Paignton by johngayton

Paignton Travel Guide: 69 reviews and 200 photos

Updated Finally!

Paignton is a Victorian-era seaside resort located at the centre of the "English Riviera" of Torbay, on mid-Devon's South Coast, which came into prominence following the completion of the rail line in 1859, linking it to Exeter and onwards to Kingswear and the naval port of Dartmouth.

I used to find myself just passing through because the mainline trains now terminate here and when I've needed to get elsewhere such as Brixham or Dartmouth I've normally only had the time for the briefest of visits before catching the bus onwards.

Nowadays I've started to use Paignton for overnight stays when I'm doing city things in Exeter during the day. Exeter hotels have effectively priced themselves out of my budget and here, especially out-of-season, I can get some great deals. Getting to and from Exeter by train is about 45 minutes along the scenic coastal line and using my Devon and Cornwall railcard I can buy a "Day Ranger" for a mere £6.60 which lets me stop-off wherever I want.

The town itself has grown on me too. Henry's pub is always welcoming with pretty barmaids, cheap local ales and a laid-back ambience. There's one of my favourite Chinese takeaways down by the harbour - Rickshaw Boy who do a superbly spicy Singapore Noodles.

Then when I'm not doing unhealthy things such as drinking beer and eating fast food I can escape along the Southwest Coastal Path the five miles or so westwards to Brixham. There I can stop off for a bite to eat and a few beers before getting the bus back!

A Town Of Two Halves

When the railway was built the track was the eastern boundary of the town and during high tides the sea would reach the tracks. Thus the older part of town is on the higher ground behind the station. The area in front which forms the present day seafront and esplanade was built on reclaimed land.

The main street that connects these two halves, Torbay Road, crosses the railway line next door to the station and when the trains arrive or depart the two are temporarily separated by the barriers of the level crossing.

The town actively promotes itself as a family resort and its gently sloping, fine sanded, beaches are the obvious highlight. There's the pier which is a "pleasure pier" in the best English Seaside tradition, the zoo has been redefined to be sympathetic to the animals needs rather than just acting a an enclosure for gawpers and plenty of other family-orientated things to do. With a good variety of hotels and B&B's, ranging from four star establishments to back street guest houses, there's something to suit everyone and being targetted at families keeps prices more than reasonable.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Pleasantly Laid-back Town
  • In a nutshell:An Ideal Inexpensive Family Resort
  • Last visit to Paignton: Oct 2013
  • Intro Updated Dec 12, 2013
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  • aussirose's Profile Photo
    Aug 10, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    Hi John. Nice little page here. I enjoyed the read and your beach pix are just lovely :o) Nice write up of the accommodation and pub on the main street. Great gems. Hugs, Ann.

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