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11 great things to do in Paignton


Looking for things to do in Paignton? Then this post is the right one for you. We regularly visit Torbay and Paignton in particular. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Things to do in Paignton

Nestled along the stunning English Riviera, Paignton is a charming seaside town that offers a delightful blend of natural beauty and endless entertainment. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing getaway or an action-packed adventure, this vibrant destination has something to captivate every visitor. With its golden sandy beaches, picturesque harbor, and lush green parks, Paignton provides the perfect backdrop for a memorable escape. Explore the town’s rich history by visiting iconic attractions like Paignton Pier and the Paignton Zoo Environmental Park. Indulge in the local cuisine, savoring the fresh catch of the day or treating yourself to the famous Devonshire cream tea. From adrenaline-fueled water sports to leisurely strolls along the Southwest Coast Path, Paignton promises an array of experiences that will leave you enchanted. Get ready to immerse yourself in the warm hospitality and laid-back charm of this quintessential British seaside town.

Paignton Beach and Pier

pier car

Paignton’s main draw is undoubtedly its stunning seafront, where the golden sands stretch for miles along the English Riviera. The beach is a paradise for sun-seekers, families, and water sports enthusiasts alike. With its gently sloping shoreline and calm waters, it’s an ideal spot for swimming, paddling, and building sandcastles with the little ones. For those seeking a more active experience, the beach offers opportunities for kayaking, paddleboarding, and even coasteering adventures.

At the heart of the seafront lies the iconic Paignton Pier, a beloved landmark that dates back to 1879. This Victorian-era structure extends over 780 feet into the sparkling waters of Tor Bay, providing unparalleled views of the coastline and the chance to spot marine life below. Stroll along the pier, indulge in traditional seaside treats like fish and chips or ice cream cones, or try your hand at fishing from the pier’s ends.

Paignton Zoo Environmental Par

Lizard at Paignton Zoo

Nestled in the heart of Paignton, this award-winning zoo is a must-visit attraction for animal lovers of all ages. With over 2,500 animals from across the globe, Paignton Zoo Environmental Park offers an immersive experience that combines education and conservation efforts with pure enjoyment.

As you wander through the beautifully landscaped grounds, you’ll encounter everything from majestic lions and graceful giraffes to playful primates and exotic reptiles. The zoo’s dedication to conservation is evident in its various habitats, designed to mimic the natural environments of the animals they house.

One of the highlights of the zoo is the Monkey Heights exhibit, where you can get up close and personal with some of the most fascinating primate species. Watch as they swing from branch to branch, playfully interacting with each other and their surroundings. Don’t miss the daily talks and feeding sessions, where knowledgeable zookeepers share fascinating insights into the lives and behaviors of these incredible creatures.

A Paignton Scrapbook” by Peggy Parnell is a nostalgic journey through the English seaside town of Paignton. Parnell dives into local history, sharing stories of fascinating characters, long-gone businesses, and forgotten pubs. The book explores local myths and legends, reminding readers of Paignton’s past through a captivating mix of anecdotes and historical details.

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paignton scrapbook

Compton Castle

compton castle with daffodils

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the rich history of Compton Castle, a medieval fortified manor house that dates back to the 14th century. Nestled amidst rolling hills and lush countryside, this ancient gem offers a captivating glimpse into the lives of the nobility who once called it home.

As you approach the castle, you’ll be struck by its imposing presence, with its sturdy stone walls and towering turrets standing as a testament to its storied past. Explore the well-preserved interior, where you’ll find intricately carved fireplaces, ancient tapestries, and a fascinating collection of period furnishings that transport you to a bygone era.

Wander through the meticulously maintained gardens, where you’ll discover a delightful array of fragrant herbs, vibrant flowers, and even a recreated medieval-style garden plot. Join one of the guided tours to learn about the castle’s colorful history, from its role in the Wars of the Roses to the fascinating tales of the families who called it home throughout the centuries.

Just worth noting here that if you enjoy castles, here is a list of the best castles in Devon.

Occombe Farm

occombe farm tractor

Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of Occombe Farm. This working farm, nestled in the heart of the Devon countryside, offers visitors a chance to connect with nature and experience the authentic charm of rural life.

As you step onto the farm grounds, you’ll be greeted by the sight of lush green fields, where cattle and sheep graze peacefully. Wander along the well-marked trails, taking in the fresh country air and the stunning views of the surrounding hills and valleys. Keep an eye out for the resident wildlife, from graceful deer to a variety of bird species that call this idyllic setting home.

For families, Occombe Farm is a true delight. Children can get up close and personal with friendly farm animals, learning about their lives and even helping with feeding time. The farm’s play areas provide ample opportunities for outdoor fun, with rope swings, sandpits, and a dedicated play trail that encourages exploration and adventure.

Oldway Mansion and Gardens

oldway mansion

Step into a world of opulence and grandeur at Oldway Mansion, a magnificent estate that once served as the summer residence of the wealthy and influential Paris Singer family. This architectural masterpiece, built in the early 20th century, stands as a testament to the extravagance of the Edwardian era.

As you approach the imposing façade, you’ll be struck by the sheer scale and grandeur of the mansion, with its striking red brick and terracotta details. Step inside and be transported to a bygone age of luxury, where every room exudes elegance and sophistication. Marvel at the ornate ceilings, intricate woodwork, and sumptuous furnishings that adorn the interior spaces.

It is important to note that currently the house is not open, because it is going to be restored, but you can take a stroll through the beautifully manicured gardens that surround the estate. Meander along winding paths, past vibrant floral displays, tranquil ponds, and majestic trees that provide a serene oasis away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. The wonderful gardens in this 17 acre site are maintained by volunteers and have been since 2019. You can follow their progress and get involved here.

Saltern Cove

saltern cove

Tucked away along the rugged coastline of Paignton lies Saltern Cove, a hidden gem that offers a true escape from the everyday. This secluded cove is a nature lover’s paradise, with its dramatic cliffs, golden sands, and crystal-clear waters that beckon visitors to explore and unwind.

Accessible only by foot, the journey to Saltern Cove is an adventure in itself, as you descend a winding path carved into the cliffside. Once you reach the cove, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the turquoise bay, framed by towering rock formations that have been sculpted by the relentless power of the sea over centuries.

For those seeking solitude and tranquility, Saltern Cove is the perfect spot to spread out a blanket, soak up the sun, and listen to the soothing sounds of the waves lapping against the shore. Adventurous souls can explore the rock pools teeming with marine life or take a dip in the refreshing waters that invite you to cool off on a warm summer day.

Greenway House and Gardens

greenway sign

Step into the enchanting world of Agatha Christie at Greenway House and Gardens, the beloved holiday home of the renowned author. This charming estate, nestled in the heart of the Devon countryside, offers a glimpse into the life and creative mind of one of the world’s most celebrated writers.

As you approach the elegant Georgian-style house, you’ll be struck by its timeless beauty and serene surroundings. Wander through the meticulously maintained gardens, where vibrant blooms and fragrant blossoms create a kaleidoscope of colors and scents that inspired Christie’s vivid descriptions of nature.

Inside the house, you’ll find a treasure trove of personal belongings, furniture, and memorabilia that provide a fascinating insight into the author’s life and creative process. Explore her study, where she penned some of her most famous works, and imagine the countless hours she spent crafting her legendary mysteries.

Be sure to visit the delightful Greenway Cafe, where you can indulge in traditional English treats while surrounded by the tranquil beauty of the gardens. Whether you’re an Agatha Christie fan or simply appreciate the charm of a quintessential English country estate, Greenway House and Gardens promises an unforgettable experience.

Fairy Cove

fairy cove

Tucked away along Paignton’s picturesque coastline lies Fairy Cove, a hidden gem that will transport you to a world of enchantment and natural beauty. This secluded cove offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, inviting visitors to bask in the serenity of its surroundings.

Accessible only by a winding coastal path or by boat, the journey to Fairy Cove is an adventure in itself. As you descend towards the cove, the stunning vista of turquoise waters and towering cliffs unfolds before you, creating a breathtaking scene straight out of a fairy tale.

Upon reaching the cove’s sandy shores, you’ll be greeted by the soothing sounds of gentle waves lapping against the rocks and the fresh sea breeze carrying the invigorating scent of salt air. Take a leisurely stroll along the beach, marveling at the unique rock formations and the abundance of marine life that calls this cove home.

For those seeking a truly immersive experience, Fairy Cove offers the opportunity to explore its hidden caves and rock pools, where you can discover a world teeming with vibrant sea creatures and fascinating geological wonders. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a photographer, or simply seeking a serene escape, Fairy Cove promises an unforgettable and enchanting experience.

Cockington Court


Step back in time and immerse yourself in the rich history and charm of Cockington Court, a beautifully preserved manor house and country estate dating back to the 16th century. Nestled in the heart of the picturesque village of Cockington, this historic gem offers a glimpse into the lives of the wealthy families who once called it home.

As you approach the grand entrance, you’ll be struck by the imposing architecture and meticulously maintained grounds, which transport you to a bygone era of elegance and sophistication. Explore the lavishly decorated interior, where every room is a testament to the exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail that defined the era.

Marvel at the intricate woodcarvings, grand fireplaces, and ornate furnishings that adorn the manor’s halls and chambers. Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of stories that have unfolded within these walls, as knowledgeable guides regale you with tales of the estate’s illustrious past and the families who called it home.

After exploring the manor house, take a leisurely stroll through the beautiful gardens, where you’ll find perfectly manicured lawns, vibrant floral displays, and tranquil ponds that offer a serene escape from the world beyond. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the charming craft studios and artisan workshops that showcase the talents of local artisans, creating a truly unique and memorable experience at Cockington Court.

Splashdown Quaywest

splashdown quaywest

If you’re seeking a day of endless fun and excitement, look no further than Splashdown Quaywest, Paignton’s premier waterpark and leisure complex. This vibrant attraction promises a thrilling experience for visitors of all ages, with an array of water slides, pools, and activities that will keep the whole family entertained.

As you step through the gates, you’ll be greeted by the sounds of laughter and splashing water, setting the tone for an unforgettable day of aquatic adventures. Plunge down the adrenaline-pumping water slides, soaring through twists and turns before making a splash into the refreshing pools below. For those seeking a more relaxed experience, the lazy river offers a leisurely float through a winding waterway, providing the perfect opportunity to soak up the sun and unwind.

Beyond the water park, Splashdown Quaywest offers an array of indoor and outdoor activities to keep the excitement going. Challenge your friends and family to a round of mini-golf, test your skills on the climbing wall, or let the little ones burn off some energy in the dedicated play areas.

With a variety of dining options on-site, from casual cafes to themed restaurants, you can refuel and recharge before diving back into the aquatic adventures that await. Whether you’re seeking a day of high-octane thrills or a more laid-back family outing, Splashdown Quaywest promises an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.

Dartmouth Steam Railway Round Robin

The Round Robin trip is a delightful excursion in South Devon, offering a unique way to explore the towns of Paignton, Dartmouth, and Totnes. This circular journey combines different modes of transport—steam train, boat, and bus—providing a varied and scenic experience of the English Riviera and its surroundings.

Starting in Paignton, travellers board a steam train that chugs through the picturesque countryside to Kingswear. The nostalgic journey offers stunning views of the coast and rolling hills, capturing the essence of Devon’s natural beauty. From Kingswear, a short ferry ride takes visitors across the River Dart to the historic town of Dartmouth. Here, one can explore the narrow streets lined with boutique shops, cafes, and galleries, as well as the impressive Dartmouth Castle and the vibrant harbour.

The next leg of the journey is a serene river cruise up the Dart, passing through lush landscapes and quaint villages. This tranquil boat ride concludes at the charming market town of Totnes. Known for its bohemian atmosphere, Totnes is filled with independent shops, historic buildings, and a vibrant arts scene.

The final stage is a scenic bus ride back to Paignton, completing the Round Robin. This diverse and enchanting trip offers a perfect blend of history, natural beauty, and local culture, making it a must-do for visitors to Devon.

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