There’s always lots to explore during your stay at Cofton Holidays. And you won’t find many places that are as charming, beautiful and picturesque as Babbacombe. Situated a short distance from the busy, vibrant waterfront of Torquay harbour, Babbacombe offers a much more serene experience and may just be the jewel in the crown of the English riviera.
Just a short 30-minute drive from Cofton, the meandering scenic coast road offers up some truly breath-taking views on the way. This small Torquay suburb was a Victorian holiday hotspot, and on arrival it’s not hard to see why. The beautifully landscaped gardens of Babbacombe Downs, which at over 90 metres above sea level is the highest clifftop promenade in England, offers unparalleled views over red cliffs and wooded hilltops. In fact, on clear days you can even see across counties and as far as Portland Bill in Dorset.
From the mix of independent shops, secluded beaches, coastal walks, water sports and bars and restaurants, there really is something for the whole family to enjoy. Here are our top 5 things to do on a visit to Babbacombe.
1. Babbacombe Model Village
If you’ve ever wanted to feel like a giant (and let’s face it, who hasn’t?), then the model village is for you. This miniature world is big on fun. Set in 4 acres of magnificent award-winning gardens, the intricately crafted models and scenes are full of whimsey, wonder and humour. Some of our favourites include the Paignton Zoo model, a west country fishing village, the peek inside house and the new Celebrity Mansion – see what famous faces you can spot!
The miniature world is full of model scenes and animated displays with all kinds of goings on that depict British life over the last 60 years. Full of humorous subtle touches, it is very important to take your time or there’s a lot you might miss!
On Thursday evenings from April to October, the village is transformed into a glowing spectacle. Thousands of miniature lights illuminate the models and scenes to create an enchanting atmosphere not to be missed.
For more information visit the Model Village website
2. Oddicombe and Babbacombe Beach
What good is a trip to the seaside if you don’t come back with sand in between your toes from a walk on the beach? Babbacombe doesn’t disappoint with two beaches that are within a short walk from the Downs, each with their own unique character.
Babbacombe Beach is a small secluded pebble beach that is perfect for sitting on with a picnic. This pretty crescent-shaped cove backs on to the wooded cliffs and is the perfect place to rest and grab a refreshment from the café hut after the walk down from the top. If you would rather save your legs, then there is a pay and display car park on hand. Dogs are welcome all year round so you can even bring your four-legged friends.
With a small stone breakwater at one end, this sheltered beach provides a great spot for a quick dip in the sea or for the kids to have a paddle. The calm, clear water also makes it a popular diving spot and is perfect for beginners, so why not bring along your snorkel? And don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for dolphins that are often seen swimming off the shore.
Just around the corner is Babbacombe’s second and largest beach. With its long stretch of red sand, Oddicombe Beach is the perfect place to while away the hours soaking up the sun and splashing around in the sea.
With beach hut hire, water sports, beach shop and café all on hand, there’s something to keep the whole family entertained. Hire a kayak or pedalo to paddle out to sea and look back at the dramatic coastline in all of its splendour. Enjoy a refreshing tipple or sample the delights of the menu of the Three Degrees West Bar & Bistro. Enjoy everything from breakfast to tapas, as well as the views, from their outside terrace.
The nearest car park is about half a mile away and access to Oddicombe Beach is a walk down a steep road. Or…..
3. Babbacombe Cliff Railway
Take the easy option to reach to Oddicombe Beach and ride the amazing Babbacome Cliff Railway. Set amongst some of the most stunning landscape to be found in the UK, the Cliff Railway is a fun, unique and less physically demanding way to get to and from the water’s edge of one of South Devon’s most beautiful beaches.
Since opening in 1926, the Babbacombe Cliff Railway has shuttled hundreds of thousands of people up and down the steep cliff face to the sandy shore of Oddicombe Beach. Take in the amazing views out across the bay as you travel the 220 metres of track towards the beach. With over 90 years of service this is a truly unique way to travel in style and reach the sandy beaches!
The lift runs all year round with the first car departing at 9:30 and the last car of the day leaving the beach at 16:30, but please check their website for the latest opening hours and ticket prices.
4. Babbacombe Theatre
For over 80 years Babbacombe Theatre has been entertaining people and it’s no wonder that it has become one of the South West’s most popular venues. With a host of musical acts, bands, comedians, pantomimes and variety shows taking to the stage, there’s always something on that’s worth seeing.
Babbacombe Theatre is renowned for its self-produced variety show that runs every Tuesday and Wednesday evening from February to October. Featuring some of the region’s best talent, as well as a few famous you might just recognise, we highly recommend that you catch a show.
The theatre also welcomes touring productions from some of the country’s top comedians, who will have you roaring with laughter, and musical events that will have you singing and dancing in the aisles. So, whether you’re looking for a family night out or a romantic date night, this much-loved theatre will ensure you’re kept entertained.
For the latest information on upcoming events and ticket information, visit the theatre website.
5. Food & Drink in Babbacombe
If food and drink are more your thing, then the choice of pubs and restaurants in Babbacombe will leave you spoilt for choice. From traditional pub fare and gastro delights, to ice cream parlours and sun-soaked beer gardens, there’s something for every taste.
A personal favourite of ours that’s perfect for a special occasion or a romantic visit for 2, is the cosy Angel Tea Rooms. Serving up a truly delicious afternoon tea with freshly made sandwiches and homemade cakes, just try and make sure you leave room for those scones and Devon clotted cream.
If it’s a more traditional seaside feast you looking for, what could be better than fish and chips? Hanbury’s have been serving up award-winning fish and chips for over four decades. From the first taste it’s not hard to see why this is the local’s favourite. We find they’re best enjoyed sitting on the downs looking out over that perfect view.