The French Riviera or Cote D’Azur is a leading holiday destination and it’s not hard to see why. But British tourists on a budget could find a similar vibe at an “incredible” staycation alternative.
Torquay, a thriving seaside town in Devon, has long been known as the English Riviera and bears a striking resemblance to the French region.
A spokesperson from Independent Cottages said: “The Mediterranean coast of Southeastern France, better known as the French Riviera, is one of France’s most popular holiday destinations, with tourists staying at beautiful seaside destinations along the coastline each year.
“But the English Riviera has the hearts of UK residents. Steeped in history, with incredible landscapes and wonderful beaches, those looking to explore England’s coastline this year will find the English Riviera to be the ideal holiday at home.”
The jewel in the crown of the English Riviera, the palm-lined resort of Torquay is one of the UK’s best beach destinations.
Torquay was first described as the English Riviera in the late 18th century when tourists began travelling to Tor Bay.
The region’s microclimate drew wealthy British families to spend the winter there and many of them built large homes there.
Many of the homes were designed to reflect Mediterranean architecture and create an ‘English Riviera’ to rival the original.
Within easy reach of Torquay, Maidencombe beach is a secluded cove surrounded by red sandstone cliffs.
Often described as a hidden gem, Anstey’s Cove sits between Torquay and nearby Babbacombe. The shingle beach has places to hire paddle boards and kayaks.
Just a mile from Torquay Harbour, Meadfoot Beach can be reached by car or on foot and was once favoured by Charles Darwin.
Families will love the beach at Paignton Sands which has a pier decked out with amusement arcades.
But Torquay is more than just beaches and tourists can see North West Europe’s oldest human fossil at Torquay Museum.
The jawbone, which is thought to be over 41,000 years old, was discovered during excavations at Kents Cavern.
The Cavern is one of the region’s best rated attractions on Tripadvisor and promises a day of adventure.
A tourist ‘Clara’ wrote on Tripadvisor: “The caves are really fascinating. A good tour of different parts of the cave with a fantastic tour guide!”
Another tourist ‘James P’ said: “The caves are fascinating and made all the more interesting by the tour guide, who made it engaging for the youngest children and adults alike.”
Another top attraction in the area is Babbacombe Model Village, which represents British life and culture in miniature.
The model village starts life in the 60s and travels through the decades up to the modern day with depictions of everyday life.
A Tripadvisor user ‘mikeandtraceyball’, wrote: “Amazing! So much to see and everything had so much detail to it. Well worth a visit if you are in the area.”
Tourists can also take a walk at Cockington Country Park or explore the scenic area of Babbacombe.