Paignton is a long-established seaside resort on the coast of south Devon, just south of Torquay and north of Brixham - the three resorts all face onto Torbay, on the 20 mile long strip of coast referred to as the English Riviera.
It is the long sandy beach and the pier and sea-front that attracts the families to Paignton, and tourism is the main industry in the town. The beaches are in a sheltered bay, and slope very gently into the sea, while the pier is a good example of a traditional Victorian seaside pier and dates from 1879.
Both Paignton Beach itself and nearby Preston Sands are very popular, and offer a very wide range of water and beach based sports activities, from water-skiing to boat hire and much more besides. Behind the beach in Paignton you will find all the 'traditional' seaside resort facilities - amusements, cafes, ice cream vendors etc.
You can see a different side to Paignton if you take a seafront promenade in the evening, stopping for a drink or a meal at one of the numerous seafront cafes.
Paignton buildings and architecture
Despite the sea facing focus of the town, it's Victorian rise to poularity means there is also some interesting architecture and buildings to discover, predominantly in the old town in and around Church Street and Winner Street (Winner street is also a centre for antiques and bric-a-brac shopping). A good example of medieval architecture can also be seen, in the English Heritage managed Kirkham House (simply furnished with modern recreations of medieval furniture).
A much grander building, in a neo-classical style, can be seen at Oldway Mansion (the mansion was built in the late 19th century for Isaac Singer, of sewing machine fame). The once grand Torbay Picture House, one of the oldest 'moving picture' cinemas in England can be seen (but is not open to the public at present).
Local Paignton attractions
- Among the most popular entertainments with visitors are the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway and Paignton Zoo. Many other family-oriented attractions are also available close to hand.
- During the summer there are also several events and festivals held, usually on Paignton Green. See Paignton Visitor Information when you arrive for up to date information.
- Leave the bustling town for a while and explore the scenery along the coast, preferably by following the coastal path
Map of Paignton and places to visit
Paignton places to visit
See more places nearby in the Devon guide