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This is why it is called The English Riviera!

We woke early to brilliant sunshine at 5.15am.  Oh, how I love early morning when it’s as sunny and bright as it is today.  We were showered and dressed before 6am.  I suggested a seafront walk and we were on the road before 7.45am, long before the tourists would be out of their hotel beds.

We parked on Torquay sea front and from there walked past the Big Wheel toward the harbour, passing Torquay Marina on our right …

The inner harbour (below) has a bridge across it so that you don’t have to walk all the way around, and the sluice gates open to allow boats to go in and out …

The inner harbour always looks pretty to me, with the trees along the Strand now in full leaf …

And if you turn to your right, this is the view …

The netted contraption is Living Coasts, the sea life centre.  Many of the shoe-box style flats on the hillside to the left of the photo were built in the building boom of the early 1960s, but the white block is pure Art Deco in style and pre-dates those on top of the hill.

A boat being removed from the hard to the sea

From the harbour we made our way around this pedestrianized area (I remember when the main road went around here) which is usually filled with tables and chairs outside the many bars and cafes, but which so early in the morning was deserted.

From there we walked past the Torbay Hotel where there is a wall plaque …

And from there we took the path through what to locals is called Rock Walk, but is actually called the Royal Princess Gardens …

The main road is now on our left (the white coaches are parked outside the Princess Theatre) and the sea (out of the picture) is further to our left.  Lots of lovely osteospermum were in flower, but the magnolias are now ‘over’.  I love to look up at this cliff face (below) and see all the greens against the vivid blue sky …

Towards the end of the Rock Walk, the vegetation looks almost tropical …

And as we left Rock Walk, we were almost outside the Abbey Sands building, expensive apartments which overlook Torbay. On the ground floor there are four restaurants/cafes:  Le Bistrot Pierre (which, during the week, doesn’t open until midday); Costa; Visto Lounge; and Las Iguanas.  We decided to stop at Costa and have coffee …

The coloured tables and chairs are outside Visto Lounge … and the ‘palm’ trees (for they’re not actual palms but they are referred to thus) still have their winter wraps on.

I was rather hoping they had some croissants that we might enjoy with our coffee, but no, not today (why, I wonder?)  But we had coffee and shared a tiffin bar (a triangle of chocolate studded with biscuit, and very nice it was, too.

And then we walked the short 50 yard journey back to our car, having completed a circular route of the harbour (our shortened version as we didn’t go right around the harbour – the sun hadn’t reached the far side and it was chilly in the shade.)

The view from our seat at Costa

What a lovely way to start the day. And we were home before 10am!

Until next time.

About Margaret Powling

Margaret Powling
Margaret’s main interests are her husband and family, her friends, her home, her garden, writing, literature, architecture, décor, social history, photography, historic houses and gardens, and towns, villages and the countryside. She writes about the things she enjoys: flowers, scent, fine soap, monthly style magazines, and other such small indulgences, such as afternoon tea or simply enjoying her summerhouse with a book. She invites you to enjoy this virtual visit to South Devon, England.

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  1. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    Your photos brought back pleasant memories of us having done a very similar walk when in Torquay last October. We were incredibly fortunate with the weather then, and hope to be so when we return this summer. My parents honeymooned in Torquay in 1955 though I’m sure much of it is quite different now.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      October can often be delightful in this part of the UK, the tourists have returned home, the children have returned to school, and we can break cover again! How lovely that your parents honeymooned here. I wonder where they stayed?

      • Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

        Unfortunately I don’t know where they stayed, Margaret. I do wish I’d shown more net rest in their early lives.

  2. What a wonderful early morning walk.
    J x

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      It was lovely, Joy, to be out in the sunshine and fresh air. Mind you, it was chilly at that hour if we were in the shade, but we managed to find sunshine for much of our walk. We were home before most tourists were out and about, too. Since then I have been busy cleaning out the summerhouse, but that might be a post on it’s own, so I won’t say more about that now.

  3. Margaret, you should be paid by the tourist office for making some of us across the world want to visit. Lucy

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Now there’s an idea, Lucy! Seriously, way back in the mid-1970s I did a stint for a season in our local Tourist Information Office. I wanted a part-time job to help finances and this job was mentioned in the local paper. However, there were 104 applicants and I got the job. Either I’m brilliant (only joking) or the rest were rubbish, ha ha! Anyway, it was great fun, I absolutely loved it. As we had two small sons, I could only do the hours when husband was at home to look after them, so I worked some evenings, most weekends, and Bank Holidays. It was mainly directing people to local camp sites, the railway station and even the loo, or we tried to find them hotel accommodation as surprisingly a lot of people, even those with small children, would happily get in their cars, or hop onto a coach or train, and expect to find accommodation easily at the height of the tourist season in August! So you are not too wide of the mark saying I should be paid by the tourist office – I was, once!

  4. Such a beautiful place for a walk. The blue sky and sea are a gorgeous blue too! I got a kick out the saying on your napkin. 😊

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, we are very fortunate to live in such a pretty area, Joyce. Of course, there are many beautiful areas in the UK, but Torbay is just gorgeous when the weather is like it has been today. Glad you like the napkin!

  5. It’s been a glorious day, we went to Lyme Regis and it was so hot with perfect blue skies and sea and even people swimming, though I can’t believe the water has warmed up yet. Back to Seaton and sitting on the balcony watching the various boats out at sea and people walking up and down the front. Just lovely.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, Lyme is lovely, Alison, but it’s years since we went there, but no, I’d not have thought the water warm enough for swimming! I don’t recall going to Seaton, only to Beer and Budleigh Salteron and Sidmouth. Beer is lovely – we once had a tour of Beer Quarry Caves which are astonishing. They were worked from Roman Times until the early 20th century and stone for our great cathedrals was quarried there. Beer is such a pretty little village and it must have the most picturesque allotments in the country – they are on the hillside overlooking the sea!

      • We went to Beer caves last year and it was really interesting – a bit cold but they lent you fleece ponchos to put on over your coats 🙂

        We may go to Beer today but my husband isn’t too well this morning so we’ll see how it goes.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          I’m so sorry to hear your husband isn’t too well today, Alison. Perhaps a day to stay and just look at the sea and relax. I don’t remember being really cold in the Beer caves, but how lovely that they give visitors fleece ponchos, that’s really thoughtful.

  6. I admire your enthusiasm getting up that early and getting out for a walk,what a beautiful way to start the day.Was that a blue beehive in one of the pictures? We were up at six thirty to get to our daughters for granddaughter duty! I think the fresh air tired her and nanny and grandad out today,we walked to the local park where we all played on the swings and slides! The weatherman has said it’s going to be even hotter tomorrow, another walk for you tomorrow or catching up with reading in your summerhouse?

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      If we have slept well, Margaret (which we don’t always do) and it’s a warm, sunny morning, then getting up isn’t as much a problem as when we’ve not slept well and it’s cold and miserable out there! I slept much better last night, only waking once, and when we woke around 5.10am/5.15am, had coffee and then as it was such a lovely morning decided on our walk. We didn’t hurry, and I even made the bed and tided up before we left the house at around 7.30am.
      I don’t know what looked like a blue beehive, Margaret … perhaps you could describe which photo you are referring to? There are certainly no beehives along Torquay sea front (well, not to my knowledge!)
      You had an early start too, looking after your granddaughters, so little wonder you were tired out today!
      I hope it’s another nice day tomorrow as I hope to empty all the garden pots of the dead tulips and then nip to the garden centre for new plants for the summer, such plants as antirrhinums, cosmos, and verbena. I love all the pastel pinks and lilac colours in our small garden, and hopefully, some heliotrope which smells wonderful and has the most dark green leaves as well as deep purple flowers. But there will be some time in the summerhouse, no doubt!

      • The photo with the palm trees and orange flowers below and in amongst the green foliage there is a blue object.Helitrope has a cherry fragrance? We are going to get some ostepernums to fill in our gaps,hope you had wonderful day.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          Hello, Margaret – yes, once I’d looked through all my photos again, I did wonder whether that small blue object could be mistaken for a beehive, but no, this is a floodlight because at night Rock Walk is illuminated, and looks very pretty. The heliotrope that I buy smells of vanilla, a delicious scent. Osteospermums are such pretty flowers and along the Rock Walk we saw some that were a deep purple and looked beautiful against the grasses and rocks.

  7. Gosh you certainly were up and about early. The lovely photos and your description of enjoying your surrounds before the hordes of tourists arrive for the day are proof that ththe early bird gets the worm. We are enjoying our autumn – tourists are still here (we no longer have an ‘off season’) but not in the huge crowds we typically see in the warmer months. Our daytime temperatures are low 20s (deg Celsius) with magical blue skies and evenings are cool enough for cozy sleeping. Best of both worlds.

    Thank you for taking us on another outing 🙂

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Glad you enjoyed a walk around the harbour, Lara, and back via the Rock Walk. Our temperatures are much the same as yours today, but yesterday it was what we would call hot, around 26C – 28C. But we now have rain and that’s cooled things down considerably.

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