What started out as nothing more than a small fishing village just along the coast from Torquay in Devon has become a popular holiday destination in its own right. The growth of the town centred upon the building of a new harbour, then when the railways reached the town it grew in popularity as a seaside holiday destination. Much of the growth that was experienced in this golden age of Victorian adventure can still be seen along the sea front. Paignton is very much a part of the English Riviera. This region of the south coast of England gets its name because of the mild climate that it enjoys, and the fact that sub tropical trees and plant life grow happily here.
About the Town
The popularity of Paington as a holiday destination has not faded with time. It is only the commercial attractions of the town that have changed. You will find all of the pre-requisite gift shops and food outlets that you would associate with any major coastal holiday destination, and of course there are a wealth of family run guest houses and bed and breakfast establishments. The beachfront area, the esplanade, is expansive and makes for a pleasant walk of a summer evening. The main attraction along the esplanade is of course the pier. The pier measures an impressive 240 meters in length (780ft) and houses an amusement arcade and a number of small gift shops and local businesses. The beach here is expansive and framed by the unusual red earth coloured cliffs.
Things to See and Do
If the weather is less than perfect you could reacquaint yourself with the toys and games of your childhood at the Century of Playtime museum. Pay a visit to Oldway Mansion which was built using the fortune made by its owner Isaac Meritt Singer from his sewing machine design. The mansion is now owned by the local council and open for visitors. It is worth visiting to marvel at the beautiful marble staircase and the unique miniature hall of mirrors that the house contains, plus there are seventeen acres of gardens to explore.
No visit to the town would be complete without a trip to Paignton Zoo and the Botanical Gardens. The zoo is one of the largest in the UK and houses more than two thousand animals. The steam railway is also popular with visitors and runs a service between Paignton and Kingswear from where you can catch a ferry that will take you across the river to Dartmouth.
The Quaywest Waterpark is the place to head to when the sun is shining where there are slides and flumes for all ages to enjoy, including toddler play areas for the younger members of the family. Paignton also makes a great place for exploring the rest of the English Riviera, as well as for sampling some of the very best in locally produced food such as the wonderful clotted cream ice cream and cream teas for which the county of Devonshire is so famous.