Torquay

Torquay is a town in the unitary authority of Torbay and ceremonial county of Devon, England. It lies 26 kilometers (16 miles) south of Exeter along the A380 on the north of Torbay, 61 kilometers (38 miles) north-east of Plymouth and adjoins the neighboring town of Paignton on the west of the bay.

Torquay has numerous tourist attractions, including Britain’s most important Stone Age site: Kents Cavern which was home to early man for some 700,000 years. The floor is composed of several strata, with remains indicating the prehistoric coexistence there of humans and now-extinct animals. The Rev. J. McEnery explored the cave between 1825 and 1829 and put forth the coexistence theory. The cave was extensively explored from 1865 to 1880 by William Pengelly, who found evidence to support McEnery’s hypothesis. The caves have attracted many famous people, among them Agatha Christie, Beatrix Potter, King George V and Haile Selassie who was so impressed with his visit that he gave his guide, Leslie Powe a gold sovereign.

Living Coasts, another popular attraction, is built on Beacon Quay which has existed since 1680. In 1857 the Bath’s Saloons complex was built on the promontory overlooking Beacon Cove. This included a ballroom, concert hall and sunlit conservatory and private bathing facilities with, underneath, a large public swimming bath open to the sea. The stone arches of this public bath can still be seen today and have been incorporated into the shop at Living Coasts. Development of the site as a marine animal exhibit was first proposed in the early part of 1999 in response to a call from Torbay Borough Council for submissions from interested parties. The project, developed by Kay Elliott architects, included an exhibit to house marine birds, rather than fish, due to the need to avoid duplicating the exhibits at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth. The project was subsequently taken on by Paignton Zoo Environmental Park and named Living Coasts.

Another attraction is the Babbacombe Model Village which opened in 1963. It is considered one of the best examples of a model village in England. The Princess Theatre is a popular venue in the town.

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